Jimmy Page - Outrider
Jimmy Page personified a lot of what both good and bad about rock. After John Bonham died and Led Zeppelin split up, he lost his focus. It would be many years before he emerged again and the world wondered how the changes to music in the years since his self-imposed exile would have affected the way he approached it. What would Jimmy Page be able to do? Would he abandon rock and move into another field or would he attempt to revive the fortunes of a genre which to many had lost its relevance.
The result was Outrider and it was not good. Page could have done so much better than this, his first solo output since the demise of Led Zeppelin. Some of the vocals are appalling - the best track is the only one where Robert Plant does the singing, appropriately enough titled "The Only One". Both Plant and Page seem to have recognised the latent success of this combination, hence their later collaboration on No Quarter. Other than that, the vocals just come across as too much ‘white man blues' backed up by an outdated rock form, instead of pure blues. The result is poor to say the least.
Jimmy Page was perhaps hit harder than the others by the death of John Bonham. It is said he didn't play guitar for a year afterwards. He was also battling his own personal demons at the same time as well and that didn't help. The result was a delay of eight years before Page put anything out under his own name. During those eight years, Jimmy lost it. The melodies are not at all memorable; the guitar sounds forced; the ease with which Page used to play the guitar seems lost here. Hardly surprising that the rumours of him locking himself away in a drug-fuelled melancholy and not emerging into the world not only began circulating but also gained increasing credence. It is almost as if he forgot how to play guitar. Whatever the truth of the rumours, the result, as far as this album goes, is extremely disappointing.
It takes a while but eventually you can figure out what it is about this album which makes it so dire. I am not sure it was worth listening to it so many times, but eventually, the answer comes to you. There is not a single decent riff on the whole album. For a man responsible for some of the most memorable guitar lines in the history of modern music, that is a sad statement to make.
This style of rock died with Led Zeppelin and Page should have left it there, mourned its passing and with his undoubted talent moved on to something new. Instead, he came out with what can only be described as the single most disappointing album in my collection as it was something which promised a lot but, in the end, flatly failed to deliver.
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