Now and Zen
Released: February 29, 1988
Peak: 6 US, 10 UK, 4 CN, 11 AU
Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.1 UK
Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 46:59
3.723 out of 5.00 (average of 20 ratings)
Quotable: “Robert Plant’s best solo album and a must-own for fans of Led Zeppelin.” – Vik Iyengar, All Music Guide
About the Album:
“By 1987, Robert Plant had traded in his original solo band for younger models, including a new songwriting partner, keyboard player Phil Johnstone.” Q He would go on to play with Plant on subsequent albums. Once again, Plant looked like a windswept Celt, while his boyish backing group appeared a Top Shop Led Zeppelin.” Q Now and Zen “relies on standard rock arrangements except that the vocals and drums are at the forefront and the keybards instead of guitars are used to fill out the sound.” AMG
Plant even embraced his Led Zeppelin past, bringing former bandmate Jimmy Page in to play on Heaven Knows. Plant also responded to the Beastie Boys’ unauthorized samples of Led Zeppelin songs on their 1986 Licensed to Ill album by using samples of some of the greatest riffs from Led Zeppelin songs (“Whole Lotta Love,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Black Dog,” “Custard Pie,” and “The Ocean”) WK on Tall Cool One. Fans embraced both songs, sending them to #1 on the album rock chart.
While most of the album consists of “mid-tempo songs aimed at rock radio, Plant includes the lovely ballad Ship of Fools, which demonstrates that he is more than capable of vocal subtlety.” AMG It proved hitworthy as well, reaching #3 on the album rock track chart.
“On the downside, there’s the overcooked ‘80s production: the Linn drums, the Fairlights…On the plus side, this oddball collection of techno-pop, heavy rock and power ballads…was Plant’s most focused work in an otherwise unfocused decade.” Q Plant “writes some of his most direct songs, and the way in which the lyrics complement the melodic arrangements are partially responsible for the commercial success” AMG of the album. Rolling Stone’s Kurt Loder hailed the album as “a seamless pop fusion of hard guitar rock, gorgeous computerization and sharp, startling songcraft.” WK
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First posted 9/27/2010; last updated 8/28/2021.