.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/4f221c814c88b0676f680979c12e6cd8f655d1f3.jpg Fate of Nations

Robert Plant

Fate of Nations

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
July 8, 1993

Robert Plant, who scored most of his major points in Led Zeppelin by unbuttoning his shirt and squealing ooooh at appropriate junctures, sounds on his sixth solo album, Fate of Nations, as if he's searching for more viable and eloquent means of expression. In fact, "Calling to You," the opening cut, which crosses "Kashmir" with "Dancing Days," almost ceremoniously attempts to shake the Led out. But rather than trying to cash in on past career peaks, Plant may be evoking the most excruciatingly painful moment of his personal life, the tragic 1977 death of his young son Karac while the singer was in the thick of one of Zep's notoriously hell-raising tours.

Never previously alluded to so obviously on record, the child's very tangible spirit, invoked in the devastating "I Believe," hovers over most of the other songs on Fate. Sensitively accompanied by bassist Charlie Jones (who is Plant's son-in-law), the chimingly inventive guitar of Kevin Scott MacMichael and the plaintive violin of Nigel Kennedy (studio guests also include Richard Thompson and Clannad's Maire Brennan), Plant's always incredible voice finds a new temperature for sex ("29 Palms" — have mercy!) and plumbs new dimensions of strength and of sorrow.

Plant's technical achievements alone attest that some of rock's greatest performers are, like any legendary vintage, only improving with time. But his brave efforts to confront the unfathomable demonstrate in more important ways how even the hardest rock can occasionally yield new meaning.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com