Robert Plant’s New Song Is His Best In Years

Slate's Culture Blog
June 23 2014 6:20 PM

Robert Plant’s New Song Is His Best In Years

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"Rainbow" sounds surprisingly like anthemic pop-rock. And it's great.

Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images

For Robert Plant’s last solo album, 2010’s Band of Joy, the revered Led Zeppelin frontman favored his early folk-rock influences, with some added country twang. That album underwhelmed compared to his previous one, a collaboration with Alison Krauss called Raising Sand (2007) that won him a Grammy for Album of the Year. Now Plant has announced he’ll release his 10th solo album, lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, on Sept. 9 with a new band called The Sensational Shape Shifters. And its first single, “Rainbow,” sounds like some of Plant’s best work in years.

In a press release, Plant described his next album as “very crunchy and gritty, very West African and very Massive Attack-y”—a sonic blend captured in the song’s introductory notes and Plant’s world-famous (and still pristine) silk vocals. Most of Plant’s recent work has leaned minimalist, but while there is a somewhat low-fi quality to “Rainbow,” its guitar line gives the song a surprisingly anthemic, pop-rock feel. As do the uplifting lyrics: “And I will be your rainbow/Oh, while your storm is gone/And I will bring the song for you/And I will carry on.” So far, at least, Plant’s new album is shaping up to be excellent.

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Dee Lockett is Slate's editorial assistant for culture.

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