UNREAL/LEGITIMATE SHOCKER - NO CHORUSES!!!
Steve Wyzard | Lomita, CA | 06/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If Pictures at Eleven was LedZep for the 80s, and The Principle of Moments was a nod toward the art-rock of Asia, NOBODY was prepared for this album, Plant's avant garde masterpiece. Jimmy Page fanatics must have been aghast at the keyboards and guitar synth splashed all over the sonic canvas. This album was SO weird I could not stop listening to it for the entire month of June 1985. While the MTV/dance floor/hi-tech influences are everywhere, the album bizarrely holds together even when it sounds like Plant is THISCLOSE to completely losing it. Only the single "Little by Little" sounds even remotely like anything that has come before, so far off the beaten path has everyone involved strayed. Drummer Ritchie Hayward almost steals the whole album, and guitarist Robbie Blunt was so unhappy with this brilliant mess he was fired after the tour. The drift away from LedZep's monumentalism is complete. I found this album much easier to absorb than 1989's Manic Nirvana. And pity the poor soul who tries to transcribe the lyrics: it must set some kind of record for the most usages of the words "girl" and "baby"!"
Bill Your 'Free Form FM Handi Cyber | Mahwah, NJ USA | 12/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Say what you want about Robert Plant, but the guy just will NOT sit creatively still. Here was a guy who could have set up a power trio after Led Zeppilin split, and became rock's favorote Bon Jovi. But Plant was just far too classy and smart--besides, having a mountian of cash means you do whatever the hell you want.
So he took the experimentation of Zeppilin and just kept running. The 1980s synth production of Shaken and Stirred sounds dated now, but is refreshing to hear, even as 2010 creeps up, as a contrast to the Zeppilin cataloge--which, essential and wonderful as it is, can sound overplayed.
And it was not as though Plant went all pretty pretty pretty on us, or even abandoned rock. Most of the songs here could be Zep tracks, Plant just translated his rock writting through what was cutting edge tech in 1985. That was the risk, far more so than if he had just made another rock album.
Close listening shows the synth use here is very creative--very intricate with all kinds of time changes and texture webs weaving in and out. This is a far cry from, say Wham or Modanna or any gloss idol of the era. If anything, this has the progressiveness, if not the sound, of embryotic acid house of the era.
Fantastic album that sounds as good today once you accept the production.
Fantastic Remaster Of This New Wave-ish Left Turn From Plant
Rich Latta | Albuquerque, NM - Land of Entitlement | 12/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On SHAKEN 'N' STIRRED, Robert Plant finally took a dive into the synth pool he waded in on his previous album PRINCIPLE OF MOMENTS. Numerous Zep fans were undoubtedly baffled, but I think this is a fun album that has two of his best ever tracks - "Sixes and Sevens" and the other one previously known simply as "Little By Little (extended mix)," a truly transcendental song, previously available only on a 12" single release. These tunes also get a wet hot kiss from Toni Halliday, whose inventive, totally sexy vocals just nail it. Bias alert - I'm a huge fan of her own "waves-of-shoegaze" band known as Curve. She's totally hot!
"Hip To Hoo" - a strange circus fade in on keyboards abruptly erupts into giddy circus acrobats. Plant soon booms in full throttle as the intensity cranks up. Robbie Blunt even throws in some tasty rockabilly guitar. A wild, weird experiment that just works. ****
"Kallalou Kallalou" - The jerky rhythm gets under your skin as another woman is breakin' Robert's heart while he begs her to stay. ****1/2
"Too Loud" - If you liked the first two tracks you'll happily keep groovin' on this infectious take down of some bugged-out chick. Toni just makes me drool with her "Huh! Huh! Huh! . . . AAAAAH" croons. ****1/2
"Trouble Your Money" - creeps in on a quietly urgent beat but before long Plant is writhing in anguish. ****
"Pink & Black" - It's no secret that Robert Plant's been a long-time Elvis fan and the evidence is quite palpable on this pumped up rocker. Plant owns it. *****
"Little By Little" - I'm old enough to remember when MTV was young and I watched the video for this song whenever I got the chance. It was in heavy rotation and it made a big impression on me. Probably the first non-Zep Plant I ever heard and I still think it's one of his best. *****
"Doo Doo A Do Do" - the boner-bass intro on this one signifies Robert is in a party mood. "Shake for me baby" . . . a cool rocker. *****
"Easily Lead" - this is a first-class take on New Wave and the most pumped up thing on the album. ****
"Sixes & Sevens" - The last track on the original album is Plant at his best. He brings real drama and tension to an already killer cut. Gorgeous and hovering, this is a hazy world filled with self doubt and confusion. Spooky keyboards and the keyboard solo is great too. *****+
"Little By Little (Remixed Long Version) - The definitive version. A must. Supremely atmospheric and otherworldly, the loping bass line on the original is toned down and the added space and synth washes are powerful. This version takes the original to a whole new dimension, letting it breathe. Sounds great as the album's 10th track. *****+"