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Manic Nirvana
[Click above for album images]

Manic Nirvana is the closest Robert Plant has come to releasing product. If Tall Cool One left you feeling cold, then get ready for another chilly reception. Plant cheerleads his way through most of the record, supported by the same band from Now And Zen, pausing to reflect at welcome intervals and indulge his moodier muse. Other icons from the '70s were making similarly soulless music at this point (Aerosmith, Rolling Stones), but Plant had heretofore differentiated himself from that pack by pushing boundaries. The only thing being pushed here is the suggestion that Robert could be trans-Planted into the '90s by straddling modern studio rock, rap, and the moody spiritualism of Led Zeppelin. He’s no stranger to rhythmically driven music, but where Shaken 'N' Stirred seemed strange, Manic Nirvana feels mundane. Where earlier albums built off the Zeppelin foundation that Plant helped build, these songs seem to lean on old victories like a crutch. Hurting Kind is essentially a rewrite of Tall Cool One, Big Love borrows from D'yer Mak'er, and so Manic Nirvana adds little new to the discussion. The better moments come when Plant puts down the mystical pom-poms and engages his darker side, felt to best effect on the pained I Cried and Anniversary. On a different note, the playful Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night serves as a neat bookend to I Cried. Ultimately the heartless arrangements and lazy lyrical content win the day, drowning out the few good cuts on here. Among the breathtaking specimens and interesting hybrids in Plant’s garden, here is a relatively weak and flavorless yield, best left on the vine until you’ve had your fill of finer fruits like Fate of Nations and The Principle of Moments.

From: Connolly & Company

Mar. 19, 1990 (US)
Mar. 19, 1990 (UK)
Mar. 20, 2007 (Remastered)

Chart Position:
#13 (US) #15 (UK)

Gold: May 18, 1990


1. Hurting Kind (I've Got My Eyes On You)
2. Big Love
3. S S S & Q
4. I Cried
5. She Said
6. Nirvana
7. Tie Dye On The Highway
8. Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night
9. Anniversary
10. Liars Dance
11. Watching You

12. Oompah (Watery Bint)
13. One Love
14. Don't Look Back
Quick Fact

S S S & Q (short for Soak, Shake, Splash and Quake) contains a James Brown sample at the 2:36 mark.

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