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At 69 years old, Robert Plant is still a master of his craft

Carry Fire is our Album of the Week.

At 69 years old and with a music career spanning over 50 years and 12 studio albums, Robert Plant is the gift that just keeps giving. Whether you’re a fan of his music, or this record in particular, is irrelevant; there’s no way you can listen to Carry Fire and not be at least mildly impressed.
 
Carry Fire offers everything from gentle love ballads like ‘Season’s Song’ and ‘Dance With You Tonight’ to politically charged, rhythm-driven tracks such as ‘New World’ and ‘Carving Up The World Again… A Wall And Not A Fence’. Thrown into the mix for good measure, Plant puts his own spin on Ersel Hickey’s late ‘50s hit ‘Bluebirds Over The Mountain' with the help of The Pretenders’ frontwoman Chrissie Hynde on vocals, creating luscious harmonies with their contrasting voices. 
 
Each track provides vastly different elements, sonically speaking, though there are a few themes that run consistently throughout the album. Strong Middle Eastern influences shine through in ‘The May Queen’ and title track ‘Carry Fire.’ Plant plays with layered vocals across numerous songs, using his voice as if it were another instrument and creating an a capella-esque effect which adds immeasurable warmth and dimension to the melodies.
 
The album sees a range of instruments, genres and ideas coming into play, with contemporary violin melodies exhibited in ‘The May Queen’ and ‘Bluebirds Over The Mountain’, a stripped-back, piano-driven soundscape appearing on ‘A Way With Words’ and several tracks placing focus on the percussive section.
 
Plant’s unmistakable, crooning vocals are pristine across the record and although his vocal range isn’t quite what it was in his heyday, it’s pretty damn close. Aside from avoiding the high notes for which he was best known in his Zeppelin years, his voice otherwise sounds remarkably the same as it did 40 years ago.
 
Possibly the best thing about a Robert Plant album is that you know it’s going to be completely unlike his previous records. For a man who became a musical icon for producing such a signature sound, he’s constantly pushing the boundaries and introducing new elements to his already eclectic sound. Carry Fire breathes a freshness of someone who is genuinely excited by creating music and taking it as far as they can in every direction, and an overt passion like that makes listening to it all the more enjoyable.