Led Zeppelin & Identity: Analyzing “In Through the Out Door” in the Context of an Eriksonian Identity Crisis

It had always been difficult to pigeonhole Led Zeppelin’s music into something tidy and concise, but nothing from their canon stood out as much as In Through the Out Door.  The propulsive, guitar-driven machismo that had come to define the band is traded in for a symphony of synthesizers and music that has more connection to pop than heavy metal.  Released in 1979, this would become the group’s final studio album, although this was hardly their intention at the time. Zeppelin disbanded less than a year later after John Bonham’s death, and the suddenness of this tragic event forced them to cap their creative journey before it was able to run its course.  This was far from the only traumatic event endured by the band during this time, however.  Robert Plant’s son, Karac, had recently passed away at the age of five, and both Jimmy Page and Bonham struggled with addiction and substance abuse.  Page’s struggles prevented him from controlling the creative process like he had with every other Zeppelin record, and as a result, John Paul Jones was in charge of much of the musical direction.  With all of these weighty circumstances at play, the fact that their sound more »