91336-2 Manic Nirvana
Produced by Robert Plant, Phil Johnstone and Mark Strent
Released on March 1990
Find it at GEMM
91336-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

M anic 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.

91336-2 gatefold sleeve
91336-2 gatefold sleeve


  1. HURTING KIND (I'VE GOT MY EYES ON YOU)    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone/Charlie Jones/Doug Boyle/Chris Blackwell)    4:04
  2. BIG LOVE    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone/Chris Blackwell)    4:24
  3. S S S & Q    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone/Charlie Jones/Doug Boyle/Chris Blackwell)    4:38
  4. I CRIED    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone)    4:59
  5. SHE SAID    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone/Charlie Jones/Doug Boyle/Chris Blackwell)    5:10
  6. NIRVANA    (Robert Plant/Charlie Jones/Doug Boyle)    4:36
  7. TIE DYE ON THE HIGHWAY    (Robert Plant/Chris Blackwell)    5:15
  8. YOUR MA SAID YOU CRIED IN YOUR SLEEP LAST NIGHT    (Schlaks/Glazer)    4:36
  9. ANNIVERSARY    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone)    5:02
  10. LIARS DANCE    (Robert Plant/Doug Boyle)    2:40
  11. WATCHING YOU    (Robert Plant/Phil Johnstone/Chris Blackwell)    4:19


ROBERT PLANT -- vocals
CHRIS BLACKWELL -- drums, some guitars
DOUG BOYLE -- master guitars
PHIL JOHNSTONE -- keyboards, some guitars
Laila Cohen -- girl vocals
Mickey Groome -- some male vocals (2)
Caroline Harding -- girl vocals
Siddi Makain Mushkin -- voices (11)
Rob Stride -- some male vocals (2)
Mark Stent -- engineer
Bill Price -- mixing
The Leisure Process -- design and art direction
Julia Stone -- electronic illustrations
Ralph Fitzgerald/Screaming Art -- cover photograph

UK March 1990 Es Paranza LP/CD/CS WX339X/C lyric sleeve
US March 1990 Es Paranza LP/CD/CS 91336 lyric sleeve
CAN/GER 1990 Es Paranza LP/CD/CS 79 1336 lyric sleeve


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