Even before I was born, Def Leppard were beginning to grow accustomed to taking years between albums. “Hysteria” was released a few months after I was born, and so then was my love for them.
Quite literally, my first memories were listening to Def Leppard, Journey, and Scorpions in the car with my mom. Nothing has changed.
After experimenting a little and slightly modernizing their sound with “Slang” in 1996, the boys returned in 1999 with “Euphoria”, which was a modern (at the time) take on their classic sound. By that, and any Def Leppard fan should know, I’m talking about the Pyromania-Hysteria-Adrenalize era. They took another different turn in 2002 with “X”, which allowed other songwriters in and the album really wasn’t anything different than what you’d expect from Goo Goo Dolls, except that it was just done by Def Leppard. I like that album too, but we can all agree that it left fans wanting more.
Aside from their all covers album “Yeah!” in 2006; It wasn’t until 2008 when we got the proper follow-up, “Songs From the Sparkle Lounge”. There were some really strong songs, and some average, and a couple whatevers… But it atleast sounded more like a Def Leppard album.
That leads to now, in 2015. Their 2nd self-titled affair (they released the Def Leppard EP in 1979) and they chose the title of “Def Leppard” for a reason. This was their representation of what the band is, was, and will continue to be.
They’ve been known to rip themselves off before, and they did a bit on here. The most noticeable one is the first single and first track on the album, “Let Go” (come on guys, you’ve had 3 album openers with Let it Go, Go, and now Let Go). If you don’t hear a modified “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, I don’t know what you’re listening to. I’m not knocking it. I actually like this riff a lot more. The song as a whole is fairly good but of course it’s a little cheese too.
Throughout the album there are some new flavors and little twists but generally speaking, this is what any longtime DefLep fan would want (I know, I know. I’m not talking about the first 2 albums for a reason. Trust me, High n Dry is my 2nd most favorite album of ALL time. We have to let go that they’ll never go that route ever again.)
This is the album that probably should’ve came out in 2002 instead of “X” because it’s directly in line with “Euphoria”. AND it’s not heavy on the ballads, which the boys have been known to do. It’s their typical blend of melodic, pop rock with an edge, then you throw in a little funky R&B, a touch of electronics, some southern twang, and even gospel.
I don’t dislike any song, but I certainly have some favorites. I like “Dangerous”, “Invincible”, “Energized”, “All Time High”, “Battle of my Own”, and “Man Enough”. With “All Time High”, it’s one of their more up-tempo songs in their discography. I’d compare it to “Run Riot” and “Demolition Man”. “Battle of my Own” realistically could’ve fit on “Slang”. This is where that Twang comes in. It’s VERY Led Zeppelin influenced. “Dangerous” is straight up just a classic Def Leppard song. Guaranteed to be in their setlist from now on. “Invincible” is just catchy period. A very nice steady calming groove. “Energized” could’ve been on “X”, but don’t take that negatively. It’s on the pop side of things but it’s done very well. “Man Enough” has some “Adrenalize” and “Euphoria” influence but here’s the thing; Any Michael Jackson fan could jam to this song. This is where that funky R&B comes in and I don’t see why it wouldn’t make it on to the radio cause it grazes upon many different fanbases.
So while I hope they don’t take another 5-8 years to release another album, if for whatever reason this happened to be their finale… Then they went out the best way possible for them. It’s not like they have anything to prove and realistically Def Leppard doen’t even need to make new music. They do cause they love it. I love that they continue to.
Verdict? It’s a winner.