Artist: Def Leppard
Title: “Songs From The Sparkle Lounge”
Label: Universal Music
Release Date: 4/29/2008
Genre: Hard Rock
It’s been a few years since Def Leppard last gave their fans a studio album and when you consider that it was as far back as 2002 when they gave us the ill-received “X”, you had to wonder and hope that the next effort would be something that was actually worth waiting for. I’ll be the first to admit that I had lost a lot of my love for the band that once gave us the powerhouse “Pyromania” and even its blockbuster follow up “Hysteria” after they delivered “Slang” and “Euphoria” because as opposed to a band who was maturing with their fans they seemed an act that was reaching old age quicker than the audience was. Lucky for all who ever plunked down their hard earned cash for a Def Leppard album the new release is something that we have all wanted to hear from the band in years. “Songs From The Sparkle Lounge” is a Hard Rock album that is loaded with hooks, tasty melodies and sing along choruses that will find you once again embracing the band if you were someone like me who had decided to stick with the old stuff. “Go” starts us off and this is a heavy number that crunches along with a slow and steady pace. It’s sound harkens back to the “Hysteria” days and I would find that much of the album held this sort of vibe which was ok with me since it was a juggernaut of song and sales for the group. Either way they manage to hook you with the opening track and that is always good. Next up comes the crossover hit with Country superstar Tim McGraw. At first I groaned at the idea but this tune is not some milquetoast Pop number but instead a definite radio friendly rocking hit.
Apparently the two artists jammed on “Pour Some Sugar On Me” at a DL concert back in 2006 and have been friends since. This tune will be a fast favorite of anyone who listens to it and should go over good live. “C’mon C’mon” was one of my favorites since I pretty much just liked how the chorus grooved along on top of the songs overall rhythm. They really gave you a good lead in to the album and I liked how it didn’t start out strong and then become something you dread. Instead it kept right on going. They do slow down on song four which is their only ballad on the release. “Love” is a good ballad but it is not done in the conventional manner and instead has moments of Queen and The Beatles to it and can get a little heavier than most songs of its type. By the time the band hit me with “Tomorrow”, I was realizing that there wasn’t going to be a dull moment on the whole album by the sound of it. The song has “this is my new favorite Def Leppard song” written all over it as it has the pumping drive of their old classics and a great uplifting chorus.
Clearly the band wanted to change the way that they had been doing things and perhaps their mega-selling compilation package “Rock Of Ages” and their covers album “Yeah” helped firm up their resolve in needing to rock hard once again. The band is more in tune with parts of “Pyromania” and mainly with “Hysteria” on this one as was noted before but the album can easily be listened to in sequence after their first four and manage to fit right into place as the listener does their best to forget the sappy all too commercial fare of the recordings that immediately preceded it. It’s a fun album and it keeps on moving from beginning to end and I found myself turning it up a little louder each time a track went by. This is good Hard Rock that makes you grab your air guitar or air drums over and over. For the most part this album sounds like it would be good in concert without any one particular song being considered the lamest of the bunch. Joe Elliott’s voice sounds better than ever while guitarists Collen and Campbell exchange blistering leads again and again and show how well they do this together. Drummer Rick Allen is quite impressive on this one and delivers some truly worthy drumming on a number of occasions. Given that twenty four years have passed since the accident that left him with one arm he has become a veritable master of the electronic kit under his command and as a musician he continues to inspire over adversity.
While this is a clear winner for the bands musical catalog and should be picked up by anyone who ever held an interest in them I have to say that it had given me continued hope that other bands might do the same. We recently saw Whitesnake return with an incredible release while Prog Rock legends Asia managed to show that they still had the fires burning as well. How long it takes before some of the other legendary bands to do the same is anyone’s guess. It would be nice to find them moving on from delivering the schmaltz that they have for the past few years and instead realize that this is the kind of sound that made them so special to us in the first place and that they should choose to give it the old college try once again. I’ll keep those names mum because almost any true Rock fan knows exactly which bands I am talking about. Either way, I am again proud to say how much I enjoy this band. Thanks guys and good job once more.
2. Nine Lives
3. C’mon C’mon
6. Cruise Control
8. Only The Good Die Young
9. Bad Actress
10. Come Undone
11. Gotta Let It Go
Official Website: www.defleppard.com