REVIEW: Def Leppard – X (Japanese import!)

This review is because of Rob Vuckovich, whom I like to describe as “one of the Jedi Masters who instructed me”.  Vuckovich complained that I rate everything so high.  That’s because, in general, I tend to write about things I like.  However just for Rob, I dug up an album that I hate.  Here you go.

DEF LEPPARD – X (Japanese import, 2002)

This was the lowest point for Def Lep. Writing with Max “Backstreet Boys” Martin? Screw that, man. The only sounds on this album that wasn’t filtered through a computer was the sound of Steve Clark rolling in his grave.

I mean, damn. Listen to “Unbelievable”. See what I mean?  That’s pop radio crapola written by not one, not two, but three pop uber-writers.

“Now” isn’t bad; it has some guitar on it, but what’s with the programmed opening? What’s with these drum machines? Why such a slow tempo and wimpy chorus? The best song is called “Torn to Shreds”, but even that’s a power ballad.

“Long Long Way To Go” has some nice acoustic work (and there’s a superior acoustic version on the Japanese import), but it’s otherwise one of the wimpiest songs in this band’s tarnished history.  Know why?  It too was written entirely by outside writers.

The Japanese import also has another bonus track, “Kiss the Day”, another slow and wimpy pseudo-rocker.  While not a bonus track per se, the official website used to offer a song called “Perfect Girl”, which is a better demo of “Gravity”.

Buy On Through The Night, not X.

1/5 stars.

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13 comments

  1. The thing that bugged me about it is that even the few rockers on here still sounded sad and a bit… ballady! It’s all a bit bloodless. The only thing I approved of was them at least trying something a bit different after the patchy, retro Euphoria. Even if it didn’t work.

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  2. I dislike Euphoria as well. I consider this album just to be a contiunation of that direction. It seemed to me like they just went a little more pop. I should post a really well thought out review of Slang; that was an album I think deserves some attention.

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  3. You really think anything Mutt Lange did with them was any better? Sorry, I’m not a big fan of that ‘sound.’ Listen to Shania Twain – sounds the same! See? Ugh. At least they tried a different producer with this one. And it still sucked. Sigh.

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    1. The funny thing that most people don’t seem to know: Leppard haven’t worked with Mutt since 1987. But yes, most of his stuff sounds the same — play his Bryan Adams albums. The difference is that Leppard was where he pioneered most of that sound.

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      1. So I guess I stopped paying attention to them in public school? Wow.

        Yes! Bryan Adams was another one!

        I am not a fan of the Big Name Producer homogenizing everybody’s sound. Daniel Lanois makes everybody sound like Dniel Lanois (who really just wants to be U2). Even Rick Rubin is guilty, no matter what he says. If I was in a band, I’d pick some young, hungry person, an unknown. And it’d be a different one for every album. Getting a Big Name Producer for your record is like giving up. It’s garbage. It’s letting them make you sound like them.

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    2. Funny story: we were listening to a “classic” country music station the other day at work and Shania came on. It was her song “Honey, I’m Home”, which starts out with a percussion line that sounds EXACTLY like Def Leppard to me. I noted this to a co-worker while also including the tidbit that Mutt Lange was her husband for a bit. I suppose we can be grateful that AC/DC worked with both Mutt and Rick Rubin and came out the other side sounding more or less the same (though I definitely think the accentuation of the backing vocals on Highway To Hell really completed their sound, however little it was actually missing).

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      1. Whatever Mutt and AC/DC did in the studio together, it really worked. I think Mutt brought that same sound to Def Leppard on High N’ Dry though they quickly changed directions after that!

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    3. Also, forgot to mention: my sarcasm about the classic label was more directed at the fact that they were playing Shania Twain (who is the furthest thing from traditional country music and very much a photo-Taylor Swift) than the genre in and of itself. Authentic country music is wonderful and it’s too bad that it’s so hard to find on the radio and in the mainstream these days.

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  4. I just realized I’ve probably invited some comments about that, so I better explain – I like some of their songs. I liked Pyromania the first time around, when we were kids. But Pour Some Sugar On Me? Ha, not really. There’s something too crisp to the sound he got from them. I guess it just hits my ears wrong, regardless of whether the songs are any good or not.

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    1. It is all a matter of taste. I for one don’t normally enjoy the Hysteria kind of production, but I do love that album. I mean, they recorded that whole album note by note. Literally note by note. I’ve since grown to admire the meticulous (if cold) perfection of its sound. Having said that, their best album and heaviest is High N’ Dry – also produced by Mutt. But it’s more AC/DC than Billy Ocean! (also produced by Mutt)

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  5. When Steve Clark passed ,so did the riffs …..
    Saw the Adranalize tour twice in 92 (Winnipeg &Duluth) thought adding Campbell was a good move but you could tell by the solos that Collen was the shredder and Campbell thought out his solo.
    I thought Slang was a very good record and after ??? Dunno,mind u the Sparkle Lounge I thought was a better record than a few others post Slangexcept for the McGraw cowboy track……

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