#981: I Got A Bad Feeling About This: Euphoria

Part Twenty-One of the Def Leppard Review Series

RECORD STORE TALES #981:  I Got A Bad Feeling About This: Euphoria

Without sounding like a broken record, the 90s were a rough time for rock and roll bands.  Those who suffered did what they had to do to survive.  When that didn’t work out, they’d revert to formula.  In the case of some high-profile groups, the moves were quite obvious attempts to recreate the past.  Take, for example, Bon Jovi.

1995’s These Days was a daring attempt to do something different, a little more laid back and organic.  The result was, with the benefit of hindsight, one of the band’s best records.  But it sold half as many copies as 1993’s Keep the Faith, which sold less than a third of what New Jersey sold, which sold just over half of what Slippery When Wet sold.  The law of diminishing returns.  So what did they do?  The wrote a song called “It’s My Life” which was just “Livin’ On A Prayer 2000” no matter what they admitted to.  Back was the talk box, Tommy, and Gina.  It was embarrassing.  The fans didn’t mind though, and they ate it up like crack-covered ice cream.

Hell, even Motley Crue got back with Bob Rock for a couple new throwback tunes.  They stepped back from the cliff of Generation Swine and scored some minor redemption before Tommy Lee fucked off.

In 1999, Def Leppard were faced with a similar situation.  Like Motley Crue, they leaned into the 1990s on Slang.  The difference was that Def Leppard made a coherent disc that felt natural, unlike the slop that Nikki Sixx fed us.  Instead of selling half of what the triple-platinum Adrenalize sold, Slang only mustered up gold in the US.  Alarm bells were ringing and something had to be done.  And like Bon Jovi at the same time, Leppard too attempted to recreate the past.

A certain Robert John “Mutt” Lange was summoned, and one of the resultant tracks called “Promises” sounds a dead ringer for “Photograph”.  And then, this artwork was released.

“After Pyromania and Hysteria comes…Euphoria.”

My buddy T-Rev was working at the Cambridge location of the Record Store.  He received the press release for Euphoria featuring that slogan in his morning shipment of CDs.  He laughed and gave me a ring to tell me.

Another “-ia” album.  For fucksakes…

I can’t recall my exact words, but I do remember my exact feeling:  “I got a bad feeling about this.”

It was as if the last decade didn’t happen.  Let’s forget the last couple records, no matter how good they may be.  And the cover art?  The dominant blue recalled the past hits, but the return of the classic logo was a clear message.  You’re going to get the Def Leppard you remember.  You’re going to get the Def Leppard album that should have followed Hysteria.  That’s the message here.

While the majority of fans were in love with the idea, I had reservations.  It seemed contrived.  Slang deserved better than to be buried like this.  In fact this move really does a disservice to the whole Slang era.  That album was a brave attempt to try some new hats on.  This looked like a timid step back into safe territory, afraid to do anything but.

Is that what happened?  Find out next time.

Previous:  

  1. The Early Years Disc One – On Through the Night 
  2. The Early Years Disc Two – High N’ Dry
  3. The Early Years Disc Three – When The Walls Came Tumbling Down: Live at the New Theater Oxford – 1980
  4. The Early Years Disc Four – Too Many Jitterbugs – EP, singles & unreleased
  5. The Early Years Disc 5 – Raw – Early BBC Recordings 
  6. The Early Years 79-81 (Summary)
  7. Pyromania
  8. Pyromania Live – L.A. Forum, 11 September 1983
  9. Hysteria
  10. Soundtrack From the Video Historia – Record Store Tales
  11. In The Round In Your Face DVD
  12. “Let’s Get Rocked” – The Wait for Adrenalize – Record Store Tales
  13. Adrenalize
  14. Live at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
  15. Retro-Active
  16. Visualize
  17. Vault
  18. Video Archive
  19. “Slang” (UK single)
  20. Slang

Next:  

22. Euphoria

 

 

31 comments

  1. ““It’s My Life” which was just “Livin’ On A Prayer 2000” no matter what they admitted to.” Very aptly put. As a sidenote, I would add that “It’s My Life” sounds more tired, dated and overplayed than the track, they tried to recreate. Funny how things work, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I tried liking this but that’s the problem with buying that second Lepp box is there is a bunch of stuff I don’t want lol except Slang and Retroactive….plus the price there asking is high

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Listening to X now.

    So John is fond of the following: Scar” and “Torn to Shred”, “Now”, “Long Long Way To Go” and “Four Letter Word”.

    I almost stopped listening during the 1st song Now. Then I started wondering if this would sound better on vinyl. Sounds like there are guitars but they are low in the mix. Then I started to wait for that line of good songs John is referring to starting from Long way to go..

    LeBrain, could u try listening to X without Now? Just skip the first song. It takes too much to recover after that. The couple of ones coming after that are okey but would be much better with a bit more punch. Four Letter Word has the most Lep touch.

    This one is a weird one. Feels like they did an album targeting top 40 pop list or something and then as an afterthought put a bit of Leppard touches here and there.

    Whole thing probably should have been put out under other name than Leppard.

    Hey, I like Girl like you, Scar, Four Letter Word, You’re so beautiful, Everyday

    What are your “favorites” or least loathed ones?

    Found this:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well we are jumping ahead by about 6 weeks so I don’t want to give anything away. John picked 2 good songs anyway.

      I will review the album with Now opening it. That’s the way they released it so that is how it’s going down!

      Like

  4. Nice writing Mike. Cliffhanger ending. Lol.

    I didn’t see that flyer however when I saw the title I was okay with a return to the Def Lep sound I grew up with.

    For “Its My Life”, it renewed Jovi and gave him a new generation of fans that weren’t the kids of his 80s fans.

    Like

  5. Yeah I think the album title ending in “ia” was a stupid idea too! I felt like the band was trying to hard to recapture their 80s sound. Songs like “21st Century Sha La La La Girl,” “All Night,” and “Back in Your Face” sound like they don’t belong in the 80s, but they don’t belong in the 90s either, if that makes sense! Also, ‘Keep the Faith’ is from 1992, not 1993.

    Like

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