Part Thirty-Three of the Def Leppard Review Series
There comes in a time in many, but not all, bands’ lives. Its a fan moment, not a band moment, but just as important. It’s the point in time when a fan starts losing interest. Every fan has their own reasons. I can chart the trajectory of my own Def Leppard love on a graph.
In grades 10 and 11, when Hysteria was at its peak, Def Leppard were my favourite band. I cut them some slack for the lack of anything truly new on Adrenalize, given what the band had endured to get there. Slang was the spiritual successor to Hysteria, returning to musical experimentation and dramatic change. But it didn’t catch on, so Leppard were forced to contrive a “return to roots” on Euphoria, which failed to resonate with me. The X debacle with all the boy-band pretensions was a right turnoff. Only on Sparkle Lounge did the trajectory start to return in the right direction.
But…it was not the same. A trust had been broken. The band that I had loved in highschool (when my previous favourite band, Kiss, made some dubious direction choices in the late 80s) had taken some serious detours over the years that left me unsure. As much as Kiss had let the quality slide themselves, I had a hard time forgiving Def Leppard over X. And I don’t think that feeling from the before-fore times ever really comes back.
The Taylor Swift thing was like a reminder. “Def Leppard are going to do things that you don’t like much.” Nothing against Taylor who has her own style of art. There is an entire demographic of fans that are not going to listen to a collaboration with Taylor Swift. Many of them are reading this now. Meanwhile, there are fans who have delighted to one degree or another in every twist and turn in the Def Leppard discography. And that’s fine too. There is no right or wrong. It’s only fair for you to know where the head of the reviewer is. This is your disclaimer.
Because of my love for this band, I’ll always give them a fair shot. I just won’t always care. And that’s the big difference. Def Leppard went from a band that I cared deeply about, to one that I was buying music from out of routine instead of passion. Similarly, with these reviews, they are being written out of diligence and not a place of deep commitment. It is becoming harder work, so beware!
Thanks to Holen for the inspiration
- The Early Years Disc One – On Through the Night
- The Early Years Disc Two – High N’ Dry
- The Early Years Disc Three – When The Walls Came Tumbling Down: Live at the New Theater Oxford – 1980
- The Early Years Disc Four – Too Many Jitterbugs – EP, singles & unreleased
- The Early Years Disc 5 – Raw – Early BBC Recordings
- The Early Years 79-81 (Summary)
- Pyromania Live – L.A. Forum, 11 September 1983
- Soundtrack From the Video Historia – Record Store Tales
- In The Round In Your Face DVD
- “Let’s Get Rocked” – The Wait for Adrenalize – Record Store Tales
- Live at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
- Vault: Def Leppard’s Greatest Hits / Limited Edition Live CD
- Video Archive
- “Slang” CD single
- I Got A Bad Feeling About This: Euphoria – Record Store Tales
- Rarities 2
- Rarities 3
- Rarities 4
- Cybernauts – Live
- Cybernauts – The Further Adventures of the Cybernauts (bonus disc)
- Best Of (UK)
- Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Collection
- Yeah! Bonus CD With Backstage Interviews
34. Songs From the Sparkle Lounge