slang

#749: Do You Wanna Get Rocked? (Def Leppard Box Set Volume Two announcement)

GETTING MORE TALE #749: Do You Wanna Get Rocked?
Def Leppard Box Set Volume Two announcement

In October of 2017 I was contacted by a gentleman who is involved with box set releases.  A long time reader, he said!  Flattery will get you everywhere with me.  He was working on an interesting box set project, and he asked for a favour.

Normally I say “no” to any request to share music from my personal collection.  This, however, was different.  For historical interest, he asked me if he could have the 11 official live songs that Def Leppard released in 2000 and 2001.  These were offered for free from the official Def Leppard website at that time.  Rare stuff like “Demolition Man” and “Paper Sun”.   They disappeared online shortly after.  None of these versions have been released anywhere else…until now.

Coming June 21 2019 is the Def Leppard box set called Volume Two.  Included in the set are seven of these tracks, from my own personal collection!  The band themselves didn’t have them anymore, but fortunately I did.  They selected the ones they wanted on the upcoming box set.

I’m told I’ll be thanked in the credits.  This is an absolute thrill for me — the biggest release I’ve ever been thanked in.  (See Brent Doerner for the other “thank you”.)

Since then I’ve chatted on and off with the gentleman about all sorts of upcoming releases, and wishful thinking.  I’m pleased to report that there are some people out there involved with these box sets who still have the passion for the music.  He too has the fire!  For that reason I had to send him the songs.  Now almost two years later they’ll be released officially again, this time permanently.  I’m proud to be a part of that.  Like he said, it’s historical.  Hystoria!

The songs of mine that are included are:

  • “Bringing On the Heartbreak”, “Switch 625” & “Miss You In a Heartbeat” from Montreal
  • “Demolition Man” from Denver
  • “When Love & Hate Collide”, “Paper Sun” and “Goodbye” from Tokyo

 

See below for the full track list from this incredible box set.  Pre-order yours today.

CD ONE – ADRENALIZE

Let’s Get Rocked
Heaven Is
Make Love Like A Man
Tonight
White Lightning
Stand Up (Kick Love into Motion)
Personal Property
Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad?
I Wanna Touch U
Tear It Down

CD TWO – RETRO ACTIVE

Desert Song
Fractured Love
Action
Two Steps Behind (Acoustic Version)
She’s Too Tough
Miss You in A Heartbeat
Only After Dark
Ride into The Sun
From the Inside
Ring of Fire
I Wanna Be Your Hero
Miss You in A Heartbeat (Electric Version)
Two Steps Behind (Electric Version)

CD THREE – SLANG

Truth?
Turn to Dust
Slang
All I Want Is Everything
Work It Out
Breathe A Sigh
Deliver Me
Gift of Flesh
Blood Runs Cold
Where Does Love Go When It Dies
Pearl of Euphoria

CD FOUR – EUPHORIA

Demolition Man
Promises
Back in Your Face
Goodbye
All Night
Paper Sun
It’s Only Love
21st Century Sha La La La Girl
To Be Alive
Disintegrate
Guilty
Day After Day
Kings of Oblivion

CD FIVE – RARITIES VOL 2

Tonight (Demo Version 2)
When Love and Hate Collide (Original Demo)
From the Inside – B-Side
Two Steps Behind (Acoustic) – B-Side
She’s Too Tough (Joe’s Demo) – B-Side
Miss You in A Heartbeat (Phil’s Demo) -B-Side
Tonight (Acoustic – Sun Studios Version) – B-Side
S.M.C. – B-Side
Hysteria (In the Club in Your Face – Bonn)
Photograph (In the Club in Your Face – Bonn)
Pour Some Sugar on Me (In the Club in Your Face – Bonn)
Let’s Get Rocked (In the Club in Your Face – Bonn)

CD SIX – RARITIES VOL 3

Armageddon It (Live in Singapore)
Two Steps Behind (Live in Singapore)
From the Inside (Live in Singapore)
Animal (Live in Singapore)
When Love and Hate Collide (Live in Singapore)
Pour Some Sugar on Me (Live in Singapore)
When Love and Hate Collide – B-Side
Can’t Keep Away from The Flame – B-Side
Truth – Original Version
Move with Me Slowly – B-Side
Work It Out (Original Demo Version) – B-Side

CD SEVEN – RARITIES VOL 4

Bringin’ On the Heartbreak (Live in Montreal)
Switch 625 (Live in Montreal)
Miss You in A Heartbeat (Live in Montreal)
Work It Out (Live in Montreal)
Deliver Me (Live in Montreal)
When Saturday Comes – B-Side
Jimmy’s Theme – B-Side
Burnout – B-Side
Immortal – B-Side
World Collide – B-Side
I Am Your Child – bonus track
Demolition Man – Denver
When Love and Hate Collide – Tokyo
Paper Sun – Tokyo
Goodbye – Tokyo

 

Sunday Chuckle: Netflix & Chill

“Out of touch, out of reach yeah.” — Joe Elliott

I miss the days of things meaning what they’re supposed to mean.  I work with a bunch of people in their 20s and 30s.  These people do not speak English the way I do.  Two examples:

Them:  “So Mike what are you doing tonight?  Netflix & chill?”

Me:  “Yeah, probably, I have a lot of shows to catch up on.”

Them:  “HAHAHAH!  You think Netflix & chill means watching Netflix!”

Apparently I have been informed that “Neflix & chill” means “having sex”.

Here’s another.

Me:  “Boy am I ever thirsty.”

Them:  “HAHAHAH!  That means you’re horny!”

All I wanted was a Pepsi dammit!

 

REVIEW: Def Leppard – Slang (Deluxe Edition 2014)

NEW RELEASE

DEF LEPPARD – Slang (Deluxe Edition, 2014 Bludgeon Riffola)

This is the second time I’ve reviewed a version of Def Leppard’s ill-fated Slang CD.  As Joe Elliot says in the booklet inside, the band were considering calling it Commercial Suicide, such were the changes in sound.  The mid 90’s was not a kind time for rock bands of Def Leppard’s ilk.  Everybody had to adjust, and Leppard chose to do so by making their sound darker and more organic.  That was fine with me.  I’ve already reviewed Slang; a 4/5 star album in my books.  For your convenience I’ll talk about the original Slang album at the end of this review.  For now I just want to talk about the “Deluxe Edition” and the bonus tracks.

Like many Def Leppard albums before it, Slang produced a number of excellent B-sides. Some are on this CD.  Some are only available on the iTunes version.  I have all the singles anyway, but iTunes also have two exclusive unreleased tracks of their own.  (You can buy these songs separately; you don’t have to buy all of Slang again to get them.)   These two songs are early demos of “All I Want Is Everything” and “Move With Me Slowly,” the latter with Phil singing.   While “Move With Me Slowly” is similar to its incarnation on CD 1, “All I Want Is Everything” is drastically different.  It’s a much more standard “power ballad” at this stage, little resembling the song it would become.  This take is not to be confused with the “first draft” of “All I Want Is Everything” on CD 2, which sounds a lot more like the album counterpart.

That’s one issue with the Deluxe Edition of Slang.  There is a lot of repeat.  Songs you will hear three times in one version or another include “All I Want Is Everything”, “Gift Of Flesh” (previously known as “Black Train”) and “Deliver Me” (previously known as “Anger”).  Especially when you include all the different bonus tracks, the Deluxe can be a hard slog to listen to in entirety.  I had to split it up over two nights.

But it is worth it.  Although some demos barely differ from the album counterparts, some have different lead vocals by Phil or Vivian.  There are some unreleased songs that I have never heard before.  “All On Your Touch” is a nice ballad that was only finished in 2012.  Then there’s Vivian’s funky-Zeppelin song “Move On Up” which is quite adventurous.  Some of the demo versions, such as “Raise Your Love” (an early version of “Slang”) differ quite a bit from the album versions.  Although listening to the Slang Deluxe is a long journey, it’s also a very interesting one in terms of hearing how Def Leppard wrote and recorded it.

SLANG DELUXE_0004Almost all the B-sides for Slang were included on one version or another, except for live B-sides.  Songs included are the old-school sounding “When Saturday Comes,” and the instrumental “Jimmy’s Theme” which are only on the iTunes version.  (See below for complete track listing including all iTunes bonus tracks.)  “Move With Me Slowly” is a bluesy, ballady number that could have been a single in its own right.  Ditto “Can’t Keep Away From the Flame” which could have been an acoustic single.  “Burn Out” and “Worlds Collide” are also B-sides, but these two were not released until 1999 on the singles for “Goodbye”.  Both are heavy, heavy rockers.

Let’s talk about the packaging.  I’ve heard a lot of surprise and complaints when this CD arrived inside a big fat “double” CD case.  That is kind of a surprise; you don’t even see these with 3 CD sets anymore let alone a double.  The booklet inside is nothing to write home about.  There are some words from Joe and lots of live photos, but nothing in the way of specific liner notes.  If you’re wondering where these songs were recorded or released before, info inside is vague.  There are track listings for all the Slang singles, but that only covers part of it.

As our friend the Heavy Metal OverloRd says, this probably doesn’t deserve the title “Deluxe Edition”.  In fact, I asked HMO if he’d like to weigh in on this, since he has some strong opinions about it.  For fun I asked him to comment in Scottish slang:

Def Leppard ur a bunch a fannybaws by the way. They hink the new edition of Slang is a “deluxe edition”. But it isnae. This widnae even huv been deluxe in 1995, never mind noo.

When it turned up I wis pure gutted. I thought the booklet had better be snazzy but it wisnae either. Just a wee hing where Joe tried tae mind stuff fae back in the day. Nae liner notes. Nae lyrics. Nuhin. Just some shite photies. My old copy had two discs, a slimmer case and lyrics. And some photies an aw! Gid wans. One of them oan a bus like they were aw goin doon the toon or somethin. How wis that no deluxe but this is deluxe? If they’d called it a “2CD Edition” that wid huv been awrite but they didnae. This is “deluxe”… cept it isnae. I don’t have a Scooby whit they’re playin at. Eejits.

Well said.  Lastly, I want to leave you with a look at the actual original album, Slang.  Here’s all the pertinent text from my previous review in case you’re too lazy to click the link.  It’s a great album and I’m glad it’s getting a second look today.

SLANG FRONTDEF LEPPARD – Slang (1996)

“Truth?” is a thunderous opener, laden with modern sounding samples and rhythms.  Even better is the hypnotic “Turn to Dust”.  Although it moves slow, it has loads of exotic atmosphere and instrumentation.  Neither of these songs sound like old Def Leppard.  There are major changes, including acoustic drums, darker tones and a noticeable lack of shout-along gang vocals.

It’s still the same spirit though.  There’s an obsessive attention to detail, layers of backing vocals, and tasty choruses.  It’s just 1996’s version of those things.  Listen to the title track, “Slang”, for example.  It doesn’t sound like anything Leppard have done before, but you can see it as “Sugar” a decade later if you like.

“All I Want Is Everything” is another personal favourite, a great ballad but again unlike what Def Leppard has done before.  It has a certain power to it, without being loud and obnoxious.  It has a plaintive quality and a fantastic chorus.

WORK IT OUT 1Next is “Work It Out” , a contribution from “new kid” Vivian Campbell.  It is absolutely loaded with cool guitar squeeks and squonks, no wankery, but a new kind of guitar heroism.  These little adornments are there in the mix waiting to be discovered, under suitably thick drones of rhythm guitars.  I love this song, which really proved to me that Leppard had successfully adapted their sound to the mid-90’s.  A shame it didn’t sell.

Phil’s “Breathe A Sigh” is one that threw a lot of people for a loop.  Either Spin or Rolling Stone (I forget which) compared it to TLC.  Indeed, loops make up a large part of the percussion parts, and the band seem to be trying R&B on for size.  What keeps it Def Leppard are the layers of droney guitars in the back of the mix, and the immaculate vocal choirs.

BREATHE 1 FRONTInterestingly, Slang was stacked with four singles in a row, “Breathe A Sigh” being the final single.  This does not mean the album is out of ammunition.  “Deliver Me” brings back the heavy.  Leppard In Chains?  Def Temple Pilots?  Not one of the best songs, “Deliver Me” at least balances some of the softer material.  Better is “Gift of Flesh”, a driving riff rocker with some slammin’ drums from Rick Allen.  Phil wrote this one.  I bet it would have been smokin’ live if they ever played it.

This fades directly into a lush but quiet ballad called “Blood Runs Cold”.  I could imagine some old-timey fans running away in fear that their nuts would shrivel, at the sound of this one.   I love this song, but I’m not sure it needed to be followed by yet another ballad, “Where Does Love Go When It Dies”.  Although not a single, “Where Does Love Go When It Dies” was recently dusted off by the band as part of their recent acoustic medley.  It is more upbeat than the previous song, and has a folky campfire quality.  It also gives the album a sense of flow: an upturn before the dramatic closer.

“Pearl of Euphoria” is that dramatic closer, which returns the listener to the dark, powerful tones that we began with.  Leppard don’t often reflect a strong Led Zeppelin influence, but you can definitely hear some “Kashmir” here.  Not only is Rick Allen laying down a Bonham-esque groove, but some of the guitar bits flying in and out of the speakers remind me of the sound collage section in “Whole Lotta Love”.  It’s a great closing song.

4/5 stars

iTunes bonus tracks:

1. “Truth?” (Demo Version) – Previously on “Work It Out” CD single.
2. “Work It Out” (Demo Version) – B-Side from “Work It Out” with Viv singing and completely different from the other versions on the Deluxe. Viv referred to it as his “Crowded House” version.
3. “All I Want is Everything” (Demo Version) – Exclusive.
4. “Move With Me Slowly” (1st Draft) – Exclusive.
5. “When Saturday Comes” From the film When Saturday Comes and “All I Want Is Everything” single.
6. “Jimmy’s Theme” From the film When Saturday Comes and “All I Want Is Everything” single.
7. “Cause We Ended as Lovers” (Solo track by Phil)  From the Jeff Beck tribute album Jeffology: A Guitar Chronicle and “All I Want Is Everything” single.
8. “Led Boots” (Solo track by Viv)  From the Jeff Beck tribute album Jeffology: A Guitar Chronicle and “All I Want Is Everything” single.

REVIEW: Def Leppard – “Breathe A Sigh” (2 part CD single)

Part 5 of 5 in my series of Def Leppard Slang reviews! I do listen to feedback and this series basically came from Heavy Metal Overload wanting to know more details about what these singles had.  Ultimately I choose to write about what I want to listen to at that moment, but if you have any requests don’t be shy and leave a comment! 

Part 1:  “Slang”

Part 2:  “Work It Out”

Part 3:  “All I Want Is Everything”

Part 4:  Slang (2 CD edition of the album)

DEF LEPPARD – “Breathe A Sigh” (2 part Mercury CD single)

Regardless of its perceived lack of success, Slang did spawn four singles.  The fourth and final single was 1996’s “Breathe A Sigh”.  I remember seeing this at HMV Toronto with T-Rev back in 1997.  I looked at the singles, which were not cheap (around $15 each).  I analyzed the track lists and said, “All the bonus tracks are live.  I’ll come back for this another time.”

It took me 15 years to finally get these!  What I failed to take into account was how cool the selection of live tracks is.  Pyromania‘s “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)” is up first on disc 1, less screechy than the beloved original but still on fire.  “Deliver Me” from the Slang album is next, which remains its only release as a live performance.  It’s a very 90’s sounding song, soft/heavy/soft/heavy.  The tremendously fun “Slang” itself is last, a song that has been revived for their Viva! Hysteria & More show in Las Vegas.

The second CD (available separately of course) had three more live tracks.  I believe I am well on record as holding the High N’ Dry album in very high esteem!  “Another Hit & Run” from that album is one of Leppard’s all time best heavy tracks, and it’s always welcome in the setlist as far as I’m concerned.  What’s amazing is that the Def Leppard that recorded High N’ Dry had two completely different guitar players and a drummer that had both arms.  They still own it when they play it, and it smokes.  Joe’s voice is noticeably lower.  Two Slang singles finish off the CD:  the ballad “All I Want Is Everything” and the rhythmic “Work It Out”.   Both songs are hit quality, although the energy level is noticeably lower here than the old classics.

I wonder if one of the big issues with Slang was that its darker sound didn’t translate well in concert.  With the exception of “Slang” itself, I wouldn’t describe these live versions as joyful affairs.

As for the song, “Breath A Sigh” itself?  At this point it was easily the softest song that Def Leppard had ever done.  They would later go even softer on the dreadful X album.  I enjoy its tasty R&B flavourings.  It was a cool choice as a single even if it didn’t go mega.

4/5 stars

REVIEW: Def Leppard – Slang (2 CD edition)

Part 4 in my series of Def Leppard Slang reviews!  

Part 1:  “Slang”

Part 2:  “Work It Out”

Part 3:  “All I Want Is Everything”

SLANG FRONT

DEF LEPPARD – Slang (1996 Mercury 2 CD edition)

One day in the early 2000’s, I was at work, and had this album playing.   This guy was in the store, that actually worked at the HMV.  As soon as “Truth?” came on, he approached me.

“I can’t believe you’re playing this album.  This is great.  I don’t know anybody else who really knows this album at all.”

That’s the way Slang went for Def Leppard.  It came out to disappointment from the types who want to hear the same album over and over again.  (They were obliged on Euphoria).  I really dug Slang, then and now.  If anything, today I think it might be  a tad ballad-heavy.  I still love it, and I am excited that Def Leppard plan on releasing a deluxe edition with bonus tracks soon.  In the meantime, I have my original limited edition 2 CD set that came with a bonus disc called Acoustic in Singapore.

“Truth?” is a thunderous opener, laden with modern sounding samples and rhythms.  Even better is the hypnotic “Turn to Dust”.  Although it moves slow, it has loads of exotic atmosphere and instrumentation.  Neither of these songs sound like old Def Leppard.  There are major changes, including acoustic drums, darker tones and a noticeable lack of shout-along gang vocals.

It’s still the same spirit though.  There’s an obsessive attention to detail, layers of backing vocals, and tasty choruses.  It’s just 1996’s version of those things.  Listen to the title track, “Slang”, for example.  It doesn’t sound like anything Leppard have done before, but you can see it as “Sugar” a decade later if you like.

“All I Want Is Everything” is another personal favourite, a great ballad but again unlike what Def Leppard has done before.  It has a certain power to it, without being loud and obnoxious.  It has a plaintive quality and a fantastic chorus.

Next is “Work It Out” , a contribution from “new kid” Vivian Campbell.  It is absolutely loaded with cool guitar squeeks and squonks, no wankery, but a new kind of guitar heroism.  These little adornments are there in the mix waiting to be discovered, under suitably thick drones of rhythm guitars.  I love this song, which really proved to me that Leppard had successfully adapted their sound to the mid-90’s.  A shame it didn’t sell.

Phil’s “Breathe A Sigh” is one that threw a lot of people for a loop.  Either Spin or Rolling Stone (I forget which) compared it to TLC.  Indeed, loops make up a large part of the percussion parts, and the band seem to be trying R&B on for size.  What keeps it Def Leppard are the layers of droney guitars in the back of the mix, and the immaculate vocal choirs.

Interestingly, Slang was stacked with four singles in a row, “Breathe A Sigh” being the final single.  This does not mean the album is out of ammunition.  “Deliver Me” brings back the heavy.  Leppard In Chains?  Def Temple Pilots?  Not one of the best songs, “Deliver Me” at least balances some of the softer material.  Better is “Gift of Flesh”, a driving riff rocker with some slammin’ drums from Rick Allen.  Phil wrote this one.  I bet it would have been smokin’ live if they ever played it.

This fades directly into a lush but quiet ballad called “Blood Runs Cold”.  I could imagine some old-timey fans running away in fear that their nuts would shrivel, at the sound of this one.   I love this song, but I’m not sure it needed to be followed by yet another ballad, “Where Does Love Go When It Dies”.  Although not a single, “Where Does Love Go When It Dies” was recently dusted off by the band as part of their recent acoustic medley.  It is more upbeat than the previous song, and has a folky campfire quality.  It also gives the album a sense of flow: an upturn before the dramatic closer.

“Pearl of Euphoria” is that dramatic closer, which returns the listener to the dark, powerful tones that we began with.  Leppard don’t often reflect a strong Led Zeppelin influence, but you can definitely hear some “Kashmir” here.  Not only is Rick Allen laying down a Bonham-esque groove, but some of the guitar bits flying in and out of the speakers remind me of the sound collage section in “Whole Lotta Love”.  It’s a great closing song.

The Acoustic in Singapore disc was a limited edition run, but since the album didn’t sell well you can find them quite easily.  This six song disc was recorded in late ’95.  Both discs were co-produced by Pete Woodroffe.  Some songs work really well acoustically.  “Armageddon It” works surprisingly well, a fresh summery version.  Some were acoustic originally, like “Two Steps Behind”.  It’s cool to have but certainly not essential to your enjoyment of Slang.

As for my enjoyment of Slang?

4/5 stars!

REVIEW: Def Leppard – “All I Want Is Everything” (2 part CD single)

Part 3 in my series of Def Leppard Slang reviews!  

Part 1:  “Slang”

Part 2:  “Work It Out”

DEF LEPPARD – “All I Want Is Everything” (1996 two part Mercury CD single)

“All I Want Is Everything” was the first song from Slang that we got to hear.  Def Leppard first revealed a live unplugged snippet on their Video Archive VHS.  I was still surprised when I heard the whole studio version: It is a lot darker than I expected.  I love it, don’t get me wrong.  I love its sparse, organic sound.  I think the chorus and verses are fantastic, but even better is the bridge.

A lot of my customers were turned off my Slang and songs like “All I Want Is Everything”.  While I could argue that this song is every bit as good as “Hysteria” or “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)”, it is obviously a lot darker.  But it was also 1996.  In 1996, bands like Def Leppard moved with the times.  Bon Jovi made similar adjustments.   This is no singalong hit, but it is quality songwriting and production.

Next up on disc 1 of this single is “When Saturday Comes” performed by Joe, Phil and Sav.  This is apparently for a movie also called When Saturday Comes.  This song would be more satisfying to those wishing for an older school vibe; indeed it is a dead ringer for Van Hagar.  It is anthemic with some shredding from Phil.  It wouldn’t make my own personal Def Leppard mix tape, but I thank them anyway for including the song so I wouldn’t have to hunt down an obscure soundtrack.  “Jimmy’s Theme” performed by the same trio is an instrumental from the same soundtrack.  Out of context from a film I’ve never seen, it doesn’t do much for me.  It’s a nice slow blues with Phil playing some elegant melodies.  But it’s just “nice”, I don’t regularly come back to this one.  The CD ends with an edit version of “All I Want Is Everything” (whoop de do).

Disc 2, for whatever reason, also includes the same two versions of “All I Want Is Everything”.  Why not just put the album version on disc 1, and the edit version on disc 2?  Small gripe I guess but it got tedious when I had both discs in the changer and was too lazy to skip.

Also on disc 2 are a couple tracks from the Jeffology tribute record.  Phil Collen does “‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers”.   Personally I don’t think anybody can touch Jeff Beck on this one.  In fact Beck is so awesome on this, especially live, that I don’t really see the point of listening to a cover version.  Sorry Phil, that is nothing against your playing, which is really really great, especially when you start cookin’ around the 4 minute mark.  I just think nobody’s even in Beck’s league on this one, and I think that’s a fair assessment.

Vivian Campbell does “Led Boots” from Wired.  I love the original “Led Boots”.  It’s just funky, chunky and fucked up.  I think Vivian’s style is more suited to Beck than Phil’s is.  This is an enjoyable listen, Vivian gets to shred a bit.  It’s definitely less fucked up sounding than the original, but Vivian is just a pleasure to listen to, he is clearly enjoying himself.

The “Work It Out” single previous to this contained post cards of the first four Def Leppard albums.  CD 2 of “All I Want Is Everything” has the final four:  Adrenalize, Retro-Active, Vault, and Slang.

3/5 stars

REVIEW: Def Leppard “Work It Out” (2 part CD single)

Part 2 in my series of Def Leppard Slang reviews!  If you missed the first part, click here for “Slang”.

DEF LEPPARD – “Work It Out” (1996 2 part CD single, Mercury Records)

The second single from Def Leppard’s ill-fated but cult-favourite album, Slang, was the modern, powerful “Work It Out”.  This immediate winner had drony 90’s qualities and organic, acoustic drums in addition to Rick’s electronics.  It sounded like a breath of fresh air for this band, a clever reinvention that kept them fresh, melodic, guitar-oriented and layered, without resorting to stigmatized 80’s sounds such as squealing solos and shout-along choruses.

The cool thing is that the song was originally very different!  This was Vivian’s first serious contribution to the band, and he brought it in completely demo’ed with him singing.  It’s a much brighter, poppier version, some have compared it to Crowded House!  It’s very 90’s pop-rock.  That version is included on the CD 2 of this set!

“Move With Me Slowly” is a non-album track, maybe you’d call it a ballad, I dunno.  It’s soulful, and there’s some really elegant guitar work going on here.  I don’t know what’s Viv and what’s Phil, but all the playing here is soulful, bluesy and perfect.  It’s songs like this — a B-side! — that prove what awesome songs this band can write.  If this song had come out in, say 1990 instead of 1996, it would have been hallowed Def Leppard, another hit for the record books.  According to the liner notes, this would have been the Japanese bonus track on their edition of Slang.

“Two Steps Behind” is the typical acoustic arrangement, live at the BBC Radio One Studios, in 1995 while the band were out promoting Vault. “Truth?” is a very different version from the album.  Initially it starts the same, but goes into a completely different, much heavier set of verses.  It’s bass heavy, less exotic, and more thunderous than the album version.  All told, the album version is superior, but it’s basically a different (but related) song.  It has some riffs and melodies in common but otherwise it may as well have a different name.  This is a good example of how Def Leppard’s work ethic can turn a good song into a great one.  This early version was not quite there.

The second CD came with a really cool set of post cards, of the first four album covers.  The next four covers came with the next single, which was “All I Want Is Everything”.  Coincidentally, that will be the next review in this series.  Stay tuned.

4/5 stars

REVIEW: Def Leppard – “Slang” single (Souvenir Pack)

SLANG SINGLE

DEF LEPPARD – “Slang” (1996 Souvenir Pack, Mercury)

I think Slang is a great album, and I think I’m going to talk about it soon , as I’m on a bit of a Def Lep kick these days.  Yesterday I ripped this CD single, a 1996 “souvenir pack” with two bonus tracks and four post cards commemorating the band’s “Three Continents in One Day” concerts.  Vancouver was the last stop — look how tired Rick Allen must be in the photo.

CARDS 2

Slang, in many respects, was as forward-looking from Hysteria as Hysteria was from Pyromania.  It was a reset, a brand new way of doing things, more organic and modern.  Yet at the same time, even though it sounds nothing like classic Leppard, it still retains the impeccable attention to detail.  Production-wise, it’s not the same beast, but it’s still a beast.

“Slang” itself was a brave choice for a single, and it did alienate many old-school fans, at least where I was working.  Others dug it and got it.  It’s a fun song verging on rap-rock, but really, isn’t that OK?  Didn’t Def Lep kinda-sorta probe those waters with some of the singles from Hysteria?  Bottom line, it’s catchy, fun, has the Def Leppard vibe without sounding like anything they’d done before.  It’s a good song.  The fact that they played it live during Viva! Hysteria in Vegas is proof!

The B-sides on the single include a “strings and piano only” version of “When Love & Hate Collide”, perhaps the most overrated Def Leppard song ever.  I have so many versions of it, I really am not certain if this version is on anything else.  It does have vocals, and even a guitar solo despite the description!  This is just a remix with most of the instrumentation stripped off.

The other B-side is a really cool non-album track called “Can’t Keep Away from the Flame”.  It’s acoustic but upbeat and cool.  Production-wise, this is very basic compared to Slang:  acoustic guitars, vocals, shakers.  But it’s also really good, with a cool guitar part, totally memorable.  Since then, Leppard’s recorded a lot more acoustic music but for 1996 this was definitely a standout.

According to the price tag, I bought this at Dr. Disc in Kitchener Ontario in May 1996, for the princely sum of $13.99.  Money well spent, I have enjoyed these songs a lot over the years.

4/5 stars

REVIEW: Def Leppard – “Acoustic Medley 2012” (iTunes single)

Acoustic Medley

DEF LEPPARD – “Acoustic Medley 2012” (iTunes single)

Def Leppard have released the second in their series of iTunes re-recordings.  The first, a double single of “Pour Some Sugar”/”Rock of Ages”, was a pretty straight “forgery” (to use Joe Elliot’s phrase).  The second, entitled “Acoustic Medley 2012” is exactly what it sounds like it would be.  Apparently, Leppard were playing this medley live, and decided to commit a studio version to tape.

The songs in the medley are: “Where Does Love Go When It Dies”, “Now”, “When Love and Hate Collide”, “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”, and “Two Steps Behind”.  Total time:  7:32.  The first two songs in the medley, I give Def Lep full points for.  I’ve always been a sucker for the Slang album, so to hear something from Slang again, is just…wow.  Maybe this is being done to pre-hype the Slang deluxe edition due 2013, eh?

“Now”, and the X album in general I’ve never been a huge fan of, as I made clear in my review.  I give the band credit for putting “Now” back out there, since they rarely touch that album anymore.   I’m all for obscure material being resurrected.

The other three tunes in the medley are a bit ho-hum, but taken as a whole it’s incredible how well they all work together.  “Two Steps Behind” gets the majority of time in the medley, a song that I really never need to hear again.  It’s pretty much identical to the standard version from the Retro-Active CD.

As mentioned, this is an iTunes-only release, but I’d love to see a physical product.  Limited edition vinyl?  I would buy that.  Are you listening, Joe?

4/5 stars