when love and hate collide

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