Hey Dear KMA Readers, welcome back to this short (two-day) series I’ve called The Weekend Of Reading (for lack of a wittier or more creative title). It’s Sunday, and, just like yesterday when I went against my current brevity attempts, today’s missive is also a fairly long excursion. For all I know, this post may be worthwhile, so grab a coffee and get comfortable. Enjoy!
I believe I’ve told this story before, but I love it and it’s somewhat relevant, so here it is (in short) again:
Still one of my favourite Dad-Son moments was one time in the car, when he was quite young, our son was listening to the music with me and Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me was playing. He listened closely, then asked “Dad, why would you want someone to pour sugar on you?”
Excellent question, my son.
So this is one of those life posts, not an album brief barf (and, sadly, not a Def Leppard review) and (sadly) it’s not another super-duper amazing Grail List score like yesterday’s post. This is just part of my recent experience. I’m definitely not saying it’s for everyone, I’m not selling anything, and I’m super-definitely not fishing for compliments or whatever. I’m just sharing this notion I had and the results of a couple of changes I’ve made, health-wise. Maybe you’ll find it interesting.
Last autumn, I was probably at my heaviest. I’ve always been the tall(ish) skinny guy. As a youth, I ate whatever whenever and never gained a pound. By my mid-30s, that lifetime of bad eating habits caught up with me and the pounds started slipping on. Add in raising two kids, not getting to the gym, eating easy fast meals, and taking a car everywhere and… well, by my (almost) mid-40s now, it had compounded (pun intended). Add to this that x-rays confirm I’ve now got arthritis in my feet, hands and wrists, as well as I had a sore back all the time (I always blamed my job, which involves a lot of heavy lifting and constant movement on a concrete floor), and sleep was tough to come by…
I fell down the rabbit hole that is the interwubs, looking for ideas, answers, whatever. I discovered that there’s a boatload of crap out there, a lot of clearly bad ideas and impractical advice, and a lot of people selling things. It took some time to sift and refine my keyword searches… Through it all, though, diet/food intake became a focus (of course). I read up on sugar, particularly added sugars in foods. And so one day last October, armed with only enough knowledge to probably make me dangerous to myself in some way, I thought I’d try cutting out added sugar. This is in no way a new idea. The internet is full of dieticians and doctors talking about it, and a whole whack of vloggers and people desperate for attention who’ve made pretty videos about going 30 days without it, etc. Me, I just stopped it one day.
In the beginning, I didn’t have a time limit, and you know, I still don’t. Pretty quickly, though, I got used to it. It just became how I ate. More vegetables and fruit, lean meat, healthy carbs. I mean, I’m a 6’2” man in his 40s with a physical job, I still have to eat and I really truly like to eat! I just watched for sugar, in all forms. I don’t usually eat between meals anyway, and I don’t usually eat before bed. I don’t eat fast food, and we only eat out at restaurants once every month or month-and-a-half (and even then I order wisely, now). For beverages, I drink only water and plain green tea (no lemon, no ginseng, no added anything). In fact, I’m doing a survey of green tea from some of the brands I could find in my town. I’ve found a couple I like, and am always trying new ones.
Sugar. Read the labels of your foods. Heck, try grocery shopping for no added sugar. Read every label, on yogurt, salad dressings, sauces, boxes of this and bags of that, and cans of these others and… it’s quite a tough gig to be sugar-free. It’s in just about everything, and often in frightening amounts. For my wee mission, sugar from natural sources (like fruit) is fine. Just no added sugar. And no sweetners like Splenda or stevia, or aspartame (that stuff is f*cking evil) to replace it. I also watch for sneaky sugar under other names they use to show its variations, like glucose, fructose, sucrose, and on and on. No corn syrup, no cane sugar, and so on. There’s so much out there!
It makes my life easier that I don’t usually do the reflexive things like snacking and reaching for the comfort candy or snacks. Peckish? Have an apple or a banana and a few plain almonds and/or walnuts instead. Very quickly, a lot of the energy fluctuations I had throughout the day evened right out. Sugar cravings disappeared. I didn’t get any headaches or withdrawal symptoms (and for this I count myself very lucky).
After a while, I lost a pound or two, so I started setting minimal weight loss goals. To avoid stressing about it, I just set small, 5 pound increments. And even at that, I’m not worried about how long it takes, merely curious. Hell, I only weigh myself once per week, first thing after waking on Monday morning, before eating anything. No stress, no worry, no micromanaging, no spreadsheets, and no obsessing. I like simple.
Over the last few months, there have been ups and downs. Christmas Day and Boxing Day were a bit of a tough go, as there were tempting things afoot. I have to say I feel I did very well, allowed myself just a bit of a piece of something because, let’s be honest, when my Mom and my Mother-In-Law cook and bake for Christmas, it’s impossible to have nothing because they are amazing cooks/bakers. But next day, even after only having a wee bit, I was right back to it. No worries. Over those months in total, my weight fluctuated a bit, but the general curve has trended towards loss, and that’s a win, in my books. The bigger win was just generally feeling better day after day.
Fast-forward through five months of just simply avoiding added sugar, to now. I’m still going strong, and I feel great. In fact, I feel a bit like a new man. I have more energy, I’m sleeping better, I don’t ache much anymore. And I’ve lost 25 lbs. I’m down two pants-sizes. Did I think I’d get here? Not really, not just in this way. But here I am. I mean, I didn’t exercise any more (or less). I still don’t go to the gym (I’ve grown to hate gyms but that’s another rant for another day), and by the end of a typical day, I’m tired out anyway and exercise is the last thing on my mind. I simply changed how I ate. Just good, simple food, lots of water and green tea. No added sugar. Easy.
Add to that, my joints don’t ache much anymore, and best of all, I no longer have to ice my feet, hands and wrists after work. I don’t have a sore back much anymore. I’d swear I’m sleeping better, feeling more rested in the mornings anyway. My mind isn’t really any clearer, but it was never very clear to begin with so that’s status quo.
So what now?
You know what, I’m gonna keep going with this. I’m used to it now. I may add in a cheat item or meal now and again but to be honest, I don’t even miss it anymore. I don’t feel like I need to cheat. Cheat on what? Half the crap I used to eat without thinking about it would be way too much for me now and probably make me feel ill, so it’s not even a big deal anymore. I don’t even think about it.
And to be clear, I’m not telling any of you that you should try it too, this is just me relating my experience. If you want to try it, I say read up on it (I’m not an expert) and decided for yourself if you want to try something like this, or some modified version, or something completely different, or nothing at all I’m fine the way I am thank you very much! It’s all you, Dear KMA Readers!
Overall, for me, I’m far happier with how I feel, moreso than the weight loss. Though, I’m not gonna lie, losing those pounds has been a great bonus. Man, if I added in some actual exercise, like cardio and some weights, I might get into actual shape…
And I learned a few things:
– Sugar (in all its forms) is everywhere, in just about everything. It’s amazing how prevalent it is.
– Pro tip: Shop mostly around the walls of the grocery store. Sugar lives mostly in the center aisles.
– Any weight loss achieved in this way is a long game. No quick tricks or massive losses here (averaged out, I’ve lost 5 lbs per month).
– It’s not about the weight loss, for me, though it is nice to lose some heft. Alleviating pain and feeling even energy all day is my favourite part of this experiment.
– I do not really want Def Leppard to pour sugar on me. But they could pour hundred dollar bills over me, if they wanted.
And like I’ve said a bunch of times in this post already, I am a regular Dude, not a diet guru. I am not selling anything. Hell, for all I know, what I’m doing is somehow or in some way dangerous over such an extended period of time. I’m no expert and I’m not telling anybody to do anything. But this has been my experience. Thanks for Reading.
This is an interesting one. It’s clearly a single for the song Armageddon It, as it’s track 1 and the text on the CD for that song is exploded out when the others aren’t. But the cover art says Pour Some Sugar On Me…
T’was Discogs that cleared up the confusion somewhat: this single I have here, with the PSSOM cover, is identical to LEPCD4 single for Armageddon It (The Atomic Mix). In fact, this CD says U.K. LEPCD4 while the maxi-single card sleeve I have here says Bludgeon-Riffola 870 239-2. Maybe I got the wrong CD in this sleeve (or maybe not!), but it matters not because the tracks are the same either way.
Opening up is the album cut of Armageddon It. You know it well, I’m sure.
Ring Of Fire is definitely not a Johnny Cash cover. It’s a full-on DL rocker b-side and a ton of fun. Animal and Pour Some Sugar On Me seem to just be album cuts.
Confusion aside, this is a single that’s really just three album stracks and one b-side (which appeared on Retroactive anyway).
Hit It Or Quit It? May as well Hit it, as I seem to be amassing a small DL collection…
First up is the album version of Hysteria. You know this one already.
Next is Ride Into The Sun, which includes a brief note from the band on the sleeve: “This is a song that appeared on our first EP. We re-wrote it and re-recorded it in the summer of 1987… spot the difference.” I have that first EP here on 7″ and both versions are of their times. The original is rougher, faster in the right places, and has more cowbell! The newer cut is cleaned up into the modern DL sound. I preferred the original.
Love And Affection, recorded live in July 1987 in Tilburg, Holland, is being played live here before the album even dropped. It’s something to hear the band go from zero to full DL in about three seconds. The sound quality is good.
And finally it’s I Wanna Be Your Hero, which Wiki tells me was on the Pour Some Sugar On Me single, as well as the Animal US single as well. It’s a straight-up DL rocker, sounds fine to me. I liked the punk guitar line throughout.
Again, in all, a cool single to add to the pile.
Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!
First up is Rocket (The Lunar Mix)[Extended Version], complete with intercom/radio communications, and the inevitable remixery these tracks tend to contain, such as a breakdown section with tribal drums, and cut-and-paste elements into new places. This version adds about two minutes to the original’s length.
Next there are two live tracks: Women is from the In Your Face – In The Round live show and sounds good. Rock Of Ages was recorded live in Tilburg, Holland, and also sounds great though it’s interesting to hear the song played so slowly (in comparison to the album cut) and also contains an interesting Buddy Holly/Who/Golden Earring/Beatles/Led Zeppelin section. Haha fun!
And finally, it’s Rocket (The Lunar Mix) [Single Version], which seems to me to be the same as track one, just shorter. Collectors rejoice!
Overall, a cool single to have!
Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!
You know, for a guy like me, who likes Def Leppard well enough but isn’t a super-fan, I sure seem to own a hell of a lot of Def Leppard. When I found this stuff recently and got it all home, I texted Mike because he’s my go-to DL expert, and he thought what I’d found was cool…
First up is this Italian (unofficial) bootleg of their set at the Los Angeles Forum on December 30th, 1992. The inner liner notes are in Italian. I tried Google Translate, but it wasn’t making a whole lot of sense. No matter, you’re not here for that stuff. You wanna know how it sounds and what’s on it.
The sound quality is… well, it’s alright, at first. It’s a bootleg, so it wavers and isn’t anywhere near perfect, but it’s definitely clean enough to listen to it. Happily, it seems to get better as the gig goes on. Through the good headphones, the bottom end improves and it actually doesn’t sound bad at all.
Here’s the set list: Let’s Get Rocked / Tear It Down / Women / Too Late For Love / Hysteria / Make Love Like A Man / White Lightning / Foolin’ / Animal / Guitar Solo / Gods Of War / Rocket
You can tell the singles were bigger, but the crowd really seemed to be having a blast throughout. The track called Guitar Solo is 4:37 of Vivian Campbell wailing away (mighty impressively, I might add), presumably so the band could go backstage and catch their friggin’ breath. Set-ender Rocket, while a mere 6:38 in its album incarnation, stretches to 10:41 here, thanks to a huge middle breakdown section and a Zeppelin song cameo (!). Sweetness!
In all, this disc makes it seem like it was a pretty damn great night to be at the L.A. Forum!
Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!
Major scores today, lots of Def Leppard 45s!
Check out the MAJESTY!
Wasted / Hello America
Love Bites / Billy’s Got A Gun (Live)
Rocket / Release Me
Action / Miss You In A Heartbeat (Phil’s Demo)
Let’s Get Rocked / Only After Dark
Make Love Like A Man / Miss You In A Heartbeat
Have You Ever Loved Someone So Bad / From The Inside
Let It Go / Switch 625
Heaven Is / She’s Too Tough
* Side B: Special Edition Autographed Etched Disc
Ride Into The Sun, Getcha Rocks Off / The Overture
* Bludgeon Riffola Records (yellow label) MSB 001
Getcha Rocks Off, Ride Into The Sun / The Overture
* Vertigo 6059 240
Collecting b-sides and previously unreleased tracks from 1984-1993, a lot of these songs appeared in other places (singles, Japanese bonus tracks *VERY EXPENSIVE*). She’s Too Tough first appeared on Helix’s Wild In The Streets album.
Cover tunes include Sweet’s song Action, and Mick Ronson’s Only After Dark. Ring Of Fire was not a Johnny Cash cover. There’s even a hidden track.
In all, I quite enjoyed this. It sounds, well, like Def Leppard!
Track listing (copied from Wiki):
1″Desert Song” (Steve Clark, Joe Elliott, Rick Savage) – 5:19
•Outtake from the Hysteria album sessions (1984–87)
2″Fractured Love” (Clark, Elliott, Savage) – 5:08
•Outtake from the Hysteria album sessions
3″Action” (Andy Scott, Brian Connolly, Steve Priest, Mick Tucker) – 3:41
•Original version released on the “Make Love Like a Man” single (1992)
4″Two Steps Behind” (Acoustic version) (Elliott) – 4:16
•Original version released on the “Make Love Like a Man” single
•Originally released on the Last Action Hero soundtrack (1993)
5″She’s Too Tough” (Elliott) – 3:41
•Original version released on the “Heaven Is” single (1993) and is the bonus track for the Japanese pressing of Adrenalize (1992)
6″Miss You in a Heartbeat” (Phil Collen) – 4:04
•Original version released on the “Make Love Like a Man” single
7″Only After Dark” (Mick Ronson, Scott Richardson) – 3:52
•Original version released on the “Let’s Get Rocked” single (1992)
8″Ride into the Sun” (Clark, Collen, Elliott, Savage) – 3:12
•Original version released on the “Hysteria” single (1987)
•First recording of the song released on The Def Leppard E.P. (1979)
9″From the Inside” (Elliott) – 4:13
•Originally released on the “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” single
10″Ring of Fire” (Clark, Collen, Elliott, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Savage) – 4:42
•Original version released on the “Armageddon It” single (1988)
11″I Wanna Be Your Hero” (Clark, Collen, Elliott, Lange, Savage) – 4:29
•Original version released on the “Hysteria” single
12″Miss You in a Heartbeat” (Electric version) (Collen) – 4:58
•This was the Japanese bonus track for Adrenalize
13″Two Steps Behind” (Electric version) (Elliott) – 4:29
14″Miss You in a Heartbeat” [(Piano version) (Hidden track)] (Collen) – 4:09
I got this at work for cheap, just because I could. I suppose the 2CD Rock Of Ages set would be more comprehensive, but I have to tell you that this single disc was all the Def Leppard I needed in one sitting.
It’s chock full of every song you’ve heard a million times, and stands as testimony to the pop rock songwriting prowess and longevity of this band. They have a sound that is instantly recognizable, and they’ve curated it meticulously for all these years.
Pour Some Sugar On Me is still pure silliness fun (I’ll never forget my son saying, “Dad, why would you want someone to pour sugar on you?”), and Photograph is a classic. Love Bites is one I could skip but I know it was huge. Let’s Get Rocked is more arena fodder. The acoustic Two Steps Behind is a staple, which I used to rather like but I’ve heard it so many times now that this spin felt more like sitting through it than being into it.
Animal, Foolin’, and Rocket are all rockers in the DL zone. When Love And Hate Collide is the next ballad, another one we’ve been through enough times. Armageddon It brings back the rock before Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad takes us back to Balladtown. Actually, I appreciate that they did this – two DL ballads in a row would probably make me need to go play outside for a while.
Rock Of Ages is another classic, of course, and Hysteria follows it with its mid-tempo rock-like mildness. Then it’s an acoustic version of Miss You In A Heartbeat, which is another pure DL ballad. I always thought the intro and verse chords sounded a lot like Neil Young’s Helpless. And finally, Bringin’ On The Heartbreak rocks us out epically.
So, here’s some context on my DL listening life:
I own the early albums, up to Pyromania. Now, when I was a kid, the Pyromania cassette came from Columbia House. We played the hell out of that tape. When I think of Def Leppard, I tend to think of that record. I never followed up on anything after that, probably because the cool kids over-played Hysteria and I grew tired of it. Decades later, Mike sent me a couple of later records that I enjoyed. Whenever I hear this band, I like it well enough, and everything, but in between listens to this band, I honestly never think of them. Huh.
Fast forward to the mid-90s, I was living in Kitchener-Waterloo, and I was drummer in a band you never heard of, and that’s OK. Our guitar player LOVED Def Leppard. I’m sure he still does, wherever he is in his life now. I hadn’t heard them in years until we started hanging out and he went on and on about this or that thing they’d done with the guitars and recording, etc. Huge fan.
Fast-forward to the present, and I’m sitting here re-listening to all of these tracks again. This disc is loaded to the gills with hits, with When Love & Hate Collide being an exclusive for this release in 1995. I’m glad I played it, though I found the ballads fairly tedious.
So, in sum, it was nice to revisit all the old memories, and now I’ve had my fix and can go a while longer before playing it again.
Hey folks! It’s The Best Fucking Collaboration Week Ever, Pt. 2! Just like last time, Mike and Aaron will be doing simultaneous daily reviews of albums. This time, they’re covering stuff these two intrepid music reporters have sent to each other. Buckle up, buttercups, it’s gonna be a blast!
First off: My iTunes Def Leppard Collection (I own these CDs*):
On Through The Night
High ’N’ Dry
When Love And Hate Collide/Pour Some Sugar on Me**
Songs From the Sparkle Lounge**
Mirrorball – Live & More**
Some massive gaps there, eh! Yup.
*I may own some duplicates on cassette and/or vinyl
** Gifted to me (the AAAA) by Mike!
Def Leppard and I have an ancient history. When I was a kid, my Pyromania tape was a big deal. Friends of mine had On Through The Night and High ‘N’ Dry too. I got off the bus when Hysteria came out, never bought it. I heard it enough anyways, at other peoples’ places. Decades passed, and I heard many of their songs on the radio (which isn’t often as I hate the radio). I didn’t buy any more of their records, though.
Much more recently, Mike sent me the Sparkle Lounge and that single (see list, above), which I reviewed (and liked). And then Mike sent me this 2CD/1DVD set called Mirrorball. And I’ve played the whole damn thing. And I enjoyed it!
Look, I know most of the people reading this are already fans who probably already own this. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, especially insightful tidbits that teach me new things about it. Do you like the track selections? Do you like the versions? It looks and sounds fine to me, but I wouldn’t know!
Even with my patchy DL history, I knew just about every song here (thanks to radio and Mike sending me Sparkle Lounge). And even the songs I didn’t know sounded like the others and it all fit together anyway because this band has a sound. It plays like a damn greatest hits set. There are a couple of covers, including Rock On (David Essex), and Action (The Sweet), both of which they make sound like DL songs anyway.
The new songs Undefeated and It’s All About Believin’ sound like more DL, but Kings Of The World has gotta be their tribute to Queen, right? Because, I mean, holy shit totally.
And there’s a 50 minute DVD here too! Lots of backstage and studio footage and live performances. It gets goofy, with sections like where everyone is trying to make didjeridoo noises (really?), but hey. They’re having fun. They meet Billy Idol and Steve Stevens and reminisce. There’s a sweet cheer for Rick Allen at Donnington. Lots of fan meet and greets. They’re at the frickin’ CMT Awards… Not sure how often I’d watch this, but it was a cool tip-in for the set, for sure.
I don’t listen to Def Leppard all that often, but when I hear them I am reminded that they are a solid, class act and they have built and nurtured a sound all their own, unique in the world. I liked this set. Thanks heaps, Brother Mike!
Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop) / Rocket / Animal / C’mon C’mon / Make Love Like A Man / Too Late For Love / Foolin’ / Nine Lives / Love Bites / Rock On
Two Steps Behind / Bringin’ On The Heartbreak / Switch 625 / Hysteria / Armageddon It / Photograph / Pour Some Sugar On Me / Rock Of Ages / Let’s Get Rocked // BONUS LIVE: Action / Bad Actress // NEW SONGS: Undefeated / Kings Of The World / It’s All About Believin’
Behind The Scenes on the Sparkle Lounge Tour 2008-2009, including live performances of Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop), Armageddon It, Pour Some Sugar On Me, and Hysteria. There are also music videos of Nine Lives, and C’mon C’mon, which in the age of the Tubes Of You are a bit unecessary but whatever. These dudes are old like us. Let them have their fun.
We spend the holidays at our parental units’ places, so we try to do Christmas a little early at our house. We chose this morning (Sunday) to start the festivities!
So first up is the generosity and awesomeness of James. I have said this many times in these pages (and out), but James is the man. He knows it, but he’s usually all humble about it.
This year he sent me something old and something new for Christmas, and something for my lovely wife as well!
1) Jack White – Lazaretto. Yep, this is gorgeous release with all three speeds on the same slab. The LP is 33 1/3, and under the label on one side you get a track in 45, and on the other, a track in 78. I’ve already reviewed this record on this site, and I can tell you right now I think this one was built to be heard on vinyl. That White made it such an awesome and creative release just makes it that much sweeter. SO. AWESOME.
2) Def Leppard – Pyromania. Yep, the old school vinyl from the 80s. This is gonna be A LOT of fun to spin. I mean, having it on CD is one thing, but an old original vinyl? Sweetness!
3) Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems. This is my lovely wife’s gift this year. Leonard on vinyl? Oh hells yes, yessir! It’s a great album, and so exciting to see Leonard enjoying this later-life ressurgence. I’ll bet this sounds gorgeous and warm. And it comes with the full album on CD tipped in!
James. You really are the man. Thank you! ThankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouTHANKYOU!
This is total nostalgia. I had this album on cassette, as a kid – probably from Columbia House. To call this album formative for me might be a bit of a stretch, as I was (mostly) the jazz kid. But I know that I played this record a million times, so maybe it’s more to me than I’s originally credited.
Rock Rock (Till You Drop) fakes us out with a slower intro, but it quickly becomes a full-on belter. Loved it.
Photograph was a huge song. And you know what, it still is. It has that pure Def Leppard sound. Fantastic. Just try not to sing along. Bet you can’t not so it.
Stagefright starts out with a ‘recorded live’ conceit before turning into a studio track. This usually leaves me cold, but in this case it’s alright, since it’s the point of this song, in this case, right? Besides, it’s a real cool rocker. Elliott shreds his vocals, here.
Too Late For Love has a blowing wind intro, and becomes a slow chug of a track. It hits hard. Honestly, it sounds like it could have been an early Bon Jovi track (picture him singing it, and with a normal snare sound). It works, right? Or maybe it’s just typical of its age and era. Whatever. Solid song.
Die Hard The Hunter starts out with helicopters and air raid sirens in an arpeggiated intro. After a minute and a half, it blasts into another straight-on DL rocker. Nice. At almost 6.5 minutes, though, this one goes one quite a bit too long.
Foolin’ is classic. More cowbell! If you don’t know this track inside and out, you’ve been living under a rock since 1982. Huge hit. Right on.
Rock Of Ages’ weirdo intro always cracked me up, as a kid, and it’s another stone cold hit. Huge. It was everywhere. Deservedly so.
Comin’ Under Fire is another shoulda-been in an album full of them. If I played you this one, you’d swear it was a DL radio hit.
Action! Not Words is one I really liked. It’s a full-out concert fist-pumper rawk song, and completely unashamed about it, to boot. A pure air guitar track. Fun!
And finally, Billy’s Got A Gun is a bluesy chugger with a sinister edge. It’s still classic DL, but I could do without the weirdo outro. And I was thinking, if Billy’s Got A Gun and Aerosmith says Janie’s Got a Gun, maybe Billy and Janie should hook up…
In sum, honestly, what an album. It’s huge. Every song was built to be a hit. I should mention the production, good old Mutt Lange made it sound perfect. Almost too perfect, maybe. But that’s the point, isn’t it, when you’re aiming for engineering an album built to spit out #1s. All killer, no filler.
And I was pleasantly surprised, after all these years, how much of this record came back to me instantly. And yet it’s exciting that there was still some of it wasn’t right there in my mind, yet it was so familiar. A pleasant surpise.
Will I rock this again? Oh hell yes, I will! This is greatness.
Mike sent me this one, as well as one single, a while back. It’s interesting to have this here because I haven’t owned a Def Leppard album since I had Pyromania on cassette (!) as a kid. Funny thing is, I’d call myself a fan, I like what they do well enough. I just don’t own any of it except what Mike sent my way!
Alright, so I was 9 years old when Pyromania was released. I loved it. I heard some of the big singles, along the way. And years later, I was drummer in a band, and the guitar player was (probably still is) a HUGE Def Leppard fan. Talked about them a lot. Fast forward through gaps of not hearing anything from these guys to today, when I am hearing this 2008 album. Ready? Of course you are!
First off, lemme just get out of the way that I find the title and the cover art amusingly bad. Seriously. You’re global superstars, rock heroes. And this is what you name your record? And you OK that cover? Oh dear. Anyway. Carry on, gentlemen.
Go is definitely heavy, and chugs along with some menace. I like it. It still sounds like Def Leppard always did, though there’s something a bit 90s to it too, I think in the vocals. Wish I could say why or explain such a nebulous statement… Nine Lives sounds like Def Leppard doing new country rock when it starts off. Not a criticism, just something I noticed. But then the chorus kicks in and there’s that signature sound. It’s a weird mix. Yeehaw. Decent track, though.
C’mon C’mon brings back the heavier guitars (maybe should’ve paired it with Go), and it’s a very fun fist-pumper. Something J. Geils Band about it, but I’ll bet this song would be tons of fun in concert… Love, well, here we go. I was expecting the pretty, acoustic tune and here it is. I could hear Bryan Adams singing this one, of all people. It becomes a fairly standard rock ballad slow dancer. But as it gets to the 2:40 mark or so I totally hear Queen. Then a big, ripping metal solo with machine gun backing… This track is all over the place and gets more interesting as it goes. This would be a fave track so far.
Tomorrow is a rocker right out of the gate, though the ‘hoo hoo hoo’ in the intro is a bit silly. That could just be me, though, I mean, power to them, and all. You know what, this song sounds like only Def Leppard sounds. If they have a typical sound, this would be it… Cruise Control has a fun and slinky bass line. Oh man, why does Stabbing Westward come to mind, here? Ah, but then the chorus is totally DL again. Interesting. Not a stand-out track but definitely serviceable. Also, never name a song Cruise Control. It makes me think that’s what you were on during the writing.
Hallucinate is a bad-ass rocker. I like this. I find it amazing how it doesn’t matter what they do in the verses and bridges, the chorus always just screams Def Leppard. Good guitar solo here, short as it is. A well-constructed tune… Only The Good Die Young is, sadly, not a Bily Joel cover. Instead, it’s a soft intro that becomes a weird Queen/U2 mix before taking off in rock mode. Mid-tempo, with the whole 90s dynamics package: quiet verse, loud chorus, bridge to solo, followed by a quiet bit just to show they’re serious, let it hang a second and then back to the loud chorus. You know what I mean.
Bad Actress shows some real life, off to full gallop out of the gates. Now THIS is something I like! Finally some real rawk! This is gonna be a fave from the record, I just know it. Yup, I’d make this one top of the list… Come Undone brings the half-tempo chug back. Another basic Def Leppard track. It’s not a bad thing, just all I could think was yup, there they are. And Gotta Let It Go starts out so quietly, and I sat here just waiting for the inevitable crash burst. Ah, there it is. Nice use of dynamics. Not a bas track to end an album.
In sum: For not having heard much of these guys since I was a kid, I enjoyed this. It works better as a whole than as a collection of would-be singles. My huge thanks to Mike for sharing this with me. I’d likely never have heard it if left to my own devices!
***For Mike’s superior and informed review, you should immediately go here.