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  • Def Leppard, those English Lads (with the exception of Vivian Campbell — sorry, Vivian), whom we’ve known and loved since their inception in the early 80s, are back with a new album. Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, Vivian Campbell, Rick “Sav” Savage, and Rick Allen are back in your CD players and escaping through your stereo speakers. Yeah, that’s right — you’ve heard me correctly. So, like, what year is it anyway? 1999, right? Def Leppard’s last release was Slang, the black sheep of the Def Leppard catalog. That was in 1996. So, if I know my math, that’s three years, instead of four or five, right? Just kidding, chaps . . .

    So, Slang was the last effort by the Lep Lads. Now, I know . . . I have eyes and ears and Internet access . . . so I KNOW that Slang went over about as well as watching grass grow on a sunny afternoon would. That’s a shame, I’ll tell you, because these guys can’t win, eh? Slang was too different, too left-turn, for the typical stubborn Lep fan. Well, not this fan. She thought Slang was one of their best efforts (that’s another review altogether), and it’s still one of her favorites. So crucify me. There, I said it publicly (and I’ll say it again). I never did run with the crowd . . .

    Well, I can tell you folks who haven’t heard this latest release, Euphoria, that it sounds NOTHING like Slang. I would say that this piece of work is a mix of Pyromania and Hysteria. I guess, you could say it is like Adrenalize, too, since I think that disc sounds like Hysteria II. Nothing wrong with that at all . . .

    So, the boyz are returning to their roots, sort to speak. So, what do we have here for our listening pleasure? The disc starts off with an awesome, fast-paced, highly infectious rocker called Demolition Man. Next up at the plate is the first single release, Promises. This song is full of harmonizing and has a slight poppy feel to it, but it’s likable.

    Song #3 is a thumper of a song full of attitude called Back In Your Face. Oh yeah, baby. You said it, not me. Very cool song, indeed. Following that attitude, we turn down a notch with a beautifully lilting ballad called, Goodbye. I’ll tell you one thing, these chaps can sure write a bewitching ballad. No snickers, fellas, that takes talent. Ballads will always be in style, say what you want about them, and Def Leppard does the job with beauty and finesse. This is one of their best.

    Song numero five is a song titled, All Night Long, which is reminiscent of the song, Slang. It’s similar, but not as fast-pasted as Slang. This song, as well as Slang has one thing in common: to these ears, they have similar qualities to a Prince (uh, excuse me, THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PRINCE . . . whew, don’t want to make THAT mistake) song. It appears they’ve been experimenting with a little bit of “dance-ability” to their music.

    Now, this next song, Paper Sun, is one of the best on the disc. This song starts out moody, and then — bam — it hits you. Then, it goes back to a moody, mid-tempo theme. This song is so good, and has so much feeling to it — definitely a highlight. Next up to queue is It’s Only Love. This is a mid-tempo type of ballad with lots of melody and rich, full harmonies, as well as a chock load of “na na na na na’s” thrown in there for good measure. It’s a good song, but not as good as Goodbye.

    Song number eight, 21st Century Sha La La Girl, is another fast-paced, vocal-rap rocker with a catchy chorus. I dare you to try not to tap your toe to this one, or to get the chorus out of your head. Another ballad follows next, titled, To Be Alive. The beginning of this song is reminiscent of Love Bites from Hysteria. It’s a lovely song, and it comes close, but Goodbye is still a SMIDGEN better.

    Disintegrate, a rocker-instrumental, is next. Nothing overly exciting about it, except it would fit really well during an action scene in a movie. I appreciate instrumentals, but they have to really hit me between the eyes with either their complexity, beauty, or jam-ability. This is just . . . some rock riffs. Not bad but not exceptional. I figure, they stuck this song in there so you could take a leak in between or get a snack, kind of like the way a commercial functions as an intermission from a TV program. Guilty is next, and I don’t feel guilty in saying that it’s a NICE song. What I mean by a nice song is it’s full of those melodies, it’s mid-tempo, it’s pleasing to the ear, but it doesn’t stand out.

    Ooh, now this is exciting. A gem of a song called, Day After Day, is next, and this is one of those really cool songs that reminds you of the days of Pyromania. This is classic Def Leppard all the way with the rocking beat, the moody, wailing guitars, and Joe’s voice singing full of angst emotion. Last, but not least, is Kings of Oblivion, which is a high-octane rocker full of ferocious emotion. If I remember correctly, I recall actually hearing this song on the radio before this disc was released, and not knowing who sang this song. The voice sounded familiar . . . but I couldn’t place it until I had the disc home and listened to it. Nonetheless, awesome song, and a great way to end the disc.

    I have to add one thing I despise of that this band does: They don’t include the lyrics inside the disc. I’m a lyric person — a lover of words — and guys, I want to see your words. So, I say to the band: Include the bloody lyrics next time. I tell ya, you and those Aerosmith guys are greedy with your lyrics. Yeah, I know Slang had the lyrics, but EVERY disc should have it. When you have something to say, and you say it as well as a band like Def Leppard does, YOU INCLUDE THE LYRICS. Okay, I vented. :o )

    And so, the question now posed to the listener is this: Are you euphoric after listening to Def Leppard’s newest release? Well, for me, I think it was a smashing effort on their part — simply bloody smashing. I think they captured the sound that the fans have loved them for all along. This disc reeks of classic Def Leppard, hearkening back to the good ol’ days when the radio played real music by real bands. Playing-wise, the band gets better and more seamless, and Joe Elliott’s voice gets better with age. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time for a little Euphoria.

    © Written by Diane Trautweiler on July 11, 1999.

    Posted on February 27, 2010