Take away a couple of throwaway tracks hastily pasted together and you have a classic leppard record – one that takes us from on of their earliest songs “Ride into the Sun” to the contemporary radio friendly “Two Steps Behind”.This album rocks and like “Slang”, without the sometimes overwhelming presence of Mutt Lange, the Lepps rock out without a care – sounding as raw and passionate as they did with their earliest cuts.I think “Desert Song” is a hidden classic. Why this did’nt make it to either Hysteria or Adrenalize, I will never know… a track of tremendous passion and power with not one but two killer solos by Phil and Steve, this is in my book one of the Top 5 Def Leppard Songs. Another standout is “After Dark” which is probably a first for the Lepps – a song without a defining chorus… by all the same it’s a captivating track with some great vibes by Vivian Campbell.I was pleasantly surprised by “From the Inside”, a genuinely good song with some marvellous playing by the boys and their friends from Hothouse Flowers.All in all a great record and a must buy. It actually rates 4.5 stars in my book, but being a Lepp addict, I will make it 5 stars.
Japanese-only SHM-CD (Super High Material CD) pressing of this classic 1993 compilation album from the Rock legends. SHM-CDs can be played on any audio player and delivers unbelievably high-quality sound. You won’t believe it’s the same CD! Universal. 2008.
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Retro active, Def Leppard’s compilation album of B-sides totally rocks, the songs are really heavy and the ballads are perfect, Desert song is an awesome opening song with an amazing guitar solo by Steve Clark and cool chorus, the song mostly tells a story about a person trapped in the desert. Fracured love the second song starts off soft but then gets really heavy, really cool song. Action is a song by a band called Sweet and leppard did a cover version and the song really stands out. Two Steps Behind is a really nice acoustic ballad that makes you want to sing along with the chorus. She’s Too Tough is another song the band covered and is a fast rocker. Miss u In a Heartbeat is another really nice piano ballad and there is 3 versions of it on the album, GOD WHY SO MUCH!. Only After Dark is another cover song the band did, originally recorded by Mick Ronson it is a catchy melodic song. Ride into the Sun is a epic tune on the album, it was the first song the band ever committed to vinyl on their first ep, all they did was change some of the lyrics,but a really hard driving rock song. From the inside is a folky ballad telling about the pitfalls of herione use, probably the softest song on the album. Ring of fire is a cool heavy rock song with a really awesome guitar riff, (I wonder if the band got the title from Johny Cash?) I Wanna Be Your Hero is a ballad and a rock song mixed in one, alot like Too Late For Love. The last two songs on the album are electric versions of Two Steps Behind and Miss u in a heartbeat,both sound great. Listen for the piano only version of Miss U In a Heartbeat stuck at the very end.
Surprisingly, this is truly a great album, even though it is regarded as a unreleased/b-sides collection, the material on here is worthy of being called top-notch album quality. If you took all the great songs from all rest of Def Leps 1990’s albums, you still couldn’t accumulate enough to surpass this one. Only 2 good songs are on Adrenalize, maybe 2 on Slang, and 6 on Euphoria, you still can’t touch Retro Active’s 11 song that are all excellent. Most of the material on here is from the Hysteria sessions, and the rest come from Adrenalize sessions, being cover songs and canned material. There is 1 or 2 songs on here that were recorded for this CD. Steve Clark,R.I.P., appears on a handful of tracks, and newcomer Vivian is on a few as well. This CD has a ton of rockers like Desert Song, Fractured Love, Action, She’s Too Tough, and Ring Of Fire, among others. But the standouts are the two ballads, Two Steps Behind and Miss You In A Heartbeat, both presented in electric and acoustic versions. All-in-all a superb album, that should be considered a regular album, and by far the best one since Hysteria.
Wow! I am completely blown away by this album. How I ever missed is it till now I’ll never know. It is really, really good. It’s one of those albums you put in and right away you know you’ve got a classic. If your a fan of the Pre-Hysteria Def Leppard you will be thanking yourself for picking this up.
A half a dozen of the tracks rock as hard as any of the music they have ever released. Don’t miss it!
Not too long ago, Def Leppard was one of the most exciting bands in rock; they were popular AND talented, a dynamite combination of one part brain, one part heart, and one part libido, that mixed up one of the best formulas around. Unfortunately, critics started blaming them for just that – “The Formula.” Then, in recent years, as they’ve been trying to fight their way out of “The Formula” label, fewer people have been noticing/caring, and critics that DO notice make sure to slam them for trying to be something they are not. Alas, in the case of Def Leppard, I DO agree with that unfortunate claim.Regardless of what type of person you are, Leppard Hater, Leppard Lover, Leppard “They [stunk] since Hysteria” -er, Leppard “I stumbled on this page by accident” -er, or other – er -, if you, like me, wish the real Def Leppard would please stand up, buy Retro Active and prepare to get more of your 15 bucks worth than you have in awhile. It’s been a decade since this last great Def Leppard Album, but a decade isn’t as much as one might think, given it would take another quick decade after this to go back to their Pyromania days. And the bottom line is that, not so long ago, they really were on a role, musically speaking. I can’t believe how much I almost forgot how much I loved this band till I threw this on the stereo a few weeks ago – and subsequently haven’t been able to stop listening to it. “X” really is a bad album, so bad, it brainwashed me into temporarily losing too much respect for the band. It’s hard for me to tell if they really have always been a little too money hungry, but regardless, if you like good music, let’s put everything aside and proclaim the wonderful evolutionary direction the band was going in the early 90’s, with the wonderful succession of Pyromania to Hysteria to Adrenalize to ironically, a “retro” album.Without giving it all away, here’s a quick runthrough of the wonderfully long (did I mention you get your money’s worth) and successfully diverse (keyword – SUCCESSFULLY) song roster. “Desert Song” took awhile to grow on me, but once it did, I woke up to the AMAZING guitar solos — they were showing signs of prog with their choices of scale usages and rhythmic motives! And they STILL managed to be catchy. I wish they would have taken that idea and made all of their subsequent music with that in mind. “Fractured Love” has highly effective percussive elements while still keeping a shoutalong chorus (think the next logical step after “Rocket”). The way they covered “Action” really blows me away, as I wish their own writing was as experimental yet quality filled as those that influenced them. There are the hits “Two Steps Behind” and “Miss You in a Heartbeat”, both with acoustic and electric versions. The latter has a piano/vocal version also.Personally, the electric version of “Two Steps Behind” is one of their best all time moments, it just takes me to another world. Fans of the “Leppard Layering technique” – with guitars upon guitars and vocals upon vocals – will not be disappointed. Joe Elliot plays some cool (albeit inexcusably short) boogie woogie piano as the intro to a revision of one of their earliest songs (“Ride into the Sun”), and REALLY hits the jackpot with the gutwrenchingly highly artistic collaboration with the Hothouse Flowers (“From the Inside”). The marriage of music to lyrics here is supreme. The driving d minor riff to “Ring of Fire” will have you hypnotized into playing it yourself for hours on end, and “I wanna be your hero” and “She’s Too Tough” are way too strong to merely exist as B Sides.I could go on forever, but I believe my point is made. Who REALLY is Def Leppard? It’s always controversial to answer a question like that with one particular album, released, years ago, and ESPECIALLY when the answer isn’t “Hysteria.” And in fact, it’s not that it’s not “Hysteria”. Again, “Retro Active” is a collection of all sorts of various material, much of which was originally given birth along with that landmark album from 1987.Bottom line: THIS is why today’s rock music is inexcusable. It (including Leppard) has only gotten worse since then, and with an album like this, there really is something here for everyone. Why aren’t today’s bands feeling more of a kick in the [rear]? It’s because not even the record companies think that music is in a lot of trouble.If you feel the same way, email me.