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Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection

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  • This is a useful compilation for old-time Def Leppard fans (let’s face it, such fans are by far the most numerous) who wish to relive the classic years and sample some of what the band has cranked out since then. Despite the generally haphazard sequencing of the tracks, here we can hear Leppard evolving from anthemic metal to pop metal to power pop. There are just two tracks from the On Through the Night debut way back in 1980, the so-so “Rock Brigade” and the awesome “Wasted.” That album could’ve been better represented, but otherwise the most well-covered albums in this compilation are the three most important ones – High n’ Dry, Pyromania, and Hysteria, and we have an overwhelming selection of classics from those discs. However, one problem is the inclusion of dated and uninspiring remixes of “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Rocket” (in fact, this version of “Rocket” is missing the killer middle section that was the most interesting part of the original).

    There are fewer tracks from the post-Hysteria albums, and deservedly so, because here we find the band getting much less interesting overall, despite a few late-period surprises like “Paper Sun” and “Promises.” Note that the new track here is a cover of the early-70s power pop chestnut “No Matter What” by Badfinger, and the liner notes tell us that the next Def Leppard release will be a covers album. That really shows you where they’ve been headed for the past decade and a half. This band has had an unlikely evolution from young Zeppelin wannabes to the one and only top-of-world Def Leppard to aging Cheap Trick wannabes. But they’re still worth loving because they sure made the 80s more interesting. [~doomsdayer520~]

    Posted on December 31, 2009