Def Leppard

Mercury Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I am probably one of the few music critics out there who actually would go on the record and admit I liked Slang, Def Leppard's 1996 release. Granted, it was an album that took some getting used to, with its more down-to-earth beats and songwriting that was as far removed from Hysteria as anything you could have imagined Joe Elliott and company doing. But once you gave it a chance, it turned out to be a pretty good album.

I'm sincerely hoping that Def Leppard's latest, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Euphoria, is also an album that has to grow on you. Despite a return to the guitar and vocal style that catapaulted them into superstardom on albums like Hysteria, it often feels like the band misses the mark - but not by a whole lot.

Euphoria is notable because it reunites the band - vocalist Elliott, guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell, bassist Rick Savage and drummer Rick Allen - with Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who contributes his songwriting talents to three cuts. These cuts - "Promises," "All Night" and "It's Only Love" - happen to be some of the best material on the album, qhich raises the question: Had Lange been more involved with this album, what could the final product have sounded like? Regrettably, the answer will remain a dream.

It's not that the other members of Def Leppard are incapable of writing a decent song; tracks like "Goodbye" (written by Savage), "Disintegrate" (written by Collen) and "Guilty" all prove that Def Leppard knows what it takes to make a decent track. If they know all this, then why do they have to resort to sophomore bragadoccio like on "Back In Your Face"? It's been my experience that if you have to declare you're back, people never noticed you left.

What is disappointing about Euphoria overall is its sound. It just feels like the spark of energy that you heard on Hysteria (an album that was a definite return from the past) just isn't present here. Tracks like "Demolition Man" and "Paper Sun" are listenable, as is a good portion of the album, but there just isn't a sense of urgency to the music, making the listener wonder what these guys have been up to.

Of course, Def Leppard still has its diehard fans (and I'd call myself one) who would stop at nothing to lay their hands on a copy of Euphoria, and that alone should bring the band some chart success in the beginning. But without the urgency and energy behind the music, the Euphoria wears off quickly.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mercury Records, and is used for informational purposes only.