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Songs From The Sparkle Lounge by Def Leppard

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Reviewed on 26th May 2008.


Songs From The Sparkle Lounge

By Def Leppard

For over 25 years Def Leppard have been one of the UK's biggest rock bands, selling over 30 million records worldwide. Whilst a change in fortunes has seen many of the band's old touring partners disappear, this Sheffield band have continued with a high rate of success, simply because they know how to write a song.

With 1998's 'Slang' they left behind a lot of the production sound from albums like 'Hysteria' and 'Pyromania 'and went for a more alternative style. This didn't sit well with a lot of the older fans. With the oddly-titled 'Songs From The Sparkle Lounge', the Def Leppard of old shows its face again, albeit with a bit of a face lift, and there's a sign that the guys still know how to write an in-your-face rock classic as well as a perfectly crafted rock ballad.

The opening track 'Go' kicks off the album with the band's heaviest track since 'Desert Song' from the 'Retro Active' collection, with pounding, almost-tribal drumming from Rick Allen (who sounds like he's playing a standard kit throughout, no mean feat if you know the band's history) and some middle Eastern-tinged guitars from Phil Collen and Viv Campbell. Thankfully, the lyrics have improved since the last outing 'X' too, with almost political overtones in this opening track.

'Nine Lives' is the first single and it is an obvious first single, collaborating with country star Tim McGraw. Despite the country/blues twang, this still sounds like Def Leppard being Def Leppard.

'Bad Actress' is an AC/DC-esque stomper, which shows the band at their most rocking: some classic duel guitar from Collen and Campbell. 'C'Mon C'mon' is a 70's glam-inspired track, which shows the band's Sweet and T Rex influences. 'Only The Good Die Young' is one of the best tracks on the album, the lyrics pointing towards a tribute to fallen heroes like James Dean or maybe even the band's original guitarist Steve Clarke.

The album closer 'Gotta Let It Go' starts off slow and then pounds in for the chorus and ends the album on a high.

The DVD which accompanies the deluxe edition features a 20-minute documentary and a track by track guide to the album and also the Nine Lives video. I think this version is one for hardcore fans only, as casual fans of the band wouldn't really get much out of it.

All in all it's a very good record and a return to form for Britain's biggest and best rock band.



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On 27th May 2008 at 16:30 Anonymous 7085 wrote...

For over 25 years Def Leppard have been one of the UK's biggest rock bands, selling over 30 million records worldwide???????This is wrong, they are close to 70 million worldwide.


On 27th May 2008 at 17:26 Dave LMS wrote...

Technically, it's not wrong. 70m is still "over 30 million records worldwide"


On 28th May 2008 at 13:47 Anonymous 7087 wrote...

Good review Matt, Nice to see the old boys getting positive comments when they deserve it. I too think 'Only The Good Die Young' is one of the best on the album although 'Cruise Control' is really growing on me. I didnt believe that Tim McGraw sang anything on Nine Lives apart from the opening verse but after seeing the DVD Documentary i was stunned, his voice is so similar to Joe's that you can only just tell them apart and i've been a fan since I was a kid. Roll on Manchester.



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