Def Leppard hasn’t been known for hard rock in over two decades. The band moved more towards a pop rock sound ages ago. Fans have been longing for the band to return to the sound that made them famous in the early 80’s. Songs From the Sparkle Lounge isn’t a Pyromania or Hysteria part two, but this album does have some of the heaviest tracks that the band has done in quite a while. The songwriting on this record took a more simplistic approach. Most cuts on Songs From the Sparkle Lounge have an anthemic quality about it. As a result, the lyrics are easy to remember, easy to sing along with, and the band could have their first hit record with new material since 1993’s Retroactive. Yes, the band has had Gold Albums since then, but none of their releases, aside from their Greatest hit compilations, have sold more than a million copies since 1993’s Retroactive.
Those of you fearing that Def Leppard is going to tread down the road that Bon Jovi went down, I can gladly say, they did not. This album has a couple of heavy cuts. Just listen to the first track Go, and you will understand how much of a difference the sound is over the past few records. This is the first album where I have heard Vivian Campbell cut loose on a Def Leppard album, and all I can say is, ITS ABOUT TIME! The band has not jettisoned their pop rock sound on this disc, so the fans of the NWOBHM Def Leppard albums, probably won’t enjoy this record as much. Those of you looking for a disc full of good pop songs, will probably be quite happy with this disc. Songs from the Sparkle Lounge probably has more in common with Adrenalize than any of Def Leppard’s prior work.
Yes, Tim McGraw sings the intro on Nine Lives. His involvement with the song adds absolutely nothing to the song or the record. It is easily a quick marketing grab for Def Leppard, who could draw a few fans from the music buying Country Music audience. Either way it is probably a smart move for the band, especially when most bands are struggling to sell records in 2008.
Like most Def Leppard albums, Songs From the Sparkle Lounge has a power ballad, called Love. This song has more syrup than IHOP. This song has a center part that gives it a Queen like feel to it.
So far my favorite cuts are Go, Cruise Control, Hallucinate and Bad Actress.
Songs From the Sparkle Lounge isn’t a terribly long affair. It clocks in just shy of 40 minutes. This isn’t Def Leppard’s best work, but it is far from their worst. Will this new album be enough to garner new success for Def Leppard? It just might. I had low expectations for this record, and as a result I enjoyed it. I think most of you will too.
You can listen to samples of this album at the Sparkle Lounge Micro site.
Def Leppard is:
Joe Elliott – Vocals
Phil Collen – Guitars
Vivian Campbell – Guitars
Rick Allen – Drums
Rick Savage – Bass