Like a blast of nostalgia and hi-fives to the max – that’s how I would describe listening to Def Leppard’s latest album. They have nothing left to prove and they are doing what they love for themselves and their millions of fans. But for a band who have been around as long as they have, I’m surprised that this is just their 11th studio album. I shouldn’t be, cause I have all the other 10, but I still am. In the May 17, 2008 issue of Billboard magazine the album debuted at #5 on the Top 200 Album chart, selling about 55,000 copies. The album debuted at #1 on the Rock Album chart and the Hard Rock Album chart. And this album comes not too long after Yeah! (their tribute to their influences album) and a beefed up new Hits collection Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection.
A cool but harder sounding Go kicks off the record. The barage of guitars are enough to convince me of the direction that this album is going in – and I’m on board! Nine Lives is a fun and good first single, albeit a duet with country crooner Tim McGraw, who I usually don’t listen to. But the good ole Lep sound is back in full form over here and still sounds fresh & energetic. C’mon, C’mon is the second single and boasts a cool video. The lyrics don’t tax the brain – it’s about having a great time and sex is on the plate. We need a ballad now and they deliver with Love. But I wouldn’t label it as one of their best.
Tomorrow is a feel good, casual shrug of the shoulder and is worth listening to a few times before you write it off. Cruise Control has this cool bass line that holds the whole song together (screaming guitar solo non-withstanding). Hallucinate showcases the driving interlock of guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell’s bone cutting guitar licks. Only The Good Die Young should be their next single and is probably their best song on the record.
Bad Actress (Lindsay Lohan? Jennifer Lopez? Paris Hilton?) is about just that. A little punk song, perhaps with a bow to the 70s British scene. Come Undone is a vintage nod to their old swagger. The album’s final track Gotta Let It Go is dispensed with a flashy pulverizing chorus. The vocals of Joe Elliot sound about at his best, although he can’t really take it too high anymore. Rick Savage on bass & Rick Allen on the drums create the foundation for the guitarists to lay down layers of guitar work and some keyboards that add to the melody.
They are not going to lay any new ground but it’s a matter of sticking to your guns and being true to yourself. Def Leppard will continue to please anyone who wants that 80s sound, with a little updation, and pleasing choruses. I say ROCK ON with Nine Lives!