Showing posts with label Def Leppard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Def Leppard. Show all posts

Monday, April 27, 2015

Rise up, gather 'round: Def Leppard Live

Nostalgia is a powerful thing and currently the most dominant cultural currency. All forms of media are mined for reboots, sequels, prequels, to feed our middle-age need to revisit what we loved as children/teens and rock'n'roll is no different.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Nostalgia Meets Modern in a Big Ol’ Cup of WTF!?!

Songs from the Sparkle Lounge is the latest release from 80’s rock band Def Leppard. Like their apparent nemesis Bon Jovi (but with less frequency and commercial success) the Lep’s have continued to record and release album in addition to a yearly tour schedule. One gets the inkling that the albums are no longer the means but and end to enable to the far more profitable tours given diminishing sales. By example, a show at the Molson Ampitheater in Toronto to support the “Slang” release in 1996 was a half-empty audience of late 20’s (me included) unable to let go of their high school musical tastes. In sharp comparison, a 2007 show supporting the cover album “Yeah!” was a sold out arena spectacle with an audience of teens to middle age.

With “YEAH!” the band appears to have embraced their current status as a nostalgia act, no longer relevant, but still hoping for a place in the history of Rock ‘N’ Roll. “Songs..” is a surprising turgid affair with one or two gems that reveal a band not quite ready to fade away into obscurity.

The lead track “Go” is by far the strongest piece on the CD, raging forward with an intensity and relentless beat that fits comfortably with the most current of rock music. Unfortunately the Leps’ and/or their management, having been burned by the relative commercial failure (but critical success) of Slang continue to take the safest route possible in releasing singles, starting with the initial release “Nine Lives”. An alt-country collaboration with Tim Mcgraw, the song is tepid yet hooks with its jangly verse riffs. “Cmon C’mon” and the follow-up ballad love are firmly in “YEAH!” territory with their homage’s to Slade and Queen respectively.

Four songs into the album and its lack of direction and scattershot sound are already apparent. “Tomorrow” is a by the numbers rocker followed by the surprising “Cruise Control”. A throbbing bass line leads in, creating a dramatic and propulsive sound soundly grounded in modern rock, with a hooky chorus. Easily the 2nd best track on the album.

“Hallucinate”, “Only the good die young” “Bad Actress” and “Come undone” finish off the disc. While the trademark harmonies are present in the catchy chorus’, none of these songs make an impression.

“Song…” represents a band divided, between mediocre middle of the road rock and a significant need to sound modern and relevant. Much like their last original release “X”, the result is a mélange of sound that is unable to come to terms with its own identity. Victims of their significant industry savvy and considerable talent, Def Leppard are unable or unwilling to step forward and fully embrace contemporary styles or abandon them completely and rehash the sound that made their name. The result is an unfortunate mish-mash that mistakes confusion for ambiguity.