After two surprisingly good tracks (“Let Go” and “Dangerous”) were released in advance of the release of Def Leppard‘s new self-titled album, I have to say that I was secretly hoping to have Def Leppard return to form i.e. the lofty heights that the band reached with High ‘N’ Dry, Pyromania and Hysteria. Based on the two first songs that had been released, I was expecting something more along the line of Hysteria — unfortunately — but I was still excited nonetheless. Don’t get me wrong, I like Hysteria — and certainly millions and millions of people as well with over 25 million copies sold worldwide — but I miss the hard rocking Def Leppard of old.
Def Leppard‘s latest album is a bit hit or miss for me, mainly because there are quite a few slower songs on the album. Tracks like “We Belong,” “Invincible” and “Energized” (the latter which has the opposite effect on me) are alright but just too poppy for my taste. But overall, the album is an enjoyable listen as long as you are not expecting many full out rockers and enjoy pop rock, which is what Def Leppard have really become over the years. What Def Leppard deliver with their self-titled record is an album filled with melody and catchy songs similar to Hysteria with a little bit less experimentation than the latter and more straightforward rock at times. I’d compare Def Leppard to some of the British group’s more recent albums but truth be told, after the disappointing Adrenalize, I never purchased another studio album from the group and have only heard bits and pieces of albums such as Slang, Euphoria and Songs From The Sparkle Lounge. However, from what I have read and heard, Def Leppard have never returned to their heavy metal roots predating Hysteria and I have not missed that much.
As mentioned, there are just too many slower songs for me to really get into this album. Def Leppard could have also trimmed the fat on the album by sticking to the best ten songs rather than release fourteen songs. Songs like “Last Chance” and “Energized” could have easily been left off the record. I guess that there are no copyright issues when you are ripping off one of your own songs because the opening riff for “Let’s Go” sure sounds a lot like the riff for “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” While I would usually admonish a band for doing that, I think it is actually a shrewd move on Def Leppard‘s part because it sort of gives people an idea that the record will be in the Hysteria mould, which I am sure a lot of people would be really happy with.
My favorite tracks on Def Leppard are definitely the more rocking ones and the bluesier ones. In addition to the first two songs, tracks like “Sea Of Love,” “All Time High” and “Broke ‘N’ Brokenhearted” show that Def Leppard still have that Midas touch for providing faster catchy sing along rockers. Other highlights include “Man Enough” which has a great real funky groove to it and “Battle Of My Own” with its cool bluesy feel to it which feels quite different from what I have heard from Def Leppard in the past. A song like the slower album closer “Blind Faith” shows a more mature sounding Def Leppard with its Beatlesesque sounds, which I like a whole lot better than the sappy poppy ballads that Def Leppard also offer up this time around (or seemingly every time).
Overall, Def Leppard have delivered another good pop rock album, which does not push the band’s boundaries in any way but which delivers likely what a lot of people are hoping from them. In other words, Def Leppard have delivered a safe record.
01. Let’s Go
03. Man Enough
04. We Belong
06. Sea Of Love
08. All Time High
09. Battle Of My Own
10. Broke ‘N’ Brokenhearted
11. Forever Young
12. Last Dance
13. Wings Of An Angel
14. Blind Faith
Rick Allen – drums, percussion
Vivian Campbell – guitar, backing vocals
Phil Collen – guitar, backing vocals
Joe Elliott – lead and backing vocals
Rick Savage – bass, backing vocals
Produced by Ronan McHugh and Def Leppard
Engineered by Ronan McHugh
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, October 2015