SONGS FROM THE SPARKLE LOUNGE
Released 2008 (Bludgeon Riffola/Island)
Billboard Chart Position #5
02. Nine Lives
03. C’Mon C’Mon
06. Cruise Control
08. Only The Good Die Young
09. Bad Actress
10. Come Undone
11. Gotta Let It Go
Joe Elliott – vocals
Phil Collen – guitars and backing vocals
Vivian Campbell – guitars and backing vocals
Rick Savage – bass, additional guitars and backing vocals
Rick Allen – drums and backing vocals
Produced by Def Leppard and Ronan McHugh.
Few bands in the history of rock have drifted further from their roots than Def Leppard. And when it was announced that country crooner Tim McGraw would be appearing on the first single, “Nine Lives”, I figured it would result in stripping another piece of dignity from this once ground-breaking band.
As revolting as the thought of a Def Leppard/Tim McGraw duo sounds, when I first heard the song on the radio I was stunned at how much I actually enjoyed it. The song begins with a country vibe but quickly shifts gears and becomes a catchy pop-rock song. However all is not well in Def Leppardville, as the crap outweighs the caviar on this CD.
Admittedly the previous crap statement may have been rather harsh. Although Songs From The Sparkle Lounge grows on you with each listen, it is also fairly forgettable. By that I mean that I found myself singing along to several songs, but once the tune was over I couldn’t remember much about what was just playing.
The artwork and liner notes treat this release as if it was a movie soundtrack, and if it was an actual movie I would have been tempted to dump my popcorn and leave the theater half way through. Luckily I stuck it out, because the second half of this CD is much better than the first. “Hallucinate”, “Only The Good Die Young”, “Gotta Let It Go” and the best of the bunch “Bad Actress” at least find the band attempting up-tempo rock without being too mainstream.
Def Leppard have always hated being labeled as heavy metal, and they won’t have to worry about anyone calling Songs From The Sparkle Lounge metal. Actually you might even have trouble finding people that would even consider this rock. To my ears this CD is more of a pop record, custom made for current radio trends. This isn’t the Def Leppard that I grew up loving, but it may be a Def Leppard that younger listeners can grow with. Pyromania and Hysteria seem like a lifetime ago, not just in years but also in style – welcome to the ‘new’ Def Leppard.
Reviewed by Skid for Sleaze Roxx, May 2008.