Def Leppard: ‘Adrenalize’
Released on March 31, 1992 (Mercury/Bludgeon Riffola)
1992 and the musical landscape has changed! I don’t need to explain in great detail but the usual musical suspects from the Pacific Northwest chucked a lot of Southern Cal Cheeserock Acts into the dumpster and fair enough, so many cheeseball acts were getting deals in the late ’80s that the market was over saturated. Trust me folks! I got hosed on a few but I won’t name names yet.
So Leps are down to four as the great king of riffs Mr. Steve Clark passed away in January of 1991! For me and some others, so did the quality of tunes! So if my memory serves me correct, five songs on Adrenalize were co-written by Clark (good songs) before he passed and five without (so so songs). That kinda shoulda been the sign but here we are 25 years later and I finally figured it out just how important Clark was to Leppard and it isn’t until he dies that I figure it out…
Having said that, give Joe Elliott, Rick Allen, Rick Savage and Phil Collen their due. They could have taken their bat and glove and just gone home! Oh wait! That ain’t happening it’s called $$$$$$$$$$$!
“Let’s Get Rocked” — OK, I can admit it. When this was released as the opening single, I lapped it up! I mean Joe‘s asking me If I wanna get rocked? Absolutely boss! I do and here we go. It’s pretty clear that at the one minute mark this is a continuation of Hysteria and well, many a band have done this. Three acts coming to mind right away: ZZ Top with Eliminator followed by AfterBurner; Boston basically after the first Boston tried to duplicate it on the Don’t Look Back album (pretty good) and Third Stage — borderline meh except for Brad Delp (R.I.P.) whose vocals save the day; and, of course AC/DC with their whole back catalogue (they’re Gods and they know how to do it!). Leppard though, in a way, it’s good to be back with some rock. The drums courtesy of Allen have the big percussive sound and Phil Collen shreds into the shredders night with a solo and man, that’s where Steve Clark is missed. Whereas Clark was the real guitar slinger, playing not nearly the same amount of “Fast look at me mama” notes as Collen but more chill — more of an impact you could say. A thinker’s guitar player! “Let’s Get Rocked” after a while though gets tiring but for a moment in ’92, ummm “Lets Get Rocked!”
“Heaven Is” — Leppard knows that it’s all about airplay and videoplay and that’s what “Heaven Is.” Keeping the pockets of record company suits filled with dough, “Heaven Is” is a straight ahead rock track. With Mutt Lange dialing in along for the ride, this could have fit perfectly on Bryan Adams‘ Waking Up The Neighbours album, which to no ones surprise Mutt Lange wore the producer’s hat for…
“Make Love Like A Man” — Dig the music but man the lyrics are just brutal. So for that, I hardly paid attention to it but was forced to when I caught the Adrenalize 7 Day Weekend Tour in 1992! The vibe of the tune is good with the use of the percussive beats of Allen but man the lyrics are just “Hey Stoopid!” But can you blame Lep? It was four years earlier in 1988 when “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was huge so I guess Lep thought, What the hell? It worked once so it should work twice.” Nope, it didn’t!
“Tonight” — Now, this is a good track as well. Sure, it’s typical Lep fodder but it’s a well blended piece of melodic rock using both acoustic and electric guitars and Lep not overdoing it!
“White Lightning” — Steve Clark gets his due as you get seven minutes of sonics here. This is a big blast of tribute rock to their fallen comrade! Epic building song starting off with a solo and if Joe and boys had done more tunes like this on Adrenalize, I would have been all for it! They played this tune live as well and lasered the heck out of it! It was a huge production piece and so be it as Clark was the deal.
“Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)” — OK, fasten up your seat belt but 23 years later and I have to say, this is the best well written piece of music on this album. Yeah, I just did say that! “Stand Up” melds some real great rhythm here and the song is performed exceptionally and the chorus is gold! Even Elliott‘s voice carries the tune as well and is fit tailor-made to this style! Well done and dare I say it? A gem!
“Personal Property” — A pretty decent rocker with same old, same old lyrics but Leppard play this tune like they believe in it. It’s a four on the floor Leppy stomper! Well, for Adrenalize‘s purposes that is!
“Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” — Oh man, just so obvious. When “Love Bites” and such from Hysteria shot to the top of the charts, I was OK with it. Reason being is Lep was forging a new sound with that style of writing on Hysteria but here, they try to duplicate it and nope, no go hombre! Too obvious… Blah!
“I Wanna Touch” — Geez, I wish Lep would have sold this tune to Bret Michaels and Poison at the time as this is right up their alley! I couldn’t even get through this track after the first 30 seconds so in other words tracks eight and nine on Adrenalize = Skip! That’s being polite!
“Tear It Down” — OK, the Leps dig back in the vaults and recharge the batteries and crank this one out! Kinda like AC/DC musically a bit meaning straight ahead music! No frills and sometimes that’s the best policy. Great chorus and this song boosts up the end of the album after I tossed up my lunch after tracks eight and nine.
In conclusion, hmmm, interesting record looking back on it. But what do you do? 1991 must have been the shits for these guys after Clark passed! Like how the hell do we record a record without the king of riffs? Well, they did kinda. Half written with Clark and half not! So props to that. I guess you just have to push forward. Up until recently, I had not listened to this album in a real long time. It’s like when you bump into someone you haven’t seen in a long time and you get caught up and then move on. That’s what Adrenalize is to me!
01. Let’s Get Rocked
02. Heaven Is
03. Make Love Like a Man
05. White Lightning
06. Stand Up (Kick Love into Motion)
07. Personal Property
08. Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad
09. I Wanna Touch U
10. Tear It Down
Joe Elliott – lead vocals
Phil Collen – all guitars, acoustic guitar (4), cockney rhyming rap (3)
Rick Savage – bass guitar, acoustic guitar (4)
Rick Allen – drums
The Sideways Mob – backing vocals
Robert John “Mutt” Lange – backing vocals
John Sykes – backing vocals
Phil “Crash” Nicholas – keyboards (6)
Produced by Mike “Bat Ears” Shipley
Produced by Def Leppard and Mike “Bat Ears” Shipley
Engineered by Pete Woodroffe and Mike “Bat Ears” Shipley
Mixed by Mike “Bat Ears” Shipley
Executive produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange
Mastered by Bob Ludwig
Assistant engineer: Robert Scovill
Reviewed by Deke for Sleaze Roxx, March 2017
Def Leppard‘s “Let’s Get Rocked” video:
DEF LEPPARD – “Lets Get Rocked” (Official Music Video)
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