CD Review: Def Leppard


Def Leppard
Hysteria (Deluxe Edition)
Bludgeon Riffola/Mercury/UME
By David Chiu

The music of Def Leppard was completely unavoidable for those who remember listening to the radio back in 1988. The band from Sheffield, England reached critical mass with the now best-selling Hysteria, which yielded seven singles—a feat unheard of from a metal band, albeit a pop one. The killer hooks, the sleek production by ‘Mutt’ Lange, the airy harmonies and the grooves are what sink in your skin from each of Hysteria’s twelve songs: the percussive barrage of Rocket, a tribute to ‘70s glam rock; the uncharacteristic ballad “Love Bites”; the fist-pounding and suggestive “Pour Some Sugar On Me”; and let’s not forget “Armageddon It” and “Animal,” that will get you to sing along with their choruses. Years in the making, which has been well documented before and in David Fricke’s liner notes in this reissue, Hysteria is both an artistic achievement and a guilty pleasure and vice versa—Def Leppard at its absolute prime; along with Bon Jovi, the band made metal safe and palatable for mainstream consumption. The second disc of this deluxe edition contains singles’ B-sides, including a “Rock of Ages” medley that cleverly incorporates “Radar Love,” “Not Fade Away,” “Come Together,” “My Generation” and “Whole Lotta Love”; and a cover of Engelbert Humperdinck’s (!) “Release Me,” billed as being recorded Stumpus Maximus and the Good Ol’ Boys. And who said metal bands don’t have a sense of humor?

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