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4.5 out of 5 stars30
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 1 June 2003
This is by far the best album Def Leppard have released - only it isn't an album; it's a collection of B sides and nearlys. Some great non-traditional Def Leppard tracks like Desert Song and Fractured Love as well as some good old rock tracks like Ride into the Sun and Ring of Fire. There's also a storming cover of an old sweet song - Action - and was released as a single. Ballads are not missing, buut don't be surprised to hear Miss You in a Heartbeat no less than three times on the album! I can't wait till the next B-side collection!
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VINE VOICEon 27 March 2002
Although billed as an album of fillers, cast-offs and 'b' sides it is more than that, with gems such as "Miss You in a Heartbeat", "Two Steps Behind" and "Desert Song" standing out as classic Leppard tracks.
There is some padding and alternative versions of the same songs but I'd dare to say as an album it is better than "Slang" and on a par with the Leps first two albums (in my opinion!)
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on 1 February 2001
A compilation of Def Leppard b-tracks from through the out years.Best tracks are 'Fractured Love', She's too tough', Only After Dark' and 'I Wanna be your Hero'. A really good cd, which like DEF LEPPARD seems to be severely under rated.Buy it, as it is better then many band's actual albums, after all these are B-sides.
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on 13 January 2011
A huge surprise. I bought this working towards completing my collection without giving it much credit as an album. Slang was ok. Different and less fun than a usual DL album, but still pretty good. Euphoria was back to the Hysteria sound, although not as good. And X followed suit really. I let RetroActive lie on my ipod for a good few months before giving it a go. On first listen I wasn't too impressed and my fears had become ratified. Ok, no cigar. But even after 1 listen there were some tracks that stood out, like 'Fractured Love', 'Action' and the 2 ballads, 'Two Steps Behind' and 'Miss You In A Heartbeat'. On about the 3rd listen every single track seemed to begin singing off the hard drive as if some magic spell had suddenly brought them all to life. The greatest feeling in the world is that of low expectations being transformed into pure addiction.

'Desert Song' takes a while to sink in and it is one of the less 'Def Leppard' songs, but it is a fantastic, hard, driving, dark track that gets better with each listen. 'Fractured Love' starts slow but explodes into a very 80s metal chorus, together with chugging guitars and singalong, chanting chorus. As near to perfect, and again as unlike the 'normal' music played by the band, as possible. 'Action' is a true Leppard, fun track. However much it sounds like it was made for the band, it is actually a Sweet cover. And it's perfect. 'Two Steps Behind' is the first of the 2 ballads. It's a really good, weepy, acoustic number. The 'electric' version appears later but there is not much difference between the 2. 'She's So Tough' is a really old skool rocker with an infectious chorus. It's not perfect and could almost be said to be filler, but it does grow on every listen. 'Miss You In A Heartbeat' is the second ballad and it is as good as the first, with added saccharine and 'woo-oo-ooos'. It's much better than some of their ballads from later albums.

The Mick Ronson number 'Only After Dark' is great. It's fun and upbeat and has a great rhythm and beat. Very un-Leppard, but very very good. 'Ride Into the Sun' is a grower. It has a very fresh, crunchy, production, a fantastic metal riff (very 80s again, which is why I'm loving this) and a thumping beat. But it's only recognisable after a few listens. So far, no dud tracks. 'From The Inside' I thought was the first not great track but after repeated listens I've come to see it as one of the best in the collection, even of their career! It's subtle and moving and understated with great lyrics and a gripping melancholy. Awesome and very real, which is what a lot of their other albums lack. 'Ring of Fire' has the same overall feel as 'Ride ...'. It's another extremely serious rock song with teeth and almost sounds like a WASP track circa Headless Children (meaning= excellent). 'I Wanna Be Your Hero' horribly recalls the Enrique cheese-fest, but it is far from that chart-bothering monster. Not to say that it is not cheesy though. It's probably slightly a little weaker than the rest but it's still a worthy track and would make other filler seem like dross. Then there is a run of the ballads with extra/less guitars etc. It is unneeded as the tracks are perfectly fine on their own. But that's a minor quibble.

This album's heart is in the 80s glam and metal era. It is THE least sounding Def Leppard album. It is a collection of B-sides and rarities that had not made it onto any album proper. And it is undeniably one of the band's best records. Ironic.

And it's got a cracking front cover.
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on 21 October 2015
Considering this was a stop-gap release following the Adrenalize album and tour, it was meant to clear the cupboards from Def Leppard’s past. It was to be the final say on the Steve Clark era, welcome Vivian Campbell to the band and hint at a slightly harder edge style the band were heading in. Well, sort of.

Firstly, the Steve Clark era only really finished with a completed version of a song Steve helped write for Adrenalize. When Love And Hate Collide finally surfaced on the Vault collection.

It didn’t really usher in Vivian as apart from some guitar work, he was not a writer on any of the ‘new’ material offered.

But Retro Active is brilliant. It’s not cohesive like a normal album because the band go from very strong rockers like Desert Song and Fractured Love (Hysteria leftovers) to From The Inside (a folk song with Hothouse Flowers). Then there’s Ride Into The Sun (a re-recorded song from their 1979 E.P.), Miss You In A Heartbeat, the best ballad the band have produced (added to the Adrenalize tour edition CD), a cover of the Sweet’s Action and some Hysteria and Adrenalize B-Sides. It’s all over the place, but all the better for it.

It’s more than a stop-gap release. I treat this as a genuine album which fits snugly between Adrenalize and Slang. Great cover art too.
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on 6 August 2014
This Album is a MUST If you are a Fan of the Band and even if you are not it is HIGHLY RECCOMENDED "DESERT SONG" "ACTION" "SHE'S TO TOUGH"I MISS YOU IN A HEARTBEAT "ONLY AFTER DARK" "RING OF FIRE" and "I WANNA BE YOUR HERO" Are CLEARLY And by far the BEST songs on the album but even the other Songs such as "FRACTURED LOVE and "RIDE INTO THE SUN" are Catchy I Must say all the tracks on the album are EXCELLENTLY PRODUCED and STRIKINGLY CLEAR In SOUND and MUSIC Quality.Making it clear that DEF LEPPARD Are MASTERS OF THERE CRAFT This album is MUCH BETTER than a album of 4 Stars out of 5 and I am very glad that I have it!!!!!!!!,"4.6 out of 5 for me"
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on 4 July 2015
I don't know why this isn't available for download from any sites (hint hint amazon), as this is my favourite Def Leppard album. The album is made up of b sides - the ones that weren't good enough to be released....Yet they
are some of my favourite tracks, From the Inside, Fractured love, Dessert song, miss you in a heartbeat(so versions) and two steps behind (all versions) rank as some of the best songs they've done! Grew up with Def Leppard, and they're from not far away from me (Sheffield), I rate this as their best album personally!
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on 2 September 2014
I first bought this album on tape, when it came out in the mid 90s,was pretty good then. The tape has long worn out"so has the tape deck",so finaly got round to buying on CD,i should have got long ago,this is a really good album of B sides,and lost tunes,really gose well with albums 3-5,lots of good stuff,def leppard at there best,so if you have albums 3-5,this is well worth buying,enjoy Justin. ps the cover,seems to be two things,when you lookc at it from close on,and afar,exellent.
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on 27 March 2014
This album is fantastic. I had ignored Leppard for years as I thought they were no longer the band I grew to love in my youth. My bias meant I ignored this album on release. It was only the impact of seeing them live that rekindled my interest. Having read the other positive reviews on Amazon I gave this a go. How right they were. Every track is worthy of being on he album and the album is in my opinion better than their classics as it is not as over produced/mixed.
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on 15 December 2010
This is a collection of B-sides and rarities and the fact it's better than the last three 'proper' Def Leppard albums says it all. From the crushing, middle-Eastern flavoured Desert Song, to the high-energy Action and a whole host of other rockers, ballads and curiosities, this is Def Leppard at their very best. Essential.
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