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however where Euphoria was welcomed as a return to form following Slang’s divisive reception (I think it’s brilliant, but of its
on 22 October 2015
Another long gap between releases, however where Euphoria was welcomed as a return to form following Slang’s divisive reception (I think it’s brilliant, but of its time), ‘X’ appeared without a huge fanfare. Releases by big melodic rock bands that had their biggest successes in the 80’s were not getting the media coverage or fan attention they had previously been associated with. The early 00’s were a funny time. It was either alternative metal like Limp Bizkit, poppy punk rock like Green Day or manufactured pop acts like Britney.
Like Bon Jovi with Bounce, Def Leppard struggled to know where to go. Bounce went a harder route and alienated their fans who wanted more of the ‘pop’ hooks. Def Leppard went to pop route and upset the diehards who wanted the heavier stuff.
As an album, X is ok. Some people love it, others hate it. It’s musical marmite. I like it but try as I have done, I can’t love it. One big problem for me was that it came out of the gates with a gentle jog. Whilst Now is a good middling song (it’s mid-pace is not unlike Women from Hysteria), it doesn’t have the rock-chops to match that earlier track. Although it had a good video, this should not have been the first single. It then proceeds into Unbelievable, a ballad. It’s not until track 3 that you get a faster paced song but even that is very melodic and poppy as is the next track Everyday. Track 5 is another ballad (Long Long Way To Go) although it’s the best song on the album.
Track 6 is where the harder rock songs start to appear but is it too late? Every song of X is perfectly executed, but the running order is at fault here. Outside writers also play their part. They used songwriters linked with Britney Spears and The Backstreet Boys which explains why everything is overly poppy. Maybe that’s what DL were going for I’m not sure, but when you did get the harder rockers like Cry, Scar and Kiss The Day, you realise what DL can still be capable of; big melodic rock tracks with crunching guitar.
Overall, it’s still a good album. DL could bring out an album of a-cappella bluegrass and I’d still buy it but this could have been better. Again, 2002 was a weird time for ‘heritage’ acts. It was a sign of the times. Incidentally, in 1993 they sold out Don Valley Stadium after a 2 year world tour. By 2003, they were playing theatres in the UK which were not even half full. Really sad (although the gig I witnessed at Portsmouth Guildhall was brilliant). However perhaps every band gets their low point as Def Leppard are doing pretty well for themselves at the moment.
So, X. A flawed album but as part of their greater catalogue, still an impressive set of songs.