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Slang Deluxe Edition - extras and packaging could be better
on 17 February 2014
I am a long time Leppard fan, having started with the single Hello America in 1980 and carried on buying each album on release and seeing them a number of times in concert. I always liked Slang. It was a bit of a change in direction and was needed at the time. Adrenalize very much built on the big production sound of Hysteria and that probably couldn't be taken any further at the time. So if you don't already have Slang, this Deluxe Edition remaster is worth it as there are some really great Leppard songs in there including some fantastic ballads such as Breathe a Sigh and Where Does Love Go When It Dies plus some quite different rock songs such as the title track itself. The remaster is good, not much different from the original to my ears but I quite like the sound of the original anyway.
I didn't give it 4 or 5 because the package itself and the choice of extra tracks lets it down in my view.
I have the original Slang CD which came with a free CD featuring six Acoustic tracks live in Singapore. It is a great package.
It's quite unusual to say the original release beats the reissue in terms of extras, but it certainly does as live acoustic versions of Armageddon It, Two Steps Behind, From the Inside, Animal, When Love and Hate Collides and Pour Some Sugar on Me are well worth having. You'd be better tracking that down if you can.
The previous Deluxe Editions for Pyromania, Hysteria and Adrenalize are excellent in terms of extras. On Pyromania we got a live show from LA Forum from the Pyromania tour. On Hysteria, all the B sides and remixes plus some live tracks from the period. On Adrenalize all the B sides and some more live tracks. All three were consistently presented in gatefold digi packs and form quite a good collection of reissues. I expected Slang Deluxe to follow suit and maintain the consistent standard of the deluxe reissues.
Here we get various original 1st drafts and rough mixes of some of the Slang album track and a few extra songs that didn't make it to the album.
What is missing are the B sides from the Slang era singles. I would have liked the extras to include the versions of Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, Jeff Beck"s Cause We Ended as Lovers and Led Boots, When Saturday Comes, Jimmy's Theme etc plus the live versions of Slang, Deliver Me, All I Want Is Everything, Another Hit & Run, Rock Rock etc that were released at the time as B Sides. Some of the B Sides are included (Cant Keep Away From The Flame, Move With Me Slowly but the rest are missing in favour of the 1st drafts and rough mixes. I think that is a mistake and a missed opportunity to maintain the high standard of the previous deluxe editions.
Finally the packaging is very poor in comparison to the three previous Deluxe Editions. Rather than a gatefold digi pack, we get what is a double jewel case (the type that can take up to four discs and takes up the space of three CD boxes on the shelf). Nowadays, this looks quite old fashioned. The original release with the extra Acoustic Live in Singapore was packaged better in a single size, flip out style 2cd box.
Next to the previous three Leppard Deluxe Editions, Slang looks poorly done to me. There's no excuse for that. In terms of costs of production, all the recording costs are sunk on the initial release so it's just remastering and repackaging and adding a well compiled, comprehensive disc of extras. No reason why that is compromised on this release in comparison to the previous three.
In summary, Slang the album is excellent, buy it if you don't already have it but as a Deluxe Edition, this falls short of the high standard set by the previous releases and that's disappointing.