2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Their best studio work since Euphoria,
This review is from: Songs From The Sparkle Lounge (Audio CD)
Songs from the Sparkle Lounge is Def Leppard's tenth studio album. The album is produced by the band and Ronan McHugh. In America the album was released on 29 April 29, 2008. The album features Joe Elliott on vocals, Rick Allen on drums, Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell on guitar, and Rick "Sav" Savage on bass. Tim McGraw appears on Nine Lives.
Ever since Def Leppard released Yeah!, their covers album from 2 years back, to a mixed critical and fan reception, everyone wondered how long it would be until the next album would get released - and above all, if it would be worthwhile. A lot of publicity was built up by the band, claiming it would (to the pleasure of many fans, this one included) that there would be no ballads, and that it would be in the style on seventies-style hard rock. So how does Songs from the Sparkle Lounge measure up?
It's official. For the first time since Steve Clark died, Def Leppard seems to be on a winning streak. 2 years after delivering Yeah!, an incredible covers album that was the band's finest work in years, they serve up what is arguably their best album of original studio material in a decade. Largely in the style of Euphoria and 70s glam rock, it's an excellent listening experience that rarely missteps. It's not an album for those seeking a return to the band's earlier, heavier NWOBHM sound, but if you're a fan of all phases of the band's career, or you at least liked Euphoria, it's doubtful you'll be disappointed.
-"Go" (Collen, Elliott) - 3:21
The band doesn't waste any time getting down to the good stuff. It's one of those "mature but still rocks hard" songs, which will bring memories of Paper Sun from Euphoria (and that's a good thing.)
-"Nine Lives" (Collen, Elliott, McGraw, Savage) - 3:32
Tim McGraw joins the band for this tune, which he also co-wrote with them. This was the song that got the most pre-release publicity, not to mention the one I had my biggest doubts about. But fear not, it's pretty good! A nice cross of country and rock.
-"C'mon C'mon" (Savage) - 4:09
On more recent efforts, Def Leppard seems to have been getting more into their 70s glam rock influences. That reigns true on this track. It's a nice musical return to the 70s, but the sound is still distinctly all Leppard's own. Good stuff.
-"Love" (Savage) - 4:17
Def Leppard promised no ballads, but whether or not this song is one is debatable. Don't worry, I'm not complaining. With a first half that will bring Queen's classic Love of My Life to mind, and a latter half that the late Beatles or Electric Light Orchestra would be proud of, it's an incredible tune.
-"Tomorrow" (Collen) - 3:35
This is the song Phil Collen wrote about the passing away of his father. And it's surprisingly upbeat and optimistic musically despite the subject matter. The song has some excellent riffs, and it wouldn't surprise me if a few years down the road, this is one of the most-remembered songs from the album.
-"Cruise Control" (Campbell) - 3:03
This is another one of those hard rocking but mature songs that will remind you of the band's work from the Euphoria album. Good work from the whole band on this one. It's a composition that shows off just how diverse musically Viv can be.
-"Hallucinate" (Collen) - 3:17
Straight-up retro-flavored glam rock. If this song weren't a Def Leppard original, it would have been right at home on Yeah!. A great song, definitely one of this reviewer's favorite cuts from the album.
-"Only the Good Die Young" (Campbell) - 3:34
This tune slows things down, but still rocks throughout. A nice mix of rock and pop sounds from start to finish, and some especially excellent guitar work from Viv.
-"Bad Actress" (Elliott) - 3:03
Back to the retro-70s glam stuff. Once again the band is at the top of their game here. It's one of those songs that must be heard to be appreciated.
-"Come Undone" (Elliott) - 3:32
Again, we get a tune that gives us a nice mix of sounds, pop and rock alike. A great Elliott composition, it's one of the many songs on here that will remind you of Euphoria-era stuff.
-"Gotta Let It Go" (Campbell) - 3:55
A great way to finish the album. This is a straight-up rock tune, with some of the post-Steve Clark formation's best guitar work to date. In the simplest terms possible, a great song.
As far as bonus tracks go, the UK and Japanese versions contain a piano version of Love. Japanese versions only include a Def Leppard Only version of Nine Lives (without Tim McGraw.) If you buy the album on iTunes, you get the former bonus track (not sure if this is a limited-time thing or not, so if you plan to get it online, I'd advise doing it ASAP just to be safe.)
First Yeah! and now this. For the first time in a long time, the band has a good things going. If you're at all a fan of Def Leppard, or you're like me and you're one of those many fans who liked Euphoria but loathed the material immediately before and after, pick this one up.