Def Leppard – Songs From The Sparkle Lounge
Songs From The Sparkle Lounge is the first album of new material by Def Leppard in six years and well deserving of a spin. It taps into the band’s strengths – writing tight pop-rock songs with plenty of hooks, cascading vocal harmonies and hard-hitting drumming.
There’s been a lot of hype regarding the band’s collaboration with country music star Tim McGraw on the single “Nine Lives,” but that’s not even close to the album’s best song, catchy though it is with its AC/DC-esque guitar parts and chorus.
The opening track “Go” is a powerful tune, and one of the highlights here, with a pounding rhythm and aggressive guitar. Joe Elliott’s vocals are dark and angry, singing “We look to our leaders with the lies they try to feed us/Like a knife they try to bleed us/And they cut us real slow.” Obviously, the current political climate is influencing more than just lobbyists. It also features a cool, almost Middle-Eastern flavored guitar solo.
“C’mon C’mon” has a sweet ’70s almost power-pop feel; “Love” is an expertly arranged ballad that takes some interesting turns, moving from a gentle Spanish-guitar-laden section into a Queen-like Bolero, with some amazing singing. Leppard’s vocal harmonies are as recognizable as The Beach Boys, and they deliver on tracks such as the upbeat “Tomorrow” and “Come Undone.”
But it’s not until seven songs in that we come to the new “classic” track “Hallucinate.” With its driving beat, guitar crunch and impossibly catchy chorus, it sits comfortably among the best tracks from Pyromania and Hysteria. Check it out. The album’s back end also holds the excellent “Bad Actress” – a hilarious rocker that pummels the proliferation of Hollywood wannabes – and the closer, “Gotta Let It Go,” a nice bookend to “Go,” with some great singing by Elliott.
Check it out!