RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Def Leppard – Def Leppard
Sony Music

Rating: B

After a few lackluster efforts that failed to please the band’s rabid fan base, Def Leppard has returned with a self-titled album that more than enough makes up for lost time!  

Both Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell have been telling people that this is the best album the band has made in a couple of decades, but, as jaded rock critics, we tend to hear that kind of jive from members of classic rock bands about every album they put out.  Instead of just saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah...” and moving on to the next CD to review, I decided to see if this release was any good after all.  

I am pleased to announce from my first listen that this is, indeed, the best Def Leppard album in many, many moons!  They did it! The songs on the album range from that kinda-sorta hard rock / huge riffs stuff, to the more pop-sensible, to the downright girl-loving ballads.  In each case, it works.  There is not a bad tune on the album!  

“Let’s Go” and “Dangerous” are back-to-back classic sounding Def Lep songs that start off the album.  The rest of the album, however, is not so ‘classic Def Lep’ sounding.  Well, "Let's Go" borrows strongly from "Pour Some Sugar," but it’s still a cool song.

“Man Enough” is a solid rock song that breaks away from the classic sounding Def Lep vibe which, in this case, is a good thing! It’s nice to hear the band wanting to stretch out a bit. The next two numbers, “We Belong” and “Invincible” is not Def Lep paying tribute to Pat Benatar, even though, as with many tunes on the album, they share famous song titles.  The earlier track is a nice ballad, while the latter is a mid-tempo rock song.  “Sea of Love” has nothing to do with Robert Plant either!  It is a fun rocker and sounds nothing like the song of the same name by The Honeydrippers!  

There is a very classic rock feel to tunes like “All Time High” and “Broke ‘N’ Brokenhearted.”  They have the classic Def Lep tone, but Mott The Hoople would be very at home with either of these!  Another song with a famous name, but not a remake, “Forever Young” is hard rocker, maybe the hardest rocker on the album.  Despite being another song ‘not to confused with a famous song of the same name’, this one has it all!  

“Last Dance” is another tune that will go over well live when it comes time to bring your lady close, while “Wings of an Angel” is the closest thing to an epic tune on the album.  “Blind Faith” is an out of character song for Def Leppard with some slow blues licks over a mellow intro.  Yet, the tune works!  The song builds and features some tasty guitar licks along with a strong vocal.   

Look, this is not Hysteria or Pyromania.  Those days are gone but, as Viv and Phil said, it is hands down the best album this band has put out in a couple decades.   

It’s a solid outing by a damn fine band!  

It’s Def Leppard!

Track Listing:
1 Let’s Go       5:01
2 Dangerous      3:26
3 Man Enough      3:54
4 We Belong      5:06
5 Invincible      3:46
6 Sea of Love      4:04
7 Energized       3:23
8 All Time High      4:19
9 Battle of My Own      2:42
10 Broke ‘N’ Brokenhearted    3:17
11 Forever Young      2:21
12 Last Dance      3:09
13 Wings of an Angel     4:23
14 Blind Faith     5:33

By Jeb Wright