Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Def Leppard: Songs From The Sparkle Lounge

While Def Leppard had modest success before John "Mutt" Lange entered its

world, the legendarily hands-on producer's input on 1983's Pyromania and 1987's Hysteria made the band both household names and

multimillionaires. After 1991's Adrenalize (which he executive-produced), Lange started a family with Shania Twain,

relocated to Switzerland, and turned away from the harder sounds he once

converted into platinum—and Def Leppard's catalog hasn't been the same

since. On its 10th studio album, Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, Def Leppard does its best to recapture the harder

pop-metal of those Lange-era classics. Classic Leppard elements—chiming,

skyscraper-sized riffs and meticulously layered vocal harmonies—abound in

standouts like "Go" and "Hallucinate," and the propulsive "Bad Actress" is

almost hard enough to encourage head-banging. But those few bright spots don't

make up for the album's general lack of immediacy or memorable hooks, and in

"Nine Lives," a duet with Tim McGraw that sounds equally inspired by fellow

Lange protégés AC/DC and the possibility of a Twain/Lange-style pop-country

crossover, the band just sounds desperate.


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