Def Leppard Def Leppard on Limited Edition 180g 2LP
First New Studio Album Since 2008's Songs from the Sparkle Lounge!
If you're willing to look for it, there's always going to be uncharted territory in music. With ten studio albums and countless sold out shows under their belts, it might seem like Def Leppard have done it all. However, while recording their self-titled eleventh full-length studio album, and first since 2008's Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, the band members – Joe Elliott [vocals], Vivian Campbell [guitar], Phil Collen [guitar], Rick "Sav" Savage [bass], and Rick Allen [drums] – found themselves in a rather new, if not entirely welcome position.
"We'd never done an album when we weren't contracted to do one," explains Joe. "We've been independent for seven years, we've loved every minute of it, but we haven't made an album as such. There were still expectations even when we did our first record On Through The Night. This time, there were none. We personally didn't even expect to do an album when we first went into the studio! We just wanted to embrace our influences and write a few songs we could be proud of. I don't think I've enjoyed making a record as much as I enjoyed making this one."
In between their seemingly endless tour schedule and following Campbell's treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma (he's in remission now), the musicians convened at Joe's home studio in Dublin, Ireland during early 2015. Co-producing with longtime collaborator Ronan McHugh, the initial thought was to just cut a couple of tracks and perhaps release an EP. Teeming with ideas, the band rode an immense creative wave and emerged with Def Leppard's 14 songs.
The Def Leppard hallmarks – stadium-size harmonies, bombastic drums, and heaps of riffs – remain as vibrant and vital as ever. That's evident from one listen to the first single and album opener "Let's Go," originally penned by "Sav" early in the process. Driven by a muscular guitar groove, jackhammer backbeat, acoustic bridge, and massive chant, the track ignites their signature spark. Meanwhile, "Dangerous" rolls from a razor sharp riff into yet another irresistible refrain amplified by a gang vocal call-and-response. "Man Enough" weaves in and out of a confident sonic strut on a funky bass line, "Broke ‘n' Brokenhearted" breaks down into a wah solo, and "Blind Faith" tackles a weighty subject with an epic delivery.
Choosing to name the record Def Leppard not only nods to their history, but it hints at their future. "The name itself sums everything up," Joe adds. "It's a misspelled nonsensical mad-looking two words. Everything about rock ‘n' roll is the opposite of what everybody tries to teach you growing up. That's what makes it fantastic. It's loose, it's wild, and it doesn't follow the rules."