Yeah!

Yeah!

4.8 5
by Def Leppard
     
 

People usually slip under the covers for one of two reasons -- to seek out comfort or to get a little frisky. There's a bit of both going on in this good-humored, cleverly conceived disc, which turns the metal vets loose on a set of tunes that range from the predictable to the provocative -- a three-decades-on, metal-flaked rejoinder to David Bowie's Pin-Ups. When…  See more details below

Overview

People usually slip under the covers for one of two reasons -- to seek out comfort or to get a little frisky. There's a bit of both going on in this good-humored, cleverly conceived disc, which turns the metal vets loose on a set of tunes that range from the predictable to the provocative -- a three-decades-on, metal-flaked rejoinder to David Bowie's Pin-Ups. When the quintet takes on songs by artists with whom they share roots -- like Faces' "Stay with Me" or T Rex's "20th Century Boy"-- they play pretty much strictly by the book, with Joe Elliott shaping his supple voice to match the tones of the original singer. There's nothing wrong with that approach, of course, and the energy they pour into a faithful rendition of Mott the Hoople's underappreciated "Golden Age of Rock & Roll" is contagious enough to get listeners to work up a sweat. Yeah! really takes off, however, when the band venture a bit outside those glam-slam confines -- as on a ringing, rousing take on Blondie's power-pop classic "Hanging on the Telephone," which bounces along with a sweetness not normally associated with the Lep. Even better is the vintage-sounding take on Brit one-hit wonder John Kongo's "He's Gonna Step On You Again," which pulses with the sort of candy-coated menace that was once a staple of AM radio. Not everything works -- the overamped version of the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" strips that song of all its emotional impact -- but the mere fact that the band are letting their hair down makes it easy for the listener to do the same, and have some good, clean (or, in some cases, not-so-clean) fun.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Def Leppard always had a streak of glam running beneath their heavy rock -- listen to "Armageddon It" or "Photograph" for proof -- so it's no surprise that when the quintet decided to record a covers album in 2006, they devoted it to the '70s glam and hard rock that inspired them to pick up their guitars and play. What does come as a surprise is that the resulting Yeah! is a sheer delight, a roaring rock & roll record that's their best album since Hysteria. Often, cover albums get bogged down in reverence or ambition, as artists either offer interpretations that are straight copies or fussy reinterpretations as they busily try to make a favorite song their own. That's not the case here. Def Leppard alternate between fairly faithful renditions of familiar classics like T. Rex's "20th Century Boy," Badfinger's "No Matter What," or David Essex's "Rock On," to subtle reinterpretations where they make seemingly difficult covers seem easy and unmistakably Def Leppard. It's true on their streamlined, muscular take on Electric Light Orchestra's swirling, psychedelic "10538 Overture," but it's most notable on their remarkable reworking of the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset," which now sounds like a power ballad from Hysteria without ever once sounding like it's an affront to the immortal original. This take on "Waterloo Sunset" works because it's informed by a palpable love of the original, and that love is apparent throughout this terrific record. But there are plenty of good covers albums that are fun merely because the band is having a good time. What makes Yeah! exceptional is that Def Leppard is reconnecting with the reason why they're even in a band by playing the rock & roll that inspired them in the first place. They're reinvigorated by this material, and by playing these songs, it's easier to appreciate what makes Def Leppard a great rock & roll band. Compare their versions of Free's "A Little Bit of Love" or Thin Lizzy's "Don't Believe a Word" to the originals -- they're not as big and bluesy as Free, but the huge riff that drives the song is a direct forefather of Leppard's powerful signature sound, and "Don't Believe a Word" hammers home that few bands built on Lizzy's twin guitar harmonies as well as this group did. But it's not just that these covers put Leppard's music in context; it's that they sound more like a genuine rock & roll gang than they ever have: listen to the truly raw take on the Faces' "Stay with Me," which may not be quite as sloppy as the original (how could it be?), but it's equally greasy and riveting -- plus, it's sung with raw gusto by guitarist Phil Collen, whose turn on the mic emphasizes that this is a sound of a true group. They still sound like Def Leppard -- there are still cavernous drums, huge guitars, and driving harmonies -- but they no longer sound as slick and calculated as they did on their albums after Hysteria; they sound alive and vigorous, making a convincing case that they're now their own best producers. If they could carry this sound and feel onto an album of originals, they would have a killer record, but saying that diminishes the accomplishment of Yeah!. It's a killer record in its own right, and more pure fun than anything yet released in 2006. Few bands could achieve an artistic comeback via a covers album, but as this glorious record proves, there are few bands like Def Leppard.
Los Angeles Daily News - Gerry Gittelson
Def Leppard serve up some pop archaeology in this hard-rocking tribute to their musical heroes.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/23/2006
Label:
Mercury
UPC:
0602498323113
catalogNumber:
000534002
Rank:
10165

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Def Leppard   Primary Artist
Ian Hunter   Master of Ceremonies
John Campbell   Saxophone
Vivian Campbell   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals,Noise,Slide Guitar,Soloist,Group Member
Phil Collen   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Noise,Soloist,Group Member
Joe Elliott   Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals,Group Member
Emm Gryner   Piano,Background Vocals
Ronan McHugh   Conductor,Mellotron
Rick Allen   Drums,Group Member
Kristine Elliott   Background Vocals
Stepaside Symphonia   Strings
Anita Thomas Collen   Background Vocals
Stevie Vann Lange   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

David Bowie   Composer
David Essex   Composer
Bryan Ferry   Composer
Ian Hunter   Composer
Jeff Lynne   Composer
Paul Rodgers   Composer
Rod Stewart   Composer
Ronnie Wood   Composer
Andy Fraser   Composer
John Kongos   Composer
Paul Kossoff   Composer
Phil Lynott   Composer
Marc Bolan   Composer
Ray Davies   Composer
Nicky Chinn   Composer
Phil Collen   Loop
Joe Elliott   Art Direction
Pete Ham   Composer
Simon Kirke   Composer
Christos Demetriou   Composer
Ronan McHugh   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Malvin Mortimer   Guitar Techician

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Customer Reviews

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Yeah! 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
what can i say about is cd it rocks . def leppard has gone back to their roots. for the first time since pyromania def leppard rocks hard .
Guest More than 1 year ago
The songs the guys picked to cover are all great songs. Quite a few of them I wasn’t familiar with, but grew to love over the many times I’ve played this CD. Waterloo Sunset quickly became a favorite as did Hanging On The Telephone. I especially love 20th Century Boy and Hell Raiser—both which I saw them perform live in 2006 and they were stellar! Joe still has his magnificent charisma on every song he sings. Phil Collen shows off his wonderfully sexy voice on Stay With Me (Woo hoo Phil!) The liner notes are great, as are the pictures. I even love the cover! I know people who totally dislike Def Leppard but love this album. Give it a chance... you won’t be disappointed...Carla...Erin Tyler Suspense Series. Author of The Incentive, Apothecary, Jaded. “Where suspense meets rock star romance.”
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