Given that Def Leppard sounded so fun and revitalized on their 2006 covers album Yeah!, it was easy to hope that they would try to channel that same kinetic energy into their next set of original material, 2008's Songs from the Sparkle Lounge. And try they do on this tight set of 11 songs, pushing rhythms to the forefront in an attempt to kick up excitement, dipping into a Gary Glitter stomp on "C'mon C'mon," hitting harder than they have in years on the pummeling "Bad Actress," and revving up the guitars on "Hallucinate" so they mimic "Photograph," which is not the only time they allude to previous peaks, as "Only the Good Die Young" shimmers with harmonies straight out of Hysteria and "Nine Lives," a duet with country superstar Tim McGraw (the partnership isn't all that odd, considering Leppard's former producer Mutt Lange went country in the '90s with his wife, Shania Twain), rides a riff that is a kissing cousin to "Pour Some Sugar on Me." All this effort is appreciated, especially when Songs is compared to the dull leaden grind of X, but the album is hampered a bit by having an immediate sound and elusive hooks; it's as if Def Leppard have created an exquisitely tailored suit but it's oversized, so the clothes hang funny on the model. It's not that Songs from the Sparkle Lounge is devoid of hooks -- "C'mon C'mon" and "Nine Lives" are built around big hooks in the guitars and melodies -- but they don't hit as hard as the overall sound, which makes for a curious listen as the sound grabs hold but the songs don't quite follow through as, at their best, they're growers. They're also a bit of a mixed bag, with the power ballads never managing to take hold, but overall the album is song-for-song stronger than X, and it's helped out enormously by that tight, unified production that glosses over any deficiencies in the writing. And so it's a partially successful successor to Yeah!, following through on some of the overall feel and punch but lacking enough songs to truly bring it across the goal line.
Performance CreditsDef Leppard Primary Artist
Vivian Campbell Guitar,Background Vocals
Phil Collen Guitar,Background Vocals
Joe Elliott Vocals
Rick Savage Guitar,Bass Guitar,Background Vocals
Rick Allen Drums,Background Vocals
Technical CreditsTim McGraw Composer
Vivian Campbell Composer
Phil Collen Composer
Joe Elliott Composer
Rick Savage Composer
Ger McDonnell Engineer
Ronan McHugh Producer,Engineer
Malvin Mortimer Contributor
Richard Proctor Art Direction
Preston Pope Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In a time when 35 of the top 40 can't write their own songs, can't sing them, can't play a musical instrument, and Madonna (who has never released a rock record) is in the rocknroll hall of fame Def leppard is back in a big way. Long live RocknRoll you betcha!
They have come back in a big way! This album is vintage as well as newfangled Lep. This is a must have for any rock fan.
Music went into the toliet pretty much in the early to mid 90's. Thank goodness for Def Leppard! This album is good. There will never be another Hysteria, but this is way better than the junk newer artists are producing now days. If you get a chance to see Leppard in concert go. They still rock!!!
after listening to the samples all i can say is def leppard rocks. with a mix of high and dry and pyromania, def leppard brings back the true meaning of rock. welcome back boys.
Finally, the rock album we've all been waiting for Def Leppard to create has arrived!! And it's rockin!! From the first guitar crunch of "Go" to the last second of "Gotta let it go" it doesn't let you down. It's all here. Oh, and as an added bonus, there aren't any drippy ballads on this disc! "Everyone sighs in relief!" There is a lovely tribute to Steve Clark called "Only the good die young", which sums up his place in Lep and rock history nicely. "Vivian Cambell wrote that song." "C'mon, C'mon" is a good foot stompin', glammin' fun song. The one slow song "Love" reminds me of a few Queen ballads rolled into one and done very well. "I wonder if that's a gong at the end." "Bad actress" is an ode to the silly Hollywood starlets of the moment who live to make fools of themselves. So many songs, have a listen. So my recomendation is to buy the album, listen to your hearts content, request them on the radio and hope the band plays the new songs live on tour. Def Leppard is a classic rock band that is still very much relevant today and "Songs from the Sparkle Lounge" proves it. So what are you waiting for? Buy it!! P.S. My cd came with this little plastic card with four guitar picks on it, decorated with record covers. Very neat!
There are certain bands that have been around long enough that they can pretty much do and write whatever they want "like the Rolling Stones." U2 attempted to broaden their music by releasing "Pop." The fans weren't very crazy about the album so the band went back to their roots by releasing "All You Can't Leave Behind." Def Leppard is in the same boat. After Hysteria, they became labeled with a particular "Arena" sound. 7 singles off of 1 album will do that. They started experimenting and tweaking their style with "Slang," but like U2, the audience response wasn't enthused. They then went back to their traditional sound with Euphoria and released "Promises" as their single. Fans went nuts. I've been a big fan since "On Through the Night," and have come to appreciate their ability to write the kick ass arena rock songs and their more experimental sounds too. Slang was a great album. They mellowed down a bit with "X" and consider that album one of their better ones. "Songs from the Sparkle Lounge" could be a direct follow up to Euphoria. I know the review says "Nine Lives" could be the cousin of "Pour Some Sugar On Me" but i feel it's closer to "Promises" than anything else in their catalog. I personally prefer the song "Go" than any of the other tracks. It's the only track that doesn't necessarily fit in with the typical Def Leppard vibe, however it's a great song. Check it out.