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DEF LEPPARD – Hysteria

Def Leppard – Hysteria (1987, Mercury Records)

1. “Women” … 5:41
2. “Rocket” … 6:37
3. “Animal” … 4:02
4. “Love Bites” … 5:46
5. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” … 4:25
6. “Armageddon It” … 5:21
7. “Gods of War” … 6:37
8. “Don’t Shoot Shotgun” … 4:26
9. “Run Riot” … 4:39
10. “Hysteria” … 5:54
11. “Excitable” … 4:19
12. “Love and Affection” … 4:37

Band:
Joe Elliot – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Phil Collen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steve Clark – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Rick Savage – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rick Allen – Drums

Producer: Robert John “Mutt” Lange

What can I say? This album is a pop-metal masterpiece on par with Def Leppard’s previous release Pyromania (I should really extend my “review” of that album). And like that album, SEVEN singles were released from this album all of which were hits and most of which can still be heard on radio and dominating Def Leppard’s live set to this day. I think “Women” is the only single the band doesn’t don’t play as much and I know it’s too long to have gotten play on pop stations but I think “God of War” could’ve done really well on rock radio and “Love and Affection” should’ve been a single as well.

I just recently bought this album. I held off on it for so long because I know most of these songs already practically every rock fan does whether they own the album or not. I first heard the complete album around 1999 when I was visiting a friend in Virginia who had recently picked up a used copy on CD. I always drag my feet on picking essential albums when I know them so well, for so long I couldn’t bring myself to pick up an album where I already knew half of it extensively.

Well, I was browsing Best Buy and had a $25 gift card, saw it for $9.99 and grabbed it. I know there’s a deluxe super duper remixed remastered bonus tracks edition available (and having heard it, I can say the bonus stuff is actually really good) but it goes for $25-30 most of the time. I’m fine with owning the original material and nothing else in order to shave off $15-20. Maybe years from now if it hits that $10-15 range I’ll get it.

I’m having a hard time deciding whether this album or Pyromania is their best. Pyromania set the blue print, Hysteria has sold more (though not by much), both seemed to equally be hailed as not only the best Def Leppard album but as one of rock’s best as well. I think I slightly lean towards Pyromania just based on the fact that most of the singles on this album have been played and played and played and played so much more than anything from Pyromania and with me at least when songs are overplayed as much as these, they tend to lose impact. Still great songs but it’s like “yeah yeah, I could go a few years without hearing this song”.

Hysteria was certainly my introduction to the band. I can remember watching “Pour Some Sugar On Me” on MTV (I would’ve turned SIX not too long after it was released) and I’ve always felt a close connection to “Hysteria” and “Love Bites”. Those are the three singles I remember most from those days. By the way, I HATE the “Animal” music video. I can’t believe they still do the whole circus theme on the video screens when they play it live.

Now, there is some filler on this album. “Don’t Shoot Shotgun” (which is just an odd title to me), “Run Riot” and “Excitable” are fairly uninspired and make the album feel bloated. They should’ve gone for 9 or 10 tracks like they did with Pyromania.

Highlights: “Women”, “Rocket”, “Animal”, “Love Bites”, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Armageddon It”, “Gods of War”, “Hysteria”, “Love and Affection”

www.defleppard.com
www.myspace.com/defleppard

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AC/DC – For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

AC/DC – For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) [Remastered] (1994, Atco Records)
Original Release: 1981, Atco Records

1. “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” … 5:44
2. “Put the Finger on You” … 3:26
3. “Let’s Get It Up” … 3:54
4. “Inject the Venom” … 3:31
5. “Snowballed” … 3:23
6. “Evil Walks” … 4:24
7. “C.O.D.” … 3:19
8. “Breaking the Rules” … 4:23
9. “Night of the Long Knives” … 3:26
10. “Spellbound” … 4:30

Band:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Lead Guitar
Malcolm Young – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums, Percussion

Producer: Mutt Lange

I know the 2003 remastering is available at Walmart for $7 or $8, but besides having a digipak, I don’t really see what the difference would be from this 1994 remastering. I saved a few bucks at a used record store and picked this one up for $5!  I’ve had my eyes on this album for years. I’ve always thought the cover was very interesting as well as song titles like “Inject the Venom”, “Evil Walks” and “Night of the Long Knives”.

Though I burned myself out on AC/DC years ago, since the release of Black Ice I’m slowly coming around again and I’m interested in picking up their post-Back In Black offerings. Though I didn’t plan it this way, what better place to start than with this album, the follow up to Back In Black?

Though Back In Black will always and forever be viewed as AC/DC’s masterpiece, For Those About to Rock is more than up to the challenge of following that legendary release. This isn’t an album that stands in the shadow of the previous release, this is an album that casts its own shadow, in my opinion. I find it really funny not many critics at the time of this release agreed though. There are a few entertaining reviews floating around online (like the one from Rolling Stone) where this album is trashed as an uninspired effort. I just don’t see it that way at all!

It’s really hard for me to compare this album to Back In Black just because that album has lost all impact for me, but certainly the concert staple title track can compete with anything from that album. The rest doesn’t reach out and grab immediately, there’s a slower groove throughout the album, but it’s all still very satisfying. “I Put the Finger on You” is another one of my favorites from this album. Mutt Lange was back in the producer’s chair for this album (his last with the band) and it is not hard to imagine “I Put the Finger on You” or “Spellbound” as Def Leppard songs, with a few tweaks here and there.

Essential AC/DC and I’m glad I have some new (to me) AC/DC music to listen to!

Highlights: “For Those About to Rock We Salute You”, “Put the Finger on You”, “Let’s Get It Up”, “Inject the Venom”, “Evil Walks”, “Breaking the Rules”, “Spellbound”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

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