[Album Review] “High ‘n’ Dry” – Def Leppard

High N Dry - Def LeppardAlbum Title: High ‘n’ Dry
Artist: Def Leppard
Year: 1981
Running Time: 42m 14s

Track listing: 1 Let it Go; 2 Another Hit and Run; 3 High ‘N’ Dry (Saturday Night); 4 Bringin’ on the Heartbreak; 5 Switch 625; 6 You Got Me Runnin’; 7 Lady Strange; 8 On Through the Night; 9 Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes); 10 No No No

With a minor hit in debut record “On Through the Night”, Def Leppard took to recording their eagerly awaited follow-up, “High ‘n’ Dry”. With Rob “Mutt” Lange once again producing, the band had matured and improved their performances with more acomplished songwriting and less pretentious and outrageous lyrics.

If ‘Let it Go’ was a stomping, rhythmic opener, the tepid ‘Another Hit and Run’ was nowhere near a worthy follow up. Worse news for the track is that it was followed by the decent title track with some staple boozy, woman-and-wine lyrics. ‘Bringin’ on the Heartbreak’ (rather bizzarely due to be covered by Mariah Carey in 2003!) was the band’s first real proper slow song, and was the track that became a prototype for Def Leppard ballads for the next twenty years. But with enough heavy guitars to avoid dreaded sappiness, the Leps manage to pull it off brilliantly.

AC/DC clearly inspire the catchy ‘You Got Me Runnin” and ‘On Through the Night’ confuses everyone by appearing on this album and not their debut of the same name. It probably could have been left off either album in all honesty. ‘Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)’ wins the “worst title for a track ever” award, but the bass-line is strong and the chorus pulls it off…just. More AC/DC influence (the band toured with them in their early years) on “No No No” but it’s very non-descript, as is ‘Lady Strange’ (showboating Joe Elliott’s consistently poor vocals as much as any song).

‘Switch 625’ is one of Steve Clark’s masterpieces, a magical, guitar-laden instrumental that shows the band capable of mapping out a tune strong enough to survive without vocals (although poor old Joe might argue now that most songs might have been better without his attempts at singing). We also get to hear an early example of the band’s harmony capabilities.

There’s some very high points on this record, but overall it is just not as consistent as the debut.


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