[Album Review] "X" – Def Leppard

X - Def LeppardAlbum Title: X
Artist: Def Leppard
Year: 2002
Running Time: 56m 54s

Track listing: 1 Now; 2 Unbelievable; 3 You’re So Beautiful; 4 Everyday; 5 Long Long Way to Go; 6 Four Letter Word; 7 Torn to Shreds; 8 Love Don’t Lie; 9 Gravity; 10 Cry; 11 Girl Like You; 12 Let Me Be the One; 13 Scar; 14 Kiss the Day

Returning after the disappointing 1999 release, “Euphoria”, Def Leppard have once again found their groove with their tenth album, “X”. Actually it’s a bit of a cheat calling this album number ten, as to do so means we have to include their greatest hits package, “Vault”. But somehow “IX” is not as catchy a title, so that’s okay.

Opening track and lead single ‘Now’ is a little more complex than we’re used to from Joe Elliot and co – in some ways a perfect showcase for the album but in other ways it’s just not Def Leppard. There’s lots of radio friendly stuff here. ‘Unbelievable is a power ballad with one of the best choruses on the record, mid-rockers ‘You’re So Beautiful’ and ‘Everyday’ cry ‘airplay’ and the quintessential Deflep ballads are present of course, the beautiful ‘Long Long Way to Go’ and ‘Let me be the One’.

But if the first half is radio-friendly, the second-half rocks out a little more. ‘Love Don’t Lie’ and ‘Torn to Shreds’ are wonderful rockers with the right balance of melody and guitars while ‘Cry’ and ‘Gravity’ are slightly harder and feature less accessible arrangments to confuse the AOR man.

Elliot’s vocals are career-best throughout the reocrd, never more so than on, ‘Scar’, a powerful re-birth of ‘Animal’ with its searing guitar track and gritty vocal performance. ‘Kiss the Day’ (a bonus track outside the US) features the impressively-held note prior to the guitar solo, and indeed it’s nice to hear Viv Campbell unleash at the end of said track. It’s no suprise that Phil Collen and Elliot co-wrote it, as they are involved with the best material on the record. Having said that, none of the first five tracks are credited to the band.

‘Girl Like You’ is a little rock-by-numbers while’Four Letter Word’ is an interesting concept but essentially a botched attempt at raunch-rock that sounds more Bryan Adams than AC/DC.

A lot has been said, both good and bad, about “X”. For me it is the not quite as strong as their ninties albums, but it has enough going for it to make it a worthy addition to any fans collection. It may not have a “Gods of War”, a “White Lightning” or a “Paper Sun”, but if you want to hear them … just go listen to them.

3halfstar

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