Album Title: Adrenalize
Artist: Def Leppard
Running Time: 45m 27s
Track listing: 1 Let’s Get Rocked; 2 Heaven Is; 3 Make Love Like a Man; 4 Tonight; 5 White Lightning; 6 Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion); 7 Personal Property; 8 Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad; 9 I Wanna Touch U; 10 Tear It Down
It’s never really been straight-forward for Def Leppard. You would think that seeing your drummer lose his arm was the worst tragedy that could hit the band – but it got worse. Guitarist Steve Clarke was found dead from a drug overdose in February 1991. The talented axeman had struggled for years to overcome his self-destructive behaviour and it finally got the better of him.
The long-awaited follow-up to the 15m selling “Hysteria” arrived in 1992, and despite the morbid background, it was an upbeat and fun record full of good hooks and songwriting that, while not on a par with the previous record, was still of a high quality. Hit singles are littered all over the place. Opener ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ is ridiculously catchy, ‘Heaven Is’ rocks melodically with a taut, gritty riff and ‘Make Love Like a Man’ similarly is another fun throw-away piece of rock.
Trying to recapture the intensity of ‘Gods of War’ from “Hysteria”, the album’s longest track, ‘White Lightning’, is a dark swirling array of guitars with a sinister underbelly that sets it apart from anything else. Slightly less serious are the big-balls rock of ‘Personal Property’, the mid-tempo, love-fest of ‘Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)’ and the ludicrous, but foot-tapping, ‘I Wanna Touch U’.
Of course the ballads are here in force. The slightly over-the-top ‘Tonight’ actually works pretty well in the end. The lyrics won’t do much for anyone (movin’ to the rhythm of your heartbeat/i’m wantin’,willin’,touchin’ you/we’ll be movin’ to the rhythm of your heartbeat/ooh babe when you get that rhythm/gonna move into your room), but the tune itself is not too bad. ‘Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad’ is a perfect Deflep ballad; slow-building verse, anthemic bridge, and a ‘deep and meaningless’ (c Joe Elliot) chorus (Have you ever needed someone so bad/have you ever wanted someone who you just couldn’t have/did you ever try so hard that your world just fell apart).
The album’s weakest track is the first one they wrote – ‘Tear It Down’. Performed live at the MTV awards in 1989, it received a surprising amount of airplay and was subsequently put on the album. A bog-standard rocker, it doesn’t really shake the foundations of song-writing. Interestingly it was the only song that producer Mutt Lange was not involved in writing.
Ok this is not as good as “Hysteria”, but it’s hard to fault much here. It’s pop-metal at its best and another notch on Joe Elliot’s rock-bedpost.