Saturday, June 03, 2006

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Mer asks:

"What do you think of the new YEAH! covers album? There are some great tracks: Waterloo Sunset, Rock On, Hanging on the Telephone. Def Lep covering Blondie? Sign me up!"

Well for starters, I'm glad Def Leppard is getting back to their roots. For them to come full circle, and pay homage bands that made them pick up a guitar or drumstick is really great. Equally exciting for fans, is knowing that the making of this album, and recording of these songs will likely inspire a similar vibe on the next album of original material. I think we can expect heavy, swinging guitar riffs on the next album.

What I like about it most though, is that it is no longer Def Leppard trying to be Def Leppard. It's Def Leppard SUCCEEDING in being Def Leppard. It's not a stiff paint-by-numbers like Euphoria was...and it's not totally out of the ordinary like Slang was.

Now you may be wondering how Def Leppard can SUCCEED at being Def Leppard on an album of COVERS, but trust me, it's possible!

Listen to how free this album is. Does anyone here remember the last Leppard album that sounded this easy going, fun, and great? The guitars are loud, the drums sound fresh, and the raspiness of Joe's voice has been embraced, making this a real ROCK album. I think they realized that it doesn't have to be super-slick to sound great, and as for the raspy quality of Joe's voice, I'm loving it on this album.

Ah...the controversial topic of Joe Elliott's voice. Dare I?

Joe Elliott is my favorite vocalist in rock music. His loud wails, and high pitched screams are expected at every show, song after song, and honestly at 46 (and smoking) it's no surprise to me that he can't sing Photograph as well as he did in 1983! Sometimes when he sings those higher notes, like in Love Bites, Photograph, and Rock Of Ages, it sounds like he's singing behind a wall or something. He hits the note...but it sounds muffled. Still good, still rockin', but different.

In that regard, notice how GREAT Joe sounds on YEAH!. I mean seriously, his voice is embraced so much that I LOVE the rasp! Listen to his scream on sounds raw, bloody, and real. And the fact is...that is what Joe sounds like these days, so why hide it!? It's AWESOME! There need be no studio magic for this man! It's totally different the sleek piercing screams of Pyro through Adrenalize, and more akin to the raspy High'n'Dry sound -- and I for one think he sounds superb on this album. He sounds so ROCK, and guys get the point!

So yes, I really love this album. It's the best sound they've had for a long time, and the best vibe I've gotten from them in an equally long time. They seem so happy, free, and this is the most honest, up-front, FUN Def Leppard album I've heard in a long friggin' time.

I honestly can't say which I love best.

Can't wait for the next album of originals. We'll see if revisiting their roots means what I HOPE it means. (Guitars, thick bass lines, and fresh drums.)