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Bryan Adams? Backstreet Boys? - 90%

HealthySonicDiet, April 13th, 2004

So sue me. I said in my most recent review(before I realized that Rush has more reviews than Def Leppard), which was of Rush's Vapor Trails, that it bothers me that so many people are writing reviews for these hair bands that have been recently admitted to the archives, and people are tossing more talented bands like Rush to the curb. Well, I saw this album at the library, and wanting to have more metal albums to review, I picked it up.(for free!)

Anyway, I have a casual interest in Def Leppard's old singles I've heard on the radio several times in the past and I wanted to see if any of the songs on this album could be on par to any of their earlier songs.

I must say that none of the tunes here can really compare to any of their old radio singles, but this is still an enjoyable album. Actually, it's more like a guilty pleasure, at least for me. You see, Def Leppard's vocalist(I believe the band uses several extra vocalists and so forth) sounds amazingly similar to Bryan Adams and The Backstreet Boys and possibly some others at times, and it makes me feel like a little pussy when I find myself tapping my feet to the music. Listening to this album gives me unwelcome memories of when I did, in fact, listen to stuff like The Backstreet Boys and Bryan Adams.(I want to make the note that I DID NOT buy any Backstreet Boys albums. That was my brother. Also, I kinda like and respect Adams because I believe he's a guitarist and "Everything I Do" has a timeless appeal.)

Despite the fact this album makes me think about my horrible musical past and the fact that the overall sound of the band is pop-oriented, there are some genuinely nice riffs here. These riffs aren't too technical or heavy, but they have their own individuality to them. The guitarist uses different idiosyncratic guitar effects and some of the soloing just sounds a little atypical, which is refreshing and uncanny for a band that I've always lumped together with all the other hair acts of the 80s. The fact that this album is heavier than Bryan Adams and that Def Leppard writes their own music makes this album and the band far greater than either of the two aforementioned acts could ever hope to be.

I think what Def Leppard seems to do best are ballads. The vocalist is well-suited to them and the guitars work well as an accessory. In a way, most of the songs on X sound like ballads, only sped up a little with solos here and there. The Leps sure aren't adept at writing aggressive metal tunes, so I imagine it's natural for most of their songs to be more mellow. Track 5, Long Long Way to Go, is perhaps the catchiest and most emotional ballad here.

They sure threw me for a loop on one of the songs, though. I can't remember which one, but one song in the middle is a really down-and-dirty bluesy rock type of tune and is an excellent change of pace. My friend likes to say that contrast provokes emotion, and this statement very well holds true in this scenario.

Overall, pretty average and unoriginal, but good. It's been said that if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and I think Def Leppard hasn't strayed much from their original formula, at least from their Pyromania days. The change certainly wasn't as drastic as the change from thrash Metallica to nu-Metallica was.