Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Year In Music, Pt. 3 ... Def Leppard & Man Raze

Def Leppard: Songs From The Sparkle Lounge

This past April, Def Leppard released Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, their first album of new songs since 2002's X. I'd say I grew up listening to Def Leppard but that would make me and them seem old. Yeah, okay, we are but I'd rather not think about the decade known as the 80's. The bad hair and horrible clothes that I as a teen insisted were "cool" make me shudder. Who thought spandex and big hair were a good idea? It's amazing fire marshal's allowed 80's rock bands into buildings being the walking fire hazards they were! But, I digress.

Songs From The Sparkle Lounge is the first Def Leppard record I actually kind of looked forward to buying since their monstrously huge Hysteria. I was a bit put off by "Nine Lives" featuring country superstar Tim McGraw being released as the first single. I have nothing against McGraw and to his credit and theirs, it worked without them really altering their sound to include him. Sure, it was a great marketing move having that as a lead off, but that regulated their catchiest song in years, "C'mon C'mon" to second single status. To make matters even worse, they saddled the poor song with possibly the most horrid video since the UK video of "Pour Some Sugar On Me." Of course, videos don't really mean that much these days since most of the music video stations don't actually air music videos! But, they didn't have to treat such a catchy song like a bad seed stepchild.

The standout tracks for me are, "Tomorrow," the already mentioned "C'mon C'mon" and "Hallucinate" The track "Love" has them channeling Queen. I personally prefer the deluxe edition acoustic version of the song. "Bad Actress" wins point for being a solid rocker and bonus points for the odd yet catchy lines, 'You can't sing, can't dance ... Can't fit in your pants.'

You can hear traces of all of their past efforts in this record. While some of us old folks may have sentimental attachments to the 80's era records, there's still plenty here for us to enjoy. In the end, Songs From The Sparkle Lounge is a solid outing.

Track Listing
  • Go
  • Nine Lives (featuring Tim McGraw)
  • C'mon C'mon
  • Love
  • Tomorrow
  • Cruise Control
  • Hallucinate
  • Only The Good Die Young
  • Bad Actress
  • Come Undone
  • Gotta Let It Go
  • *Love (acoustic version)
  • *Nine Lives (Def Leppard version)
*Deluxe Edition


Man Raze: Surreal

In June, Man Raze released their debut CD Surreal. For those who don't know, Man Raze is Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen's other band. Joining him in this effort are Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and former Girl cohort Simon Laffy on bass.

Surreal features Collen's gritty vocals. I like the rawness of his voice ... it's not polished or over produced. Man Raze takes us through a variety of sounds ... from the punk'ish punch the air sing-a-long "Turn It Up" to the reggae dub of "Runnin' Me Up." The standout songs for me, "Turn It up," "Skin Crawl," "Connected To You," and "Halo." Overall, this record makes you feel like you're in a small hot sweaty bar listening to them. That my friends, is a good thing!

Track Listing
  • This is
  • Turn It Up
  • Runnin' Me Up
  • Every Second Of Ever Day
  • Spinning out
  • Can't Find My Own Way
  • Skin Crawl
  • Low
  • Connected To You
  • Halo
  • It's Entertainment
  • Shadow Man