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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Def Leopard Releases X

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Take Def Leppard’s 1996 release Slang and their 1999 release Euphoria and slam them together. What you’ve got left is an album that knows how to rock out like Def Leppard in their mid-80’#65533;s heyday but also knows how to take the music into some new and (more importantly) interesting directions. What you’ve got is the band’s latest release, the sparsely illustrated and titled X.

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Many people shunned the Slang album when it hit the record stores in 1996, mainly because it abandoned the arena rock for some more subtly and often darker musical contexts. Its rejection is a shame because it was really a solid album that didn’#65533;t get the recognition it deserved. So what did Def Leppard do? They threw out Euphoria in 1999, which harkened back musically to the full-on, all-out wall of sound that colored their biggest hits. Although it was a bigger success than Slang, that really didn’t say much. And although it contained some truly wonderful songs, it sounded out of place in the musical climate at the time.

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ So what could the band do? They had fallen flat commercially when they tried to reinvent their sound and their return to the familiar fell on deaf ears. Well, apparently they learned a lesson from both and recorded X. The album is the perfect example of how to update your sound without totally chasing away the sound that got you where you are. The trademark wall of guitars is there, along with the powerful background vocals. But mixed in are the elements of R&B and soul that turned people off when presented in full force on Slang. Here, it almost tricks you enamored with the song before you realize all the styles it contains.

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ The album’s single, “Now”, is a nice opener and (being the single) should attract some radio play. Then again it might not, considering that today’s radio wouldn’t know what to play if their life depended on it. But it’s a good track all the same and it really sets the tone for the rest of the album, which includes rockers like “You’re So Beautiful” and more mellow gems like “Long Long Way To Go.”

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ The rock world seems to have written off Def Leppard, relegating them to the basement with the other (and lesser) rock bands that emerged during the ’80’s. This is a shame because I have seen few bands that deliver as well and as consistently as Def Leppard. And in the world of music, what more could you ask for than that? So, go to the store, pick it up and blast it from the nearest stereo. You won’t be disappointed.

    REWIND:

    NICK DRAKE – Bryter Later (1970)

    Okay, everyone knows Nick Drake (whether you realize it or not) from that Volkswagen ad that features his song “Pink Moon.” But that track is chicken feed when compared to his entire body of work. Bryter Later, his second album, finds Drake at his most upbeat, backed by jazz legends The Fairport Convention. There is not a bad song on this collection of introspective folk. If you like something a little more mellow or have been looking to delve into the work of Drake, this is the place to start.

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