With “Slang” and “Euphoria”, Def Leppard re-invented themselves and the Two Thousands was there for the taking. The answer to their world domination is “X”, released in 2002.
And yes, it’s studio album number 8, but when you add “Retro Active” and “Vault” it is number 10 or X.
It stands for many things, like the Roman number for Ten or an MPAA rating for extreme explicitness, but it also stands for a maniacal mid-life crisis Def Leppard album.
Written by Def Leppard with the help of songsmith, Marti Frederiksen.
The music of Def Leppard has evolved, incorporating the “Slang” influences with the traditional Def Leppard sound. This song captures some of it along with the whole Alanis Morrisette/Matchbox 20 pop rock vibe.
It feels like a Backstreet Boys track. And I wasn’t surprised when I saw the writers. Per Aldeheim, Andreas Carlsson and Max Martin, who together had written a lot of hits for artists like Backstreet Boys, Nsync and Britney Spears.
But it was a skip for me.
And very disappointing as well, especially when Carlsson can rock hard. When he worked with Europe many years later, we got “Last Look At Eden”. When he worked with Paul Stanley, we got “Live To Win”. When he worked with Bon Jovi we got “Everyday”, “Misunderstood” and “Hook Me Up”. And Max Martin was a rocker to being with. When Martin worked with Jovi, we got “It’s My Life”. And guitarist Per Aldeheim can also rock hard, however none of the writers rocked hard at all on this.
“Unbelievable”, I say.
You’re So Beautiful
Another song written by Def Leppard with Marti Frederiksen.
The pop rock is back with this, which has the feel of “Animal” with new melodic elements.
A cut written by Def Leppard with Marti Frederiksen, its lightweight “Photograph” even down to the syllables for the Chorus.
Long, Long Way to Go
Written by Wayne Hector and Steve Robson who I had to Google to see what their history is.
Wayne Hector is renowned for working with artists like Westlife, Nicki Minaj, The Wanted and The Pussycat Dolls. Steve Robson back in 2002 had worked with Westlife, Atomic Kitten, Honeyz and Faith Hill. All pop song writers.
And Def Leppard took a pop ballad and gave it the Def Leppard treatment, however it still sounds like a Backstreet Boys song. But it’s the most catchiest song on the album.
Four Letter Word
Written by Def Leppard, this is best track on the album. The bluesy AC/DC or ZZ Top style riff definitely gets me interested. It could have easily fit on the Adrenalize album.
At times you would be able to hear some “Back In Black” and “Armageddon It”.
Torn to Shreds
Written by Def Leppard and Joe Elliot in the lower registers singing a ballad is pretty cool to listen to. The way it starts off, it reminds me of the “Slang” album.
Love Don’t Lie
Written by Def Leppard. It sounds like “The Real Thing” from Russell Morris.
Written by Def Leppard and Pete Woodroffe, this is by far the worst track on the album. While I give the band 5/5 for having the balls to experiment, the dance beat programmed bass and drums don’t do it for me and the vocal delivery did nothing to captivate the NWOBHM child within and I don’t think the teenybopper crowd took to it either.
Maybe if One Direction covered this many years later it would have been a hit.
Written by Def Leppard.
Stone Temple Pilots comes to mind here.
And I like it when hard rock artists take something which is contemporary and add their own hard rock touch.
Girl Like You
Written by Def Leppard.
It’s a skip from me when you middle aged men singing lyrics like “I’m on fire, and you’re the flame”.
Let Me Be the One
Written by Def Leppard. Next.
Written by Def Leppard and Pete Woodroffe
The best track on the album. It has this “Paper Sun” vibe in the Intro, a “Desert Song” vibe in the Chorus and an “Animal” style Chorus.
While it’s not an excellent Def Leppard record it’s also not that bad, and it kept the band on the road which was the key back then.
But for me, I haven’t purchased any Def Leppard product post this album.
6 thoughts on “The Record Vault: Def Leppard – X”
What you wrote here sums up this record which I have not listened to since I bought it back than and dismissed it…
“stands for a maniacal mid-life crisis Def Leppard album.”
Well Said Pete!
I actually like this one. Yes, I agree it is a very soft album, but I’m okay with it. They took a chance and it didn’t necessarily pay off, but I pull this one out more than say Sparkly Lounge which I hate…okay hates a strong word. I dislike it and bores me to tears. Scar and Torn to Shreds are my two favorites off this one. Great review sir.
Yeah I haven’t heard Sparkly Lounge and I remember they did a cover album and when I saw the titles I thought they played it safe and then the self titled album I streamed but I don’t really remember it.
I can’t wait to re-review this album and tear it to shreds!
I sampled this at one of those music stores where you could ask to listen to CDs. It was as far as I got.
I love this album and prefer this one over ‘Songs from the Sparkle Lounge.’ It reminds me of my younger years listening to pop music. However, a lot of pop artists irritate me nowadays (*cough cough* Taylor Swift); Def Leppard doesn’t irritate me, which is another reason why I enjoy the ‘X’ album. However, I think “You’re So Beautiful” and “Girl Like You” are cheesy as heck and not really appropriate for 80s rockers to sing, in my opinion!