Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Pop > British > Covers > Def Leppard - Yeah! (CD)

Def Leppard – Yeah! (CD)


Sound: B-     Music: C-



When Def Leppard first arrived, they became yet another music act that were dubbed “the next Led Zeppelin” and after their first two albums, that actually was an idea that held some water.  But when they started to become a hardcore version of teenaged girl pandering hair bands, they started to get into trouble.  After the Rick Allen car accident, they never did get back on track.  Since then, they have been resurfacing in endless hit sets and would-be revivals.  Well, that must have finally worn thin, because they have a new covers album called Yeah! And after listening to it, no one but the most diehard fans will be yelling out that title.


It was bad enough Rod Stewart abandoned real Rock for bad Pop in the 1980s and old standards recently, joining Barry Manilow’s awful 1950s kick, Michael McDonald’s spree of butchering Motown classics and the ever insidious Michael Bolton desecrating Frank Sinatra classics.  However, in all those sad, terrifying cases of good music mutilated, they never claimed to be anything more than retro trips.  In Def Leppard’s case, they think they are doing justice to music they like.  Yes, the choices are inarguable, but the horrid recordings are far from it.


T. Rex’s 20th Century Boy sounds like “18th Century Boy” in this awful rehash of the Mark Bolan hit, while their cover of David Essex’s Rock On makes the 1989 hit version by soap opera actor Michael Damian (from that awful Corey Feldman film Dream A Little Dream, which we call “barf a little barf”) seem ambitious by comparison.  Neither have the ironic distance of the original and there are those younger listeners out there who might think the group has lost their mind doing “that soap opera guy’s” hit.


And it gets worse.  When they next take on the Blondie classic Hangin’ On The Telephone, you’ll be wishing for a disconnect!  For Elliot, it is some of his worst-ever vocal work.  The Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset cannot set fast enough in their hands.  As for Hell Raiser by the great Rock/Pop/Glam band The Sweet, the song sounds more like it came from hell than raised any.  The common denominator?  A lack of energy, excitement and enthusiasm.  Did they think covering the songs would give them some legitimacy they lacked before?


Electric Light Orchestra’s 10538 Overture, Roxy Music’s Street Life, David Bowie’s Drive-in Saturday, Free’s Little Bit Of Love, Mott The Hoople’s Golden Age Of Rock ‘N’ Roll and Thin Lizzy’s Don’t Believe A Word (appropriate for the liner notes) are also done with hardly any point or real love of the material.  But the last two litmus tests are the clinchers.


Badfinger’s No Matter What is attempted with awful harmonies and is somewhat mind-numbing.  At least when Joe Jackson’s Breaking Us In Two sounded like Badfinger’s Day After Day, it had as much heart, soul and mind.  That Leppard botched a direct remake is stunning.  Finally, that leaves Faces’ Stay With Me, the final track in this torture test.  Even at his best, Elliot was no Rod Stewart when Rod was still a rocker (we’ll even count the disco Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?, which seems like Maggie May as compared to anything here) up to Hot Legs.  To even think he could do a Stewart classic at Rod’s best at this point of his career is a big mistake, much like this whole venture.  Maybe they still have it live, but this is easily their nadir and another reason the Rock genre has stayed in a coma for too long.


The 2.0 PCM 16bit/44.1kHz Stereo is not a bad recording, but not as good as it should be, with a lack of depth and sameness in the production and engineering that make a bad situation worse.  Roman McHugh seems to think that a lack of effort on the band’s part and lead singer Joe Elliott in particular can be glossed over by just making every other song sound like their ever-obnoxious career-suicide track Pour Some Sugar On Me.  This is a long way from the glory of Pyromania and if they wanted to be honest about the content here, this critic would like to suggest a better title for the album:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com