Def Leppard

“Downloading music is quick and easy.”

“Streaming music is so convenient!”

I hear this all the time and while I agree with all these points, I still continue to buy CDs and vinyl. I will for as long as they continue to make them. I would love to buy more new vinyl except they are so ridiculously expensive.

I can already see the faces of the people who work in the Power Chord office. The big eye roll. I can already read their minds. “Here we go again, Jack romanticizing about how great it is to go to the record store.” Although it is one of my favorite places to go, that is not what this is about.

Yes, I’m a music dork. I like to read the liner notes, lyrics and look at the pictures. It is just not the same to look at and read these things on the computer. Let me ask you a question, don’t we buy music to listen to it? Moreover, I ‘m a rock guy I want to not only hear the music but I want to feel it too. How do you do that through the little speaker on your computer? As Gene Simmons so perfectly put it, “I Love It Loud!” I go to the movie theater because I want to be surrounded by the images and sounds. To be swept up in the story. I don’t really want to watch the new James Bond movie on my phone. I want IMAX with great surround sound.

I go to concerts for the same reasons. I want it loud. I want to be taken away by the band. It doesn’t matter if it’s the spectacle of a KISS show or and unplugged performance. I want to hear it. I want to feel it. This just can’t happen, for me, through a computer speaker.

The other day I needed to get out and get away from the computer for a little while. That’s when I remembered that Def Leppard was releasing their new album that day. Instead of clicking over to iTunes, I got in my car and drove to the store. They had the CD and it was on sale, bonus. While in the parking lot, I unwrapped the disc and put in the player.

The first song is called “Let’s Go.” It’s the only one I had heard before. It sounds like it came straight from the Hysteria sessions. I had only heard it on the computer. Now in the car, I immediately went for the volume button. The strangest thing happened. The more I turned it up the better it sounded. It happened with the next song as well. The smile on my face kept getting bigger and bigger too.

The band took the time to make the album focusing on not only writing good songs but making sure the record sounds as good as it possibly can. Someone who needs to get a ton of credit is Ronan McHugh. He, along with band, he produced this record. He’s worked with Paul McCartney, Tim McGraw, and Steel Panther. For the most part, he has worked with Def Leppard for the last decade or more and knows their sound inside and out. He got the most out of every note.

The album, simply titled, Def Leppard is possibly the most diverse of their career. There is everything from up tempo rockers like in the song “Dangerous.” Rick Savage plays a killer bass line in the song” Man Enough.” Lead singer Joe Elliott really shines all over, no more than on the acoustic tinged” Last Dance.” The twin guitars of Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell give the band its signature sound. Rick Allen continues to drive the band and has done it so seamlessly that most people these days don’t know or remember that he only has one arm!

Their self-titled record lives up to the hype. Download it if you must, but find a way to crank it up loud. Go on, get to know your neighbors.