NEW Def Leppard - Songs From The Sparkle Lounge (CD)
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Top Customer Reviews
J'adore ce CD....
The band say that doing the covers album Yeah! revitalized them. Maybe. Personally I thought the covers album sucked, and that the dozen or so bonus tracks available elsewhere were way better than the actual album they released. Whatever. That was then and this is now, inside the Sparkle Lounge.
Terrible title, although I liked the standard cover art quite a lot. OK, so we know Def Leppard are more of a glam band than a metal band. The problem is, they were such a great metal band! Check out High N' Dry to see what I mean. Anyway, if you can forget High N' Dry, On Through The Night, or even Pyromania, you can get into Sparkle Lounge for what it is: A strong ballad-less return for one of the most beloved rock acts of the last two decades. Even Joe Elliot decided to show up this time, and sing to the best of his ability.
Very few weak tracks, lots of strong ones. "Go", "Love", "Hallucinate", and "Only The Good Die Young", "Bad Actress"...there is some serious fire happening here on these tracks! But the band saved the best new song for last. "Gotta Let It Go" has a riff and melody that fit right in with Def Leppard's pre-1983 sound. Only the occassional drum programs betray the thunder.
There are a couple bonus tracks to be had, if you feel like tracking them down.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
i would have to say for the first time in a long long time def leppard got back the heavy guitar riffs and harmony that made male and even female fans remember the glory days of old when High N Dry was hot and Pyromania was king. I dont know how or what woke the band up, but they sound heavy.It is like Steve Clark is there along with original band mate Pete Willis of course not in form but in spirit. The Song "Go" is awesome! "Gotta Let it Go" is another great tune as is "Come Undone"."Bad Actress" has some feel to Hysteria or Pyromania days. I also think Leppard used some AC/DC sound ..that was well know from their 70s days like "Powerage", or "Let there be Rock" or even "Highway to Hell"-just the riffs i am speaking about. "Nine Lives" is also a cool track. "Hallucinate" sounds smooth just the beginning has that AC/DC sound as well as "Tomorrow". You be the judge. Take it from me a old-time Leppard fan, I think the boys got a hit album.
With its splashy cover and a less curt title than most Def Leppard albums, "Sparkle Lounge" right away makes its presence felt -- and the in-yer-face music does not once disappoint. The first track, "Go," is a pure jolt of both retro and modern Def Lep energy and may have made a stronger lead-off single than "Nine Lives" with Tim McGraw, though that great song's crunchy guitar work, hand claps and various addictive choruses are ten times more real and fun than tunes such as the contrived "Let's Get Rocked" from "Adrenalize." Equally as elated-sounding is Rick Savage's glammy toe-tapper "C'mon, C'mon," apparently the band's next choice for a single, which could easily find a happy home in commercials, movies and arenas till the end of time. Savage also wrote the multi-dimensional "Love," which threw me for a bit of a loop. "Love" begins with a thunderous explosion but quickly subsides to beautiful flamenco-style guitar picking and Elliott's soft vocals, which at first come off as sappy. Luckily, though, "Love" actually turns out to be a creative piece that is somehow a concoction of Queen's extravagant vocals, The Beatles' easy melody and Leppard's militaristic guitar work wrapped into one.
Interestingly, the Leps mostly chose to forgo a collaborative songwriting process in favor of bringing individual projects to the table. Collen's soaring "Tomorrow" features a Bono-esque "hoo-hoo" rally at the start and a message of living for today, but it's his other tune, "Hallucinate," which qualifies as one of my favorites on the CD. The opening riff of "Hallucinate" is chunkier and bolder than "Photograph"'s from the early 1980s, but Elliott's amazing vocals and the chorus within the song are what make it so special. Elliott, meanwhile, flaunts his rugged vocals, rollicking songwriting skills and intrepid attitude on the rough-and-tumble "Bad Actress" and the majestic but rocking "Come Undone," which is another favorite of mine.
Vivian Campbell, too, deserves credit for his songwriting work on "Cruise Control" and "Only the Good Die Young." The former song takes on a suicide bomber's eerie point of view, while the latter is a sweet and deserving tribute to the legendary Steve Clark, whose dark but catchy riffs have managed to live on in Def Leppard's music. Uncannily, "Only the Good Die Young" is a cool mix of Beatles and old-school Leppard, which proves Campbell is an underrated weapon in the band, someone with a great voice and guitar-playing skills, and a guy who seems to bring a fresh approach.
Joe Elliott's voice is less raspy than in years past -- probably all the screaming and cigarettes over the years have taken their toll -- but his iron vocals are still on cue enough to more than get the job done. The underrated Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell are brilliant on this CD, pulling off stunning, fluid guitar solos everywhere, and Rick Allen's drum fills are so liquid-smooth that the guy must be receiving technical help somewhere. Nonetheless, this new approach to percussion on a Leppard album only enhances what is rapidly becoming a Hall of Fame career. Highly recommended.
I think Sparkle Lounge (despite the fairly lame album title) is the album that Def Leppard fans like me have been waiting for. It rocks. The last time I've heard so many rocking Lep tracks in one album was in Retro-Active, and half of those were covers. This just may be their hardest rocking outing since Pyro. And the band is in top form. Joe sounds fantastic, as always. It's amazing that after all these years he hasn't lost his range. The guitar work from Phil and Vivian is great. There are some good, memorable riffs on nearly every track, which is something X was missing. The production value is great as well.
I was hooked from Go. It is one of the best Def Lep tracks I've ever heard. I can't quite compare it to any other song of theirs, though I've tried. If I had to choose, I'd say it sounds a bit like something on Retroactive, like Desert Song combined with Ring of Fire. But it's fast, has a nice dark tone to it and it's heavy! I've never heard a song like Go from the band before and I love it.
The Single Nine Lives is good too, even being co-written by Tim Mcgraw. Luckily it's not a country song. It rocks and reminds me a bit of Armageddon It, though of course not as classic. Other tracks here are good too. C'mon C'mon has a nice pop-rock feel to it. Love is the only ballad on the album and it's a very different Lep ballad, with acoustic guitar parts that sound like Battle for Evermore from Zeppelin and some Queen-style choruses. And Bad Actress must be what's drawing the AC/DC comparison, and it's also a different track for them. There are a few songs that I don't care for as much as others (Hallucinate is okay, but sounds like a Euphoria leftover) but there's nothing here that's throw-away and the album is listenable through and through. And one of the best things is that for the most part, everything here is different from what we've heard before, though the album still remains Def Leppard.
For those who've complained that this band hasn't rocked in a long time, this may be the album you've been looking for.
Euphoria and X had a handful of throw away tracks. Some Best Of's and a covers album followed. All they needed was a Live album in the mix and their decline would have been complete.
Yeah! was an album they needed. A change of direction, something fun. If it was crap who cared, it's covers. It wasn't crap so that was a bonus. It seems to have breathed new life into the band. Giving them a fresh start perhaps because Songs From The Sparkle Lounge shows a renewed energy lacking for many years.
I'd gotten used to the three year album turn around (since 93) so we've missed a cycle with no new material studio album in 2005 (after 2002's X). Yeah! Shouldn't count. This is a welcome `return to form' - yes that term will be thrown around by many-a-reviewer.
11 new songs here. 8 of them under (or around) the 3:30 mark. Only two over 4 minutes. That's a change. I like the album title. It too is a change. The title X was a cop-out, Euphoria was a tad ancient.
Go - What a great opener. Frantic guitar work, nice anthem-like harmonies
Nine Lives - Tim McGraw (country? gag) might have one of the hottest females in the world as his wife but can the guy rock? Yes, it seems he can. Wasn't sure about this one when I heard about it but it's a great song. Would it have been even better without TM - Yes, but certainly would have garnered the publicity. Smart.
C'mon C'mon - might have a clichéd title and you know you're going to get a lot of c'mon's in the chorus but it's a great catchy song. Sounds a bit like Back In Your Face (from Euphoria) but much better. Leads into
Love - which is a Rick Savage written ballad. Not as good as Goodbye (one of his from Euphoria) but a nice track. Good balance of softness and rock. Sounds a lot like Queen's Jealousy (from their Jazz album - "Oh how wrong can you be?")
Tomorrow - `s chorus stats: "I wanna break down, I'm gonna shake down" which to me sounds a tad clichéd perhaps. That style of singing two identical lines but changing one or two word's been done a hundred times. Good catchy track regardless - given the subject. Rock's nicely.
Cruise Control - is a slower rock number. Continues Vivian's high quality writing output. Though far from classic, it's a good track. This song, however, starts a run of three songs that perhaps have a lesser creative quality than the rest of the album. While good tracks they lack a bit of punch.
Hallucinate - is face paced, standard rock fare. A nice track. Second of the three.
Only The Good Die Young - sounds like a track from the Euphoria era. Perhaps the poppiest track here. Pleasant enough. Perhaps my comment about Vivian's output is a bit stretched here though. Got me thinking of Billy Joel which isn't a good thing. Not that it sounds anything like his song. Third in the run.
Bad Actress - is different from any other Def Lep song. Super fast paced. Very good. Nice to hear something completely different from the boys. Nice work Joe.
Come Undone - is standard fare. Nice mid range rock.
Gotta Let It Go - is a different kind of closing track that what we've become used to. Could easily have been the opening track if they were looking for a track that gave the listener a taste of what was to come without revealing all.
This album is what Euphoria tried to be and what X should have been. Will it be a hit? Probably not. Should it be? OF COURSE!!!
Simply put this is a step back in the right direction after the terrible misstep of 2002's "X" which left some fans (including this one) wondering if in addition to being "def", the Lep might also be eunechs.
2006's cover album "Yeah!" showed some promise, but being a covers album it was tough to discern whether the Lep had regained their swagger or if they were just aping the swagger of the bands/musicians they were covering.
Luckily, "Songs from the Sparkle Lounge" confirms that the Lep has indeed regained their swagger and attitude. With only one slow song, Love the album is considerably more uptempo and rollicking than the band has been since 1999's "Euphoria" album. If anything the material is considerably stronger than that on "Euphoria" making this possibly their strongest album since the passing of guitarist Steve Clark.
The music is catchy and upbeat, the harmonies are there, the driving guitars are there, and you can even hear Lep tipping a hat to the likes of ELO and Queen on "Love" which, with its grandiose strings and tight harmonies, is one of the band's best slow songs in quite awhile.
The one weak point-- the lyrics. Granted, Def Leppard's lyrics have never been within the realm of deep or profound and the one album in which they did go deep (1996's "Slang") was not well received because it was largely not what the fans had come to love and expect of the band. The lyrics are traditional Def Leppard, simple and to the point but the low point on the album is "Bad Actress" which musically is a solid song but the lyrics are so cheesy and lamer than any of the recent ill-fated Kentucky Derby horses that it really takes away from a song that had the potential to be so much better.
Returning to good fun hair metal that put them on the map in the eighties was a recipe for success and this album is a true return to form of what this band is truly capable of. Fans of the "High 'n' Dry" through "Hysteria" era should be quite happy with this album.