Def Leppard - X
Mercury Records
Commercial Pop Rock
13 songs (47:17)
Release year: 2002
Mercury Records
Reviewed by Mike

Although the earlier Def Leppard years are clearly their best, I had placed high hopes for their new album, X. Euphoria showed some positive signs after the disappointing Slang. With Euphoria, we saw a return to the classic harmonies that were for the most part absent on Slang. Also, those awful grunge and industrial elements from Slang were thankfully left off Euphoria. I really thought the guys would continue down the path set by Euphoria and give 2002 another outstanding melodic hard rock album. Well, this is certainly not the case, so I'll highlight the good and the ugly…

As you can see from my quote, the hopes I had placed on this album based on Euphoria have not been realized. This is easily the most commercial album from the Lepps, more so than even Adrenalize or Hysteria. X is very mellow, with many slow, acoustic based songs such as Now, Unbelievable, and Everyday which are three of the first four songs on the album. That's not so bad, but all too often this album smells of modern pop / top 40 for my tastes. Love Don't Lie, with the synth use and electronic effects is one of the most glaring examples. Gravity is even worse in that it has an almost rap like verse and several electronic / synth effects that will have most long time fans of the band scratching their heads. Sure, Def Leppard's sense of melody is still fully intact and the layered harmony vocals are there, but there is more to a good song than just a cool melody or well done harmony vocals. Continuing on- Cry (one of the band's worst songs ever) could have come off the Slang album with its highly alternative vibe - ughh… Girl Like You is another song that features heavy synth use and a much too evident drum machine. Again, this is another song that dives way too far into the teenage / modern-pop / top 40 world for my tastes as well.

Songs like Paper Sun, Promises, and Kings of Oblivion from the previous album had me thinking the guys were getting back into form and would release a truly killer hard rock album in 2002. This is not much of a hard rock album, but more a melodic pop rock album. However, there are some highlights worth mentioning with this new album. The US release of this album finishes with the track Scar, which is perhaps the best track of the album. It features that Hysteria / Adrenalize drum sound and some very nice guitar work and rocks in a Kings of Oblivion or Paper Sun style with a catchy as hell chorus line and Joe Elliot's emotional vocals. You're So Beautiful is certainly a commercial number, but the classic guitar sound of the Lepps makes this song a standout. This song is full of hooks and features a nice solo for good measure. Long, Long Way To Go is one of the better Def Leppard ballads I've ever heard. A very emotional performance by Joe Elliot and a stunning chorus line make this song rank up there with the best of the band's ballads. Four Letter Word is a catchy, party rock song that could have easily fit on the Adrenalize album. Its upbeat, rocking nature is a welcome nod to the band's past.

I know a lot of Def Leppard fans gave up on this band after the Hysteria album, or Adrenalize at the latest. I prefer the band's first three albums, but I did find some good moments in the band's later work. Although I might be one of the more patient Def Leppard fans out there, I'm really losing interest in the band with this album. I have pointed out some nice moments on this album, but they are so few in number that I can't firmly recommend this album to the majority of readers of this site. Except in a few cases, the band is moving pretty far from the hard rock genre and entering the pop / top 40 arena. In that respect, I suppose this album is a very nice pop / top 40 album if you like that type of thing. I feel that the Lepps have very little left to offer hard rock fans. The torch has certainly passed to a new generation of bands to keep the melodic hard rock genre alive today. If you have a taste for modern pop rock, you might enjoy this album. As for me, I instead choose to invest my time and money in the many excellent hard rock bands of today.

Killing Songs :
Scar, Long, Long Way To Go, Four Letter Word
Mike quoted 56 / 100
Chris quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Def Leppard that we have reviewed:
Def Leppard - Songs From The Sparkle Lounge reviewed by Storm and quoted 81 / 100
Def Leppard - Hysteria reviewed by Storm and quoted CLASSIC
Def Leppard - Yeah! reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
Def Leppard - Adrenalize reviewed by Shane and quoted 84 / 100
Def Leppard - High 'n Dry reviewed by Jeff and quoted CLASSIC
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