And today we look at Def Leppard’s much-maligned Slang with the fully remastered and reloaded version of the 1996 record available now.
Released back when grunge had given hair metal the proverbial kick in the balls it represented a brave (or necessary) change in direction from Sheffield’s finest.
Gloomier than Hysteria and Adrenalize – and missing John ‘Mutt’ Lange’s input – Slang lacked the big choruses, overblown production and, ultimately, commercial appeal of Leppard’s earlier offerings.
However, it won begrudging praise from those hardened critics ready to write off Joe Elliott and co. for the final time. This was the band as raw as it gets when you’re used to spending half a decade tweaking every last note.
Spawning four singles – three of which crashed the UK Top 40 – Slang was hardly a disaster in terms of sales. And yet by Leppard’s standards a gold record at home and abroad was a far cry from the halcyon era of the multi-platinum Hysteria.
A top five album in Britain and top 20 on the Billboard chart, there were nods to a hit-laden past with ballad All I Want Is Everything appeasing those who had come to love Leppard’s cheesier moments.
But Slang was a statement of intent from a band that refused to bow to the onslaught of grunge and remained determined to plough their own rock furrow. Elliott has since joked the record’s working title was ‘Commercial Suicide’ and if it wasn’t quite that then it would be their last Top 10 album for more than a decade.
2. Turn To Dust
4. All I Want Is Everything
5. Work It Out
6. Breathe A Sigh
7. Deliver Me
8. Gift Of Flesh
9. Blood Runs Cold
10. Where Does Love Go When It Dies
11. Pearl Of Euphoria
The deluxe edition of Slang – featuring up to 19 previously unreleased tracks – is available now on double CD and double vinyl. Check it out here.
I’m a journalist specialising in sport and rock music. Can’t play either so I write about them instead.