Hysteria by Def Leppard (1987)

18May11

No 1980’s whiteboy childhood was complete without Hysteria, the kick ass anthem rock album from Def Leppard. MTV would play the videos for the hits at least 15 times a day, which meant that my backyard-soccer or baseball-card-sorting activities were planned around the times that I would run to the TV with my brothers to watch it again. The stereotypical 80’s hair and the 1-armed drummer were plenty entertaining enough to watch, but damn these songs were good too!

Everybody knows ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’…and if you don’t, you’re definitely under 21 without a fake I.D. That song has become a staple of American barroom culture, to the point where even my rap-loving friends don’t even cringe when they hear it. But there’s more to this record than cover song glory. Remember that this album came out in the age of cassette tapes, so the majority of the hits are front-loaded onto Side A. ‘Rocket’ gets things moving early, and sets things up for the album’s gem ‘Animal’. Ironically, Def Leppard’s best album (this one) doesn’t include their best song (‘Photograph’) but ‘Animal’ is a close second. Some other tracks have gotten more notoriety and airplay, but ‘Animal’ stays in beast mode. ‘Love Bites’ is up next, the rock ballad that stayed in the #1 spot on MTV’s Top 20 Video Countdown for like an entire summer. And we close out Side A with the party rock song ‘Armageddon It’, which confused everyone: “are they saying getting it? Or armageddon it?” They are saying both, which doesn’t really make any sense, but who the hell cares?

Irrelevant: spell-check changed lower-case armageddon to upper-case Armageddon

Side B isn’t really anything memorable for the casual fan, but if you love the 80s rock sound like I do then you’ll do just fine here. The standout in the second half is title track ‘Hysteria’. It’s got a different sound from the rest of the record, with a nice jumpy guitar line that carries the emotional vocals. It’s a great song, and a great choice by the band to carry the album’s title. Some rock fans disagree about which Def Leppard album was their best, but really it’s a silly argument. Hysteria is legendary, and that’s not a word that I’ve typed more than once before on this blog. Sure, some of the songs may have a dated sound to them now. But if you’re looking to add some excitement to your summer soundtrack, do yourself a favor and pick up Hysteria (or better yet, go after a Def Leppard greatest hits album)

Fact: Hysteria came out the same day as Appetite For Destruction (Guns N Roses)

music turtle recommends: ARMAGEDDON IT!

What do you think about this album? Comment below

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