Melody-driven hard rock bands like Def Leppard are fully aware of the challenge facing a group of rock stars pushing 40. It’s little surprise then that X, the tenth album from one of the ’80s most astoundingly talented, trend-defining and influential bands, sticks to a predictable assortment of Bic-flicking rockers and hook-heavy power ballads loaded with the same ubiquitous multi-part vocal harmonies that have become Leppard’s inimitable signature. Bluntly put, there are no surprises here. The effusive “You’re So Beautiful” and “Love Don’t Lie” are instantly addictive, and “Everyday” is “Photograph” without the latter’s life-shattering sense of loss. For those about to rock, “4 Letter Word” pays refreshing tribute to AC/DC. But overall, somebody poured a little too much sugar on the final mix. All 13 tracks on X have that melodic rock sweetness down to the core, but this isn’t the most original album on earth. At best, X finds Leppard continuing confidently along their well-worn but distinguishable path, their days of Hysteria now behind them. If you really want to relive the magic of Def Leppard’s glory days, snag yourself a copy of Vault, their greatest hits from 1980 – 1995, because that shit rocks like a bastard.
Island Records: http://www.islandrecords.com