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Articles Home » 1992 Articles » Def Leppard - 1992 Adrenalize
Def Leppard - 1992 Adrenalize

ARTIST: Def Leppard
ALBUM: Adrenalize
LABEL: Bludgeon Riffola/Phonogram
SERIAL: 510 978-2
YEAR: 1992


LINEUP: Joe Elliot- vocals * Phil Collen - guitars * Rick Savage - bass * Rick Allen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Lets Get Rocked * 02 Heaven Is * 03 Make Love Like A Man * 04 Tonight * 05 White Lightning * 06 Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion) * 07 Personal Property * 08 Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad * 09 I Wanna Touch U * 10 Tear It Down


The much vaunted history of Def Leppard has been recounted so many times that it's become one of the more tiresome stories in rock lore. This particular chapter in their career was another tragic one, with Steve Clark's death in early 1991 from an overdose of alcohol and drug poisoning halting the bands progress yet again. The band carried on however, with Collen handling all of Clark's guitar parts, to the point you'd think Clark had been resurrected. Of course the rock landscape had changed for the worse by 1992, with Leppard's 80's exploits suddenly termed outmoded and dated. It would take them four more years to recognize this change with the horrific 'Slang', but for the time being 'Adrenalize' was a continuation of the 'Hysteria' approach, another slickly produced hard rock bonanza. Most observers would consider 'Hysteria' far superior to 'Adrenalize', but this album has its moments and for me is the last acceptable album they've made. It wasn't as successful as its predecessor but think back to 1992 and I'm sure anyone reading this would've had a difficult time evading 'Let's Get Rocked'.

The Songs
Compared to the pretentious, brooding material Leppard have specialized in since this album, 'Let's Get Rocked' makes for harmless, lightweight listening some two decades later. The lyrics are daft of course, but it's catchy and fun, something they've since forgotten how to execute. This was considered appalling compared to Nirvana and Pearl Jam, who of course had supposedly put the boot to bands like Leppard and their good time shenanigans. The riffs on this album have more of an edge than 'Hysteria' and there's an AC/DC tinge to the guitar work on 'Heaven Is' amidst the excellent vocal melodies. 'Make Love Like A Man' is full of the overproduced production layers and it works brilliantly, another great rocker with AOR tendencies all over it. 'Tonight' has traces of the 'Pyromania' era, a trademark Leppard ballad that's nothing short of classic. The formula they'd perfected was at its apex here, regardless of what year it was. At seven minutes 'White Lightning' could be considered epic, a close relation to 'Gods Of War' or 'Billy's Got A Gun', with an atmospheric buildup and somewhat triumphant chorus. 'Stand Up (Kick Love into Motion)' is 'Hysteria' all over (the song that is), almost as if the five years in between never happened, perfectly acceptable. Things toughen up for 'Personal Property', an archetypical Leppard piece of raunch, something they practically invented. Another huge chart hit was 'Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad', a contender for king of all 'hair' ballads, a despicable label if there ever was one. This tearjerker is followed by routine anthem 'I Wanna Touch U', which is demolished by 'Tear It Down', a song that had originally appeared as a B-side for 'Hysteria' in 1987. Although this version clearly misses Steve Clark, it's still the heaviest song here, basically a remake of 'Let It Go' structure wise. This is the last time Leppard ever sounded like a real hard rock band to my ears.

In Summary
The album sold millions on release, even as their contemporaries started fading left and right. Vivian Campbell soon joined on guitar, causing loss of the bands identity and I still think this guy was the wrong choice to replace Clark. Listening to this now it's amazing this came out in 1992, as it's so heavily steeped in the 'Hysteria' traditions. In a way I could see why some may have been tired of the production excesses the band had pushed to overload, as it had been plundered over and over by this point. But for me this album has more appeal than 'Hysteria' simply because it hasn't been as exposed as badly and I find many of the songs more appealing melodically and heaviness wise. Of course it was the end of an era, with the band taking a new direction for 'Slang', one that alienated fans and was far less successful. 1999's 'Euphoria' was an attempt to relive the classic years to some extent, but the magic was gone by then. Everything else since has been on the threshold of pure abomination, which makes 'Adrenalize' seem classic by comparison.

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#1 | Eric on January 15 2013 17:41:11
This album is way overlooked. Wasn't Campbell's first live appearance with the band at Freddie Mercury's tribute gig at Wembley?
#2 | DrakeSinister on January 18 2013 04:52:47
Eh. I say good sir, Euphoria is an absolutely killer record...hell, I'd go as far as to say that its the best set of songs they ever put to record. :/
#3 | dangerzone on January 18 2013 18:50:14
Well I didn't say it was a bad album. I actually enjoyed 'Euphoria' at the time, but even though it went gold the damage was done.
#4 | jeffrey343 on March 03 2014 18:31:48
This album represented the last gasp of rock as we knew it back then. Impressive that it had four songs that hit the U.S. top 40 pop charts (two of them top 15), let alone two number ones on the rock charts with the other two hitting three and seven. I bought the album when it came out and considered it to be good. I just didn't play it that much. I was getting turned off by radio by then, and I had actually started listening more to country by early 1992. I did hear the hits from this one when I did listen to the rock and pop stations. But I didn't give this one as much attention as I would have if I had been more tuned into the rock scene. I definitely consider this to be stronger overall than "Hysteria". Mutt Lange's involvement was much less, but they retained the polished sound without resorting to all the gibberish that permeated "Hysteria".

If I had not heard any of the first five albums and you asked me to put them in chronological order, this one would definitely be the fourth. It sounds much truer to the "Pyromania" sound, and I would have expected the more experimental sounds of "Hysteria" to have come later.
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