So the "Sparkle Lounge" sounds more like Liberace's living room than anything one might associate with Def Leppard. But in reality, the "Sparkle Lounge" was where the band would get together while on tour to work on new material. This album is the fruits of those musical labors.
Simply put this is a step back in the right direction after the terrible misstep of 2002's X which left some fans (including this one) wondering if in addition to being deaf, the Lep might also be a eunuch.
2006's cover album Yeah! showed some promise, but being a covers album it was tough to discern whether the Lep had regained their swagger or if they were just aping the swagger of the bands/musicians they were covering.
Luckily, Songs from the Sparkle Lounge confirms that the Lep has indeed regained their swagger and attitude. With only one slow song, Love the album is considerably more uptempo and rollicking than the band has been since 1999's Euphoria album. If anything the material is considerably stronger than that on Euphoria making this possibly their strongest album since the passing of guitarist Steve Clark.
The music is catchy and upbeat, the harmonies are there, the driving guitars are there, and you can even hear Lep tipping a hat to the likes of ELO and Queen on Love which, with its grandiose strings and tight harmonies, is one of the band's best slow songs in quite awhile.
The one weak point-- the lyrics. Granted, Def Leppard's lyrics have never been within the realm of deep or profound and the one album in which they did go deep (1996's Slang) was not well received because it was largely not what the fans had come to love and expect of the band. The lyrics are traditional Def Leppard, simple and to the point but the low point on the album is Bad Actress which musically is a solid song but the lyrics are so cheesy and lamer than any of the recent ill-fated Kentucky Derby horses that it really takes away from a song that had the potential to be so much better.
Returning to good fun hair metal that put them on the map in the eighties was a recipe for success and this album is a true return to form of what this band is truly capable of. Fans of the High 'n' Dry through Hysteria era should be quite happy with this album.
Def Leppard Songs from the Sparkle Lounge on Amazon.com
Def Leppard Slang review
Def Leppard Euphoria review
Def Leppard Yeah! review