Rating:
7.0
Def Leppard - Hysteria
1987


01. Women
02. Rocket
03. Animal
04. Love Bites
05. Pour Some Sugar On Me
06. Armageddon It
07. Gods Of War
08. Don't Shoot Shotgun
09. Run Riot
10. Hysteria
11. Excitable
12. Love And Affection


In a genre known for singles and filler albums and an album composed almost entirely of singles is bound for greatness, right? Well, as so often, the answer to that question is ultimately a matter of personal taste but Hysteria is unarguably a landmark of an album, setting the blueprint for legions of hair bands coming after it. No traces of metal are remaining in Def Leppard's sound, so what's left are sweet pop melodies preformed in the typical rock arrangement and sugar-coated by one of the most detailed productions ever. The melodies are quite memorable, always one of Leppard's greatest strengths. The songs are also quite varied, ranging from loud, compositionally restrained stadium anthems to conventional rockers to power ballads and there is even a nods towards the more dramatic and epic songwriting on "Gods Of War". And lastly, the production is elaborate, delicate, sophisticated and manages to ruin almost everything.

In fact, there is not much left of Def Leppard as the production renders Hysteria a faceless and bland affair that feels like anyone could have written and recorded it. There is no edge, no bite, no auditory ledge a listener can hang his ears onto which results in an emotional response that is indifference at best. Even as far as pop albums go, Hysteria comes off rather shallow, as it does not try to please which would bear the risk of failure, instead doing its best at avoiding to offend. Nevertheless, one can do far worse as Leppard's musical heirs (and the band thereafter) would prove, in fact barring the impotent production this remains a potent hard rock album. The title track is unabashedly romantic and a better ballad than the somewhat strained (and overplayed) "Love Bites". The arena-ready "Pour Some Sugar On Me" might be simple but it accomplishes what it sets out to do and the aforementioned "Gods Of War" is probably the best overall track. The commercial success of Hysteria proved to be massively influential with arguably only Appetite For Destruction creating similar waves, sending the producers out there chasing Mutt Lange's tail for the next five years or so and leaving every hair band with the choice of either emulating it or trying to consciously differentiate oneself from it. Recommended, but approach with caution.


Band profile: Def Leppard
Album: Hysteria


 


written by DayFly | 13.02.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Mountain King - 13.02.2010 at 16:04  
You have to get used to this album, but i think it's good. I prefer Pyromania though...
BreadGod - 14.02.2010 at 01:03  
Even though I'm well entrenched in extreme metal, I'll always hold a special place in my heart for 'Pour Some Sugar on Me'.
Hermann Langke - 14.02.2010 at 17:03  
Def Leppard is one of my fav. bands.Liked your review to some extent,but not at all the ratings.It should have been more.
Daydream Nation - 02.10.2010 at 16:56  
This album is one of the greatest pop-metal albums. None of their predecessors could match this (eg. Poison, Ratt, etc.) because it retains the emotional depth and remains the masterful song structures of the past. That being said, few times has Leppard succeeded since this album. The majority of Adrenalize and Yeah!, songs from Euphoria and Slang, and the rare tune from X approach this quality. Songs from the Sparkle Lounge was pathetic, though.
Boxcar Willy - 01.11.2010 at 21:16  
Written by BreadGod on 14.02.2010 at 01:03

Even though I'm well entrenched in extreme metal, I'll always hold a special place in my heart for 'Pour Some Sugar on Me'.

Me too... Me too...
Angelic Storm - 23.06.2011 at 17:02  
This was the very first rock album I heard, and what set me on the road to being a lover of rock music, and then later, metal. The song "Rocket" in particular, I will always remember as the first song that got me interested in Def Leppard, and later the hard rock/metal genres. I do prefer their edgier, more metal sounding stuff from the early 80's, but "Hysteria" will always have a special place in my heart for being the first rock album I heard. And being the first album I truly fell in love with.

I agree mostly with the review too... the production is the worst thing about the album, but there are a few great songs on there if you can look past that! xD
Sonic MrSumo - 21.10.2011 at 00:54  
Written by Angelic Storm on 23.06.2011 at 17:02

This was the very first rock album I heard, and what set me on the road to being a lover of rock music, and then later, metal.


Same here!

I think the production on this album is excellent. It blends pop-rock with 80's synth so very well, and the sound stage is massive. Big drums, crisp guitars...I love it!
Angelic Storm - 21.10.2011 at 18:32  
Written by Sonic MrSumo on 21.10.2011 at 00:54
Same here!

I think the production on this album is excellent. It blends pop-rock with 80's synth so very well, and the sound stage is massive. Big drums, crisp guitars...I love it!


Yay!

Well, the production is excellent... though not for a hard rock band. The production is a bit too pristine and "perfect" if you ask me, as it takes any hard rock edge the songs might have had, away. I still love the album though, and the songs are mostly great! xD
RavenKing - 19.11.2011 at 19:27  
Written by Angelic Storm on 21.10.2011 at 18:32

Written by Sonic MrSumo on 21.10.2011 at 00:54
Same here!

I think the production on this album is excellent. It blends pop-rock with 80's synth so very well, and the sound stage is massive. Big drums, crisp guitars...I love it!


Yay!

Well, the production is excellent... though not for a hard rock band. The production is a bit too pristine and "perfect" if you ask me, as it takes any hard rock edge the songs might have had, away. I still love the album though, and the songs are mostly great! xD


I would label this album as pop rock, not hard rock.
It's one of the only pop rock albums I can stand. However, my favorite song never played on radio, if I remember.

Since you know me rather well, I'm a bit curious...
Can you guess what my favorite song on this album is? You already know it is not one of the most popular ones.
Marcel Hubregtse - 19.11.2011 at 19:29  
Written by RavenKing on 19.11.2011 at 19:27

Written by Angelic Storm on 21.10.2011 at 18:32

Written by Sonic MrSumo on 21.10.2011 at 00:54
Same here!

I think the production on this album is excellent. It blends pop-rock with 80's synth so very well, and the sound stage is massive. Big drums, crisp guitars...I love it!


Yay!

Well, the production is excellent... though not for a hard rock band. The production is a bit too pristine and "perfect" if you ask me, as it takes any hard rock edge the songs might have had, away. I still love the album though, and the songs are mostly great! xD


I would label this album as pop rock, not hard rock.
It's one of the only pop rock albums I can stand. However, my favorite song never played on radio, if I remember.

Since you know me rather well, I'm a bit curious...
Can you guess what my favorite song on this album is? You already know it is not one of the most popular ones.


I am guessing Gods Of War
RavenKing - 19.11.2011 at 19:33  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 19.11.2011 at 19:29

I am guessing Gods Of War


Wait until Angelic Storm answers the question and I will give the answer. Promised.
Angelic Storm - 19.11.2011 at 22:10  
Written by RavenKing on 19.11.2011 at 19:27
I would label this album as pop rock, not hard rock.
It's one of the only pop rock albums I can stand. However, my favorite song never played on radio, if I remember.

Since you know me rather well, I'm a bit curious...
Can you guess what my favorite song on this album is? You already know it is not one of the most popular ones.


Oh, without a doubt it is pop rock, but I still feel the album could have benefitted from a slightly less pristine production. "Pyromania" was pop rock too, but it has a slightly grittier, dirtier sound. Which made it sound like a cross between their earlier stuff and "Hysteria". Also, if you listen to the songs that were cut during the "Hysteria" sessions, they have more of an edge to them, which is probably why they were not included on the final album. Mutt Lange was given a bit too much control over the band's sound if you ask me, but there you go...

I'm very surprised to hear that you can stand it, and even have a favourite song from it. Can I guess your favourite song? Well, 7 songs were released from the album as singles, so they can all be eliminated as they were played on the radio. Hmm... I'm inclined to go along with Marcel on this one, as "Gods Of War" does seem the obvious choice for a favourite for someone who usually doesn't like this type of rock. So yep, that's what I'm going with. Could also be "Run Riot" though... hehe
RavenKing - 19.11.2011 at 23:20  
Written by Angelic Storm on 19.11.2011 at 22:10

Written by RavenKing on 19.11.2011 at 19:27
I would label this album as pop rock, not hard rock.
It's one of the only pop rock albums I can stand. However, my favorite song never played on radio, if I remember.

Since you know me rather well, I'm a bit curious...
Can you guess what my favorite song on this album is? You already know it is not one of the most popular ones.


Oh, without a doubt it is pop rock, but I still feel the album could have benefitted from a slightly less pristine production. "Pyromania" was pop rock too, but it has a slightly grittier, dirtier sound. Which made it sound like a cross between their earlier stuff and "Hysteria". Also, if you listen to the songs that were cut during the "Hysteria" sessions, they have more of an edge to them, which is probably why they were not included on the final album. Mutt Lange was given a bit too much control over the band's sound if you ask me, but there you go...

I'm very surprised to hear that you can stand it, and even have a favourite song from it. Can I guess your favourite song? Well, 7 songs were released from the album as singles, so they can all be eliminated as they were played on the radio. Hmm... I'm inclined to go along with Marcel on this one, as "Gods Of War" does seem the obvious choice for a favourite for someone who usually doesn't like this type of rock. So yep, that's what I'm going with. Could also be "Run Riot" though... hehe


It seems you and Marcel both now me rather well. My favorite song is indeed "Gods Of War".
The song is probably different than the rest of the album though. I never paid attention much to the lyrics but they sound more serious and less childish to me. Also, I think the song is more well-written than the others, with some kind of build up. It's also the longest song and I have a penchant for long songs.
Angelic Storm - 20.11.2011 at 00:39  
Written by RavenKing on 19.11.2011 at 23:20
It seems you and Marcel both now me rather well. My favorite song is indeed "Gods Of War".
The song is probably different than the rest of the album though. I never paid attention much to the lyrics but they sound more serious and less childish to me. Also, I think the song is more well-written than the others, with some kind of build up. It's also the longest song and I have a penchant for long songs.


The song is different from the rest of the album, which is why it seemed to me like it was the obvious answer to your question. So obvious in fact that I tried to think of another song it could possibly be, as it just seemed TOO obvious and easy an answer. The lyrics are more serious, and it is in fact the only song on the album that has a subject matter that is untypical of the pop-rock genre. (Sex, rock n' roll, partying... the usual nonsense) It is also my favourite song on the album for the exact same reasons you gave. A bit like "Die Hard The Hunter" which happens to be my fave song from "Pyromania". (and "White Lightning" from "Adrenalize") I do kinda wish that side of the band wasn't stripped back so excessively. They definitely owe much of their huge success to Mutt Lange, but I personally feel they sacrificed too much to get that success... Anyway, here's a snippet from the "Gods Of War" lyrics which shows how it contrasts with the lyrics on the other songs:


Feelin' like it's all over, feelin' like there's no love
Feelin' like it's not easy, breathin' life in the dust
On a countdown to zero take a ride on the nightmare machine
There ain't gonna be heroes
There ain't gonna be anything
Oh!

Here it comes, here comes the night
Here it comes, hell in the night
Here it comes, here comes the night

When we all fall down
When we walk into silence
When we shadow the sun
When we surrender to violence
RavenKing - 20.11.2011 at 02:16  
Written by Angelic Storm on 20.11.2011 at 00:39

The song is different from the rest of the album, which is why it seemed to me like it was the obvious answer to your question. So obvious in fact that I tried to think of another song it could possibly be, as it just seemed TOO obvious and easy an answer. The lyrics are more serious, and it is in fact the only song on the album that has a subject matter that is untypical of the pop-rock genre. (Sex, rock n' roll, partying... the usual nonsense) It is also my favourite song on the album for the exact same reasons you gave. A bit like "Die Hard The Hunter" which happens to be my fave song from "Pyromania". (and "White Lightning" from "Adrenalize") I do kinda wish that side of the band wasn't stripped back so excessively. They definitely owe much of their huge success to Mutt Lange, but I personally feel they sacrificed too much to get that success... Anyway, here's a snippet from the "Gods Of War" lyrics which shows how it contrasts with the lyrics on the other songs:


Feelin' like it's all over, feelin' like there's no love
Feelin' like it's not easy, breathin' life in the dust
On a countdown to zero take a ride on the nightmare machine
There ain't gonna be heroes
There ain't gonna be anything
Oh!

Here it comes, here comes the night
Here it comes, hell in the night
Here it comes, here comes the night

When we all fall down
When we walk into silence
When we shadow the sun
When we surrender to violence


Exactly. It's the only song with a message, Imo. And the only one I can take seriously. I mean, for example, "Pour Some Sugar On Me" is not a bad song but the lyrics... Much is left to desire, if you ask me.

I'm really not surprised to hear that it's your favorite one too. And I agree that their music would have gained considerably if they adopted this more serious attitude more often. But they chose the easy road to money, as we all know.
I know little about their material after "Hysteria" but enough to know that they have been very inconsistent.

By the way, I know that both bands are totally different but reading these political lyrics here bring Kreator to my mind in a funny way.
I can imagine Mille spitting these words in a vicious tone. lol
Angelic Storm - 20.11.2011 at 03:29  
Written by RavenKing on 20.11.2011 at 02:16
Exactly. It's the only song with a message, Imo. And the only one I can take seriously. I mean, for example, "Pour Some Sugar On Me" is not a bad song but the lyrics... Much is left to desire, if you ask me.

I'm really not surprised to hear that it's your favorite one too. And I agree that their music would have gained considerably if they adopted this more serious attitude more often. But they chose the easy road to money, as we all know.
I know little about their material after "Hysteria" but enough to know that they have been very inconsistent.

By the way, I know that both bands are totally different but reading these political lyrics here bring Kreator to my mind in a funny way.
I can imagine Mille spitting these words in a vicious tone. lol


"Pour Some Sugar On Me" isn't a bad song? Okay, that's twice in one evening you've shocked me!

I do know exactly what you mean though. Back when I was listening to this album first time around, I was very young, so dumb lyrics sort of went over my head back then. I just liked the music and didn't pay much attention to the lyrics. Since then of course, I got into metal, and quickly matured to a stage where such lyrics made me squirm, and lyrical content became an important part of the listening experience for me. Don't get me wrong, I still like "Hysteria" a lot, and as my gateway to the world of rock and metal, it will always be a bit special to me. But the lyrics are just ridiculous, so I can't fully engage with the album, even if musically I still enjoy a lot of it.

I feel their reputation as a serious rock band took a critical blow from their transition to pop rock, with "Hysteria" being the final nail in the coffin. And it is a shame, because while the odd song with lyrics like Pour Some Sugar... would have been okay, making 95% of their lyrics like that was really going way too far in the wrong direction. Here is a song that was recorded for "Hysteria", but didn't make the final album. Hearing it, it's very easy to see why it was cut from the album, but it's definitely not because it was a bad song:




Haha, maybe Kreator should add their own thrash flavour to it and do a cover.
Troy Killjoy - 20.11.2011 at 03:40  
Written by Angelic Storm on 20.11.2011 at 03:29
"Pour Some Sugar On Me" isn't a bad song?

Reading that, coming from RK... Made my night.
Angelic Storm - 20.11.2011 at 03:48  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 20.11.2011 at 03:40
Reading that, coming from RK... Made my night.


I think I'm still reeling from the shock of him saying that.
RavenKing - 20.11.2011 at 18:04  
It is not so surprising, I think. lol

First, you have to know that when I said "Pour Some Sugar On me is not a bad song", I meant that it's not so bad if we take into account it's a pop rock song with silly lyrics and we heard much worse in this style. My comment had to be put into context.

Second, I believe there might be a misunderstanding that I hate all pop music. In my mind, the following rules will always be true:
1- Not all pop is crap.
2- Not all metal is good.

Despite my extreme tastes when it comes to metal, I like some pop music. Mostly old pop music though. I admit that I hate almost all modern pop music because it's only electronic shit. At least old pop was real music played with real instruments and often required vocal talent.
I would say, I listen to what I like, metal or not. And I prefer by far good pop music to bad metal.
The amount of pop music I'm listening to compared to metal is really not much. I never buy pop albums and listen to pop only on my computer, when I'm in the mood. However, I hear radio music all day because the radio plays (at low volume) all day in the office where I'm working. And I usually listen to radio in my car if I don't travel far (mostly for news and not music). If I know I will drive for at least half an hour on highways, I will plug my mp3 and listen to metal.

I guess I have dealt a serious blow to my reputation of being a metal elitist now. lol
As if I care. I just happen to love fast and aggressive music. For me, it has nothing to do with belonging to a special class or whatever. Metal is only music, nothing more.
I'm a perfectly regular person who works all day and has a quiet life but I've been listening to metal for over 25 years because I love the music. And I don't see the day I will stop listening to it.
Angelic Storm - 20.11.2011 at 20:16  
@Ravenking: I was very aware of the context in which you meant that comment about "Pour Some Sugar On Me", and even so, I was still shocked.

"I believe there might be a misunderstanding that I hate all pop music. In my mind, the following rules will always be true:
1- Not all pop is crap.
2- Not all metal is good."

I couldn't agree more, both of those things are very true myself I find. Probably around 90% of what I listen to, is metal. And it definitely is the style of music my heart is closest to. But I like other types of music as well, including pop. Although like you, I think the vast majority of modern pop is absolutely terrible. But some old pop (like The Beatles) is great music, and I've certainly never made any secret of the fact that I enjoy it. I've always just said I like what I like, and that's it.

As for damaging your reputation as a "metal elitist", I think I can very safely say that at least a few who class themselves as elitists (or people who only listen to "tr00" metal) in public, in private, probably have "guilty pleasures". That they'd never openly admit to liking, but behind closed doors away from their peers and friends, they secretly enjoy. At least you're honest, which is something that I think a lot of elitists deep down, are not. It's just an act and a show to appear superior and certainly, some definitely do compromise their true selves in order to keep that charade up. Which as far as I'm concerned, is poser-ism at it's worst. Which I guess is the ultimate irony. lol

Great post.
tea[m]ster - 24.11.2011 at 01:39  
Album and more so the band is a guilty pleasure of mine hehe

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