DEF LEPPARD – X [Japan SHM-CD new remaster / Limited Release] (2023) *HQ*
A few days ago Universal Music Japan started a new reissue campaign of DEF LEPPARD albums pressed on SHM-CD, a Limited Edition release on miniLP reproducing the album first edition LP in miniature and the original Japanese OBI. These differ from the previous (now sold out) SHM-CD reissues, as features a new remastering.
In the case of “X”, this remaster has been handled by the band’s long serving sound engineer Ronan McHugh and Joe Elliott at Joe’s Garage with assistance from Andy Pearce. This Japanese release is the only available on standalone CD-disc – in Europe this remaster is only available on vinyl LP.
2002’s “X” (pronounced ten), much like 1996’s Slang, featured another departure from Deff Lepp signature sound by moving into the Rock&pop genre. Some critics said this was some kind of a syruped boy-band aberration, but for what it is, it’s a good record. There wasn’t a record label pressure to make an album like this, Def Leppard did it because they wanted to.
The album features the Roman numeral “X” recognising it as their tenth album release, although is in fact their eighth collection of all-new studio material (they counted Retro- Active and Vault, which were a re-recording of B-sides / rarities and a greatest hits set respectively).
“X” is the first Def Leppard since High ‘n’ Dry where there is no presence of Mutt Lange. Those who take their place at the knobs are the band themselves, Pete Woodroffe, and the pair of Per Aldeheim / Andreas Carlsson, known for crafting the sound of various ‘teen’ bands.
There’s also songwritng contribution from Marti Fredericksen (Aerosmith, The Cult, Mick Jagger).
Yeah, “X” is a very poppy album, but very well conceived and executed. It’s a balanced record with songs ranging from very sweet power ballads (‘Long Long Way To Go’) to rocking tunes as only Leppard knows how to do (‘Scar’).
In ‘Four Letter Word’ the band borrows the base and riff of their classic Armageddon it, but they make it up in such a way that it ends up being one of the most hooky cuts on the album. Then there’s the tracks that alienated most old fans adding electronics and drum loops such as ‘Gravity’, ‘Torn To Shreds’, or ‘Girl Like You’. But in our book all are fine, cool modern pop-rock songs.
However, the trademark Def Leppard sound since the mid-Eighties is also present on “X”. Solid examples of this are the quite epic ‘Cry’ and the midtempo ballad ‘Let Me Be The One’.
But the aim to try something different is clearly demonstrated in the songs the group co-wrote with Fredericksen. The first single, “Now”, “You’re So Beautiful” and “Everyday” (still a Leppard anthem played in a live setting), showcases a band constantly seeking to innovate in its sound.
At first “X” was taken as a ‘they sold their souls’ album from Def Leppard, but truth is the band wanted a new direction and not repeat themselves. Sure, you’ll miss the sharp riffs and most the AOR feeling here, but this album need to be listened from other perspective. It’s a new Millennium rock&pop album, and works like it is.
ＵＮＩＶＥＲＳＡＬ ＭＵＳＩＣ ＪＡＰＡＮ / ＵＩＣＹ～80351
Ｄ Ｅ Ｆ Ｌ Ｅ Ｐ Ｐ Ａ Ｒ Ｄ ２０２３
01 – Now
02 – Unbelievable
03 – You’re So Beautiful
04 – Everyday
05 – Long Long Way To Go
06 – Four Letter Word
07 – Torn To Shreds
08 – Love Don’t Lie
09 – Gravity
10 – Cry
11 – Girl Like You
12 – Let Me Be The One
13 – Scar
Joe Elliott – lead vocals
Rick Savage – bass, vocals
Rick Allen – drums
Vivian Campbell – guitar, vocals
Phil Collen – guitar, vocals
Stan Schiller – shredding tele licks on 9
Eric Carter – keyboards and drum loops on 1, 3, 4