On May 14, 1996 (exactly 24 years ago), Def Leppard released their sixth studio album titled Slang. Honestly, I was terrified of how I’d feel about this album because I’ve heard mixed reviews on it. Def Leppard is known for their big production, catchy melodies, and tight harmonies, but for Slang, the band decided to try something different.
Some factors to consider are grunge was taking over the music industry, and the remaining members of Def Leppard were going through their own demons at the time. Rick Savage’s father passed away the eve before going into the studio to make the album, Joe Elliott and Phil Collen were going through divorces, and Rick Allen, well, let’s not go there because I love him with all my heart. The point is, with all the pain boiled up inside the band, it would’ve been a crime to make another album that sounded like, well, Def Leppard!
To continue with this change, Def Leppard decided not to bring in Mutt Lange for Slang because the idea they wanted for the record was completely different from what Lange was known for, which is the big production. So the band co-produced the entire album with Pete Woodroffe, a friend, and engineer of theirs. The thing I love most about this album is that Rick Allen went back to an acoustic drumset. It was the first time he’s done so since High ‘n’ Dry (1981).
Slang had that rawness and toughness that you can’t find anywhere else. My personal favorites are “All I Want Is Everything” and “Work It Out.” However, I listened to the 2014 deluxe edition, so I got a chance to hear “Worlds Collide,” which ended up being the B-side to “Promises.” That is probably the most aggressive and heavy song I’ve ever heard from Def Leppard’s catalog, and it was awesome.
It took me a while to get used to “Slang,” but I quite like it now because I watched a live video of the band playing the song, and instead of saying “uno, dos, tres, cuatro,” Elliott said, “gunter, glieben, glauchen, globen.” It was hilarious, and it matched the original line perfectly.
Overall, I admire Def Leppard for taking a risk and trying something different. They were closing one door and opening a new one in their career. Though they haven’t played most of these songs live in years, I wouldn’t mind if they did one day (I’d love to see a current live version of “All I Want Is Everything”).
Let me know what your favorite track is from the Slang album in the comments below!
Take care and see ya real soon!