Def Leppard

Euphoria

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Even though Slang successfully revitalized Def Leppard, it didn't become a huge hit, which was a disappointment, considering that the band adjusted their sound to fit the times. Taking that into account, Def Leppard set out to make a classic Def Leppard album with Slang's successor, Euphoria. And, surprisingly, that's exactly what they've delivered. From the outset, it's clear that Euphoria finds the band returning to the glam-inflected, unabashedly catchy, arena-ready pop-metal that made them stars -- and it's also clear that they're not concerned with having a hit, they just want to make a good record. For them, that means returning to the pop-metal formula that made Pyromania and Hysteria blockbusters, even if they must know that this signature sound no longer guarantees a hit at the close of the '90s. It is true that this approach means Euphoria sounds out of time in 1999, but it's a tight, attractive album with more than its share of big hooks, strong riffs, and memorable melodies. There are a couple of slow moments here and there, but no more than those on Hysteria, and the best songs (particularly the opening triptych of "Demoltion Man," "Promises," "Back in Your Face," plus the jangly Beatles-esque "21st Century Sha-La-La Girl") are worthy additions to an already strong catalog. But what's best about Euphoria is that it's utterly not self-conscious. Def Leppard feels free to try straight pop, appropriate Gary Glitter riffs, or play straight metal, without caring whether it's hip or commercial. That doesn't mean Euphoria is a classic, but it does mean that it's their most appealing effort in over a decade.

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