My Sunday Song – “Die Hard the Hunter” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #160 and the final in the Def Leppard series, I bring you “Die Hard the Hunter” from the multi-platinum album ‘Pyromania’.  The song was never released as a single; however, was played live back in the day.

The song opens with the sound of a helicopter and machine gun fire and is representative of war, the Vietnam War to be exact.  The song is about a war veteran who comes back from war, but can’t seem to let it go.  The battles the soldier faces being home as he can’t seem to stop fighting the battles and now they are in his mind.  The evils of war are following him everywhere and he is struggling to let go of the bad and find the good.  A common problem with soldiers then and even today.

What I love about the song is the seriousness of the music.  The heavy metal chords that are used give an impending feel of doom and gloom.  There is a darkness to the music, an eeriness, a sadness that captures the feelings the soldier is going through.  You can actually feel the heaviness of it all through the music.  It is quite fantastic how they captured that feeling musically.

Steve Clark’s solo on this is fantastic.  He has a really cool riff and along with Pete Willis’ rhythm guitar, the two made a great pair and helped deliver the sound that captured the essence of the song.  It was simple sounding, yet brilliant.  Not too flashy, but not understated either.  Joe delivers the vocals in a way to also help convey the emotions of the song.  Always has been one of my favorites on ‘Pyromania’.

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My Sunday Song – “Gods of War” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #156, we are going to talk about one of Def Leppard’s few politically charged songs and one of the few songs from Hysteria that was not a single.  The song is “Gods of War”.  It is an epic song at over 6 minutes and I loved it when they used to play this one live long, long ago.  They still do play it when they do the whole Hysteria album in concert of course.

This was the 80’s and there were all these little military skirmishes going on around the world and it was the end of the Cold War.  Ronald Reagan was President of the United States and Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.  Intermixed in the song were lines from the world leaders threatening the terrorists and even gun fire and battle sounds.  One of my favorite lines was towards the end when President Reagan said, “He counted on America to be passive, He counted wrong” and then there was gun fire and explosions.  For a teenage boy, that was really badass!  Plus, I can do a really great Reagan impression so I would say those lines in his voice every time I would sing it.

Joe came up with the song from watching the news and what was going on in the world. It was Def Leppard’s version of protest song which I am sure was overshadowed by the songs that the band was releasing such as “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.  People didn’t look at Leppard as a socially conscience band, but they could be and were.

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My Sunday Song – “Switch 625” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #126, the instrumental we will be covering is “Switch 625” by none other than Def Leppard.  For a band that is not noted for doing instrumentals, when they did one, they definitely got it right.  The song is off the band’s second album ‘High & Dry’ and is still played today in concert as a tribute to the writer of the song, the late, great Steve Clark.

The song bleeds effortlessly after “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” with such a smooth transition you would swear it is part of the song.  The long, unedited version of the song.  The song itself is a beautiful representation of all that was great about the god-given gift of Steve’s guitar playing.

I love the dual guitars battling it out. I can picture Pete & Steve going back and forth and playing off each other (now I am making an assumption that Pete played on the recorded version). It also has such a great melody and if it had lyrics would have made for another great Def Leppard ballad I am sure.

In fact, producer Mutt Lange wanted to add lyrics but after battling out with Joe Elliot, no lyrics were added.  Joe felt the song was perfect the way it was and no need to mess it up with his voice (of course that isn’t a direct quote, I’m making assumptions but the story itself is true).

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My Sunday Song – “Love Bites” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #99, we will tackle the Def Leppard power ballad, “Love Bites”.  The song is off the Diamond selling album, ‘Hysteria’ and was Def Leppard’s biggest hit, if you can believe it.  It is the only Def Leppard song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Considering this was the fifth single off the album and with the success of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, I was completely surprised by that fact (PSSOM did go to #2).

The song was originally brought to the band by the legendary producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange.  The song was a country song at the time and of course the band put their spin on it and turned it in to of the great rock power ballads of the time.  The title for the song actually came from another song that Leppard was working on and that song later became “I Wanna Be Your Hero” which was the B-Side for “Animal” in the US.

What I like about the song is that the guy is so in love with this person that he is actually going a little nuts.  Hell, just touching her drives him crazy.  But he isn’t sure she feels the same way.  He keeps questioning her.  Maybe it is really his own insecurities that are causing him to doubt the relationship.  Or maybe she doesn’t love him and he really senses something missing.

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My Sunday Song – “Photograph” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #75, I am bringing you the song that started it all for me…”Photograph” by Def Leppard.  It was the first single off the massive hit album ‘Pyromania’ and it was the song that started my obsession with Def Leppard.  From that point on, music took a whole new direction in my life.  It was my passion.  I tried to play guitar (rather unsuccessfully) and I couldn’t sing, but I could listen to music.

The song was perfect in my book.  The video was mesmerizing.  The two together captured my attention like nothing ever had.  The song has such a melodic melody and the guitar solo and background vocals were all spot on thanks to Mutt Lange behind the boards.  The guitar riff on the song that is played throughout is instantly recognizable.

I had heard of Def Leppard as my brother had one of their albums, but it was this song and this album that made me a fan…no a fanatic with this band.  I had to have the albums, the singles, the shirts, the posters, the pins…you name it, I had to have it.  And it still goes on today.  They release a video and I own it; a live album and I gotta have it; a deluxe version of an album I already have, yep, I get that as well.  It doesn’t matter.

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Shania Twain – ‘Now’ – Album Review

After 15 years since her last studio album, Shania Twain is finally back with a brand new album called ‘Now’.  My love for Shania dates back to the 90’s with her smash hit album, ‘The Woman in Me’.  From there on, I was hooked.  The deathly good looks and that amazing voice was a combination I couldn’t resist.

She has been through a lot since her last album…a divorce from her partner in music crime, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, to vocal problems resulting from Lyme Disease and dysphonia.  She has persevered and is now back on to the music scene.

Two years ago she embarked on a comeback tour even though she didn’t have an album.  My wife and I were able to see her on that tour and her show was spectacular.  My wife and I are such big fans, we even had the song “From this Moment” played at our wedding. So, a new album from her is more than welcomed in my family.

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Well, that was until we heard the first single, “Life’s About to Get Good”.  To say this song is bad, would be mean.  To say this song was good, would be lying.  It lies somewhere in between.  As much as I dislike this song, sadly, it is one of the better songs on the album.  If you like old Shania and don’t want her to change, then you might like this song.  For me, it was boring and lyrically awful. The song has a real CHESSE factor to it.  I will give her this song and I won’t delete it only because it is better than most and she did release it as a single.  The song hasn’t been performing very well since its release proving a little of how I feel might be what other people think as well.

There are a couple good songs on the album, the next one being her latest release and the opening track “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed”.  This is classic Shania,  yet in a good way.  This one is definitely Country tinged and is everything you love about her.  It is not my favorite song on the album, but it is pretty darn close.

My favorite song on the album is “Roll Me On the River”.  What I like about this song is its difference from everything else on the album.  It is the most original and takes Shania in a different path which is the approach this album should have taken for the whole thing as we are 15 years later and she is basically trying to do the same thing she did then “now”.  The album is titled “NOW”, shouldn’t the songs feel like they are now in the present day.  There is a heavy drum beat and takes on a darker tone musically.  She delivers the lyrics slower and more deliberately.  This song is what the album title reflects.  It is a modern song.  It isn’t country, it is a little more rock.

One thing this album was going to show me was if the myth about Mutt being the puppet master, pulling her strings on her albums as he produced and help write her three biggest albums, was true.  After spending a little time with the album, I feel that myth was warranted.  The songs on this album lack any lyrical development and good production.  Mutt was a master at developing lyrical phrasing.  Go back and listen to her earlier albums and even go back and listen to Def Leppard interview about Mutt.  He felt the way the words sounded were more important than the words themselves.  They definitely don’t take this approach with the lyrics on this album.

One prime example is the song “Poor Me”.  The song is a play on the words of her life being so hard and she went through so much…oh poor me! And then Pour Me a drink.  In theory, this song is brilliant play on those two sayings.  Execution is completely different.  Lyrically the song is a complete miss. What could have been turned into a big hit with Mutt just kinda whimpers out into forgettable and boring.

Since I was listening to the deluxe edition and there are 16 songs, I won’t go through all of them.  I have highlighted the ones I like above and I don’t feel there is any need to go through each individual song as they all fall under the same category as boring, cheesy and lyrically lacking.  The songs aren’t overly varied as they will hint mostly towards country and pop.  You get some upbeat tunes and some slower ballads, but they are all missing that pop, that right production and memorable & clever lyrics.

My wife and I even listened to the album together and when the album, she turned to me and went…ehh!  Which spoke volumes to me.  That is when I went and went through the album several more times on my own to see if it gets better with each listen, but it didn’t. I because more difficult with the exception a few songs I already mentioned.  Here is where I stand on whether a song is a Keeper or needs to be deleted.

Track Listing:

  1. “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” – Keeper
  2. “Home Now” – Delete
  3. “Light of My Life” – Delete
  4. “Poor Me” – Delete
  5. “Who’s Gonna Be Your Girl” – Delete
  6. “More Fun” – Delete
  7. “I’m Alright” – Delete
  8. “Let’s Kiss and Make Up” – Delete
  9. “Where Do You Think You’re Going” – Delete
  10. “Roll Me On the River” – Keeper
  11. “We Got Something They Don’t” – Delete
  12. “Because of You” – Delete
  13. “You Can’t Buy Love” – Delete
  14. “Life’s About to Get Good” – Keeper
  15. “Soldier” – Delete
  16. “All in All” – Delete

3 keepers out 16 songs – 19% (1 out 5 stars) As much as I have loved Shania, this was hard for me to listen to and to write about.  I was so hoping for a grand return.  I believe what I realized about the album is it is missing the FUN of her previous albums.  It is like your crazyass best friend in college went and grew up and became a boring adult.

Go listen for yourself and you judge.  My expectations might have been too high and so anything would be a let down…but I don’t think that is the case.  Let me know what you think.  Thanks.

My Sunday Song – “From This Moment On” by Shania Twain

Happy New Year!!  Welcome to My Sunday Song for 2017.  For the first set of 10 songs over the next 10 weeks, my wife is taking over the series.  She will be picking her favorite songs and let us know why she likes them and why they might be special to her.  The picture for this series was also taken by my lovely wife on a trip she took to Michigan with her parents a couple months back.

Her first song choice for My Sunday Song is “From This Moment On” by Shania Twain.  We both love this song and we love it so much that it was played at our wedding.  We are celebrating our 15th Wedding Anniversary in 2017.  She felt this would be a great song to start off this next series as it was played for the start of our marriage and should be the start of her 10 songs that is starting off the new year.

We hope you enjoy the song and we hope you have a safe and prosperous New Year!!

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Robert John “Mutt” Lange – Producer Extraordinaire

Robert John “Mutt” Lange could quite possibly be one of the greatest music producers there has ever been.  He is personally responsible for some of the biggest selling albums of all time. He is the man behind the music, literally.

He started producing albums in the 70’s where he produced Graham Parker’s album ‘Heat Treatment’ and worked with the City Boys.  He also worked with the Boomtown Rats which gave him his first real breakout album was their 1978 album ‘A Tonic for the Troops”.

But the big break came with the success of his work with AC/DC.  He produced the 1979 album ‘Highway to Hell’ and then the 1980 classic ‘Back in Black’ which is the second largest selling album of all time at over 50 million albums.  ‘Back in Black’ was one of the albums I picked up just recently (read about it here).  He went to do another album for AC/DC in 1981, ‘For Those About To Rock We Salute You’.

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