808s / The World's Greatest Hits

The World’s Greatest Hits: Hysteria – Def Leppard

Hysteria  – Def Leppard – 1987

Claimed Sales: 20m

First listen?: Yes

Format Listened?: CD

Conceived as the ‘Metal version of Thriller’ by producer Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange, Hysteria at least has the same level of consistency across its tracks as the biggest album of all time. Whether you could possibly describe this 80s Pop Rock album as Metal is a whole other matter and hearing this for the first time it’s easy to see why Def Leppard’s rock fans were disappointed. It’s polished to perfection, the production across these tracks is undeniably impressive, everything is layered with precision with instruments fusing in and out of each other across every track. Breakout hit single Pour Some Sugar On Me is one of 80s Rock’s strongest hooks, the vocoder led backing vocals setting the tone for other killer choruses on Armageddon It and Women; the former of these tracks featuring a key change that wouldn’t be out of place on a Cher record. There’s such a distinctive sound across every minute of Hysteria it’s undeniably 80s, but there’s a country leaning twang to it too. US #1 hit Love Bites is the strongest example of this, with the power chords and soaring vocals turning it into a Def Leppard stadium rock hit. The pace is up for most of the album, though the opening 6 tracks are most definitely the stand outs here. For the second half, Gods of War features an extended voice over clip backed by explosions which ends up being the most Metal moment of the album. The title track Hysteria is probably the most mellow moment of the record, Joe Elliott giving his strongest vocal performance of the album surrounded by smooth guitar solos. As an album, Hysteria is totally my sort of thing, expertly crafted with years of painstaking tweaks to every track, you can hear the work that has gone into it. It’s nowhere near as heavy as I expected, this is most definitely 80s Pop Rock, but in the best way. Given the fact I had to physically buy the CD of Hysteria to listen to it for the first time, it feels like a risk that has paid off. This is one of the strongest Rock albums of the decade that I’ve heard.

Rating: 8/10

Will I listen again?: Yes!

Best Track: Pour Some Sugar On Me is undeniably catchy, but it’s Animal that manages to capture the magic of this album the best.

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