Mercury Records
Release date: May 23, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Def Leppard has been around for a long time, but they have never recorded an album consisting entirely of cover songs; the closest they came was with Retroactive, which had a few cover songs amongst its collection of rarities, B-sides, and oddities. Since they already have a couple of “hits” compilations, the time was right for a cover disc, it seems.

With their latest outing, simply entitled Yeah!, Def Leppard pays tribute to some of the artists that influenced them in their youth. Some of the “tributized” acts to be found here include: T-Rex, David Bowie, Sweet, Electric Light Orchestra, Blondie, The Kinks, Rod Stewart, Thin Lizzy, and John Kongas.

Yes, John Kongas.

If you’re familiar with tribute albums, you know how they work: the songs either stick very close to the originals, or they get taken to strange new places.

Def Leppard goes with the “stick close to the originals” option on Yeah!, with the songs generally sounding a lot like the source material, but with a bit of that patented Def Leppard sheen thrown in for good measure. Since all of the original songs were first recorded in the 1960s and 1970s, younger listeners might not be familiar with a lot of the tunes here; those who are “of a certain age” and/or from the United Kingdom (where nearly all of the artists covered here originated from) will probably remember hearing these songs on the radio or perish forbid, vinyl.

For what it is, Yeah! is generally successful. If you like tribute albums (and Def Leppard), you’ll probably like this one too. If you don’t like cover albums, well… Def Leppard sounds like they had an enjoyable time recording this, as a good sense of fun and energy run throughout most of the tracks. The choice of songs is good too, with a decent mix of popular tunes (“Rock On,” “No Matter What,” “Stay With Me,” etc.) and a handful of obscure ones (“Hell Raiser,” “He’s Gonna Step On You Again,” and a couple of others). Lead singer Joe Elliott does a good job mimicking the style, tone, and inflections of the original vocalists, which is a nice touch. There’s also “old-fashioned” backing vocals and instrumentation on some songs, which harkens back to a simpler time. The production feels a little bit rougher and more true to the era also; this album is nowhere near as slick or overproduced as some of Def Leppard’s earlier output.

This album actually has some fairly heavy riffs on it too; nothing of “Desert Song” quality, but actually hearing Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen churning out riffs (even if they belong to someone else) is quite welcome; hopefully this trend will carry over into the band’s next album of new material.

Yeah! has pretty good liner notes as well, with nice write-ups on why these particular songs were chosen, and the band photos are clever, with the guys recreating popular 1970s photographs of musicians like Bowie and T-Rex’s Marc Bolan.

If you live in the United States, retail stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy offer special editions of Yeah!, featuring bonus tracks (nine in all, with the Wal-Mart version having the most).

Yeah! is a well-done covers album from Def Leppard that will probably please their fans and hold them over until the band’s next album comes along. It’s not an “essential” Def Leppard release (non-fans can safely skip it), but it’s still relatively fun.


  • Gary McLean

    Gary was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of the small Ontario, Canada town of Sault Ste. Marie, right on the border of Michigan, USA. When it comes to Metal and Hard Rock, Gary likes quite a few different bands, from stalwarts like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, to newer, hard-hitting groups such as Primal Fear, Hammerfall, and Paragon. Other favorites include the likes of Nightwish, Running Wild, Therion, Accept, Stratovarius, Dream Evil, Helloween, Rammstein, Dirty Looks, Crimson Glory, Tristania, and Gamma Ray. He thinks AC/DC deserves a paragraph all their own though.

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