[’80s Rock Album Focus] Def Leppard – High ‘n’ Dry

Def - Hih n Dry 500


High ‘n’ Dry

Released: July 11, 1981
Length:
42:15
Label:
Mercury (US), Vertigo (UK and Europe)
Singles: “Let It Go”, “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak”,
Certified:
2xPlatinum (RIAA)
~

Tracklist:

“Let It Go”
“Another Hit and Run”
“High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)”
“Bringin’ On the Heartbreak
“Switch 625
“You Got Me Runnin”
“Lady Strange”
“On Through The Night
“Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)
“No No No”
+ 2 Bonus Tracks on the Re-issued version in 1984
“Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” (Remix)
“Me & My Wine” (Remix)

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 OVERVIEW:

It’s the 35th anniversary of Def Leppard’s “High ‘n’ Dry” record and I thought it’s the perfect time to share my thoughts and feelings on their sophomore album. Don’t forget to share your favorite photos or memories of it on social media by using the #HighNDry35 and of course, #DefLeppard.

 

Def Leppard’s “High ‘n’ Dry” has always been somehow ignored or even forgotten due to their ultimate smashing hit records “Pyromania” and “Hysteria” that follow it. Yes, those two albums are the ultimate masterpieces of the ’80s rock scene and definitely two of the greatest and best polished rock records of all time.  However, “High ‘n’ Dry” offers something different and its beauty definitely lies in its raw hard rock energy, rough heavy metal sound and straight-up clean production.

“High ‘n’ Dry” was definitely a step up in song craft in comparison with their debut album – “On through the Night” – the riffs were more tasteful and Joe Elliott definitely improved his vocal performance. Overall, the album cannot classify as “original” or “innovative”, however there’s simply no weak or “filler” song in it. What’s quite impressive about it is that the record was released at the very beginning of the ‘80s – at that time the hard rock/metal/pop recipe hadn’t been fully mastered; however, those guys somehow managed to come up with a very definitive sound. With this album, Def Leppard were setting the tone for the decade. Along with that, the band was also looking for inspiration and establishing their signature sound and identity. To help them with discovering their greatest strengths, none other than the famous world-class producer Mutt Lange came to the rescue.  With his precision and obsession with achieving studio perfection, he managed to create an absolute rock solid album and skilfully captured the young and quite aggressive spirit of the band.

“High ‘n’ Dry” is a simple album with catchy rockers and mild, even innocent lyrics. The instant pop standout and the album’s finest moment has to be “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak”. With this song, Def Leppard set the standard for power ballads. It is probably the band’s least-cheesy sounding power ballad of their career. In addition, the track received heavy rotation on MTV and was one of the greatest examples of a radio-friendly rocker. “On Through the Night” and “Another Hit and Run” are heavier tracks with catchy hard riffs and loud climaxes. “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)” is the obligatory song about letting loose and having fun. “Switch 625” pleases with its fine melody and vocal intensity. It has to be their greatest instrumental so far.

“High ‘n’ Dry” shows a young, maturing band, hungry for success and ready to take over the world. It is definitely one of those “feeling good” old rock ’n’ roll records that you cannot expect to listen nowadays. Def Leppard were at their rawest, truest and more genuine finest here. Later on, they would become the ultimate rock monsters. Before that, however, it was the distorted heavy metal sound, combined with the pop feels of “High ‘n’ Dry” that took Def Leppard to the peak of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene. The record simply foreshadowed DL’s success.

Happy 35th anniversary!


Let It Go

High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)

Bringin’ On the Heartbreak


References:
High ‘n’ Dry” official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_%27n%27_Dry
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~~

4 thoughts on “[’80s Rock Album Focus] Def Leppard – High ‘n’ Dry

  1. Good write-up Velina, Not much else to add…though I’m sure I can come up with something…
    It is a quality album and is my number #3 Leppard album. And obviously one of my favourites overall. Much like you have written I think of it as them hitting their straps on this album. It has a rawness and controlled energy about it. Joe’s vocals are really strong and this album has heaps of great riffs and solos. A lot of great harmonies coming together. I like so many songs, side 1 (the old cassette/record side 1) – or the first 5 songs are a complete standout. As you like lists too, my old old list of 50 best songs had Let It Go at number 5 for a decade or so. But Another Hit and Run is my favourite, or equal fave, along with Bringin’ on the Heartbreak. That is a great song for guys their age in 1981. I have to throw in Switch 625 as a fitting reminder of Steve. That sounds so good in concert too.
    I have read reviews of it being a reminder of AC/DC, but it is much much more than that. It was only their 2nd album and quite a marked improvement from On Through The Night, as you mentioned. The songwriting had improved and obviously the production – which speaking of – Mutt Lange was doing AC/DC albums before and after this album as you know.
    Saying it simply rocks is an understatement. A fantastic album.

    Like

    1. Hey! You once again wrote such a good comment! Thank you for it!

      I intentionally didn’t mention the comparison with ac/dc cause i think it’s just very untrue and the whole thing was created just cause of mutt and because ppl just love to compare artists and bands for no other reason than controversy. I guess it’s in our nature…>

      bringin on the heartbreak is such a revolutionary song…i still remember the VH1 movie and the actor trying to reach the vocal highs and Mutt Lange urging him to do it haha that was a memorable moment…
      cheers!

      Like

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