I was going to say that I’ve been on a Def Leppard kick lately, but that wouldn’t be quite true; I’ve exclusively been listening to On Through the Night on repeat, which I firmly believe is the band’s best album.
Hear me out: Though it isn’t always the case, I am generally a fan of debut albums, and On Through the Night is an absolutely impeccable introduction to a new band. Released in March 1980, the album was well received, but I think my favorite thing is the bit that critics harped on: It’s a little rough and less pop-friendly than future Leppard releases.
I like first albums for that reason. There’s this simultaneous blend of not quite having figured out their sound while also displaying a sound that they think is going to go big. It’s kind of untainted, if you will — the members of Def Leppard likely knew they’d need to release a banger of an album to be able to make a splash, but they were also not as influenced by producers, music trends, and more when compared to later albums. Not that later albums are bad; I just really like On Through the Night.
More to the point, there’s not a bad song on the whole album, but introducing yourself to the world with “Rock Brigade” followed by “Hello America” followed by “Sorrow Is a Woman” is a power move of incredible proportions. Today, I’m celebrating that middle song, mostly because I really just want to go back to California for a little vacation.