Album Review: Def Leppard – “Pyromania”

Pyromania is Def Leppard’s third album, and it was released on January 20, 1983. The album was produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange. Pyromania charted at number two on the Billboard 200 album chart, and spawned four singles.

Pyromania opens with “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop),” which was released as a single in Mexico. It’s a very upbeat song, and it’s a perfect sounding song to open an album with. Lyrically, it’s a straight forward song about rock and roll. Next is “Photograph,” which was released as the first single from Pyromania, and it is probably the best known song from the album; it peaked at number twelve on the Billboard pop singles chart. The song was written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe. “Photograph” is my favorite song on the album.

“Stagefright” picks up the pace of the album, and it’s one of the harder-sounding songs on Pyromania. Incorporating the sound effects of a crowd at the beginning of the song is a nice touch. This is followed by “Too Late for Love,” which was released as the fourth and final single from the album. It’s a power ballad, and it’s one of the slowest songs on the album. Lyrically, the song is straight forward and talks about the end of a love affair.

This is followed by “Die Hard the Hunter,” which opens with a sound effect of a helicopter. Musically, it starts out slow, but it picks up in intensity around a minute-and-a-half in. Next is “Foolin’,” which was released as the third single from Pyromania; it peaked at number twenty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s another slower song, but not quite as slow as “Too Late for Love.”

“Rock of Ages” was released as the second single from Pyromania, and it peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100. The song opens with a German-sounding nonsense phrase, which has been sampled by The Offspring in “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” and “Call Me What You Like (If You Like Rock-N-Roll)” by Puffy AmiYumi. Musically, it’s a midtempo rock song. This is followed by “Comin’ Under Fire,” which picks the pace of the album back up a little bit.

“Action! Not Words” managed to get some airplay on US radio, due to being the B-side of the “Photograph” single, and managed to peak at number forty-two on the Mainstream Rock charts. Pyromania closes with “Billy’s Got a Gun,” which also managed to get airplay on US radio due to being the B-side to the “Rock of Ages” single; this song peaked at number thirty-three on the Mainstream Rock charts. Sonically, this song sounds the best production-wise; there’s just something about the production of this song that sounds tighter than the other songs on the album. Musically, this is a nice note to end the album on.

I have to admit that I first got into Def Leppard in the late 1980s through the Hysteria album, so a lot of the material on Pyromania sounds so different from what I personally expect from the band. However, there are some really great songs on Pyromania. “Photograph” is my favorite song, but I do also enjoy “Rock of Ages,” “Too Late For Love,” and “Billy’s Got a Gun.” If you have an interest in learning more about Def Leppard, I would definitely recommend giving both Pyromania and Hysteria a listen.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of Pyromania that my husband and I purchased.

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