Def Leppard – Hysteria Def Leppard – HYSTERIA Def Leppard’s album, HYSTERIA (1987), is a great classic that will be forever remembered. Lead singer Joe Elliot sings songs all based around women, whether the songs be about man’s need for a woman or the hardships that come with loving women. “The main theme he deals with in this album is men’s relationships to women” (Adams 68). The relationships he speaks about in his songs are not necessarily love relationships. Elliot advocates his desires for the lusts of a woman in his songs. “Def Leppard would rather keep it simple, with quick, punchy guitar riffs and a straight-from-the-crotch philosophy.
These songs are devoted to one adolescent fantasy after another – Animal, Woman, and Armageddon It are just what you think they are – with music that pounds their hormone-heavy attitudes home. It’s rarely more than 6 inches deep, but even mindless fun is still fun” (Adams 68). Def Leppard’s album starts off with the song titled Women. Elliot discusses how “In the beginning God made the land” and “Then He made the water and creatures, then He made man .. born with a passion”.
He goes on to describe that “there was something that was missing, something lost”. He says that women are what “men .. can’t live without”. Elliot makes many biblical references in this song. “In the second verse, he describes that ‘in the garden, lust began’, referring to the Garden of Eden” (Fricke 14).
This song is a great example of the theme of men’s relationships with women concerning man’s search for women. Elliot is describing and making reference to the Bible to show that man’s instinct and desire for women came from the beginning of time. He uses this powerful reference as a tool to justify his point that men need women. In the song Animal Elliot speaks mostly of his desires for lust. He says, “just like a river runs, like a fire needs flame, I burn for you”.
He then goes on to describe just how he “burn(s) for you”. He says, “I gotta feel it in my blood” and “I need your touch don’t need your love”. Elliot is also portrayed as a bit of a teaser. He admits that he uses women: “Gonna hunt you like an animal / Gonna take your love ‘n’ run”. This shows the view he has on his value of women’s vulnerable feelings of love.
He is aware of his own lusts and desires. In this song, he doesn’t seem concerned about the woman’s feelings. “In this age of enlightenment, it’s not often that you hear rock singers coming out with these such lyrics. Not with a straight face, anyway. But Def Leppard wouldn’t know the meaning of post-modern irony if it sneaked up and pinched their leather-clad backsides” (Briggs).
Love Bites is one of Elliot’s most famous songs. “There’s no more to it, this song describes a man’s vulnerability in women: his paranoia that a woman is unfaithful to him” (Fricke 38). Elliot’s insecurity is illustrated in this song. He says, “Who do you think of, does he look like me?”, clearly implying his insecurities with the subject, the girl, he’s singing to. He’s worried that the girl will lead him on to fall in love with her and then let him go.
He clearly expresses in his song that he doesn’t trust the girl. He’s so worried that she wants to use him as a toy, “Do you think twice or just touch and see?”. In the chorus, he goes on to talk about how he doesn’t “wanna touch you too much baby, cause making love to you might drive me crazy”. He is aware of his handicap around her. He is aware that he can’t control his feelings, his thoughts, his emotions when he is around this girl with so much influence on his heart.
Elliot describes his fears that if he sleeps with the girl, she will “walk out”. He tries to explain to her, but also to himself, that “it can’t be love” if she throws his love around, meaning: if she doesn’t take things seriously. He seems to try to convince the girl to treat him right and take his love seriously, yet he seems to be trying to convince himself as well. This song shows how Elliot has a great paranoia and fear that women will hurt him without giving them the chance before pre-judgement. In Def Leppard’s album HYSTERIA, Elliot’s theme is dealing with men’s relationships to women. The greatest aspect of this album is that, although Elliot’s songs are all based on women, he depicts the many different features of women.
He describes the need for a woman, the mistrust he has in women, and the heartbreaking trials in love. HYSTERIA breaks down the lies that women portray about men. This album shows the deeper side of men, their true feelings. Contrary to what most women may think of men, men also have feelings of vulnerability, jealousy, spite, lust, and heartache, just as women do, as well as the “crazy, teenage-boy syndrome where hormones fire on a rampage” (J.H. 27). Def Leppard’s music couldn’t be considered as an educational resource, “Def Leppard specializes in feel-good music.
The songs aren’t intellectually stimulating – raging hormones tend to be the driving force behind most lyrics”, however, they do have the respect towards women that other bands don’t, “the group generally treats women with more sensitivity than most hard rock bands” (Jaeger). Bibliography Works Cited Adams, R. “Reviews: Popular music. HYSTERIA (Music recording)”. Stereo Review.
July 92, Vol. 57 Issue 7, p68. Fricke, D. “Def Leppard grows with HYSTERIA”. Rolling Stone.
2/21/91 Issue 598, p14. Fricke, D.; Selinger, M. “To hell & back. (cover story)”. Rolling Stone. 4/30/92 Issue 629, p38.
J. H. “Collen, Phil – Interviews; Def Leppard (Music Performer)”. People. 5/20/96, Vol 45 Issue 20, p27. Jaeger, Barbara.
“Sure-Fire Satisfaction”. The Record (Bergen County, NJ), 4/16/1992, pp c 12. Music Essays.