|Studio album by|
|Released||14 May 1996|
|Recorded||1994–1995 in Marbella, Spain and January–February 1996 at Bow Lane Studios in Dublin, Ireland|
|Producer||Pete Woodroffe and Def Leppard|
|Def Leppard chronology|
|Singles from Slang|
|The Cincinnati Post||(D+)|
|Entertainment Weekly||(B+) link|
|Rolling Stone||(mixed) link|
Slang is the sixth studio album by English hard rock band Def Leppard, released on 14 May 1996. The album marked a musical departure from their signature sound, also not produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange and was produced by the band with Pete Woodroffe. Slang is the first album with new material to feature new guitarist Vivian Campbell (Campbell had previously played on the B-side collection Retro Active in 1993 and on the new song on Vault a year earlier). It charted at #14 on the Billboard 200 and #5 on the UK Albums Chart. It is also the only Def Leppard album that does not feature their recognisable font logo on the album cover.
Between the releases of Retro Active and Slang, Def Leppard endured hardships including guitarist Phil Collen's divorce from actress Jacqueline Collen, bassist Rick Savage's battle with Bell's palsy and the death of his father, and the arrests of both drummer Rick Allen and lead singer Joe Elliott for spousal abuse and assault, respectively. Though the band says Adrenalize was recorded during a bleaker time, the absence of Mutt Lange (for the first time on a Def Leppard album since 1981) made it possible for the band to show what they were really feeling. Said Elliott, "There was a period with Mutt where if you came out with anything slightly negative, it was 'Fuck it!' and it was gone!" Collen continued: "We've all got personal things that have happened during the recording of Slang, and we've just ploughed on and some of it has come out on the record."
Doing without Lange's services, the band changed another habit by recording together, in a townhouse in Marbella, Spain. Slang would feature less production in favour of a more organic sound, catalysed by Allen's reversion to a semi-acoustic drum kit. "We'd got so sick of recording the old way. We didn't want to do it any more. We wanted the music to be more personalised and let the character of the individuals to come out," explained Savage.
"We knew we couldn't make a typical Def Leppard album in the mid-1990s," said Vivian Campbell. "Grunge was very much happening and our stuff was anathema at the time… Personally, I think we could have bolstered the songs with a little more of that Def Lep fairy dust… but instead we went, 'No, let's keep it raw: no backing vocals; let's not do that part because it's too melodic; let's be more monotone… At least it gave us the chance to grow up a little. We live in a state of arrested development in this band, singing songs like 'Let's Get Rocked'. So we did get to write some grown-up lyrics. And we were going through a lot of shit at that time: Sav's dad died on the eve of the first recording day; both Joe and Phil were going through divorces… So it gave us an opportunity to write lyrics that reflected the reality of our lives."
Songs such as "Turn to Dust" introduced sarangi and other instrumentation atypical for the band. The lyrical content featured a darker and more introspective turn for the most part, with lighter fare restricted to the Prince-influenced "Slang".
"The whole thing is potty," David Quantick wrote in Q, "but in a supple and melodic way – even the ballads lack the usual Def Leppard sense of having been written for lead-lined hippos to sing. Slang is the sound of a band doing something fast and interesting, at the exact point in their lives when most bands are taking up golf and inhaling the contents of aquariums in country manors." Q later included the album among its 'best of 1996', describing it as "the work of a huge band, aware that the straight-ahead rock they once plied so enthusiastically is dead and who have embraced the new breed with élan."
Slang was the first Leppard album to fail to achieve platinum sales in the US. Elsewhere, it performed better: it placed four singles on the UK charts, and went platinum in Canada. On the supporting tour the band performed for the first time in Southeast Asia, South Africa and South America.
A limited edition release included a six-track bonus disc, "Acoustic in Singapore", recorded live in October 1995.
On 22 November 2011, Collen revealed in an interview with the Birmingham Express And Star newspaper that the band plan to reissue Slang with extra tracks. He stated the band "...did have a lot of songs when we recorded, different versions, songs that never quite got finished." On 26 December 2011, Campbell gave an update on the reissue while speaking on his Facebook page in response to fan questions about Christmas songs. "We did once record a song called "Heavy Metal Christmas" during the Slang sessions - tongues very firmly in cheeks! It was actually a proper (and rather good!) song but was lacking lyrics - hence the goof-off title. It'll likely see the light of day when we re-release Slang soon. Some unheard stuff, too, as far as I know."
On 18 January 2012, Campbell mentioned on his Facebook that "Ownership of Slang masters (and all out-takes) revert to us later this year, so there's a good chance that we'll re-release with bonus material."
Elliott confirmed on his 25 August 2012 Planet Rock radio show that "...in a few months time we are re-releasing Slang as a double vinyl, a double CD with loads and loads of different mixes, bonus tracks and all sorts of stuff." This was followed by Elliott playing the band's 1999 Euphoria b-side 'Burnout' (first released on the "Goodbye" CD single) at the end of the show and revealing it had been recorded during the 1995/1996 Slang sessions. The singer described it as "...a little teaser", implying that the song may be included on the re-issue.
On 21 January 2014, it was announced on Def Leppard's Twitter page that Slang will be reissued on 11 February 2014. The album included 19 additional tracks, made up of various early versions of songs on the original, as well as previously unreleased material.
|1.||"Truth?"||Phil Collen, Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Vivian Campbell||3:00|
|2.||"Turn to Dust"||Collen||4:21|
|4.||"All I Want Is Everything"||Elliott||5:20|
|5.||"Work It Out"||Campbell||4:49|
|6.||"Breathe a Sigh"||Collen||4:06|
|7.||"Deliver Me"||Collen, Elliott||3:04|
|8.||"Gift of Flesh"||Collen||3:48|
|9.||"Blood Runs Cold"||Collen, Elliott||4:26|
|10.||"Where Does Love Go When It Dies"||Elliott, Collen||4:04|
|11.||"Pearl of Euphoria"||Elliott, Collen, Savage||6:21|
|Japanese bonus track|
|12.||"Move with Me Slowly"||Collen||6:19|
|1996 limited edition bonus disc: Acoustic in Singapore|
|1.||"Armageddon It"||Steve Clark, Collen, Elliott, Mutt Lange, Savage||4:16|
|2.||"Two Steps Behind"||Elliott||4:01|
|3.||"From the Inside"||Elliott||3:28|
|4.||"Animal"||Clark, Collen, Elliott, Lange, Savage||3:47|
|5.||"When Love & Hate Collide"||Elliott, Savage||4:18|
|6.||"Pour Some Sugar on Me"||Clark, Collen, Elliott, Lange, Savage||4:08|
|2014 deluxe edition: disc one|
|12.||"Move with Me Slowly"||Collen||6:19|
|13.||"Truth? (Original Version)" (B-Side from "Work It Out" UK Single)||5:09|
|14.||"Burn Out" (B-Side from "Goodbye" UK Single.)||Rick Allen, Campbell, Collen, Elliott, Savage||4:10|
|15.||"Worlds Collide" (B-Side from "Promises" UK Single.)||Elliott, Savage||3:43|
|16.||"Can't Keep Away from the Flame" (Japanese Bonus Track from Vault: Def Leppard Greatest Hits (1980–1995) and B-Side from "Slang" Souvenir Pack.)||Collen, Elliott||2:36|
|2014 deluxe edition: disc two|
|1.||"Turn to Dust" (Phil Verse Vocal)||4:03|
|2.||"Raise Your Love" (Version of "Slang")||3:01|
|3.||"All I Want Is Everything" (1st Draft)||5:19|
|4.||"Work It Out" (1st Draft)||5:19|
|5.||"Breathe a Sigh" (Feb '96 Rough Mix)||4:08|
|6.||"Deliver Me" (Feb '96 Rough Mix)||3:17|
|7.||"Black Train" (Version of "Gift of Flesh")||Collen||4:06|
|8.||"Blood Runs Cold" (Feb '96 Rough Mix)||4:12|
|9.||"Where Does Love Go When It Dies" (1st Draft)||4:36|
|10.||"Pearl of Euphoria" (Feb '96 Rough Mix)||5:49|
|11.||"All on Your Touch" (2012 Revisit)||Campbell||3:58|
|12.||"Anger" ("Deliver Me" 1st Draft)||Collen, Elliott||3:15|
|13.||"Move On Up" (Vivian Demo)||Campbell||3:31|
|14.||"Gift of Flesh" (Phil Collen Vocal)||4:03|
|2014 deluxe edition: iTunes Store bonus tracks|
|1.||"Truth?" (Demo Version)||4:56|
|2.||"Work It Out" (Original Demo, B-Side from "Work It Out" UK Single)||3:33|
|3.||"All I Want Is Everything" (Demo Version)||5:03|
|4.||"Move with Me Slowly" (1st Draft)||6:22|
|5.||"When Saturday Comes" (From the film When Saturday Comes and "All I Want Is Everything" Single)||4:21|
|6.||"Jimmy's Theme" (From the film When Saturday Comes and "All I Want Is Everything" Single)||3:20|
|7.||"Cause We Ended as Lovers" (From the Jeff Beck tribute album Jeffology: A Guitar Chronicle and "All I Want Is Everything" Single)||6:04|
|8.||"Led Boots" (From the Jeff Beck tribute album Jeffology: A Guitar Chronicle and "All I Want Is Everything" Single)||4:03|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- Rick Allen – drums, percussion
- Vivian Campbell – electric guitars, acoustic guitars, dulcimer, vocals
- Phil Collen – electric guitars, acoustic guitars, mandolin, vocals
- Joe Elliott – lead vocals, additional guitar & bass on "Pearl of Euphoria"
- Rick Savage – bass guitar, acoustic guitars, synth bass, vocals
- Gloria Flores – Spanish voice on "Slang"
- Ram Narayan – intro sarangi sample on "Turn to Dust"
- Craig Pruess – string and percussion arranging and conducting on "Turn to Dust"
- Av Singh – dohl on "Turn to Dust"
- Shyam Vatish – outro sarangi sample on "Turn to Dust"
- Pete Woodroffe – piano on "Blood Runs Cold", keyboard strings on "Where Does Love Go When It Dies"
- Gavyn Wright – string leader on "Turn to Dust"
- Pete Woodroffe – producer, engineer, mixing
- Def Leppard – producer
- Ger McDonnell – engineer, programming on "Truth?"
- Matt Pakucko – mixing assistant
- Bob Ludwig – mastering
- Brad Buxer, Bobby Brooks – programming on "Slang" and "Breathe a Sigh"
- Hugh Drumm – programming on "Truth?"
- Jeff Murray – art direction
- Jager di Paola – design
- Cynthia Levine, Jeff Rooney – photography
- Inc, Nielsen Business Media (6 April 1996). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 12 August 2018 – via Google Books.
- Aizlewood, John (August 2012). "Def Leppard Embrace Grunge. Alternative Rock Recoils". Q: 63.
There's nothing like selling squillions of records to induce a mid-life crisis. Hence Def Leppard's decision in 1996 to get down with the kids, hire a villa in Spain and, rather belatedly, go grunge for their sixth album, Slang.
- Barron, John (2 June 1996). "Spin Control". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 13.
- Wilson, Ken (20 June 1996). "Leppard lacking in appeal". The Cincinnati Post. pp. Metro 20.
- Q, June 1996
- "Allmusic (Def Leppard charts and awards) Billboard albums". AllMusic.
- "Def Leppard The Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company.
- Ewing, Jerry (June 1996). "Def Leppard". Metal Hammer. pp. 58–60.
- McIntyre, Ken (December 2015). "Hello America". Classic Rock. p. 52.
- Q, January 1997
- Def Leppard [@DefLeppard] (21 January 2014). "11 February 2014" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Def Leppard Gather Demos and Unreleased Tracks for 'Slang' Reissue". Ultimate Classic Rock. 22 January 2014. Archived from the original on 29 January 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "Slang (Deluxe Edition) by Def Leppard". Itunes.apple.com. 10 May 1996. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- "Canadian album certifications – Def Leppard – Slang". Music Canada. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "British album certifications – Def Leppard – Slang". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 24 April 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Slang in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "American album certifications – Def Leppard – Slang". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 24 April 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.
- Slang (CD booklet). Def Leppard. London, England: Mercury. 1996. 314 532 486-2.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Band Biography". DefLeppard.com. Def Leppard. Archived from the original on 11 December 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2007.