By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
No matter how bad some things are for people, they cannot resist.
You know you should watch your cholesterol, but every once in a while, McDonald's sounds terrific.
You really oughta turn off the TV and hit the gym, but, hey, you're kinda tired and maybe there's something good on cable.
You understand perfectly well that Def Leppard and Journey are cheesy rock bands, but wouldn't it be fun to see 'em again for old times' sake?
Superficially, Def Leppard and Journey share many similarities: vocalists with sweet pipes, hooks calibrated for radio domination, a faux hard-rock demeanor, the adoration of the female audience thanks to syrupy ballads. It should go without saying that both bands were also critical pariahs with massive popular appeal; albums like Hysteriaand Escape manipulated auditory pleasure centers with such relentlessness that the objective observer could either shake his head in grim admiration or recoil with teeth-gnashing disgust. (There is, however, one key distinction between these acts: Def Lep was formed by a tight-knit group of guys who persevered despite losing friends along the way, while Journey was merely Steve Perry's plaything until he decided he wanted nothing else to do with it.)
Their heyday a time capsule of MTV's early years, these groups now accrue wealth from their catalogues and the occasional tour. (Although Def Leppard recently released a modestly acclaimed covers album called Yeah!, it was a commercial flop.) Nowadays, Def Leppard and Journey are in the nostalgia business, luring aging fans who either can't or won't acknowledge that their favorite teenage music is merely an unhealthy leftover from a frivolous youth, something they should have the good sense not to indulge in anymore. But like a diabetic scarfing down a hot-fudge sundae with sheer delight, you can't give 'em up because, damn it, what else are you gonna live for?