Hysteria by Def Leppard

Posted: July 12, 2013 by The Social Retard in Music


I know. I already did a Def Leppard post. This is the last one, I promise. Please keep reading. Look, I was a dopey kid of the 80’s and I was raised on MTV, back when MTV actually stood for “Music Television”. That’s right, kids. MTV used to show music videos and it made sense that they had their own award show. Then, “The Real World” came out and began the channel’s fascination with reality TV leading to the dissolution of the medium of music videos. Somewhere, Pearl Jam is celebrating. Eddie Vedder drunkenly screaming, “That’s right. Fuck making videos! Fuck Ticketmaster! Fuck Lars Ulrich!” or something to that effect.

Anyway, I was eight years old when Hysteria came out and I was too young to realize how gay Def Leppard’s music was. Then again, I don’t think the concept of “gay” was even on my radar. I just thought George Michael liked to dance indifferently around attractive, scantily-clad women. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was a colossal hit and Joe Elliott’s spastic elbow stage theatrics were considered cool. The album would have been #1 on the Billboard chart had it not been for Michael Jackson’s Bad.

Myself, at that time, I had the album on cassette. When I moved away from my beloved house in Westchester in the summer of ’88, I went to some local piece of shit carnival. I played the game with the darts and balloons, you know the one. I was pretty good at it because I played baseball all the time back when I thought baseball was not insufferable. See what a dumb kid I was? I kept winning, trading up in prizes until I got my ultimate: a 12″x12″ mirror of the Hysteria cover. That was my prized possession for a long while until some tard was rummaging through the basement and broke it.

Once CD’s became a thing for me in 1993, Hysteria was one of the first ones I owned. I eventually even got the double disc deluxe remastered CD, from Walmart of all fucking places. Shocking as I had owned it on every other format, that I did not have it on vinyl. I had found a used copy at some random resale shop but it skipped during “Run Riot”. So, in November 2009, I went on a leading online retailer’s site so that no one at a record store would give me shit. Yep, sometimes I am that insecure. I ordered the new 180 gram remastered version and when it finally arrived, the cover had a corner that was bent to shit. Those idiots just through it in a box, that looked like it was meant for a pillow, with one of those inflatable plastic bags underneath it. There was no stability, the damned thing had definitely been jostling about. I was not paying $19 for this.

I sent it back and awaited the replacement package. When that came, you guessed it. All fucked up again. Let’s try this once more time. When the third one came back, I was convinced that they had just sent me the first one again. To hell with this, I opened the 180 gram and took the disc out. It looked and played fine. I then put it in my original version’s sleeve. I put my old version in the new package and requested another return, this time a refund. I was done with this crap. I eventually got my $19 back and still had the brand new disc. Suck it, big filthy box store.

I have a long history with this band. They are my one embarrassing pop culture constant. I had an argument with my then-girlfriend in 1999 because she didn’t pick up the Euphoria CD for me on the day of release. Little background there: I could say how she was the blonde vulture that ruined my life in general but that doesn’t seem wholly pertinent to this particular story. She had no car so I let her borrow mine while I was at work…forty minutes away. The only caveat was that she had to pick me up at the end of my shift. I never asked her to do anything during this time except not to use all of my fucking gas. This one day, I gave her $10 to get that CD at some point during the day. She wasn’t working, she just sun-tanned during peak sun hours.

When she picks me up, I ask where the CD is and she says she didn’t have time. Amazingly enough, she didn’t blow the $10 on something else. Normally, I let her drive back home but, this time, I took the wheel because I needed to make a stop. I headed straight to Best Buy and left her in the car. I got my CD and drove her back home while I hung out with friends, likely to complain about this latest transgression. Look. I know this doesn’t sound like much but I really didn’t ask for anything, ever. I received it…in abundance!

Two years ago, I got out of the hospital after a week of surgery and horrible tests, my mom picked me up and decided that I needed supplies. I said fine but I insisted on Walmart. This would normally never happen except that  my idea of supplies were chili cheese Fritos, Diet Dr. Pepper, Hobo With a Shotgun on Blu-Ray and the Walmart exclusive Mirror Ball, Def Leppard’s first official live album that had just come out. I was convalescing and I needed some comfort, no matter how stupid or fleeting. I didn’t really feel like I had anyone to turn to, so I went to the old standby.

These days, “Pour Some Sugar On Me” is my second to least favorite track on Hysteria next to “Excitable”. My favorite may be “Gods Of War” now but I’m not quite sure. Even now, I still have the tradition of playing it all the way through at least once on my birthday. It reminds me of a time when things were simpler, like my musical tastes were. It’s clearly nostalgia but I think I do, somehow, still enjoy the music. I know it isn’t “good” and I don’t care. It’s just nice to know that it will always be there when I need it.


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