Monday, March 22, 2010

Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard

My brother and I have this ongoing argument about which Def Leppard song is better “Pour Some Sugar On Me” or “Photograph.” While I can understand the artistic merits of “Photograph,” the slick production and the fact that the lyrics to this song actually make sense, I find myself always ending up arguing for “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” For me, it simply rocks harder.

What does it mean to rock? Well, let's figure that out.

Something that separats Def Leppard from many of the other bands of their time was the fact that their songs had multiple musical layers that were audible through the incredible production work of Mutt Lange (who later went on to make Shania Twain famous).

There is so musical nuance throughout this song, like in the opening. The word “bomb” in the opening of the song travels from the left to the right speaker rhythmically (you got to check it out with head phones on). Along with this, there grating guitar paired another guitar line, howling like a wolf that slowly builds as the vocal line disintegrates all sense of meter. All of this builds up to four drum hits that sound like a gunshot paired with a scream that sounds like the devil unleashed.

As the drums lay down the beat, different guitar lines accent parts of the pattern until you notice that on the offbeats there is a chorus of men grunting “huah, hey.” Like cavemen they chant along with the forceful, primal drum beat.

Like great jazz music that swings, the relatively slow tempo of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” lays back in the beat swinging in its own unique way. This style of beat comes from slower blues inspired song of the Rolling Stones that proved that the dirtiest sounding music had no need to rush.

Joe Elliot raps with such swagger and attitude that you simply don’t care that the line “Lookin' like a tramp, like a video vamp, demolition woman, can I be your man?” makes no sense. It’s more about attitude and words that sound dirty and intriguing like “lover” and “Little Miss Innocent.” The phrases don’t have meaning in a literal or metaphoric way but instead they create a mosaic that expresses the spirit of rock.

It’s hard to know what rocks harder, the lead into the chorus of the chorus itself. Both have well-crafted call and response melodies that are easy to sing along. You barely have to listen one note to know what is coming next and its this predictability that makes the chorus such an infectious anthem.

Oh, and you can't forget the end of the bridge: check out how the back up and lead singers interact and line up.

Bold: lead singer and back up singers together
Plain text: lead singer
[Bracket]:back-up singers

You got the peaches I got the cream,
Sweet to taste [saccharine].
I’m hot [hot] so hot, sticky sweet,
From my head [head], he- [head to my feet].

Borrowing from the way rap groups like RUN DMC utilize back up vocals to create rhythmic power and musical energy, the bridge is a whirl of words that build to the ultimate climax of the last chorus.

Thus is why this song rocks.

Oh and Taylor Swift performing this song with Def Leppard . . . it’s hard to know what’s more amazing, how hard Def Leppard can still rock or Taylor Swift’s performance.

1 comment:

  1. Alright the taylor swift - def lepp combo is gone but wonderful summary of an awesome song! my vote is on pssom! :-)