It’s a tired old cliche that “they don’t make ’em that any more” in audio – but the retro fetish for vinyl, old consoles and mics gets stronger every day.
It’s not often you get to make a direct comparison like this one. I didn’t make the video above, but it’s an interesting listen !
Def Leppard are re-recording some of their back catalogue as part of a dispute with their record label, and claim the new versions sound just as good as the original:
Elliott said the band pored over the tracks until they got every last detail. [snip] “Trying to find all those sounds . . . like, where am I gonna find a 22-year-old voice?” Elliott added. “I had to sing myself into a certain throat shape to be able to sing that way again. It was really hard work, but it was challenging, and we did have a good laugh over it here and there.”
The new renditions, Elliot noted, have also gotten the seal of approval from original producer Mutt Lange, as reported by guitarist Phil Collen.
“[Phil] played him the re-records and [Lange] couldn’t believe how brilliant they were,” Elliot said to Billboard. “He was like, ‘Wow guys, incredible job!’ Phil was just raving about how much Mutt was raving about them.” Read more
Hm. Unlike the maker of this video, personally I’m not so sure.
Superficially the two versions sound quite close to begin with, but to me the originals quickly begin to sound superior in just about every way. The guitars, drums and bass have more weight and depth – listen from 35 seconds on, for example – and there are some apparent arrangement changes – listen to the guitars at 3’14”, for example.
Having said that, the new vocal performances really do sound pretty good considering the 25-year gap – and the distinctive BV sound is impressively close to the original. (There’s still more air and life in the original lead vocal, though.)
Overall for me it’s a big FAIL for modern recording technology in this case – although given that you might think it was impossible to get even remotely close to a recording like this, it’s an impressive achievement, nonetheless.
Meanwhile fans will be relieved (and non-fans may be astonished ?!) to hear that the band are still writing new material while out on tour.
Which version do you prefer ?