Def Leppard – Love Bites

First Hit #1: October 8, 1988

Did everyone collectively go through a bad breakup in 1988? Because we’ve got a narrative building here, driven through ballads, and Def Leppard comes on with the “I can never love again!” part of the story, with Love Bites.

I find myself sympathizing with the subject of the song, because I’m not sure she’s done anything wrong, and she is just getting crapped on for the entire running time. He doesn’t want to touch her too much, he thinks she’s just going to leave him anyway, it’s actually an incredibly dark song. And in the darkness, it’s actually kind of emotionally abusive, for no real reason. He’s projecting the betrayal of another woman onto this poor song subject, and it’s really quite unfair, and makes the singer come across as a bit of a dick. Then again, if you’re coming off a bad breakup, do you really feel as though you can trust anyone at all?

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One Response to Def Leppard – Love Bites

  1. RBerman says:

    Most successful pop songs touch on some universal (or at least Western) cultural experience, and “Fallout from my presvious relationship is messing with my current one” must surely rank up there as a shared experience, either on the giving or receiving end. Def Leppard predate the “hair metal” trend and don’t exactly fit it, but they’re sure doing their best here to try. The story of the gap between their “Pyromania” and “Hysteria” album was one of the great Behind the Music stories of the 80s (trading Jim Steinman for Mutt Lange to helm the project; guitar chords recorded one note at a time; drummer loses arm and must learn to play a different way; the way Run-DMC’s “Walk This Way” inspired “Pour Some Sugar On Me”). But the bottom line is this: Hysteria had an impressive seven singles, with four hitting the Top Ten. For almost the whole of 1987 and 1988, if you listened to Top Forty radio for an hour, you probably heard one song or another off of this album. How much more ubiquitous could a band become?

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