Rock Classics Revisited: Def Leppard Dismantles Your Soul in a Single Verse

I was with friends at the pool recently and Def Leppard’s Rock of Ages came on Pandora. We laughed at how rapidly the opening verse accelerates from a jovial rally of communal kinship to a dystopian carnival of anarchic despair in a matter of seconds. Here’s the verse, reconsidered:

“Rise up, gather round”

[Hey, this sounds fun! Everyone’s getting together for a party! Maybe it’s a bonfire, or a big singalong! Please please let them have s’mores! Gosh, I hope I’m not overdressed. I hate when I stand out in a crowd with new people!]

“Rock this place to the ground”

[A rock and roll show? That sounds kinda edgy for a school night, but what the hey! I work hard and I deserve to loosen the old buttons and live a little now and then. Better watch out for this booty, cause it’s gonna be doing some shakin’!]

“Burn it up, let’s go for broke”

[I do not like the direction this is heading, not one single bit mister. I didn’t sign up for some wild ruckus of violence and destruction. Moral people have boundaries, and you’re not gonna push me past mine just to impress a few hipsters and toughs. Count me out of your dark nihilism!]

“Watch the night go up in smoke”

[His hollow obsidian wells gassed and choked my soul like a poison. I knew this was the algid gaze of the devil himself, yet I followed him with willing, consuming desperation. A pulse of savagery swelled to the surface of my skin, at once of ice and fire like an untraveled tundra set spontaneously ablaze. I cannot unsee the bleak horrors of mortal hell he led me to that day, but God’s mercy upon those who find his immortal grasp. And God’s mercy on you, Joe Elliot.]

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