Category Archives: AC/DC

AC/DC – Rock or Bust [Review]

MI0003796875

AC/DC – Rock or Bust
2014, Columbia Records
Buy the album

1. “Rock or Bust”
2. “Play Ball”
3. “Rock the Blues Away”
4. “Miss Adventure”
5. “Dogs of War”
6. “Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder”
7. “Hard Times”
8. “Baptism by Fire”
9. “Rock the House”
10. “Sweet Candy”
11. “Emission Control”

Band:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Stevie Young – Guitar
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums

Producer: Brendan O’Brien

Wow. Despite the major success of Black Ice, which proved the world that AC/DC was still commercial force to be reckoned with and just as popular as ever, the band has had some tough times lately. Firstly, it was announced in September 2014 that founding member & rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young had permanently left the band and retired from music as he is battling dementia in addition to recovering from lung and heart operations he’s had in recent times. It was initially reported in the spring that he was taking a break from the band, but in the fall it was made official that he has retired.

Despite this, the band decided to continue on. I really assumed that if one of the Young brothers ever had to leave the band for whatever reason, then the band would retire. I kind of admire Angus for wanting to continue on. Apparently, all of the songs for Rock or Bust were already written by Angus & Malcolm by the time it was first announced Malcolm was taking a break. I figured this would at least delay recording but their nephew Steve Young stepped in to play rhythm guitar on the album and he is now Malcolm’s official replacement. Steve is no stranger to the band; he filled in for Malcolm on tour in 1988 while Malcolm was dealing with alcohol issues.

But it if that wasn’t enough, just before the release of this album, longtime drummer Phil Rudd’s house was raided in November 2014 and he was charged with “attempting to procure a murder, threatening to kill, possession of methamphetamine and possession of cannabis”. The attempt to procure a murder charged was dropped but as of this writing he is still facing the other charges. It is not known at this time whether he is still a member of the band but recent band photos have not included Phil Rudd. Angus seems willing to give Phil a chance to deal with the charges but has stated someone will be drumming for them when they go on tour in the spring of 2015.

This is the first “new release” of a vinyl album I’ve ever bought. While I have a decent size CD collection, these days I mostly listen to music digitally. When I saw that this album wasn’t up on Spotify and that it was $10-13 for either the digital album or the CD, I figured I might as well pay another $10 for the vinyl/CD bundle. I ended up buying this at Barnes & Noble of all places. I think all vinyl releases should include a CD copy. So now I have a vinyl copy, a CD copy and a copy burned to my computer/iPod. The vinyl cover is 3D lenticular artwork and features the AC/DC logo breaking through. The packaging is well done. One sleeve for the CD and booklet featuring photos, one sleeve for the record. It all has an old school look to it. They even used the old Columbia Records logo.

So how does the music fare? Well, it’s AC/DC. If you like AC/DC, you’ll like this album. We already know they have a formula and they’re going to stick with it. I’ve spun Rock or Bust a number of times already (it’s easy to do when the album is only 34 minutes long) and I definitely like it. I don’t think it’s as good as Black Ice, but “Rock or Bust”, “Play Ball” and “Miss Adventure” are very good tunes with the first two definitely having that classic AC/DC feel to them. “Rock the Blues Away” is another good one that I can see going over well in concert. With further comparison to Black Ice, I think Brian Johnson’s voice actually sounds better on this album.

While the album may not go down as an all-time classic in the band’s catalog, it’s certainly a “good” album that beats out stuff like Stiff Upper Lip and the band’s output from ’83-’88. If Rock or Bust is to be the last album the band ever records in the studio (I’m assuming there will be a live album to chronicle the Rock or Bust world tour), then it’s a strong note to go out on.

And, hey, selling 500,000 copies and going gold in the U.S. within two months of being released is good note to go out on as well. Not bad for a rock band in their fifth decade, especially considering the state of the music industry.

Highlights: “Rock or Bust”, “Play Ball”, “Rock the Blues Away”, “Miss Adventure”

AC/DC – The Razor’s Edge

AC/DC – The Razor’s Edge [Remastered] (2003, Columbia Records)
Original Release: 1990, Atco Records

1. “Thunderstruck” … 4:53
2. “Fire Your Guns” … 2:54
3. “Moneytalks” … 3:46
4. “The Razor’s Edge” … 4:23
5. “Mistress for Christmas” … 4:00
6. “Rock Your Heart Out” … 4:07
7. “Are You Ready” … 4:10
8. “Got You by the Balls” … 4:30
9. “Shot of Love” … 3:57
10. “Let’s Make It” … 3:32
11. “Goodbye & Good Riddance to Bad Luck” … 3:14
12. “If You Dare” … 3:18

Band:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Guitar
Malcolm Young – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Chris Slade – Drums, Percussion

Producer: Bruce Fairbairn

Even though The Razor’s Edge was a commercial success and critical success (for the most part), I STILL say it is one of AC/DC’s most underrated albums. People like it but they don’t like it enough as far as I’m concerned! It’s a near perfect album and for years it was my favorite AC/DC album until I recently re-listened to Highway to Hell.

This album is “ate up” (as they might say in the south) with anthems. “Thunderstruck”, “Fire Your Guns”, “Moneytalks”, “Are You Ready”… So catchy, such great choruses you’d think Mutt Lange was back working with his old buddies and in the producer’s chair! Not that Bruce Fairbairn is any slouch. He’s had his share of producer’s credit for really catchy rock as well (Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Poison). Anyway, these songs are just classic AC/DC that ranks up with any they’ve ever done, in my opinion.

The lyrics are as fun and naughty as ever. A special nod goes out to “Mistress for Christmas”, one of the best song titles ever and it really appealed to me as horny teenager.

By far, the best song of the bunch is “The Razor’s Edge”. If anyone wanted to try to argue that AC/DC is evil, they should cite this song as an example. It just sounds so evil and dark, I love it.

When I first bought this album, I got it on cassette. After the AC/DC remasters came out in 2003, I was tempted to buy it but I never pulled the trigger. I finally used a Best Buy gift card I had leftover from Christmas ’09 to give me a reason to finally pick this one up on CD.

Essential AC/DC.

Highlights: “Thunderstruck”, “Fire Your Guns”, “Moneytalks”, “The Razors Edge”, “Mistress for Christmas”, “Rock Your Heart Out”, “Are You Ready”, “Let’s Make It”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

AC/DC – Highway to Hell

AC/DC – Highway to Hell (1979, Atlantic Records/Atco Records)

1.”Highway to Hell” … 3:26
2.”Girls Got Rhythm” … 3:23
3.”Walk All Over You” … 5:08
4.”Touch Too Much” … 4:24
5.”Beating Around the Bush” … 3:55
6.”Shot Down in Flames” … 3:21
7.”Get It Hot” … 2:24
8.”If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” … 4:32
9.”Love Hungry Man” … 4:14
10.”Night Prowler” … 6:13

Band:
Bon Scott – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Guitar
Malcolm Young – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums

Producer: Robert John “Mutt” Lange

Forget about Back In Black, THIS is AC/DC’s greatest album!

I owned this one on cassette years ago. I had a CD player but I also still had a tape player and being a high school kid with no job, I went for the cheaper format picking it up for $6 or $7. I don’t have a tape player anymore but I was so familiar with this album that it took me over 10 years to finally upgrade to CD and I only did that after finding a copy for $5 at a used record store. It’s always hard to re-purchase an album when there’s so many albums out there that I’ve never heard and want to buy!

Anyway, yes, I believe this is AC/DC’s best. That other AC/DC album is great but I’ve always felt it was incredibly overrated and have never understood why Highway to Hell isn’t at least put on the same level with it. Everything I’ve heard from AC/DC previous to album was more of an oddity. They had some great songs and albums but they were also kind of quirky. With the help of producer Mutt Lange, they streamlined, became heavier, the Brothers Young became riff masters and Bon Scott’s final album performance turns out to be his best.

“Touch Too Much” is one of my favorite AC/DC tracks of all time and it’s hard not to get fired up over “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”. “Highway to Hell” is a song I was never hugely into. It’s good but isn’t even close to being the best song on this album. I always thought “Beating Around the Bush” was a funny song title.

On a down note, the band and the song “Night Prowler” came under fire in 1985 when the L.A. serial killer known as the Night Stalker (Richard Ramirez) was caught and it was revealed he was a huge AC/DC fan and “Night Prowler” was one of his favorite songs.

Highlights: “Highway to Hell”, “Girls Got Rhythm”, “Touch Too Much”, “Shot Down in Flames”, “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”, “Love Hungry Man”, “Night Prowler”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

AC/DC – For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

AC/DC – For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) [Remastered] (1994, Atco Records)
Original Release: 1981, Atco Records

1. “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” … 5:44
2. “Put the Finger on You” … 3:26
3. “Let’s Get It Up” … 3:54
4. “Inject the Venom” … 3:31
5. “Snowballed” … 3:23
6. “Evil Walks” … 4:24
7. “C.O.D.” … 3:19
8. “Breaking the Rules” … 4:23
9. “Night of the Long Knives” … 3:26
10. “Spellbound” … 4:30

Band:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Lead Guitar
Malcolm Young – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums, Percussion

Producer: Mutt Lange

I know the 2003 remastering is available at Walmart for $7 or $8, but besides having a digipak, I don’t really see what the difference would be from this 1994 remastering. I saved a few bucks at a used record store and picked this one up for $5!  I’ve had my eyes on this album for years. I’ve always thought the cover was very interesting as well as song titles like “Inject the Venom”, “Evil Walks” and “Night of the Long Knives”.

Though I burned myself out on AC/DC years ago, since the release of Black Ice I’m slowly coming around again and I’m interested in picking up their post-Back In Black offerings. Though I didn’t plan it this way, what better place to start than with this album, the follow up to Back In Black?

Though Back In Black will always and forever be viewed as AC/DC’s masterpiece, For Those About to Rock is more than up to the challenge of following that legendary release. This isn’t an album that stands in the shadow of the previous release, this is an album that casts its own shadow, in my opinion. I find it really funny not many critics at the time of this release agreed though. There are a few entertaining reviews floating around online (like the one from Rolling Stone) where this album is trashed as an uninspired effort. I just don’t see it that way at all!

It’s really hard for me to compare this album to Back In Black just because that album has lost all impact for me, but certainly the concert staple title track can compete with anything from that album. The rest doesn’t reach out and grab immediately, there’s a slower groove throughout the album, but it’s all still very satisfying. “I Put the Finger on You” is another one of my favorites from this album. Mutt Lange was back in the producer’s chair for this album (his last with the band) and it is not hard to imagine “I Put the Finger on You” or “Spellbound” as Def Leppard songs, with a few tweaks here and there.

Essential AC/DC and I’m glad I have some new (to me) AC/DC music to listen to!

Highlights: “For Those About to Rock We Salute You”, “Put the Finger on You”, “Let’s Get It Up”, “Inject the Venom”, “Evil Walks”, “Breaking the Rules”, “Spellbound”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

AC/DC – Back In Black

AC/DC – Back In Black [Remastered] (2003, Epic Records)
Original Release: 1980, Atco Records

1. “Hells Bells” … 5:09
2. “Shoot to Thrill” … 5:14
3. “What Do You Do for Money Honey” … 3:33
4. “Given the Dog a Bone” … 3:30
5. “Let Me Put My Love into You” … 4:12
6. “Back in Black” … 4:13
7. “You Shook Me All Night Long” … 3:28
8. “Have a Drink on Me” … 3:57
9. “Shake a Leg” … 4:03
10. “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” … 4:12

Band:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Guitar
Malcolm Young – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums, Percussion

Produced by: Robert John “Mutt” Lange

In keeping with my initial intent to catalog and comment on all of my albums and not necessarily review, this one’s going to be short and sweet because there’s not really much to say about this album that hasn’t been said a millions times by millions of other people. I do think it’s a tad overrated, but it is still a classic and should be in every rocker’s collection. I mean, it has sold over 22 million copies in the United States alone and a whopping worldwide total of 49 million. If you don’t own this already, don’t you think it’s time you do?

This was one of a handful of albums I listened to extensively the last year or two of high school. I was just discovering the rock & metal scene and AC/DC was one of the first bands I fell in love with and I walked home many times from school playing this one in the ol’ Discman! I was fascinated and tinkled pink by “Given the Dog a Bone” at the time.

I originally had an older issue of this on CD for years, but when I was a member of Columbia House Music, they shipped this to me by accident, so I ended up getting to keep it PLUS they took the charge off my account. Pretty cool!

Highlights: All of it.

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

AC/DC – Live

AC/DC – Live (1992, Atco Records)

1. “Thunderstruck” … 6:34
2. “Shoot to Thrill” … 5:21
3. “Back in Black” … 4:28
4. “Who Made Who” … 5:15
5. “Heatseeker” … 3:37
6. “The Jack” … 6:56
7. “Moneytalks” … 4:18
8. “Hells Bells” … 6:01
9. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” … 5:02
10. “Whole Lotta Rosie” … 4:30
11. “You Shook Me All Night Long” … 3:54
12. “Highway to Hell” … 3:58
13. “T.N.T.” … 3:47
14. “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” … 7:18

Band:
Brian Johnson – Lead vocals
Angus Young – Guitar
Malcolm Young – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass guitar, Backing Vocals
Chris Slade – Drums, Percussion

Produced by: Bruce Fairbairn

Fantastic live release that holds two distinctions in my collection: it’s the first live album I ever bought and it’s also the first AC/DC album I ever bought (picked it up at Target of all places too!).

There’s always going to be a special place in my heart for this album. It’s one of the first big albums in my life. One of the first that I played constantly from beginning to end, with many of those plays coming during lunch period at high school and on the walk home from school. For a time, it catapulted AC/DC towards the top of my favorite bands list.

I ended up burning myself out on the band and the album (and the AC/DC albums that this one inspired me to pick up). Despite being way too familiar with the album now, it’s still a classic live release that every AC/DC fan should own, in my opinion.

There is a two disc version (featuring 23 tracks) that was released a month after this version was. I had bought the album in the late 90s, but I wasn’t aware of the two disc edition and was pretty ticked off when I found out about it. I would’ve rather held out for that version!

The album was recorded during the 1990-1991 The Razor’s Edge tour at various locales.

Highlights: “Thunderstruck”, “Who Made Who”, “Moneytalks”, “Hells Bells”, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, “Whole Lotta Rosie”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

AC/DC – Ballbreaker

AC/DC – Ballbreaker (1995, East West Records)

1. “Hard As A Rock” … 4:31
2. “Cover You In Oil” … 4:32
3. “The Furor” … 4:10
4. “Boogie Man” … 4:07
5. “The Honey Roll” … 5:34
6. “Burnin’ Alive” … 5:05
7. “Hail Caesar” … 5:14
8. “Love Bomb” … 3:14
9. “Caught With Your Pants Down” … 4:14
10. “Whiskey On The Rocks” … 4:35
11. “Ballbreaker” … 4:31

Band:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Guitar
Malcolm Young – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums, Percussion

Produced by: Rick Rubin

There was a time when I was a HUUUUGE AC/DC fan. They were one of the first bands I got into alongside Poison, Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses back when I took a real interest in music in my teens.

My first AC/DC album was Live, and then I went on a spree ordering up when I could from Columbia House Music & BMG Music, in addition to find what I could around town. This was one I picked up in town and I was initially unsatisfied with what I heard.

I guess after hearing Back In Black, Highway to Hell, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and The Razor’s Edge I was expecting something amazing. Well, Ballbreaker was quite a downer for me at the time, but I’ve matured enough that I can now appreciate the album for what it is: a decent AC/DC album. It does nothing wrong, but doesn’t really do anything particularly great and this album (and AC/DC burnout in general) is why I decided to skip out on their next release, Stiff Upper Lip.

There is one true standout though that conjures up the AC/DC of old: “Hard As A Rock”. And is it me or does “The Furor” seem really similar to “The Razor’s Edge”?

Highlights: “Hard As A Rock”, “Cover You In Oil”, “The Furor”, “Burnin’ Alive”, “Hail Caesar”, “Love Bomb”, “Ballbreaker”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

AC/DC – Black Ice

AC/DC – Black Ice (2008, Columbia Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Train” … 4:21
2. “Skies on Fire” … 3:34
3. “Big Jack” … 3:57
4. “Anything Goes” … 3:22
5. “War Machine” … 3:09
6. “Smash ‘n’ Grab” … 4:06
7. “Spoilin’ for a Fight” … 3:17
8. “Wheels” … 3:28
9. “Decibel” … 3:34
10. “Stormy May Day” … 3:10
11. “She Likes Rock ‘N’ Roll” … 3:53
12. “Money Made” … 4:15
13. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream” … 4:41
14. “Rocking All the Way” …3:22
15. “Black Ice” … 3:25

Band:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Lead Guitar
Malcolm Young – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums

Produced by: Brendan O’Brien

AC/DC has joined the “exclusive” club by releasing this album domestically only through the mega retail chain that is Wal-Mart. A lot of people gripe about exclusives, but to me, it only ensures the band and their album is going to get proper promotion. A retail chain isn’t going to sign an act and then not push them. And when that retail chain behind you is Wal-Mart? Hoo-boy. Journey and Eagles have both had incredibly successful runs with Wal-Mart and now you can put AC/DC in that same “win” category: #1 debut on Billboard and 780,000+ sold (coming only second to Lil’ Wayne in terms of first week numbers in 2008).

The set up at my local Wal-Mart was something to see. They pretty much had their own AC/DC store. All types of AC/DC clothing, plus their whole catalog on display (with plenty of copies of Black Ice, of course) and the Rock Band edition of AC/DC. To me, this is just great. It’s hard for big name veteran acts to sustain momentum outside of first week sales, but “Rock ‘N Roll Train” has been accepted on rock radio and I’m sure Black Ice will continue to sell very well because I don’t see Wal-Mart dropping the promotional push anytime soon.

I would actually like to see other veteran acts go exclusive, it seems to be the only way they can get a fair shot at success in a world full of music mediocrity that seems content to chew up and spit out younger, newer acts with little regard for the legends that still make quality music.

On to the music…

I knew this album was going to have SOMETHING to it just by hearing “Rock ‘N Roll Train” and “War Machine” weeks before the album’s release. Both songs, especially “Rock ‘N Roll Train”, are classic AC/DC and would fit right at home on Back In Black. The old saying that “AC/DC always sounds like AC/DC” is true and while some consider this complacency or laziness, I’m just fine with it. As long as the songs are good, who cares? Just consider their entire catalog one really long album and you’ll be fine. I’ve also seen one review that turn this album into an excuse for bashing the second half of AC/DC’s career by saying they’ve become too polished. BAH, I say! BAH! No, this album is not raw or dirty like their earlier stuff, but again… Good music is good music.

There is some filler here, but overall, I gotta say it’s one of 2008’s best releases and the guys have deserved all the success this album has already enjoyed. From the opening of “Rock ‘N Roll Train”, you go “oh yeah– THIS is AC/DC!!!” I don’t know how it compares to their last album, Stiff Upper Lip (2000), because by the time that was released, I was burned out on the band, but it’s definitely much improved over 1995’s Ballbreaker. And yes, the years 1995 and 2000 are the last two years to host an AC/DC album.

“Train” is definitely my favorite song, but “Rock ‘N Roll Dream” is really catchy and shows the band branching out and reminds me a bit of Rainbow. “Big Jack” has really grown on me and is another fine innuendo-laced AC/DC song. “Anything Goes” is a really upbeat song that gives me flashbacks of The Darkness (though Angus’ playing is certainly recognizable). Overall, a great effort from a timeless band and I can’t imagine AC/DC fans being disappointed with AC/DC 2008.

By the way, the album was available with the red logo (which is the standard cover), yellow (limited edition), white (limited edition) or blue (deluxe edition, the “deluxe” part being lyrics). Blue was gone and I wasn’t even aware there was a “deluxe” edition, and I ended up picking yellow, which I think is the best of the covers.

Producer Brendan O’Brien, has produced numerous albums for Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Stone Temple Pilots, The Offspring, Rage Against the Machine, Incubus and… Yes, even Jackyl’s debut.

Highlights: “Rock ‘N Roll Train”, “Big Jack”, “Anything Goes”, “War Machine”, “Smash ‘N’ Grab”, “Spoilin’ for a Fight”, “She Likes Rock ‘N’ Roll”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream”, “Black Ice”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

The final countdown

Although I hate to deviate from posting about my collection :P…

Pssst! Pass it on… We’re just minutes away from the midnight launch of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Train’, the first single from AC/DC’s upcoming Black Ice album! Check it out at www.IHeartMusic.com, and thanks to Hard Rock Hideout (with a little help from BraveWords.com) for reminding me!

UPDATE: Have you freaking heard this song yet? I’m LOVING it. I can’t wait for the album!

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