Monday, 15 April 2019

AC/DC album by album



(electric bisexuals at work......)


I can't say I'm a fan of AC/DC, they have generally appeared to me to be a rather derivative band, lacking in imagination and ideas, lacking in authenticity, and simply a commercial MOR rock band. However they have been phenomenally successful - they are one of the best selling musical artists of all time,  coming third after Led Zeppelin and Queen as the most successful hard rock act. And Back In Black is the third highest selling album of all time.  Clearly I am in the minority in not adoring them. I have tried now and again to get to grips with just why they are successful, but each time I listen to the band what I hear are copies of riffs and rolls created by The Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, etc. There's perhaps more melody in the music, and less challenge to the listener in that the music stays within its genre, unlike the sweep of ideas and genres that Zeppelin explored, or the ambitious themes that Townsend took The Who through. This is in effect easy listening music in a hard(ish) rock format.


Albums


High Voltage (1976) 

The band's first two albums,  High Voltage (Feb 1975) and T.N.T. (Dec 1975), were only released in Australia. A compilation of tracks from those albums were released in April 1976 as High Voltage.  It contains the familiar AC/DC riff driven sound, and though the vocals were done by Bon Scott, they have a similar sound to the vocals of Brian Johnson who replaced Scott in 1980, in time for the Back To Black album.  There are some songs which don't sound like AC/DC, and show that they could deviate if they wanted. "The Jack" is a blues based number which clearly takes ideas from  The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.  "Can I Sit Next To You Girl" is a glam rock number, again delivered in a SAHB manner.  "Little Lover" sounds like something T.Rex or Gary Glitter may have discarded as too dreary.  It's an OK album - a little more tongue-in-cheek and varied than later AC/DC, and so, for me, a little more likeable. But it's not an album I can see myself returning to as there's nothing particularly worthwhile here. Listenable, but not special.

Wikipedia
AllMusic:  9
Score: 3 1/2



Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976)

This has a boogie sound, more ZZ Top than Canned Heat. There's some simple but engaging rock boogie like "Rocker", as well as more familiar AC/DC material like "Problem Child". The songs "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" and "Big Balls" are popular for their lewd humour. But mostly the album is fairly boring.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 10
Score: 2 1/2



Let There Be Rock (1977)

This sounds so common place that I'm going to compare it with other hard rock albums released in the same period: Foreigner (March 1977) - more melodic and spacious, but more obviously corporate and serious; Next (Journey Feb 177) - very slow and boring; The Runaways/Queens of Noise (1976-1977) - guitar-driven pop-rock; Love Gun (Kiss June 1977) - similar riffing and simplistic drumming, but a more serious attitude, less partying and lewdness, less fun; Virgin Killer (Scorpions Oct 1976) - similar; R.E.O. (June 1976) -  more country rock than hard rock;  Lace And Whiskey (Alice Cooper April 1977) - more complex song structure, more instruments, less focus on riffing;  No Heavy Petting (UFO May 1976) - more varied, solos rather than riffing;  Rising (Rainbow May 1976) - similar;  Rocks (Aerosmith May 1976) - dull; Bat Out Of Hell (Meat Loaf  Sept 1977) - Awesome!; Motorhead (Aug 1977) - packs a punch, loads of energy;  Cheap Trick (Feb 1977) - more glam rock than hard rock; A Day At The Races (Queen Dec 1976) -


Wikipedia
AllMusic: 9
Score:




Powerage (May 1978)




Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
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If You Want Blood You Got It (Oct 1978)



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AllMusic:  7
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Highway To Hell (July 1979) 



Wikipedia
AllMusic: 10
Score:




Back in Black  (1980)

Third best selling album of all time. Most popular rock album of all time. Contains all the elements that people associate with mock rock - screeching vocals, repetitive power riffs, thumping drums that keep the beat, combined with a melodic sound, and nothing challenging or unexpected. This is easy listening cliched rock for the masses.  Almost demonic metal, but mostly good time sex and partying, with riffs that bring a smile to the face they are so joyfully cheeky. Yeah, I'm starting to get it. Forget serious, forget art, forget originality, just let go and enjoy the ride.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 10
Score:


For Those About to Rock We Salute You (1981)

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Flick of the Switch (1983)

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Fly on the Wall (1985)


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Blow Up Your Video (1988)

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The Razors Edge (1990)


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AC/DC Live (1992) 


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Ballbreaker (1995)


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Stiff Upper Lip (2000)


Black Ice (2008)


Rock or Bust (2014)



Discography


High Voltage (1975) (Australia only)
T.N.T. (1975) (Australia only)
High Voltage (1976) (international version)
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976)
Let There Be Rock (1977)
Powerage (1978)
Highway to Hell (1979)
Back in Black (1980)
For Those About to Rock We Salute You (1981)
Flick of the Switch (1983)
Fly on the Wall (1985)
Blow Up Your Video (1988)
The Razors Edge (1990)
Ballbreaker (1995)
Stiff Upper Lip (2000)
Black Ice (2008)
Rock or Bust (2014)



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