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Okay, so I'm a huge AC/DC fan and have been ever since I first heard their album, HIGH VOLTAGE.
Damn! That song, man! Still! To this day!
Anyway, I'm hardly objective about this band. In fact, there was a moment in my life when I enjoyed writer Stephen King's work, but he was just another author among the many I read: Nothing special to me.
Then one day, in the 1980s I believe, I read an interview where King said that AC/DC was one of his favorite bands.
Well that was it! I read Stephen King with a whole different kind of enthusiasm from that moment onward, listening to AC/DC on my Walkman* while reading his work, and I began seeking out King's hardcovers, not - what I consider - dispensible paperbacks.
Enough history, what about Now?
If there's one good thing that came out of the year, 2020, it's the births of a few of my latest relatives. On top of that, it's AC/DC's latest album, POWER/UP.
POWER/UP begins with a Malcolm Young rhythm line reminscent of For Those About To Rock. Except this is Malcolm and Angus' nephew, Stevie Young returning the gang through the album's first song, Realize.
The current line up is as Old School AC/DC as will ever be possible, with
AC/DC has always been cocksure and confident, but of course, in the early days that was all attitude.
Now, between the band, the producer and the engineers, POWER/UP is a sound and a jam that can only be recognized as the very DNA of AC/DC. Their renown confidence with attitude replaced by the confidence of life experience that only life experience can bring.
It's dedicated to Malcolm.
As far as this review goes, don't expect me to showboat my meager writing skills as I needle about, fixating in depth on the stylizations of each and every song. Screw that.
AC/DC has been around long enough that everyone knows what they're about, and you're not here for a history lesson. You'd go to Wikipedia or some such bullshit for that.
I will tell you that AC/DC hasn't slowed down a bit. Since 1973 they've been hard core straight up Rock and Roll and never deviated from that. Bands like The Rolling Stones grew tired by the 1980s. KISS radically changed their sound for disco, new wave, and staggered around for over a decade (even tried their hand a Prog rock with a Concept album! Jeez!). It's happened to many.
But not AC/DC.
For VH1, Eric Clapton did less than merely sing an acoustic version of his best songs. He thoroughly emasculated his best set and wearily laid a blanket over the bed-ridden knees of his most heart-wrenching songs like Layla. His waiting room versions continue to haunt him to this day.
Don't misunderstand me. This is not about what instruments were/are/will be used to play an audience favored song. Just because they damn well felt like it, AC/DC has used god damn bagpipes for Cthulhu's sake!
There may be acoustic practice studio sessions somewhere of AC/DC: The band's music naked and raw, but they never watered themselves down with VH1 Adult Contemporary versions of their music.*
Even hardcore Mogg and UFO tried to present a "gentler" 1980s side of themselves which resulted in a quick sales spike and and an immediate cliff drop.
People age. They worry about their relevancy. They get scared. They look in their cup and find no dregs of their former talent. It happens to artists from Judas Priest to Stephen King, but -
It's never happened to AC/DC.
The fact is, I've been listening to this album All Week and there's not a clunker in the bunch. It's all AC/DC at their best and some of it is even great.
For those of us who, through the years, could hear Brian Johnson's voice grinding its gears down to rusted rubble? The man is back and his voice has never sounded richer since For Those About To Rock. His two year hiatus and whatever else was needed did the trick.
So if you're an AC/DC fan then the entire point is waiting no longer to enjoy this album!
POWER/UP gets all Five Perplex Skulls.
This review copyright 2020 E.C.McMullen Jr.