Page Picks Pop: AC/DC

This weekend I got stuck in a car with my Dad who put on this awful god rock CD, now I’m not completely against religious music, there’s a Welsh hymn called “Calon Lan” which would probably be one of my Desert Island Discs, and there’s Johnny Cash’s phenomenal “When The Man Comes Around” which is inspired by Revelation (my mum reads this and as well as being religious is something of a spelling pedant, so I hope she appreciates that I got the name right).

But I wasn’t in the mood, and this disc seemed particularly weak so I fell back on my iPod, plugged in my earphones and cranked up some AC/DC.

AC/DC may be my favourite band.

AC/DC rocking Download 2010, I'm about 30-40 feet in front of where this picture is taken from. It was immense.

They’re a phenomenal live act and the 5 albums of theirs I own are played fairly frequently and include some of my all time favourite songs. They are the best example of my theory that at its best rock music needs to be sleazy and cocksure.

They play unashamedly dumb rock music, all bluster and swagger with some funny, jokey lyrics. Their minds rarely stray from the gutter, but that’s part of the appeal, they speak to my inner 14 year old and the simplicity is not a fault. If you get it right, why overthink it?

Whether its Bon Scott or Brian Johnson at the mic, they produce phenomenal, tongue in cheek rock classics.

Anyway, here are my favourite 10 tracks of theirs (in no order), you’ve probably heard a few of them, but I recommend checking them out, you won’t be disappointed and at the very least it’ll give you a chance to dust off the old air guitar and bang your head.

1. Hell’s Bells

The wonderfully atmospheric opener from one of my favourite albums of all time, Back In Black, this starts with an ominous tolling bell and then layers on a simple guitar riff and beat which intensifies until the lyrics kick in. Its a swaggering statement of bad intentions and a catchy refrain. The guitar work isn’t overly noodly but it still gives you an opportunity to bust out some air guitar.

One of my favourite albums of all time

2. Highway To Hell

The title track from my second favourite album by the group is this brilliant ode to debauchery and rock’s devil may care attitude. Driven by that powerful, pulsing riff and anchored by a fantastically tight drumbeat its another iconic track from the band. Has it all, a big, infectious chorus, a phenomenal riff and an undeniable sense of confidence and the best kind of macho posturing.

My second favourite AC/DC album

3. Whole Lotta Rosie

The band’s ode to a larger lover is far from sensitive (“ain’t exactly small”), but the sleaziness adds to it in a way. A joy when performed live due to an inflatable Rosie,  and I have to admit, she sounds like my kind of girl.

Also, its built around some fantastic, tight guitar work and has a simple, fast paced, heads down quality.

AC/DC perform in the shadow of Rosie

4. Back In Black

Probably the group’s best known song this is a rock classic. The central, driving riff is close to rock perfection and I defy anyone not to start strutting a little when this comes on. Blaring this makes you feel like an utter badass. The chorus is extremely chantalongable (its a word now). Johnson’s voice is raw and powerful in the chorus and the no-nonsense, heads down guitar work is irresistible.

5. Have A Drink On Me

Its a song about boozing and seems tailor-made to soundtrack a montage of a bender in a film. A boozy, debauched delight.

6. You Shook Me All Night Long

Sheer brilliance. I feel you could probably use this to serenade a girl, if she had the right outlook. Has a really big, joyous chorus you can really belt out. Another complete classic of a song.

Brian Johnson and Angus Young in action

7. Thunderstruck

AC/DC really know how to kick off an album, The Razor’s Edge opens with this stormer of a song.

It builds with a simple, fast paced guitar riff and a refrain of “Aaaaah-aaah-aahs!”. It all builds impressively with shouts of “thunder” thrown in to add to the build before Johnson starts up with the lyrics. It feels as thought its not going anywhere until the backing track starts to build up. Constantly in the background is that fast, pulsating riff serving to anchor the track as the rest of the band start to kick in.

8. If You Want Blood (You Got It)

Another song that relies on an opening that builds in intensity before Bon Scott lets rip with some phenomenal lyrics. Powerhouse of a song with a driving, relentless riff and another great chorus.

9. Let Me Put My Love Into You

This is the closest to a love song I’ve heard from the guys, and its defininitely a little softer but its still delightfully straight to the point as the title suggests and still rocks. If I had the voice and the confidence this would be my X-Factor audition song, complete with tongue in cheek flirting with Tulisa.

10. Big Balls

There is probably no song as wonderfully, gleefully immature as this one. Based around an extremely childish innuendo and with Scott trying to do a posh accent there’s a real sense of fun in the song, as though they wrote it as a joke amongst themselves and enjoyed recording it. Its not big, its not clever, but it is very entertaining.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. RO


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