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Welcome to another “Album by Album Challenge.” For those that are new here, the “Album by Album Challenge” is where I take a band’s entire discography and listen to every album in order of release from front to back. With my unforgiving and well-aged ear, I call it how I hear it. In some cases, I find that what I once thought was good is actually pretty crappy and sometimes crap manages to age into something pretty kick ass. And in some cases, face melting is still just good ol’ face melting.

This time around we have a two parter as we dive into the AC/DC discography. I’ve been an AC/DC fan since 1985 and as a fan I know that they can at times rival KISS for putting out inconsistent albums. Just because they’re inconsistent doesn’t make me any less a fan. In this challenge I had all kinds of really pleasant surprises and some god awful revelations. This was a really fun (and at times really frustrating) challenge so I hope you’ll enjoy it. Did I come close for you? If not then let me know how you disagree.

High Voltage
Release Date: May 14, 1976

The Good: It’s A Long Way to the Top If You Wanna Rock N’ Roll, Rock N’ Roll Singer, The Jack, Live Wire, T.N.T, Can I Sit Next To You Girl, Little Lover, She’s Got Balls, High Voltage
The Bad:
The Indifferent:

So when I was young lad just discovering hard rock/metal music, AC/DC was one of the greats but at this point in time, Brian Johnson had been in the band for about 3 albums so he was the guy I really connected with. I can remember a friend of mine’s brother giving me a copy of Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap but I didn’t really dig it because it wasn’t Brian Johnson. Well, as a got older and started to find a love and respect for the greatness of the late Bon Scott and High Voltage became the next album I would buy.

It’s probably been 20 years since I listened to this album in its entirety and it is every bit as awesome now as it was back then. It’s impossible to not just love this gritty, dirty, back room bar style hard rock music. Every song is a winner and the production of this album is warm, raw, and in your fucking face. Even though it has been 20 years, I can still sing along with every fucking song like I just listened to it last week. This is such a solid debut album and it’s the sound the inspired a million fucking bands.

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Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheep
Release Date: September 20, 1976

The Good: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Love at First Feel, The Rocker, Problem Child, There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’,
The Bad:
The Indifferent: Big Balls, Ain’t No Fun Waitin’ Around To Be A Millionaire, Squealer

It’s funny that after listening back to this album in its entirety have a different outlook on it. I really remembered liking this album so much in high school but in this listen I find it to be inconsistent and just kind of bleh. “Dirty Deeds” is as awesome as it always was but it was “Love at First Feel” and “There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’” that I was surprised to see that I had forgotten about. Songs like “Big Balls” and “Squealer” just sounded kind of silly to me and failed to really do much for me.

All in all, Dirty Deeds just isn’t as strong an album as High Voltage. At times it almost feels like some of these songs are just leftover tracks that weren’t quite good enough to make the High Voltage album. While I didn’t hate this album I surely didn’t love it. I will say this though. This album has “Ride On” and that right there just may be one of the greatest AC/DC songs of all time. As a whole this album just isn’t great but it really does have some great moments that make it more than worth it to own it.

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Let There Be Rock
Release Date: March 21, 1977

The Good:Go Down, Dog Eat Dog, Let There Be Rock, Bad Boy Boogie, Problem Child, Overdose, Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be, Whole Lotta Rosie
The Bad:
The Indifferent:

For the longest time I thought this album was a live album because it had the same name as the concert movie. Who knew? I can honestly say that I never listened to this album in full before this challenge and damn what a fucking awesome surprise. Unlike the previous album, Let There Be Rock is full of fresh, fun material as opposed to cutting room floor/leftover tracks. You can definitely hear AC/DC’s sound at this point really refining and Bon Scott himself just completely steps up and owns shit like a boss.

Song for song this album is way fucking solid. There are also a couple of song ssuch as “Go Down” and “Overdose” that I never really even listened to which totally kicked ass. “Overdose” just may be one of my new favorite AC/DC songs that I never knew existed. Let’s also not forget the “classics” on this one such as the title track, “Hell Aint A Bad Place to Be”, and “Whole Lotta Rosie.” These songs are staples of AC/DC’s career but what’s up with “Problem Child” being released again? I didn’t quite get that but I’m not complaining because that song fucking rules! Great solid album that I will totally be digging on again.

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Powerage
Release Date: May 5, 1978

The Good: Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation, Down Payment Blues, Gimme A Bullet, Riff Raff, Sin City, Gone Shootin’, Up To My Neck In You, Kicked In The Teeth
The Bad:
The Indifferent:

So at this point in the game AC/DC has without a doubt perfected the formula. I mean, one might even say that at this point they have made the same album four times. Well, that’s probably a fair assumption but here’s the deal, the songs are always (for the most part) fucking killer. Sonically they all kind of sound the same but each song has a greatness all their own that allows them to stand strong individually. Powerage boasts two of AC/DC’s most iconic songs, “Rock N’ Roll Damnation” and “Sin City” but also has some of the band’s strongest “deep cuts” to date such as “Gimme A Bullet”, “Down Payment Blues”, and “What’s Next To The Moon” which damn well should be considered one of Bon Scott’s finest moments.

Powerage is yet another slap of rock n’ roll perfection with not a bad song in the bunch. Each song is as fucking awesome as the one before it and the overall flow of the album makes this one a really easy listen. Front to back Powerage is a fucking monstrous album with some of my all-time favorite AC/DC songs. It’s as solid now as it was when I purchased it on vinyl back in 1986.

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Highway To Hell
Release Date: July 27, 1979

The Good: Highway To Hell, Girls Got Rhythm, Walk All Over You, Touch Too Much, Beatin’ Around the Bush, Shot Down In Flames, Get It Hot, If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It), Love Hungry Man, Night Prowler
The Bad:
The Indifferent:

There is just something about hearing that opening riff from “Highway to Hell” that makes me want to jump up and just start air guitaring and duck walking across my office floor. It’s the song most played before just about any arena hard rock/metal band takes the stage and ya know what? It never gets old and then kicking right into “Girls Got Rhythm”? Man, that one/two punch gets so many replays from me that it’s insane. Highway to Hell also has AC/DC somewhat breaking their own formula and doing some really cool shit like “Touch Too Much” and “Love Hungry Man.” These songs kind of had them breaking out of their own mold and let’s not forget the haunting, down right evil closer “Night Prowler.” I mean, a fucking serial killer used that song as his theme. God fucking god!

Highway to Hell is without a doubt worth every bit of the legendary status that it receives. Matter of fact, up to this point I’d have to say that this was AC/DC’s finest moment. There was so much growth here and their sound was so much more refined. I loved that they didn’t feel confined to their own formula and really did some different stuff. It really makes me wonder just where they would’ve gone from here with Bon and helm but unfortunately, we’ll never know as this was Bon Scott’s swan song. Man, you talk about going out like a fucking boss? He did just that with this album!

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Back In Black
Release Date: July 25, 1980

The Good: Hells Bells, Shoot to Thrill, What Do You Do for Money Honey, Let Me Put My Love into You, Back in Black, You Shook Me All Night Long, Have a Drink on Me, Shake a Leg, Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution
The Bad:
The Indifferent:

I can only imagine what AC/DC fans at this point must have been feeling. Bon Scott was gone and AC/DC boasted a new singer. Then then put this album on for the first listen and hear “Hells Bells.” Holy fuck they must have been blown away. I’d love to know more about this but all I can say is coming off the heels of Bon’s death AC/DC put out an album full of fire, grit, and pure unadulterated soul. “Shoot to Thrill”, “What Do You Do For Money Honey”, and “Givin the Dog a Bone” just melt my fucking face every time and the title track NEVER gets old. Every I hear “Back in Black” it’s as awesome as it was the first time I ever heard it.

On Back In Black, AC/DC really had a lot prove and they totally proved it. Yes, they missed their long time brother and singer but AC/DC proved that they were just only beginning to show what a powerful fucking entity they could be. On this album they’re playing with an intensity that sounds so driven and unrelentless. It’s a much darker and at times somewhat ominous sound that the band was touching on with Highway to Hell. AC/DC proved that they were here to stay and that Back in Black was merely the beginning of a brand new chapter in the band’s history. Much like Highway to Hell, this album is very much worth of every ounce of praise that it gets. It’s a goddamn masterpiece front to back.

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For Those About To Rock, We Salute You
Release Date: November 23, 1981

The Good:For Those About To Rock (We Salute You), Put The Finger On You, Let’s Get It Up, Inject The Venom, Snowballed, Evil Walks, C.O.D, Breaking the Rules, Night of the Long Knives, Spellbound
The Bad:
The Indifferent:

For Those About To Rock really blew me the fuck away. I don’t think I ever really gave this album the credit it deserves. This is such a solid fucking record yet for some reason or another I just kinda ignored it as a whole. I mean, I always dug the “hits” from this album but the real meat of this album are the deep cuts. “Evil Walks”, “Snowballed”, and “Lets Get It Up” are such solid songs but I’ll be damned if “C.O.D” isn’t one of the best fucking AC/DC songs to date. How and why this song gets overlooked is way beyond me. What a fucking monster of a song.

At this point in the game, in my opinion, Brian Johnson gives such an awesome performance on this album and this where I feel he stepped it up and showed that he could truly hold his own. AC/DC proved that they could not only live on after Bon Scott but continue spreading the legacy he left behind by not straying from the sound that made them the band they are. I love the fact that on this album they took a lot of that darkness from Back In Black and managed to mix it with a little bit of fun much like their earlier Bon material. This is such as strong follow up to Back In Black and it really stands tall and strong on its own.

About Don de Leaumont

Don (aka. The Brainfart) has been a heavy metal fan since hearing it for the first time in 1983. Don is also repsonsible for all of the typos, shitty grammar, and kick ass content on this site. Don likes cheap beer, whiskey, Coca Cola Icees, going to shows, and hanging with his kick ass wife, two cats and dog. He originally wanted to name his dog Shandi but his wife said, “No fucking way.”

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