Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Counting down my 100 favorite albums of all time...

#35) AC/DC - Powerage (released in 1978, I bought this CD on clearance when they closed the Mike's Music store downtown - picked up Warrant's debut on the same day for less than a buck!)

Where the 1976 albums are full of introductory come on's and Let There Be Rock offers mid-relationship commentaries like "Whole Lotta Rosie" and "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be," Powerage comes from the perspective of the recently - and rarely - dumped. "Rock'n'Roll Damnation" and "Riff Raff" are two of their finest anthems of pride - Angus Young keeps knocking you down and picking you back up while Bon Scott defines sarcastic self-confidence ( and the band marches in step behind them, but aside from those two numbers and a love letter to Vegas, Scott spends the album biting bullets, getting kicked in the teeth and tying exes to the railroad tracks - though never without wisdom, humor and a plethora of non-verbal shrieks, moans, groans and sighs. Criminally ignored thanks to a lack of radio-approved anthems, Powerage is AC/DC's most consistent and inspired work, devoid of sluggishness and pro forma rave-ups. The band co-existed with the first rise of "fuck the bullshit" boypunk and not only topped it cynicism-wise, but made outcast status sound like a good time (the Sex Pistols sound like slugs in comparison). It's hard to say whether they would have become stadium cheerleaders if Scott hadn't died in '79 (they already had brought in Mutt Lange for Highway To Hell, their overrated breakthrough), but if you're like me, it's hard to listen to Brian Johnson's shrill croak without imagining what Scott might have done with those riffs. The dude is missed.

Note: The whole "AC/DC beats punk at its own game" concept was in Chuck Eddy's Stairway To Hell. I'm sure he doesn't mind the sentiment being seconded (and judging by the comments on my Eamon post, I'll hear about it if he does!)

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