Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best. As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones. I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate! This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?
NOTE: I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only. There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.
This week, we will study the Thunder from Down Under, AC/DC. Here is an iconic rock band that has been around for close to 50 years, which is unfathomable to me. The band has undergone several lineup changes due to dysfunction and tragedy, yet its core members throughout most of its history has been the Young brothers, Angus and Malcolm (died 2017).
Obviously, Angus Young is the most visual member of the band with his schoolboy outfit and raucous guitar solos, while the lead singer tandem of Bon Scott (until his death in 1980) and Brian Johnson give a strong voice to the songs. However, it is some of the more subtle things about AC/DC that draw me to the band, including the four on the floor rock solid drumming of Phil Rudd, as well as the eighth note throbbing bass lines of Cliff Williams. The late Malcolm Young was the main songwriter, along with his brother, and authored some of the most badass rock guitar riffs of all time.
Not much to write here.
Best Song: Fly on the Wall
Best Deep Cut: Fly on the Wall
A couple of strong tracks to lead off the record, but things fizzle out quickly after that.
Best Song: Heatseeker
Best Deep Cut: Go Zone
Again, not too much going for this record, either, although I do enjoy the title cut.
Best Song: Flick of the Switch
Best Deep Cut: Guns for Hire
This album and subsequent tour were plagued by personnel issues, namely, Malcolm Young’s departure due to illness. Meanwhile, Phil Rudd’s legal trouble did not allow him to tour, while Brian Johnson’s hearing issues forced him off the road mid-tour, to be replaced by Axl Rose.
Best Song: Rock or Bust
Best Deep Cut: Sweet Candy
This album had some decent moments, however, once again, there is a fair amount of filler. I do enjoy the title cut, as AC/DC continues a trend of leading off with their best song.
Best Song: Stiff Upper Lip
Best Deep Cut: Meltdown
The return of Phil Rudd after a long absence. As a drummer myself, I admire his robotic-like style, and his ability to produce such a fat sound. The man has no frills but go ahead try to stay on point as consistently as he does. As for the album, it’s okay.
Best Song: Hard as a Rock
Best Deep Cut: Whiskey on the Rocks
This record almost had no chance, coming on the heels of the wildly successful Back in Black. That said, it’s a pretty strong output, with some solid deep cuts (obviously the lead-off title track carries the whole thing).
Best Song: For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)
Best Deep Cut: Put the Finger on You
The final album for Malcolm Young. Black Ice has some great songs, including (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) the lead-off Rock and Roll Train. Big Jack, Anything Goes, and War Machine highlight a strong first half, however, the record is way too long at 15 songs. If it were cut down to the normal 10-11, we would be talking about putting this one higher up on the list.
Best Song: Rock and Roll Train
Best Deep Cut: War Machine
When I heard AC/DC was releasing a new album, I didn’t have high expectations. At this point in their illustrious career, I was expecting something along the lines of Rock or Bust. Boy, was I surprised when I started listening to this one. Give the band credit. They put out a very good album.
Best Song: Through the Mists of Time
Best Deep Cut: Realize
A comeback album of sorts following a string of subpar offerings, The Razor’s Edge put the band back in the limelight. Featuring the iconic Thunderstruck, as well as singles, Moneytalks and Are You Ready, the record was promoted with a very successful world tour. AC/DC was back!
Best Song: Thunderstruck
Best Deep Cut: The Razor’s Edge
The classic title cut starts this one off with a bang and it doesn’t really let up. A dirty sounding album with other standout tracks, including, Rocker, Problem Child, and Squealer.
Best Song: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Best Deep Cut: Squealer
The first internationally released AC/DC album (there were two releases in Australia only), High Voltage contains many of the same songs as the pair of domestic releases.. The album features It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll), Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer, Live Wire, TNT, and the title track as its standouts. A very underrated record and a sign of things to come for this new band.
Best Song: Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer
Best Deep Cut: Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer
A lot of folks may wonder if I am feeling okay for ranking this one so low. Trust me, I think it’s a great album! It’s just that there are three beasts ahead of it!
An introduction to new vocalist Brian Johnson following the untimely death of Bon Scott, Back in Black has become an all-time iconic record, with several songs that will be played on classic rock radio forever. Starting with, Hells Bells, and continuing with, Shoot to Thrill, the album also contains the classic title cut and the uber-successful, You Shook Me All Nite Long.
If I were to have a gripe with this album, however, it would be that classic rock radio has played the hits to death, almost to the point that I cringe when I hear them, even though they are fantastic songs. Furthermore, some of the other songs don’t do much for me. While I enjoy, Have a Drink on Me, and, What Do You Do For Money Honey, I cannot seem to get into, Given the Dog a Bone, Shake a Leg, and Let Me Put My Love Into You. In addition, I still have no idea how Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution is still a favored track of so many.
Best Song: Hells Bells
Best Deep Cut: Have a Drink on Me
A short little ditty at eight songs, Let There Be Rock never strays too far from my AC/DC playlist. From the groove of the title track to the drive of Dog Eat Dog, Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be, and Whole Lotta Rosie, this one is a masterpiece, and also features, probably my favorite AC/DC song, Bad Boy Boogie. Also, don’t fall asleep on Overdose.
Best Song: Bad Boy Boogie
Best Deep Cut: Overdose
Perhaps the reason I love this record is because there are no huge radio singles in the bunch. Nope, there is just a collection of great rock and roll songs. Strong songs? Where do I start? Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation, Down Payment Blues, Riff Raff, Sin City, What’s Next to the Moon, Gone Shootin’, and Up to My Neck in You. I almost feel bad for the other unnamed tracks because they are decent themselves.
Best Song: Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation
Best Deep Cut: Gone Shootin’
Why is this ranked number one? Well, let’s find out. Starting with the gigantic title cut and going straight into, Girls Got Rhythm is a strong one/two punch. But it doesn’t stop there. This album also features, Walk All Over You, Touch Too Much, Shot Down in Flames, Get it Hot, If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It), and the grooving Love Hungry Man. Whew!
Best Song: Shot Down in Flames
Best Deep Cut: Touch Too Much