Monday, February 20, 2012

"High Voltage" by AC/DC (1976)

Okay, I need to address ground rule number one - "No musical genre is off limits."  Let me be clear, rock and roll is the coolest thing ever.  Rock and roll is that really interesting, really sweet, really HOT girl in the Cameron Crowe movie who's willing to give a shlub like me a chance for no apparent reason.

I love rock.  I love heavy metal and hard rock and punk and prog and psychedelic and new wave and alternative.  But I also love country and folk and bluegrass and Americana.  I love R&B and soul and funk and rap.  I love pop in any incarnation - even disco.  I like standards and showtunes and classical and some jazz.  I think pure blues may be the greatest art form in the history of the world.  Basically, if there's a guitar involved, I'm there.

But the random number generator is a cruel mistress.  It kicked of my journey with some R&B from the seventies, and never looked back.  Since then, it has crawled into the bowels of our local classic rock station's heavy rotation pile and refuses to come out.  At this point, U2 and Dokken are probably the closest things to deviation we've had.  It's not even the end of February and I've already revisited Styx, George Thorogood, Ted Nugent, Bruce Springsteen and Van Halen (twice).  Although I love it so, I grow weary of the classic rock and need some kind of palate cleanser.  That being said, it's AC/DC day.  So, I'm gonna have a few too many beers and listen to this record again.

Filed between: Accept and Aerosmith.  (Okay, maybe it's not ENTIRELY the random number generator's fault.)

Key Tracks:
It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)
.  Pump your fist, put the pedal down and rock out to them bagpipes!  The Jack is the blues rock of equivalent of Tom T. Hall's Deal.  Daddy like.  Somebody (an adult) actually asked me what this song was about one time.  If you don't know, I can't help you.  Live Wire is another great blues rock tune featuring Bon at his rawest with a very Skynyrd-y vibe to boot.  T.N.T.  Oy!  Need I say more?

Obvious Filler and Swings-and-Misses:
Oddly, the title track doesn't really do anything but sit there.

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
HIGHLY Recommended (3.5/4 stars)

Pearls of Wisdom:
 - "You can stick your gazillion rules and all the other shit they can teach your kids in school."
 - "If I'd have know what she was dealing out, I'd have dealt it back."
 - "Send you to heaven, take you to hell."
 - "Out for all that I can get, if you know what I mean."
 - "Can I sit next to you... legally?"
 - "It kills me when I saw that wet patch on your seat.  Is it Coca-Cola?"  Nice product placement.

"High Voltage" is stitched together with exactly two things - the blues and energy.  Seriously, how can they pack this much punch into thirty-three and a third revolutions per minute?  Songs like Live Wire and T.N.T. are pure angst.  Listening to them, I can see why AC/DC got lumped in with punk instead of metal when they first hit in England.  Can I Sit Next to You Girl would sound like a Sex Pistols song if the Sex Pistols actually had musical talent.  And the solo in it wails.  Little Lover, on the other hand, is straight-up blues and a stupid concept like She's Got Balls even turns out okay due to its bluesiness. 

So, is it an album?  Yes.  It's a big slab o' raunchy, bluesy, punky awesomeness.  It's AC/DC.

Up next, the random number generator offers no quarter as we revisit the self-titled debut of The Doors.

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