Friday, January 08, 2016

Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution

God heavens, we're a week into 2016 already! Second Friday - band of the month time - and I think I want to start with a pretty straightforward band of the month - AC/DC, the pride of Australia. They're easy to write about, their appeal is obvious and direct and, as far as I am concerned, undeniable. I don't have to say a lot: they are what they are - straight and hard and direct and utterly reliable, from the beginning to the end. They are one of those bands whose music sounds inevitable to me - bands like Motorhead, like the Ramones - and the Feelies, in a slightly different vein. They have found a style, a sound, a groove, and they work it, pretty much just the one, and they have perfected it - and more than that - made it sound like it has always been there, always will be, and is just as it should be. They play a type of music that thousands of bands play - and somehow, sound completely unique - no one else sounds like them.

I know there is a lot more to it than that, for any of those groups - but it is a place to start. And then you can talk about their virtues - the guitars, first - those sharp, precise rhythm tracks (Malcolm Young is just about as good a rhythm guitarist as it gets), the clean, precise (that again) solos from Angus, the propulsive rhythm section, the charismatic squall of either singer (though Brian Johnson never comes close to the glories of Bon Scott), and the first rate song-writing. Simple songs, built on basic chords and obvious structures, but every riff well chosen, every melody memorable... And lyrics as efficient as anything, and usually funny as hell as well - Scott's especially. Lots of stoopid there, and more stupid, probably, that Lemmy or Iggy or the Ramones gave out - but Scott, especially, could turn (and deliver) a phrase (concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT), and build an attitude, and turn the attitude on its head... they are a funny band, as well as fun, deliberately funny - the songs, the act (Angus and his strip tease), Scott's voice - what can I say? What more can you ask?

Top 10 Songs:

1. Back in Black
2. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
3. Ride On
4. TNT
5. It's a Long Way to the Top If You Want to Rock and Roll
6. Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution
7. Big Balls
8. Jailbreak
9. Highway to Hell
10. You Shook Me All Night Long

Video: Bon singing Jailbreak,

Though first - YouTube offers this - pre-Bon Scott AC/DC - that doesn't sound a bit like them...

This is more like it, complete with Scott pretending to play the bagpipes and OWNING the camera:

TNT, 1976:

Highway to Hell:

Back in Black:

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