Powerage (1978)

1. Rock 'n' Roll Damnation 2. Down Payment Blues 3. Gimme a Bullet 4. Riff Raff 5. Sin City 6. What's Next to the Moon 7. Gone Shootin' 8. Up to My Neck in You 9. Kicked in the Teeth


Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones once stated that this was his favorite AC/DC album. I wholeheartedly agree. At least from the Bon Scot era. It’s a bit ironic in that, of all of the early AC/DC albums, this album has the least recognizable stuff in terms of song titles. Yet unlike the albums that came before this one, there simply are no weak spots. This was also the last AC/DC album produced by Harry Vanda and George Young (Angus and Malcolm’s older brother). Although the next guy (Mutt Lange) shot them towards the stratosphere in terms of popularity, the records before Lange had a certain grittiness to them that the hardcore fans really appreciate and never forgot.

In addition to being very guitar oriented (which is probably why Keith Richards enjoys the album so much), they also solidified their lineup a bit by their first personnel swap out. For whatever reason, Cliff Williams was brought in to replace original bassist Mark Evans. I’m not sure I can tell a difference between one bass player and another, but Cliff Williams would remain in the group indefinitely from this point on. Supposedly he could sing backing vocals whereas the first guy could not. Again, it’s AC/DC, so I can’t really even tell. Nor do I really pay much attention to such things. The music is loud, funny, silly, stupid, and captivating at the same time.

Like a lot of AC/DC albums (well, all AC/DC albums), you can’t really differentiate many of the songs from one another. Essentially, the more the songs “work”, the better the overall enjoyment of the album. That’s it really. And since all nine songs on here are killer at best, and way-above-average at worst, you have a dynamite AC/DC album. It’s hard for me to even really talk about the different songs as they sound very similar to everything else these guys have ever done. I can probably say that Riff Raff is my favorite song on the album and Kicked in the Teeth Again once again has them (kindly) ripping off Led Zepplin for the final track of the album (they did this on last year’s Let There Be Rock). For “funniest lyrics” we can probably go with Down Payment Blues which is a song about not having enough money. Ahh…to be a young rebellious rock and roller.

This was also their last studio album before the multitudes had heard of them, so although they made better albums in the future, those albums lacked a bit of gravel and hungriness that you feel on their earliest records, and this one featured the best overall representation of such characteristics.

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