Sound — 7
In 1980, Accept were offered to record a track called "I'm a Rebel," which had originally been written by George and Alexander Young in 1976 for their brothers Angus and Malcolm of AC/DC fame. The track was rejected by the Australians, but Accept were still pretty much unknown outside of Germany and were delighted to record a song by such a famous duo. The song was to become the title track of their second album.
So, on to the album itself, Accept had yet to find their classic, "teutonic" heavy metal niche, and "I'm a Rebel" finds them exploring different approaches to hard rock and balladry. The title track is unmistakably AC/DC-esque and a minor classic, although I personally find it to be a little bit bland among the rest of the material. "Save Us" and "Thunder and Lightning" point in the direction Accept would go after this album, the former featuring a weirdly entertaining verse riff and the latter some classic twin guitar leads. "China Lady" has some superb, melodic riffage, and "No Time to Lose" is a not-too-sappy ballad song by bassist Peter Baltes with a blistering solo from Wolf Hoffmann (who was quickly maturing into a masterful rock guitarist). "I Wanna Be No Hero" is a borderline disco track, a novelty if nothing else. The only real clunker is the ballad "The King," which disrupts the momentum of the album.
The production is not nearly as metallic as it would be on later albums, but it's decent enough and is certainly no hindrance to assessing the music itself. The band clearly tried their best with the budget they were given, and the result is reasonably satisfying.
Lyrics — 5
The lyrics on "I'm a Rebel" are almost as bad as they were on the debut album "Accept." The guys were still writing their own lyrics (they had yet to meet their future lyricist "Deaffy"), and they clearly took whatever rock 'n' roll clichés they could come up with and pieced them together with some awkward choices of words probably translated straight from German to English. They just wanted something for Udo Dirkschneider to grunt about, but since no one listens to Accept for their lyrics that doesn't really matter and is in my opinion even a little charming. Not being native English speakers, they had no way of coating their message in poetry, so Accept's take on prostitution (to be compared with Springsteen's "Candy's Room," for instance) became Udo screeching "Sweet China Lady/Two dollars for a night/I want you baby/So hold me tight!." Classy.
Udo's vocals were getting pretty close to the sound he would become world famous for. His guttural Basset hound growling was becoming recognizable, and he plays his part very well compared to how poorly he did on the debut album.
Overall Impression — 6
1980 was an excellent year for hard rock. The new wave of British heavy metal was in full steam, "British Steel," "Back in Black" and "Ace of Spades" were released, and metal bands were starting to sell pretty damn well again after the difficult but brief punk explosion. Not surprisingly, "I'm a Rebel" was sort of forgotten among all of the amazing music that came out during that year, but it nevertheless remains a worthy album to check out if you like Accept. It lacks a clear direction, but that also makes it really varied, and the duration of 34 minutes is absolutely perfect. It's a fun listen almost from beginning to end.
Accept would finally settle on their classic sound with their next, excellent album "Breaker" in 1981, and while "I'm a Rebel" holds no candle to the rest of Accept's '80s material, it's a novelty and well worth checking out!