Flick Of The Switch review by AC/DC

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  • Released: Aug 23, 1983
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.4 (61 votes)
AC/DC: Flick Of The Switch
2

Sound — 9
This, and Powerage, are the two albums that decide whether or not you're a true fan of Acca Dacca. If you own this album and Powerage or are very interested in purchasing these albums, you are a true AC/DC fan. If you don't plan on owning them, you are a not a true AC/DC fan, you are a radio-follower: You only buy what you hear on the radio. This album is one of AC/DC's finest, and it is so incredibly underrated, like Powerage. This should have been one of AC/DC's biggest successes. For starters, the sound is classic AC/DC: No goofy sound effects, no experimentalism, no b.s., just that wonderful, wonderful thing we call "rock 'n roll". Angus and Malcolm Young again astounded the world with their absolute mastery of the blues scales. Phil Rudd's last contribution to AC/DC until "Ballbreaker" is one of his finest performances. Cliff Williams' bass playing is an often forgotten treasure, much like this album. The only problem with the sound is it's lack of production, which AC/DC deliberately chose to do. While I think that it was great that they decided to get back to that raw, early sound they had, I believe that the album would have been so much better, and with that, so much more successful, if they had consulted George Young (Brother of Angus and Malcolm and producer of some of AC/DC's albums) on how to best get that raw sound out without it being overly rough, which it sometimes is. Still, the boys did a good job with what they knew, and the sound is excellent compared to most other bands. The songs are some of AC/DC's finest: 01."Rising Power" is a great album opener. The slightly slow-paced track is very enjoyable. It is one of the album's average tracks, neither strong nor weak 02."House is On Fire" is great. The song's got an upbeat feeling, yet there is some bluesy sound as well. Another one of the album's 03.The title track is one of the album's two should-have-been classics. It is masterful and has so much power and grit in it that when I first heard it, I immediately went and got a tab for it because it is so much fun to play and has that good old ticked-off feeling that a lot of AC/DC songs have. It is so unfortunate that this album never took off, as the world missed out on this gem. 04."Nervous Shakedown" is great. The sound is one of anger, yet restraint. It is an excellent song, and one of the stronger tracks of the album. 05."Landslide" is a frentic joyride, very upbeat. It really has a "Put The Finger On You" or "Let There Be Rock" feeling to it, it's fast, riff-driven, and is one of the album's stronger tracks. 06."Guns For Hire" is the other should-have-been classic. AC/DC used it as their opener during the tour that followed this album, and with good reason. The opening staccato hammer-ons lead into a anthemic riff that makes you just want to fight. It's a great workout or pump-up song. 07."Deep In The Hole" is a good song, but it is one of the album's weaker tracks. The song is somewhat like "Nervous Shakedown" in it's downbeat, slow-paced, bluesy sound, but it lacks that power that "Shakedown" does have. 08."Bedlam In Belgium" has an interesting story behind it. This one time during the Bon Scott era, the band was due to play on stage in Brussels. A police officer, however, would not let them on stage. The band argued with him, and the officer pulled out a gun on Angus. Eventually, the band did play though. This event only increased the band's fame and the infamous police officer to this day is looked down upon by fans. The song itself is one of the album's stronger tracks, and is quite anthemic. For some reason, though, the song isn't at the level that the title track and "Guns For Hire" are. 09."Badlands" is another strong track, and is very bluesy, and almost-western sounding. The song is an excellent listen. 10."Brain Shake", the closing track, is probably the album's weakest track, however, it isn't a bad song. The riff is good, and it still has that AC/DC sound. However, it feels rushed, and almost seems like an afterthought compared to the others.

Lyrics — 10
Lyrically, "Flick of the Switch" is one of Brian Johnson's best albums. The lyrics are colorful, creative, and many songs have a story to tell. 01."Rising Power" has one of AC/DC's trademarks: The double entredre. "What double entredre is that?" you might ask. Well, it's inherent in the title: Think "Let's Get It Up". 02."House Is On Fire" has some great party lyrics, and is of course, sexual by nature. What happens when there's fire? It gets hot. Now connect the dots. 03.The title track's lyrics are great, of course, the mentioned flick of the switch is the act of getting turned on. The lyrics are much like that of the opening verse of "You Shook Me All Night Long". They are descriptive, creative, and excellent. 04."Nervous Shakedown" is one of AC/DC's few songs that has some slight political undertones to it, but don't be alarmed. The song is basically a man's complaint about being unfairly arrested and convicted. No real left-wing or right-wing bias here, just a good old ticked-off song. The lyrics are great. 05."Landslide" is one of Brian Johnson's best works. The lyrics are creative, humorous, and outstanding, especially the intro, in which Jonna will ask a funny request of you, the listener. 06."Guns For Hire"'s lyrics are much like that of the classic AC/DC song "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap". The premise is pretty much the same: I'm an assassin for hire. They are just as good as "Dirty Deeds"' was. 07."Deep in the Hole" is another double entredre filled track. Sometimes, however, there really isn't a double meaning, it's quite overt. Here is basically the synapsis: Deep in the hole that is owned by a female. It doesn't take a brainiac to figure out what Acca Dacca meant there. 08."Bedlam in Belgium" is the story of AC/DC's wild encounter with a cop (See my review of the song's sound). The lyrics are very fitting. 09."Badlands" basically revolves around the song's character's rebelliousness, toughness, and his "gun". What did you expect from AC/DC, a country ballad? 10."Brain Shake" is again the weakest song, this time lyrically. The chorus leaves a lot to be desired. The lyrics are overly nonsensical at times, and are generic the other times. Still, it's a good song.

Overall Impression — 10
Overall, this is one of AC/DC's finest. It didn't sell very well, and was not received favorably by critics. They sure screwed up there. If you get the chance, get this album. You will not be disappointed. Best songs: Flick of the Switch, Nervous Shakedown, Landslide, Guns For Hire, Bedlam in Belgium.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    b-rock34
    BTW, does anyone like the song "Sink the Pink" as much as I do? (I know, different album)
    von tratt
    This album is my favourite with Brian Johnson along with Back In Black (FTATR comes close). It has the classic raw AC/DC sound that it should have, and Brian's voice just couldn't get better. Songs like Guns For Hire and Landslide are one of my all-time favourites!
    Funkotica
    I'm hardcore AC/DC fan who really only listens to the 70's Aussie stuff but since the new album came out I watched Plug Me In again and found a new respect for some of the early 80's albums, particularly Flick of the Switch. In fact I'm really happy this article was made because I have been thinking the exact same thing. Back in Black is good as is For Those About to Rock but damn Flick of the Switch is rocking too! Powerage and Highway to Hell are still the top 2 though
    Rock N' Roll666
    This album i think is amazing. It really seems like a statement saying "We're AC/DC, This is the music we play, ****ing love it." and i do
    b-rock34
    Rocker94, your descriptions of the lyrics make it seem laughable. I'm sorry, but I like my lyrics to be a tad bit more intellictual or poetic. However, I do consider myself an AC/DC fan...and I own this record. In fact, I think I'll pull it out and give it a new listen right now.