High Voltage review by AC/DC

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  • Released: Jul 5, 1994
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (56 votes)
AC/DC: High Voltage
1

Sound — 9
AC/DC had released 2 albums (High Voltage and T.N.T) in their native Australia prior to their 1976 international debut, which picks the best tracks from both previous efforts. The band's classic sound is already on full display; loud, in your face guitar work from the Young brothers, Angus and Malcolm, a hard hitting rhythm section comprised of Mark Evans (bass) and Phil Rudd (drums), and the sneering, raunchy and often-times tongue in cheek vocals of the late Bon Scott. As was the trend of early AC/DC albums, the sound is more bluesy than much of their work with Brian Johnson later on, and for me represents AC/DC at their best. 01.It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock N Roll): with the whole song essentially based around just one chord, it is the perfect introduction to AC/DC, simple and rocking. The bagpipes provide a wink to Angus, Malcolm and Bon's Scottish heritage. Just a brilliant song. 10/10 02.Rock N Roll Singer: a good, solid song describing the band's aspirations to make it in the world of rock n roll. 8/10 03.The Jack: a slow, simplistic blues number, with the highlight being Bon's witty lyrics, it has become a live staple ever since. 8/10 04.Live Wire: starting with only a thumping bass line, it builds and builds into a real rocker. Some great lead work from Angus, and a great rebellious overtone to the lyrics. 9/10 05.T.N.T.: menacing and daring throughout, it is a perfect song for a crowd to sing along to, with Angus lending his vocal talents to the famous chant of "Oi! Oi! Oi!". The song ends in chaos (the good, rock n roll type chaos) and is a classic. 9/10 06.Can I Sit Next To You Girl: the band released this as their first single with original singer Dave Evans, who was promptly replaced by Scott. Scott's re-recorded version is better than the original, and is a good song in it's own right, but one of the weaker on this album. 7/10 07.Little Lover: while this song isn't bad, it is in my opinion the worst on the album, seeming to lack the energy of the other songs. 6/10 08.She's Got Balls: Bon's humorous tribute to his then wife, and is often over looked by many fans, a very catchy songs that will have you stomping your feet. 8/10 09.High Voltage: a terrific blues rock number, with heaps of energy and a fantastic sing-along chorus, an excellent way to end the album. 10/10

Lyrics — 8
AC/DC lyrics have never been, for the lack of a better word, deep. In fact, they are about as shallow as you can get, and that's exactly the way they want it. Topics include sexually transmitted disease (The Jack), rock n roll, (It's a Long Way, Rock N Roll Singer, High Voltage) and rebellion and danger (Live Wire, T.N.T.), among other things. This simplicity is intentional, you can't misinterpret an AC/DC song, and more importantly, and perhaps what has made them so successful over the years, who can't relate to songs about simply having a good time? Bon for me is the best signer AC/DC had (though I struggle to think of a better replacement than Brian Johnson), and his charisma really shines through in all the songs. My favourite line is from the The Jack disguising STD's as a card game; "All the cards were coming from the bottom of the pack/ If I'd known what she was dealing out, I'd have dealt it back".

Overall Impression — 9
AC/DC's debut album is great, a long way from being their best, but considering how good some later albums are, that is nothing to be ashamed of. While there are a few weaker tracks, most have gone on to become classics, with It's A Long Way and High Voltage being the highlights for me. And again, while it may not be their best album, it is a fantastic debut and a great place to start for anyone looking to get into the band. If stolen/lost, I would replace it immediately, as it is one of the finest albums in my collection.

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