You Picked It! – AC/DC – ‘Power Up’ (2020) – Album Review

Alright…You Picked It! And here it is. The one you picked was AC/DC’s Power Up.  The votes were as follows:

  1. AC/DC – ‘Power Up’ – 8 votes
  2. Janet Jackson – ‘Rhythm Nation 1814’ – 4 votes
  3. The White Stripes – ‘Elephant’ – 3 votes
  4. The Stooges – ‘The Stooges – 2 vote
  5. Oasis – ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ – 1 Vote

Thanks to all for participating.  The January choices will be up on Saturday!

AC/DC – ‘POWER UP’:

For a couple of years now, we have been teased with a brand new AC/DC album ever since those pictures leaked in 2018 of Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams surfaced. Everyone was been crazy hoping for a new album with the core guys. Of course Angus is on it and Stevie Young holding his own on rhythm, but it was the fact that Brian and Phil and Cliff were back in the fold ready to play that had everyone excited. Me included which is strange because I hadn’t listened to much AC/DC past Razor’s Edge with maybe the exception of 2000’s Stiff Upper Lip, but it really has been 20-30 years since I really paid attention. Why was I so excited? I think it was 2020 that had me excited. As a surprise to know one, 2020 has been a strange and difficult year with lots of change and the fact we could get an iconic band with an iconic line-up to bring us a new album, AC/DC was just what we all needed.

I pre-ordered my first AC/DC album in decades without even hearing it (except for the single “Shot in the Dark”) and that was enough. I went with the cool Light Box CD case that lights up and plays the opening riff to said single. It all seemed pretty cool and it really was (just a little overpriced). You can see it lit up in the picture up above and down further below in the post. My kids thought it was really cool. The only complaint is that it is a little cheaply made since it is mostly cardboard and a little flimsy, but presentation wise, they did a bang up job. It has a mini speaker at the top, a USB port (& Cable) to charge up the lithium ion battery when needed and as you can below, it houses the CD and booklet behind a little door on the side (cord goes in the hole at the bottom).

Musically, what do you get? You get 12 songs and 42 minutes of blistering AC/DC. I mean, come one, it is AC/DC, you know what is going to sound like and there is no surprise it will be a riff-ridden, guitar blasting, explosive album and that is exactly what you get. With some surprises. Actually for me a lot of surprises. The first being, I don’t skip any songs. I play it full blast from beginning to end, time and time again since I bought it. “Realize” opens with those nasty Angus licks and Brian’s vocals still sound like a man who has abused alcohol and cigarettes since he was out of the womb and it is all so glorious. And with “Rejection”, you get a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals ready to bring the fight to you if you get in their way.

The first single “Shot in the Dark” gave us the same old-same old AC/DC sound and we couldn’t have been happier. It is a grower as I like it so much better now than at first, but I still liked it at first. But one of the coolest songs on the album is “Through the Mists of Time” which is not a normal AC/DC title. It harkens back more to a Zeppelin title and has this nostalgic feel to it. And let me tell you what a breath of fresh air this song is and might be one of the best songs on the album. Over 40 years and they still can throw surprises at you. They then throw you a bluesy ball buster with “Kick You When You’re Down” before they strut their stuff with the testosterone driven “Witch’s Spell”

If that wasn’t enough for you, they give you a groovetastic “Demon’s Fire” with Brian sounding so evil with that opening verse. It is a fast-paced rock & roller and another contender for best song on the album. The opening bass line from Cliff on “Wild Reputation” grabs hold and Angus’ familiar licks lead into another typical AC/DC song, nothing special other than Brian does a superb job vocally. “No Man’s Land” gives you a whole Southern Rock vibe which leads right in to the rock anthem of “System’s Down” which is stellar and nice to see a strong song this deep on the album.

If that wasn’t enough for you, they now throw the sexually charged “Money Shot” which is classic AC/DC and Brian kills it vocally and Angus’ guitar work is explosive. The band finally ends things with the song “Code Red” which has a little throwback riff to “Back in Black” (at least I hear it). It is dirty, gritty, bluesy and a beast of a song to end the album. It makes you want to hear more, so that is usually what I would do…hit replay!!

In what might be the best AC/DC album since ‘Razor’s Edge’, no, it is the best since!! AC/DC gave us an album the world needs right now. It is obvious I wasn’t alone in that thinking as the album went straight to #1 in the U.S. and many other countries. I do think the second half has a few weaknesses, but all-in-all one of the best albums of the year. Since I have to score it, I will go with a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars. The boys are back and I couldn’t be happier. If you were on the fence about getting this, well, unless that fence is impaled straight up your ass, what are you waiting for. Go grab a copy. We need more of this music today!!

31 thoughts on “You Picked It! – AC/DC – ‘Power Up’ (2020) – Album Review

  1. You’ve done it again John, your humor had me cracking up once again (“If you were on the fence about getting this, well, unless that fence is impaled straight up your ass, what are you waiting for.”)! ‘Power Up’ is a solid AC/DC album and I already have songs in mind that I want the boys to perform on their next tour (whenever that may be). I love the funk on “Kick You When You’re Down,” there is nothing more refreshing than hearing the groove of Phil Rudd and his hi-hat. “Through the Mists of Time” is the best song AC/DC has done in years, period! Great review! (Also, Steve Young? Sorry, I had to, don’t kill me!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. Although I don’t have the physical version of it, I am cranking it via Spotify on a consistent basis.

    Like the other posts alluded, the quality of the album doesn’t go down and there are some songs here which will become part of AC/DC canon.

    Liked by 1 person

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