My Favorite AC/DC Albums Ranked!

Acdc_Highway_to_Hell

I love AC/DC. They were one of my favorite Hard Rock bands. I used to be able to play every one of their songs on guitar. I used to get into arguments about their musical style. Some said they were Hard Rock or Heavy Metal, but I would point out that AC/DC could be considered as one of the best Blues Rock bands. Either way, AC/DC will continue to be one of my favorite bands for many years to come. Just think that after they released “Rock or Bust”, you had Brian Johnson leaving for health reasons, it was the first record without Malcolm Young due to health reasons, and Phil Rudd’s legal and drug problems.

17. Fly On The Wall: Released in 1985, this is my least favorite AC/DC album. It entire album I thought was very watered down and weak. Although a few notable tracks, it still isn’t enough.

16. Black Ice: This album was released in 2008. I really am torn about this album. I like several of the songs, but at the same time, this album was a disappointment. It lacked the drive and power that AC/DC was known for.

15. Who Made Who: Released in 1986 as part of a soundtrack. The sound is pretty poor and some of the tracks were a compilation of greatest hits, and yet, it is not.

14. Rock or Bust: This album that was release in 2014, sadly to say, was a bust. I don’t mean that in a musical way. It’s just a lot of line up changes occurred in order to get this album the support it needed on the road. It’s got some of that drive back, which “Black Ice” lacked.

13. Ballbreaker: This album was released in 1995. The album pretty much sets the pace that AC/DC will follow until their retirement in 2017. Several good songs on this album showcase the Blues and Rock n’ Roll influences on the band.

12. Blow Up Video: Released in 1988, this album actually is setting AC/DC for a successful new decade as they move into the 1990’s. I also feel that this is a much underrated album in the AC/DC arsenal.

11. For Those About To Rock: Released in 1981, this was the follow up record to “Black In Black.” There are some great songs on here including the anthem “For Those About To Rock.” The album has more of the heaviness less polished sound.

10. Stiff Upper Lip: Released in 2000, this album has a bit of attitude which I enjoyed. Like “Ballbreaker”, this album focuses on much of the Blues influence that AC/DC has always used.

9. Razor’s Edge: Released in 1990, brings AC/DC back to the center of the spotlight. This album has plenty of riffs. Although, Brian Johnson’s vocals are showing strain and age, he pulls it off with his vocal work on this record.

8. Flick Of The Switch: This album doesn’t get enough credit. Here you have AC/DC in 1983 returning to their 1977 roots. That polished and heavy sound has been stripped away moving more into that raw heavily distorted guitar sound.

7. Powerage: Released in 1978, was another great album by the band. It’s a bit more polished. It looses a lot of that overdrive and distorted sound.

6. Let There Be Rock: This record is another great album by AC/DC released in 1977. It’s raw, heavily distorted, and displays power. All of the tracks are performed tightly by the band. You can’t go wrong with the Anthem “Let There Be Rock.”

5. 74 Jail Break: Although a short EP, this album contained the songs that were originally released on the TNT, High Voltage, and Dirty Deeds albums that were not released in America until 1985. It’s just raw guitar overdrive with Bon Scott doing what he does best.

4. Back In Black: I love the fact that AC/DC released two powerful albums back to back with two different singers. I love the overall heaviness of the sound and Brian Johnson’s vocals. A kick ass 1980 record.

3. Dirty Deeds: Originally released overseas in 1976, this album was released here in the states in 1981. I love the Blues sound and the quality of the songs. Lot’s of humor in these songs that only Bon Scott can provide.

2. High Voltage: I love the mixture of influences on this 1976 record. You have Blues, a little jazz, and a tad bit of Country. This album also displays a sheer raw energy that AC/DC would become known for.

1. Highway to Hell: Released in 1979, this album had everything. It has powerful riffs, great vocals, and awesome rhythm sections. There’s not a bad song on this album and that is why this is my favorite AC/DC record.

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Rock Or Bust: AC/DC

Rating: 80%

Rock_or_Bust.jpgIn 2014, AC/DC releases their shortest and most likely their last studio album, “Rock Or Bust.” This album is also the first without guitarist Malcolm Young, who was unable to record due to his ill health (R.I.P. 2017). In fact, the tour that would support this album also lost two more members, vocalist Brian Johnson due to hearing loss and drummer Phil Rudd who flew off the deep end with drugs and putting out a hit on his wife. During the tour, bassist Cliff Williams came out and stated he would retire when the tour was over. So, this album and tour was doomed from the beginning in some ways. Which is a damn shame!!!

Now, when I first heard this album, I hated it. The sound to me was bland and the music was dull. After listening to it recently, I really noticed several good points. I thought to myself and said “it’s not that bad after all.” So, let me break this down.

The album itself, musically is rich and Bluesy. It’s all about Rock n’ Roll here. It’s got some very beefy chorus lines on most of the songs. It has a very clean and polished overall sound to it. It’s almost as this is not an AC/DC record at all. The tempos are much faster and that power drive that was lacking from “Black Ice” is back. The entire album is very well thought out.  The song structures on the guitar side is more complex, which makes the rhythm very interesting. The leads are great. The other rhythm section such as the drums are among the best I’ve heard on an AC/DC album released in the 2000’s. Another thing I noticed is the bass. We have some very good bass lines here.

The musicianship is very good. Although, Brian Johnson’s vocals are pretty worn out, he does give a nice delivery and stays in his current range. The guitar work of Angus Young and his nephew Stevie Young is good. That might be why the music is a lot different.  Drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams, both provide some outstanding rhythm sections. It’s very strong.

Track listing:

1. “Rock or Bust” 3:03
2. “Play Ball” 2:47
3. “Rock the Blues Away” 3:24
4. “Miss Adventure” 2:57
5. “Dogs of War” 3:35
6. “Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder” 3:22
7. “Hard Times” 2:44
8. “Baptism by Fire” 3:30
9. “Rock the House” 2:42
10. “Sweet Candy” 3:09
11. “Emission Control” 3:41

Black Ice: AC/DC

Black_ice_redRating: 70%

So, after an eight year hiatus, AC/DC returned with their fifteenth record “Black Ice” released in 2008. I was really looking forward to this album’s release. The first play through, I found it hard to swallow. For the second time, I was listening to an AC/DC record that I didn’t really care for. The first was “Fly on the Wall” released in 1985. So why was it a letdown?

I felt musically, this album could have been a bit more exciting than what it is. It’s got several good songs that have a wonderful tempo, sound, rhythm, and melody. But it’s missing that power drive. In some cases, I find myself fast forwarding to the next song. Then, it feels as if the next song is still the same pervious song. So, to me, this album is heavy with filler.

The good points to this album are the opening two tracks “Rock ‘n’ Roll Train” and “Skies on Fire.” After that, the album takes a nose dive until tracks 9 and 10. It’s like tracks 3 through 8 just lack that drive AC/DC is known for. It’s almost boring. Track 10 is totally different than any other AC/DC song. There’s no lead, but Angus is playing slide. So, out of 15 tracks, I really like four of them. It’s almost as if these songs were the tracks left out of the previous two records.

The musicianship is excellent. It’s the original band that recorded “Black In Black, but then again, it would be the last album to feature that line up. You have Angus Young on lead guitar as well as slide guitar on “Stormy May Day.” You got Malcolm Young on guitar, Brian Johnson on vocals, bassist Cliff Williams, and drummer Phil Rudd. There’s some nice riffs and leads, but it’s just not enough for me. Brian’s vocals seem strained and old, but for the most part, he’s in a decent range.  They still have a lot of creativity, but like other bands that have been around for over 40 years, they seem to get into a rut and stay in that comfy zone. Maybe that’s what AC/DC is doing here?

Track listing:

  1. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Train” 4:21
  2. “Skies on Fire” 3:34
  3. “Big Jack” 3:57
  4. “Anything Goes” 3:22
  5. “War Machine” 3:09
  6. “Smash ‘n’ Grab” 4:06
  7. “Spoilin’ for a Fight” 3:17
  8. “Wheels” 3:28
  9. “Decibel” 3:34
  10. “Stormy May Day” 3:10
  11. “She Likes Rock ‘n’ Roll” 3:53
  12. “Money Made” 4:15
  13. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Dream” 4:41
  14. “Rocking All the Way” 3:22
  15. “Black Ice” 3:25

Stiff Upper Lip: AC/DC

Rating: 85%

Stiff_Upper_LipAC/DC released “Stiff Upper Lip” in 2000 as their thirteenth record in the U.S. Musically, this album is a continuation of their previous album “Ballbreaker.” But this album is slightly better with regards to song and sound quality.

Musically, this album is very Blusey with soul but with a tad bit more of the Hard Rock. The tempos are again, much slower loosing that powerful raw edge AC/DC is known for. However, the music itself is original, rich, and full. It has plenty of complex riffs and great solos. There is a lot of great guitar work on this album that I thought was missing from the previous album. One thing you’ll notice is the stronger drumming and bass lines. Also, the guitars are more melodic. There’s a lot of harmony too. The rhythm section by drummer Phil Rudd, bassist Cliff Williams, and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young is stronger than ever.  Add in the leading elements of vocalist Brian Johnson and the lead guitar of Angus Young and you have what AC/DC has been all about since it’s creation. A band that can play great Rock n’ Roll music.

Track listing:

1. “Stiff Upper Lip” 3:34
2. “Meltdown” 3:41
3. “House of Jazz” 3:56
4. “Hold Me Back” 3:59
5. “Safe in New York City” 3:59
6. “Can’t Stand Still” 3:41
7. “Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” 4:02
8. “Satellite Blues” 3:46
9. “Damned” 3:52
10. “Come and Get It” 4:02
11. “All Screwed Up” 4:36
12. “Give It Up” 3:54

Ballbreaker: AC/DC

Rating: 80%

Ballbreaker.jpg“Ballbreaker” was released in 1995 and marked the twelfth album from the AC/DC. After finding success with “The Razors Edge”, AC/DC needed a strong follow up. Well, this album kind of fell short of the mark. This album will also set up the model for the next three AC/DC albums.

Musically, this album is very soulful. It’s got a strong Bluesy sound to it, loosing the Hard Rock edge. The sound is much softer and the tempos are much slower. This album is lacking the raw power drive that AC/DC is known for. The album has some very good and complex riffs that one would expect. There’s a good bit of filler songs, but there are some very strong tracks.

The musicianship is very good, especially with the return of drummer Phil Rudd. When you have rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, bassist Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd on the rhythm section, you have the heart and soul of AC/DC. Brian Johnson’s vocals are clean and Angus Young still proves to be that riff master on lead guitar.

Overall, you have an album that is an average AC/DC album. Some of the songs kind of reminds me of the “Powerage” album. It was said that producer Rick Rubin was trying to get AC/DC back to that style of music.

Track listing:

1. “Hard as a Rock” 4:31
2. “Cover You in Oil” 4:32
3. “The Furor” 4:10
4. “Boogie Man” 4:07
5. “The Honey Roll” 5:34
6. “Burnin’ Alive” 5:05
7. “Hail Caesar” 5:14
8. “Love Bomb” 3:14
9. “Caught with Your Pants Down” 4:14
10. “Whiskey on the Rocks” 4:35
11. “Ballbreaker” 4:31

The Razors Edge: AC/DC

Rating: 90%

Razorsedge.jpgIn 1990, AC/DC was back on top with “The Razors Edge.” After a few years of minor hits from “Fly On The Wall”, “Who Made Who”, and “Blow Up Video”, AC/DC has formulated an album that is powerful, balanced, and creative.

Musically, this album features a lot of good tempos and melodies that one would expect from the band. It’s strong, engaging, and full of energy. Although, some of the songs seem to lean towards being filler. The riffs are very good especially on title track and “Money Talks.” The best part of it, the main riff on “Thunderstruck” is nothing more than a guitar lick set to the Mixolydian mode.

The musicianship is outstanding. Brian Johnson’s vocals seem to be a little more relaxed rather than overworked. Angus proves that he can still throw out riffs. It features a very strong rhythm section with Malcolm Young on guitar Cliff Williams on bass, and new comer on drums, Chris Slade.

Track listing:

1. “Thunderstruck” 4:52
2. “Fire Your Guns” 2:53
3. “Moneytalks” 3:48
4. “The Razors Edge” 4:22
5. “Mistress for Christmas” 3:59
6. “Rock Your Heart Out” 4:06
7. “Are You Ready” 4:10
8. “Got You by the Balls” 4:30
9. “Shot of Love” 3:56
10. “Let’s Make It” 3:32
11. “Goodbye & Good Riddance to Bad Luck” 3:13
12. “If You Dare”