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    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jem
    • Jun 2nd 2009 edited
     

    So we come to the finest rock and roll record ever made. 


     

    Rock’n’Roll Damnation crashes in as a statement of intent “They say that you play too loud, well baby that’s tough!”and straight into a classic ‘DC riff. Handclaps, gang vocals and Bon straight talking and reflective on the rock and roll way of life; what more could you want?

     

    A pulsing bassline, a pounding beat and strutting guitar line announce the arrival of Gimme A Bullet. The story of a man kicked to the kerb by his girlfriend and looking for another woman, any woman to fill the hole left and numb the pain just for the night. Bon knows he’ll be OK in the long run “Come tomorrow, come to grips, with me all alone.” But right now, tonight, he needs a bullet to bite on to stop the ache, just so he can “make believe” that he hasn’t lost her. 

     

    You only have to hear the delivery on the next tune to know that truth is being spoken. Down Payment Blues is heralded by chiming, gruff guitars subtly joined by a driving rhythm section building to a galloping charge of an intro that drops down a notch to allow Bon room to meditate on the ‘rock and roll lifestyle’ . Couple this with a great solo from Angus and you have a bona fide classic.

     

    For me Gone Shootin’ is the centre of this album and the Bon eras finest five and a bit minutes. It boasts an effortless groove, an almost funky interlocking riff topped off with that fabulous bluesy lick from the Young’s and Mr Scott’s greatest lyric. Here Bon tells us the story of another love lost, this time to drugs, “She backed her favourite nag, but she could never win”. This is the song that made me realise that Bon was not just a 'cut out' rock and roller. When you add in that solo and just before that superb coda the “ I used to love her so…” it is just a perfect beautiful heartbreaker rock and roll song.

     

    Riff Raff, what can you say? Killer, killer riff, astonishing opener for a live gig, witness the Glasgow ’78 footage. Rebel lyrics from Bon this time, but it is all about the other boys. It’s just a lethal track.

     

    Another tune, another classic, Sin City, a story–esque lyric from Bon about looking for that one chance to make it big. Mal’s superb slashing rhythmic chords power this monster along, Phil’s sounds like he’s smashing glass with his crashes, and Ang produces a solo that takes you right to the edge before that dark breakdown in the middle of the song before Bon ramps up the atmosphere for the final charge and Ang loses it totally. Even if Bon hasn’t got a “hope in hell” he’s still going in even if he is destined to be another loser. Awesome live witness Midnight Special.

     

    What’s Next To The Moon adds yet more variety to the mix. A rolling riff and a tribal beat from Phil produce another dark edged track. Bon’s lyrics only add to the air of mystery.  Worked incredibly well live, where the chorus was absolutely thunderous.

     

     

    Surely time for a breather but not a chance, Up To My Neck In You. It’s a juggernaut of a song, a total destroyer of a track, all slashing chords and relentless beats, while Bon weaves his magic again, managing to sound regretful, grateful and filthy at the same time. This song also has a claim to feature Ang’s greatest solo, furious and tuneful. Naturally it is a beast live.

     

    Cold Hearted Man is a true ‘story song’. Again full of darkness, aided by the space created by the boys and Bon’s delivery. Loss hangs heavy on this track again, as Bon explains how an orphan child “Called her Ma, called him Pa, but he was born to someone else”, grows through experience and heartbreak ,“one time lover, heart in his hand” to be a cold hearted man “you can’t trust nothing you don’t understand”. Bon acknowledges the other side of the hard man image, and how it can it form, in the breakdown before the final chorus. It is a magnificent song.

     

    To end the album? As close to a straight ahead rocker as can be seen on this album. A faster tempo, with guitars that crash in waves while Phil powers the tune like a machine. Bon vents his spleen on a women that ‘done him wrong’, and in the final verse on all womenkind. Hard edged rock and roll, full stop. No other band, no other frontman could deliver with such authority.

     

    Why is Powerage this band’s greatest achievement? Because it goes beyond being just a hard rocking album, it adds loss, longing and heartbreak to the mix, in short it is their most human, most honest album. Bon opens up on this album and lets reality and us in, giving this album a depth that none of their other releases even approach. This is Bon’s record and it is a thing of fierce, raw and bleeding beauty.

     
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jet1984
    • Jun 2nd 2009 edited
     

    A review that does this Album justice! Well done mate. And if I hadn't started writing my own look at Powerage I'd probably just leave it at that. I hope you can forgive me, I’m just gonna add what I have to your thread, all the credit belongs to you!


    I highly suggest that you guys listen to the songs right when you read what’s coming below!


     


    ROCK'N'ROLL DAMNATION




    Well, what a way to go. That explosion like start that nearly sounds mysterious, leaving you with great expectation, and it of course delivers! It delivers with nothing less than the essence of Rock’n’Roll. Pure, simple, easy and straight forward. G/D/A G/D/E chorus, great!A rebell of a song, if you can keep your feet on the ground during this one you are a nutcase!


    And just when you think it would launch into the Solo comes the reprise of the intro, like they’re telling you “ hey boy, we ain’t done yet!” And THIS is where it starts, the “magic of powerage”.


    The intro theme again...clapping...c’mon! Damnation. It starts to take up pace and power...”All over town! Living on the street you gotta practice what you preach!” And then this amazing chorus again with Mal’s perfect backup vocal giving this fucking ace harmony! And then there it is, out of the blue you’d think “ok, G/D/A G/D/E again, BUT, the magic happens right there! G/D/A in the end! The bass goes high “while you still got the choice” and when that high hat is smashed and the solo finally launches the finale of this song!............................................................................sorry...I was dancing around my living room listening to that part, I can’t help it!


    Case closed. Powerage is unleashed!


     


    DOWN PAYMENT BLUES




    What a beauty of a song, maybe one of Mal’s highlights! That build up  intro can put a smile on your face on a funeral! Are you listening right now? Do it! Do you hear Mal’s strings? That sound is SO unbelievable! And then Angus playing it higher on the fretboard. And just as Bon starts its going slow and dark again, but still leaving you with that last little smile on your face that you’d have on a sailing boat, sippin that champagne!


    The Solo is quite amazing. Melodic, pushing and tearing you apart! And Mal’s work in the backround, stomping bashing with his right hand, amazing! And then the magic happens again! Right after the solo!


    When everything dies down, Mal starts his rythem work. Now maybe it’s just me but those strings aren’t just played there, they wanted to be played! It’s so calm but has so much dept and warmth! Turn it loud, I get goose bumps! But the magic ain’t over there. Just listen to Bon now, just listen how what he sings makes LOVE to the music that is layed down under it! It’s poetry! Can’t you see him? He is sitting on that sailing boat ! And he is going down that storm drain in a paper cup!


    Another great thing about that song is that actually in the end, you can actually hear the “downpayment blues”. The song describing the blues song finally fades into that blues song! Genius!

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jet1984
    • Jun 2nd 2009 edited
     

    part 2




    GIMME A BULLET


    The intro is not what I’m used to by the boys, still it got that touch of individuality that I love so much about that album! Mal changes it around just before Angus comes in, Phil rolls on and we’re off to one of my new favorites!


    What a story by Bon, I just love his words on this one! The riff is again beautifully giving his words life, or vice versa. That “everything is right, but then is it?” feeling is so strangly aching and giving at the same time. The chorus even more so! “Gimme a bullet to bite on!” with those chords that don’t let you get rid of the pain, but put it way in there, and then, again, magic.


    The right chord at the right time. The chorus closes into the verse again, but how! Releaseing all the heartache and bad feelings with that rough, bashing G chord! “and I make believe, make believe it’s you!¨” BANG! Magic, pure magic!


    No solo, yeah, I know, but what bon does to this song towards the end is better than a refund! The short “pause” before the finale is making me beg for something, and Bon know how to deliver with his screaming, cutting voice! The backing vocals and the stomping bass do their job damn good!  Cliff’s bass during the chorus is so great and his whole work here is so much differnet than on any other song! Listen to it!


     




    RIFF RAFF


     


    Do you drive a nice car? One with some horsepower? Or a good motorcycle perhapds? A Harley! If you do you surely know that there is a certain RPM, gear and speed where it just sounds right. It just sounds like it’s in full control of the road, not giving anybody an inch, roaring for freedom! That’s how that song sounds! And that A chord just delivers and delivers! From the intro buildup to the insane solo up to the part after the solo and quick intro-reprise where the A-chord just smashes across the room, it’s a reall killer to say the least, and that’s all that needs to be said!


     


    SIN CITY


    I can’t add much to what Jem said, I’d be repeating only! You’ve hit the nail on the head with that one mate. Just one thing! The magic! It’s there again!


    “I got a burning , feeling...deep inside of me” You know that part, just before the solo and the way the chords are played there, that change from A to B. Not bahsing it, just firmly stomping. Alright,  Now, after the solo and the dark build up that Bon is delivering so nicely, it comes again, but this time it’s got that touch of pure magic again, that what makes this band and their songs so special to me, those magic moments when the easy straight forward rock changes just an inch, hardly noticable be the the rest of the crowd!


    “So spin that wheel........Bring on the dancing girls and put that champagne on ice!” Do you hear it? Yeah! No change in chords this time, it’s just so much more powerful than before the 1st chorus, it’s punching you towards the big win in sin city! Great moment for me!


     


    WHAT'S NEXT TO THE MOON


    Again, what Jem said. Can’t add much! Dark, edgy and a cracker live! Chorus is beyond! Listen to the guitars here. The sound of Mal’s Gretsch is so up front on that song  (I was just on ebay to check If should buy 1 of those right now, thats’ what that song does to me!)! Listen to that wet, dirty clear and bell like vibrating sound! Yes you guessed it, magic!


    The finale of that song is just great, Angus going higher and higher on the fretboard, taking the song and it’s listeners to where they belong, rock’n’roll heaven! Just rolling on and on!

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jet1984
    • Jun 2nd 2009 edited
     

    GONE SHOOTIN




    Here we are. Gone shootin. Nothing ever was and ever would be the same again after that song. It’s not Highway to hell, it’s not Shoot to Thrill, it’s not Stiff Upper Lip. No I know it’s not.


    This fits so perfectly into Powerage cause it’s got that personality that can hardly be found on later songs. Read Jem’s post for all concerning Bon’s lyrics, it’s pure poetry again! Just listen to it damnit and you’ll hear.


     That boogie that’s going on in that song is up there by it’s own, unmatched. Can you see the look on Bon’s face when he sang it? I can. It doesn’t leave a doubt that Bon left his soul in that song, and Mal knew exactly how to make that one work musically. The dramatic chorus, so simple, yet so efffective in telling you what’s going on. Now for the solo: this is just my feeling about it:


    Alright, listen to it now. 1St it all sounds like a little playing around, like taking your drug for the 1st time. It’s all fun! Cliff is so alive with that bass at 1st, .And after the 1st half of the solo Angus gets into a more routine like solo, and Mal’s chords get strong, like the way a drug gets a firm grip of you, it’s becoming your routine. And finally cliff fades more and more into just 1 note, Mals hits it hard, and Angus does his nervous high “screams”. And it all collapses. “She’s gone shootin”.


    There never has been and there never will be a solo like that, matching a soul of a man that has been put lyrically into a song, ever again. Even if it’s only in my head.


     


    I used to love her so.


     


    UP TO MY NECK IN YOU




    What a change in tune! The smile is back, so is the stomping A-chord! Hell yeah! Then again it’s such an easy song compared to the material you’ve heard so far you could come to the conclusion that their’ playing save now! Simple, straight forward rock’n’roll. No if’s. End of story! Better live than on the album for sure, just listen to SUL live!


     


    KICKED IN THE TEETH AGAIN


    Another song that would never have appeared on later albums, a true gem and full of that early spirit of a band that has changes over the years.


    It doesn’t start out as convincing as Rock’n’Roll train for example. But still, there’s more to it. Bon is telling you all about it! What a great pattern of chords there during the chorus! Hits you without mercy.


    The solo, so Powerage. Wild, outstanding and insane/genius. And it all ends again with the magic of course! Bon : “You never know who’s gonna win till the race been ruuuuuuuuuun”


    BANG! There are the same chords again, but with that extra portion of magic, smashed into your face, penetrating your skull and ending with that witty stop and go. It’s a worthy finish.


     


    -----------------------


    In the end I can say: Powerage to me IS the best album AC/DC have ever released. The material on there does really fit together, the album does makes sense. Not only is it possibly Bons best work, but also the best work the band has ever put together in sense of matching lyrics with chords. And all those magic moments round it up nicely. What this album delivers is a big insight into a band that was on the rise, full of ideas and spirit, and yet mature enough to wrap those ideas and all that spirit into the rock’n’roll that made them what they are today. Powerage is a ture masterpiece full of rocking, powering spirit bound together with that special feeling that only this band can deliver. And they do!


    ---------------------------


     


    Alright, thanks for reading. I’ve spend the better part of 2 hours on this, while listening to it again, having a whiskey or 2 and enjyoing myself.


    Cheers.

  1.  
    Good work boys - looking forward to lunchtime when I can read these properly....
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jem
    • Jun 3rd 2009
     

    Jesus Yves! I thought mine might be a touch long :) I'm thinking of setting up a self help Powerage Anonymous group :)

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jet1984
    • Jun 3rd 2009
     

    LOL! And you just found your 1st member ;)

  2.  
    Just read them - brilliant reads, both of them. Thanks for taking the time. I agree that the UTMNIY solo is a little cracker, one of my favourites. The whole album just has a "feel" about it - it sounds right, to me....
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jem
    • Jun 4th 2009
     
    Feel is the word :)
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: BoogieMan
    • Jun 5th 2009 edited
     
    Hate to say this, but Up to My Neck in You and Kicked in the Teeth have never really grabbed me. I don't quite know why. That thing Bon does at the start of Kicked in the Teeth doesn't help, just in my opinion.

    But the rest of the album, I agree, is 100% perfect. A bit random, but I thought I'd add that I reckon the bass solo in Sin City would make a great moment for the live strip.
  3.  
    Excellent reviews lads.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Foeller
    • Jun 5th 2009
     
    @BoogieMan

    WTF, how can UTMNIY not grab you? It's one of my favorite songs.
    I love the tempo, lyrics, and the solo (one of the best DC solos). Listen to the live in Munich. ;)

    Well, KITT is IMO the worst song on Powerage, but it's still a great song.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: BoogieMan
    • Jun 5th 2009
     
    ^^^Don't get me wrong, I like it. But it's one of those songs that I have to force myself to listen to. Once I do though, I realise that it is great, but never seems to change my mind on the track. Wierd, I know.

    I agree that the SUL Live verson is gun.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: bonlives
    • Jun 9th 2009
     

    Jem / Jet - I have only just got round to reading your reviews - excellent, excellent work. I'm giving Powerage a spin right now after reading your reviews to see if I hear the same thing...


    I think you both need counselling by the way :) but sign me up to the Powerage Anonymous group anyday!

  4.  
    To me Powerage is the greatest because...Angus solos are the best, he's like over him self on this album, just listen to Riff Raff or KITTA...and i think CCM lyrics are the AC/DC's deepest lyrics...can someone tell me was Leeroy Kincaid a real person?
  5.  
    That’s some fantastic - and fairly persuasive - writing there guys, thanks for a great read. I think the Internet and the world of AC/DC critiques just got a little richer. Jem mentioned something that’s suddenly obvious (obvious once someone’s said it, of course) and now I can’t see how I’d never thought about it before: That this is Bon’s record is absolutely spot on, and maybe right there is a part of the reason lots of people find that extra special something in it.

    As an aside, maybe it’s worth having a thread on who owns what album? If Powerage belonged to Bon, who, if anyone, is the heart & soul of which other albums?
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: bonlives
    • Jun 10th 2009
     

    Start it Will...

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jem
    • Nov 19th 2009
     

    Just came across this fan review of the greatest album of all time, thought I'd share...




    When I hear a song like "Riff Raff," a key Powerage track, I become convinced that the reason AC/DC are so beloved is not that they pull out a great riff for almost every song they've ever done - it's that they pull out three or four. In "Riff Raff" alone, there's probably around five, maybe six if you count the bassline: there's the opening guitar salvo, the main riff, that little uppity figure before each verse, the outro riff... one after the other, they just keep blasting through you relentlessly until you're left thinking, "JEE-sus, cut it out! The song's already awesome enough, you beautiful Aussie motherfuckers."



    Yes, in case you couldn't tell, I've been in quite the AC/DC mood recently. Maybe it's fleeting, and maybe by the time I'm finished with this post I'll be completely sick of them. Maybe I'll finally submit and say something stupid like, "UGH they just keep writing the SAME STUPID hard rock song OVER AND OVER." But I don't think I would just lie to myself like that.



    Powerage doesn't have any hits on it, which is probably why it's one of AC/DC's lesser-known releases - not to mention it was released before Highway to Hell and Back in Black, two of their most definitive and beloved releases. Powerage is what you could call AC/DC's "cult" album, held in lovingly high regard by Bon Scott-era AC/DC aficionados. Since this was the band's last album produced by Vanda/Young, tossed to the wayside in favor of the more mainstream Mutt Lange for the next few albums, people consider this to be their last "rough" album, offering a grittier sound beyond the poppy sheen of their later releases - their last "pure" album, some might say. This is all arguable - AC/DC have always had the same basic sound, rough or not, for their entire career - but it's hard to argue that Powerage was overlooked, and it shouldn't have been.



    Just look at the album's tracklisting. You've probably never heard any of these songs before (I sure hadn't), but man, they're almost all great. And in ways you might not even expect from a so-called "simple" hard rock band like AC/DC: "Rock 'n Roll Damnation" is a perfect Rolling Stones-esque boogie, "Sin City" is a creepy hard rock dirge, the aforementioned "Riff Raff" is a punk-worthy guitarfest, "Gone Shootin'" is a cool groove-rocker. Maybe the most unexpected piece of hard-rock bliss here is "Down Payment Blues," maybe the best mid-tempo song AC/DC ever attempted: at six minutes, it features a seductive riff good enough to probably keep your attention for much longer than six minutes. And Bon Scott - AC/DC's first and most entertaining lead singer - delivers some purely badass lyrics: "I know I ain't doin' much / doin' nothin' means a lot to me / livin' on a shoestring / a fifty-cent millionaire / open to charity / rock 'n roller welfare." All sung in this kind of low, cool growl. And there's some great basic AC/DC rockers on here too: "Gimme A Bullet" (featuring the immortal chorus "Gimme a Bullet to bite on / and I'll make believe it's you"), "What's Next To the Moon?," "Up To My Neck In You" and "Kicked In The Teeth" are greats all (even if the latter song there kinda steals the riff from "Let There Be Rock," but it's still pretty cool).



    I don't know. It's the little things. The way Bon Scott suddenly does this "HAW HAW HAW!" thing in the middle of "Riff Raff." The kinda-sorta handclaps littered throughout "Rock 'n Roll Damnation." That random bluesy riff that comes out of nowhere near the end of "Down Payment Blues." The bass-only breakdown in "Sin City." It's all just so damn cool. Pure cool-rock. Apparently Powerage was Keith Richards' favorite AC/DC record. I have no idea if that's true - every review of the album I've read has cited him as a fan, but I haven't seen any solid proof. People also say that Dick Clark has a copy of Third Reich 'n Roll framed in his office, but who the fuck knows if that's true? Who fact-checks these reviews?? Either way Powerage definitely has that Stonesy vibe, so if Richards was a fan I wouldn't be surprised.



    Listen. If you want to walk down the street and feel like a total badass, no matter who you are, just get some AC/DC on your iPod. Powerage ain't a bad place to start. It's a perfect blend of Bon Scott's theatrically devilish sleaze and Angus and Malcolm Young's mastery of the Pure Hard Rock Riff. How the fuck did they keep up with this riffage for so long?? God only knows.



    Hey. I bet you thought I was gonna talk about Black Ice in this post? Ehh?? Hah, no. I only know one song from that record, "Rock 'n Roll Train." And admittedly, it's pretty good, and Brian Johnston is in shockingly good voice for a 61 year old. The guitar sounds a little wimpier than I expected, but it's solid nonetheless. But man, if you want some rippin', organic early AC/DC, Powerage is choice. None of that Mutt Lange sheen. A rip-roarin' misogynistic fantasy of a good time.



    (Oh, and you should really check out this live performance of "Riff Raff" so you know what the hell I'm talking about here. I can't embed it 'cuz it's disabled. Just watch for yourself. Don't we all need this kind of music? All the time??)

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jem
    • Nov 19th 2009
     

    Oh and that Glasgow clip. THE greatest moment in the history of everything.  Bigger and better than God.

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Landslide
    • Nov 19th 2009
     
    That is a good clip. And it's nice to see Bon not half naked every once in a while, haha.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Pod
    • Nov 19th 2009
     

    Riff Raff- IYWB. Thats my ground zero right there.  

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Windstorm
    • Nov 19th 2009
     
    Powerage was and still is incredible. Screw Back In Black, this is AC/DC at their prime.

    From straight ahead rockers like RNR Damnation & Up To My Neck, to the bluesy groove of tracks like Gimme A Bullet & Down Payment Blues, this record has it all. Anybody who thinks all AC/DC songs sound the same needs to hear Powerage.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: 56Century
    • Nov 20th 2009
     
    My favourite piece ever written on my favourite album ever written...

    On Second Thought
    AC/DC - Powerage
    By: Edwin Faust
    Published on: 2003-12-12

    For better or worse, we here at Stylus, in all of our autocratic consumer-crit greed, are slaves to timeliness. A record over six months old is often discarded, deemed too old for publication, a relic in the internet age. That's why each week at Stylus, one writer takes a look at an album with the benefit of time. Whether it has been unjustly ignored, unfairly lauded, or misunderstood in some fundamental way, we aim with On Second Thought to provide a fresh look at albums that need it.

    There aren’t two kinds of people in the world; there are three: People who hold onto the false belief that Back In Black is AC/DC’s best album; people who believe AC/DC never recorded a good album (i.e. wankers); and finally, there is a very exclusive club of knowledgeable cats like myself who know with utter certainty that Powerage is AC/DC’s best album. Also belonging to this latter group is Angus and Malcolm Young, who for years have been declaring Powerage their best album. Ironically, it’s the only Bon Scott-era AC/DC album that has been totally neglected by Classic Rock Radio, but if anything, that’s a good thing. One of the reasons why your average headbanger and Classic Rock Radio DJ skip on Powerage is because it isn’t simply about sex, drinking and tongue-in-cheek Satanism; not that these things aren’t worth celebrating, but sometimes the discerning music-listener needs a bit more. Powerage has the required AC/DC attributes: raw power, catchy-as-hell guitar hooks and Bon Scott sass, but it also has the “more” factor; it has cleverer than average lyrics and dare I say it…substance! Yes. Powerage, the AC/DC album between Let There Be Rock and Highway To Hell with Angus Young being electrocuted on the cover, has substance! One may even label it the thinking headbanger’s record. No balls, no Hell, and only one song with “rock” in the title! Were they mad!? Nope. They were simply growing up. But growing up didn’t mean rocking less or getting boring or pretentious. No. It’s still straight-up rock & roll (which AC/DC always was more than a heavy-metal act) and Bon Scott is still a witty scallywag. Unfortunately, the album was a commercial disappointment and they managed to both regressed and streamlined their sound on the party-friendly follow-up Highway To Hell. Of course, that album was a huge success and Bon Scott celebrated a bit too much one night and…well, whenever I’m inebriated and crashing I think of Bon and make it a point to not sleep on my back.

    With Powerage, Bon’s lifeblood (sex, booze, rock & roll) is mixed bitterly and savagely with the painful decline of his marriage in a series of songs that string together sodden metaphors and wordplay to create a dark grindhouse movie about a man who dreams feverishly of getting even with his woman. And with their meatiest and most inspired performances ever, the band creates the perfect soundtrack to Bon’s jaded journey into the dead of night. Just listen to the acute use of simplicity in “Gimme A Bullet”; the Young Brothers strum two power chords, allowing the notes to hang with lascivious distortion, like the lascivious distortion Bon is singing of—the “long distance lips” driving him batty; Cliff Williams’ melodic bass-line sneakily underlines the tense fancy of the chorus: “Give me a bullet to bite on and I’ll make believe it’s you.” On “What’s Next To The Moon”, Bon sings one of his most pictorial dreamscapes: there’s a “wide eyed woman” on “the railroad track”, who is “thinking of broken bones”, while the engineer is “dreamin’ ‘bout Casey Jones”; the band compliment with a driving ghost train rhythm and intentionally choppy guitar-work that either floats like a whispering bad conscience or punches like star-crazed violence. With the deft subtlety of “Gone Shootin’”, Bon reveals some of the finer nuances of his relationship with his ex-wife without ever sounding too heart-on-sleeve; “something missing in the neighborhood of her cryin’ eyes, I stirred my coffee with the same spoon” gives you the impressive of a man and woman comfortable with one another but no longer connecting, and without the hard maudlin sell; likewise the band plays a relaxed, confident and rather bluesy groove with a serpentine guitar hook that manages to be tenacious yet understated.

    Powerage isn’t just about woman problems; it’s also about poverty. No stranger to hard times, Bon came from a bona fide working-class background, spent some time in juvenal hall and didn’t begin making decent money at music until he was in his 30s. Hence, when Bon sings for working-class solidarity in the fast and nimble “Riff Raff”, it scorches with fire-lunged sincerity. An enthralling hard-rock epic, “Down Payment Blues” finds Bon criss-crossing financial hardship (“hiding from the rent man”, etc.) with fragile dreams of luxury; easily his best lyrics, the last verse is especially impressive, Bon dampening every line with a wet word choice, giving the listener a sinking feeling of encroaching reality:

    “Sitting on my sailing boat; sipping off my champaign. Suzy baby all at sea; say she want to come again Feeling like a paper cup; floating down a storm drain. Got myself a sailing boat, but I can't afford a drop of rain.”

    Again, the music perfectly complements the sentiment; the Young guitars working one restless hook in slightly varying fashion—not black & white, soft and hard, but a more natural flow between restrained playing and charging vigor—like the eye of a storm turning into thunderous weather; the rolling and cresting of Phil Rudd’s drums adding a pagan undercurrent. The black heart of the album, “Sin City, is not only the strongest song in the entire AC/DC catalogue, but continues with Bon’s wet dream of romanticized wealth and excess. “Sin City” is to Bon Scott as The Diamond as Big as the Ritz is to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Bon hankers greedily for “Lamborginis, caviar, dry martini's, Shangrila” and believes he can “win in Sin City.” This is Bon’s big moment; when it’s him crashing into the casino like the powerhouse, Mack-truck riff of the song—wired awake for several days and nights, nights, nights! It’s hard not to imagine Angus grinning devilishly as he knocks out those mean-as-a-scarfaced-pimp chords, edging Bon on: yes, you can win—you’re the baddest motherfucker in this town! Angus goes into his wicked as Caligula solo, then we’re in the heart of darkness when the music all drops out except for a lone creeping bass and Bon crooning about “ladders and snakes”; this is that quiet, sexy part of film noir—menacing, foreboding—before the shit goes down. We know Bon won’t win in “Sin City” and if he does, it will only be for a fleeting moment, before the devil collects his head.

    Powerage is indeed about power: The power of money has over the working-class; the power a woman has over a man. It’s also about the power of rage and power-struggle—to get that money, to get back at that woman and to make your mark—snarling and biting—in the Power Age. And yes, it’s also about electrical power, power-chords and a band at the peak of their powers.

    http://www.stylusmag...
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jem
    • Nov 20th 2009
     

    I love that one too. Someone else who knows the score :)

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: bonlives
    • Nov 20th 2009
     
    I go to sleep at night listening to Powerage. No shit, it's as soothing as hell. I always claimed LTBR to be my all time favourite but Powerage, man, it's so close I can't split them most of the time. For fucks sake AC/DC, please add something from Powerage to your set and I will shut the fuck up forever.
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: BFET
    • Nov 20th 2009
     

    LTBR PWNS...

  6.  

    Great stuff guys. Truly the greatest rock album ever. Oh, and I was at the Glasgow Apollo that night. Pissed, but I was there!

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jem
    • Nov 21st 2009
     

    Now we all hate you Ian.  No exceptions.  Everybody on here hates you. :) Now tell us everything you can remember about the Apollo show please pleease please.....

  7.  
    agreed - tell us about *that* show..
  8.  
    why powerage is the greatest, by ulstersaint:-

    it just is
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jem
    • Nov 21st 2009
     
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jem
    • Nov 21st 2009 edited
     

     





    •  
      AC/DC rock music: BFET
    • Nov 21st 2009
     

    Again... LTBR PWNSSSS!

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Landslide
    • Nov 21st 2009
     
    I have only once sentence which proves Powerage is the greatest album ever:

    "LIVIN' ON THE STREETS, YOU GOTTA PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH!"
  9.  

    "heavenly body flyin cross the sky, superman was outta town, cmon baby gotta change your tune, 'cuz its a long way down"


    That song has so many great lines, its like a booze soaked poem.

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: BFET
    • Nov 21st 2009
     

    Well those are cute reasons and all, but... oh wait


    Go Down


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rcAsyG2pnE


    LTBR


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNZXjPES7Cs


    BBB


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFgor5y_cTw


    DED


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh9g2PVTc_s


    HAABPTB


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43UgH1UN9OE


    WLR


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbDsfUrOASM


    Powerage is AC/DC's third best album. Both LTBR and BIB surpass that beauty. Anyways back to my point... LTBR PWNS.

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: 56Century
    • Nov 21st 2009
     
    Go Down 1996... you lost me there
    •  
      AC/DC rock music: BFET
    • Nov 22nd 2009
     

    By the looks of your avatar... never had you and never expected to... trust me, I'm crushed...

    •  
      AC/DC rock music: Jem
    • Nov 22nd 2009
     

    Go Down is a retread of an already old r'n'r riff combined with puerile lyrics about blow jobs. Crabsody In Blue is a pastiche of a blues song about pubic lice. So already we are only comparing 6 songs to 10. LTBR,BBB and WLR are bonafide classics, no argument there. DED, Overdose and HAABPTB are three songs that foreshadow the greater maturity and variety to be found on Powerage. But DED lacks sublety and variety itself. Overdose the same (despite Bon's fantastic performance). So LTBR has 4 songs that could slot onto Powerage and not be out of place.  Powerage has 9 that would improve LTBR (I drop KITT from the record).

  10.  

    Agree Jem. KITT is a great song, but feels out of place on Powerage. Still all killer, no filler tho' album along with LTBR & BIB