Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sex, drugs, cars, money

AC/DC (Hard Rock)
iPod Choice: Down Payment Blues (1978)




To clear away this morning's cobwebs I cranked up AC/DC‘s Down Payment Blues, my fave track from their Powerage LP. Then I hit the Rewind button. Six times.



Despite my pretentious prattling about ambient minimalism, spooky pop and free-jazz, when it comes right down to it I’m a rocker at heart. I’ll take boogie and brown ale over symphonies and chardonnay any day.

Contemporary wisdom states that Powerage isn't one of AC/DC's classics, but for me it outdoes peaks like Highway to Hell or Back in Black, containing some of their most stripped-down, headbanging riffage. Perhaps the fact it hasn't received the acclaim of other AC/DC albums makes it all the more appealing.

Whatever the reason, Down Payment Blues is a highlight of the album and one of the band’s most underrated rockers. It starts with a lurching intro which gives way to a delicious rumbling bass before the lads unleash one of their trademark piledriver riffs.

These Aussie rock gods reduce the concept of the riff to its purest essence as the song motors from one ecstatic climax to another. There’s nothing as exhilarating as the sound of an overdriven amplifier pushing air, especially when Angus Young’s Gibson SG is firing on all cylinders through a Marshall stack. He tears off one incredible lick after another, and I love that moment in the song’s breakdown where guitar feedback creates a breathtaking feeling of anticipation.

Meanwhile the late Bon Scott’s raw, impassioned vocal - the poor guy's been driven into debt while trying to impress his girl - strikes just the right balance between desperation and rock ‘n’ roll abandon.

Like all the great entertainers, AC/DC play to their strengths, singing about what they know: that’s sex, drugs, cars, money and having or not having any of ‘em. There’s no poncing about with symphony orchestras or minor chords, just dirty, brash rock 'n' roll. Never has being pummeled into submission by five ugly Australians made such perfect sense.

I have this mutha cranked on the 'phones, and boy, it rocks. AC/DC's bad boy boogie muscles on over, seizes you by the lapels, pinning you against the wall before shoving its sweaty, wild-eyed kisser into yours and sneering, “NOW do you get it, punk? THIS...IS...ROCK 'N' ROLL!”

And when you do get it, I guarantee, you will feel SO much better.

7 comments:

MMF Man said...

ac/dc, sex, drugs, cars, money. what else do u need?

Jacy said...

Not so good these days, but they are getting on in years. That is a classic, though.

Pamploma said...

I like your dirt rock n roll attitude, Mr Shiffi. ACDC are the best. However , Back in Black is my own very favourite!

Lotta Rosie said...

"I'm gonna pull it, PULL IT, PULL THE TRIGGAAAAAAAAAH!" POWERAGE is True grit and the ONE and oNLy KEITH RICHARDS said that I "wish I could write songs as good as the ones on Powerage. Nuff said! Shiffi U Rock Dude!

Toots said...

Yeeeeaaahhh, man.

Agasi said...
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