Ah, High Voltage. A strange album. Why, if I didn't know better (and if Bon wasn't singing) I wouldn't believe this was an AC/DC album. Clearly, the band was still in its early, experimental stages, messing around with different lineups and different styles, including the good ol' blues rock, hard rock, R&B and *gasp* a love ballad!!
'High Voltage' has a total of 8 tracks, of which only three are really worth it. I guess even the boys themselves realized that, hence why it's been out of print since forever.
Let me take you trough it song-by-song:
- Baby, Please Don't Go: Alright, hands down, hands down, PUT YOUR F*CKIN HANDS DOWN, the best version of this song, next to Gary Glitter's version on his '74 live album. Forget Aerosmith's lazy ass, distorted to hell, loudness war bum cover. What a disgrace, that one. Anyways, awesome f*cking riff. Malcolm slides the notes up while Angus slides down, which gives the song a real dual guitar attack. The midsection could've been tightened up a little but it's still awesome. This is pretty much the only highlight on this album and I have no idea why they decided not to put this track on the international version of High Voltage. They would be playing this song for a long time until the late 70s.
- She's Got Balls: The second best song on 'High Voltage'. A great strutting blues rock riff courtesy of Angus and a great chorus with great lyrics by Bon Scott. Ah, balls. AC/DC always had an obsession with balls. 'She's Got Balls', 'Big Balls', 'Got You By The Balls', 'Ballbreaker', 'I Love Balls', 'Tickle My Balls', 'Dirty Balls'...
- Little Lover: The third best song here and a slow blues one. Good riff from Malcolm. I myself LOVE Bon's vocals in this song. He sings with such nastiness, particularly in the third verse, which is my favorite moment on 'High Voltage'.
Now, you could essentially just stop playing the CD right here, because from here on, suckiness begins. But for the sake of the review, let's continue:
- Stick Around: I guess you could call this the first real AC/DC song. The riff is typical AC/DC, but it's one their poorest. It's probably Malcolm's, lol. Filler.
- Soul Stripper: AC/DC's first attempt at an long, 'epic' (for lack of a better word) kinda song. Just listen to the drums in the intro and read the lyrics (AC/DC singing about gardens and flowers??). It's kinda, well uhm, odd, I guess. It has an AC/DC flavour to it (the verse chords), but it's not typical AC/DC. As is most of this album anyways. It's pretty heavy stuff, probably the 'heaviest song' on 'High Voltage'. Also, it is the only moment in AC/DC history where Malcolm and Angus share lead guitar duties. After this, Malcolm would be like "F*ck it, Angus, you do all the solos from now on." We can only imagine how it would've turned out had Malcolm taken on the schoolboy's stage persona. LOLOLOLOL!
- You Ain't Got a Hold on Me: Hm, well, this song is actually pretty good too, but again, not typical AC/DC. It's pretty much a R&B-ish kinda semi-ballad. Kinda like 'Rock 'n' Roll Dream' later on.
- Love Song: Wait, WHAT?? AC/DC DID A BALLAD?! Yup, they sure did, and it's pretty much the worst, sappiest, sweetly sickening ballad I've ever heard too. It amazes me that a lot of fans think that AC/DC have never done a ballad. Some idiots confuse 'Ride On' with a ballad, clearly they've never heard of 'slow blues'. Anyways, I guess the boys themselves aren't too embarrassed by it because they put this song on one of their recent box sets that came out. But it did take away their bragging rights. They could've been boasting about the fact that they've never ever done a ballad, which would make them the ultimate and final boss hard rock band, but alas. Angus' solo is pretty odd, but decent enough. Also, the intro has to be the most. Hilariously. Cheesy. And. Pretentious. Intro, I've ever heard. Can you imagine the vikings yodeling to it while the rain is pouring and thunder is roaring? I sure can. Yeah, this song is THAT un-AC/DC.
- Show Business: A much needed change of pace after the depressing 'Love Song'. It's a typical boring blues rock party song of Rolling Stones caliber. It also has a F*CK-load of solos. The lyrics however, are a must-read for any musician who wants to enter the business.
All in all, AC/DC's debut album is a typical 70s record with a couple of good songs and a load of poor filler to boot. You could essentially just download the first three tracks, slap 'em on a custom compilation and be done.
Why is AC/DC having done a ballad such an OMFUGWTF?! Ever heard of Ride On?
Anyway, decent review, but you need to ditch the track-by-track format, and proof the text before you post, since you contradict yourself ('from here on suckiness begins', and then you classify three of the five songs as good anyway).
Regarding the album itself, I'd agree it's not great, but Show Business was my jam when I first heard of AC/DC and only had the Jailbreak EP. Little Lover is also a great song, and Soul Stripper, Hold and Baby Please are OK as well. I don't care for She's Got Balls, it's the only weak song off the Euro edition of this album.
@Mena: yes, AC/DC is one of those Sput hates. Much like any other band that doesn't look/dress like Daniel Bryan and whine about hipster shit over acoustic guitars.
Like I said in the review, 'Ride On' is NOT a ballad, it's a slow blues song, like 'Little Lover' and 'Night Prowler'. You're not the only one, many people think that song is a ballad, but it's not. 'Love Song' is the only ballad AC/DC have ever done.
Incidentally, 'Ride On' is practically a rip-off from a ZZ Top song 'Jesus Just Left Chicago'. But it's still good.
Stormy May Day off Black Ice is arguably a ballad too. And Ride On is indeed a blues, but unlike the other songs mentioned (and The Jack, for example) it's a blues BALLAD. Its tempo is slower than either of the tracks you mentioned.
As for blues ripping off other blues...let's not get into that. We'd be here all day.
And Bon Scott did a really sappy ballad as a solo artist. It's almost hard to believe it's him singing. It's called "Carey Gully".
Stormy May Day is blooze rawk man. Besides Love Song, the closest thing to a ballad that AC/DC has ever done is probably Rock 'n' Roll Dream, even though I consider it a semi-ballad because it does have a harder section (the chorus). You know, like Metallica's semi-ballads (Fade To Black, Sanitarium, One) before they wrote stuff like Nothing Else Matters.
I do use the word 'ballad' in my own kinda way. When I say 'ballad', I mean it as in love songs/acoustic stuff/power ballads, you know, softer songs with melodic major/minor chord progressions and melodic singing. Basically songs written to score chicks and get laid (not always of course).
Slow blues for me are slower blues based songs with bluesy chord progressions, bluesy vocals and a bluesy solo. Nothing melodic or whatever, just pure slow blues.
Besides, I'm not sure but I think Ride On is pretty much exactly the same tempo as Little Lover and Night Prowler.
Nice. I get it now. With that definition, I'm curious about whether you think I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend/Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World/She Belongs To Me and other similar Ramones songs count as "ballads" (they do to me). Same goes for Pulling Teeth, Christie Road or No One Knows by Green Day. But since you don't count Fade to Black as a ballad, I suppose none of the former are ballads to you either :p To me, Fade IS a ballad - the best ever written, in fact.
Yeah I just listened to those songs and yes I would definitely call them (semi-)ballads, except for 'Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World' which I think is definitely a rocker (he even goes like "One, two, three, four!" in the beginning and you don't do that when you're about to play a ballad LOL), but that's just me haha
It's a very subjective thing. When I listen to a song and I call it a ballad, that's just my perception of it, so not everybody will agree with me here and there. I just don't like ballads and melodic stuff in general, which is why I make fun of Love Song, which is why I rated the new Aerosmith album very low and which is also why I will never listen to Journey LOL (that's all they do right? ballads ballads ballads @_@)
Stuff like Fade To Black I call semi-ballads because they're like, half ballad half rocker, you know they got a fair amount of rocky parts in them. It has to be the right amount though =P
Umm...no, dude. Journey did DOOOON'T STOP, BELIEEEEEVIN'!
Nothing Else Matters has a very heavy middle part (with Hetfield's solo). It's still a ballad, though. Same with Don't Cry by G'n'R, among others. I get where you're coming from with Fade, though, as it speeds up at the end. I personally don't consider Sanitarium a ballad. 'Tallica ballads to me are Fade, the Unforgivens, Nothing Else Matters, Day That Never Comes, Low Man's Lyric...