Review Summary: POWERRRRRR
Ah, T.N.T. The first real AC/DC album. The true debut. The rill thang. They don't fake dat sh*t, dawg. AC/DC found their signature sound much faster than most bands (besides maybe Van Halen, who already had their style down since the first album). While the boys would still keep on evolving (by AC/DC standards) over the next few albums, T.N.T is where you will first hear many of the trademarks of the typical AC/DC POWERRRRRR sound, some of Malcolm's typical riffs (which he would recycle a lot later on, and not always to great effect), and a couple of the songs they would keep in the setlist ever since the album came out.
Some user suggested that I ditch the track-by-track guide, well sorry but I like to go over every song when I review an album, so if you don't like it, kindly skip the next section:
- It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll): Yes. This is AC/DC. The band starts using the same chords over and over, to great effect. From here on, the Young Brothers would basically claim a monopoly on the E, A, D and G POWERRRRRR chords, and in particular the A G D chord progression that so many bands would later copy (see any lame AC/DC copycat bands of today...). Starts off with a kickass signature Malcolm Young riff (unfortunately this is one of his few good riffs which he would blatantly and constantly recycle in a lot of later songs like 'Jailbreak' and 'Shot of Love'). And then the aforementioned A G D progression in the chorus. The highlight is the bagpipes solo, courtesy of Bon Scott. Yep, AC/DC wrote THE #1 Scottish hard rock song.
- Rock 'N' Roll Singer: A decent rocker with a catchy riff. Nothing that special, though, of the weakest songs on the album, but I definitely don't skip it. The chorus is nice.
- The Jack: The Jack, a song that the band would play ever since it was first conceived. Dirty, nasty, filthy lyrics by Bon Scott. Sound wise, you can really hear the band's use of dynamics (by balancing quiet parts with loud ones) that would also prove to be a standard for some of their later songs (ex. Sin City, Evil Walks, Danger, Nick Of Time, Mistress For Christmas, Burnin' Alive) . The aforementioned dynamics come out even better live (check Live at Donington for a great version).
- Live Wire: Another great song which they would play a lot throughout the 70s. With yet another typical Malcolm riff which he would recycle a lot. I saw a video of the band playing this and Bon was badass as can be while he was singing the badass lyrics. Great midsection riff too.
- T.N.T: Yet, another staple in the band's set with a Malcolm POWERRRRRR riff. Notable for one of Angus' few contributions to backing vocals. The solo is, hands down, one of Angus' best. And that's saying a lot, because while Angus comes up with some of the bands best riffs, his solo's (apart from a few) usually just suck and are totally unmemorable. The solo in T.N.T. however, is AWESOME. Short, simple, and sweet.
- Rocker: A fast one with another great solo from Angus. They would play this song (in an even faster tempo) a lot throughout the 70s with Angus riding on Bon's shoulders while he is soloing.
- Can I Sit Next to You Girl: One of their earliest songs, I think they wrote this one while Dave Evans was still on board. It sucks that he had to go. No Dave Evans = no AC/DC, but ah well, I guess we'll have to do with Bon and Brian.
- High Voltage: DOSE BASSLINES are some of the best damn basslines written by AC/DC. And that's a great thing, because few AC/DC songs have catchy basslines (check out Love Hungry Man for another great bassline), but that's just another part of their sound. This song would've been on their debut album, also titled 'High Voltage', but the band was still writing the song by the time that album came out. Another fixture in their live shows for decades to come. GIMME HIGH! The chorus sounds kinda pussy though when Bon isn't singing near the end.
- School Days: A Chuck Berry cover, and kinda a weak one, not really a great way to end the album. T.N.T. should've ended after the previous song, 'High Voltage', but ah well.
T.N.T. is an excellent start for AC/DC's career, both musically and commercially. Many classic AC/DC POWERRRRRR songs can be found here. In comparison to their debut album, the songwriting on T.N.T. is much more focused. There are definitely a few misses here and there, you can basically take out 'Can I Sit Next to You Girl' and 'School Days' and have a much tighter album.
T.N.T. is the beginning of a band that would take the world by storm by crafting their, to this day, instantly recognizable hard rock POWERRRRRR sound instead of mindlessly copying other cheesy lame generic 70s bands or writing countless of love songs to get chicks. AC/DC's riffs were tougher than the rest, their guitars were louder than hell and their energy on stage was and is still pretty much unparalleled.
All in all, this is a must-have hard rock album.