After the death of a band's lead singer, their leader, the band can either quit, or find another lead singer and keep going. Some bands such as "Nirvana" chose to give up or quit, but AC/DC took the other path and released "Back In Black" a album that still stays true to the band's hard rock element on "Highway To Hell" and adds a softer element to the band's work as well.
In my opinion this is in no way a classic album, it is to short and a few songs are pretty bland and repetitive, so it is not a classic album musically. But always AC/DC gets a classic rating in perseverance and emotion, both of which this album run on high. This is my track-by-track review of AC/DC's "Back In Black".
"Hells Bells", has always been a favorite of mine. It starts out with one of the catchiest instrumental session of the album, lead by the flat out spooky beat and loose guitar riff. The instrumental might carry on for a long time but it sure is a nice way to start off the album, it's telling the AC/DC fans that they can still have that hard rock element even without there lead singer. The lyrics leading up to the chorus are very well done and then the best part of the chorus is when AC/DC sings together "Hells Bells, My temperature is hot, Hells Bells". A freighting opener to the album as the band proclaims: "If you are a friend of evil your a friend of mine", the song is a perfect opener to the album in it's creativity, Instrumental work, and lyrics.
"Shoot To Thrill", has a very catchy chorus but offers little else to us. The instrumental work and surrounding lyrics are just alright in my opinion, and the song doesn't ride on the pure emotion that the opener does. The pre-chorus is probably even more catchy than the chorus, but the chorus sums up what AC/DC has always been about, and you have to respect the band for staying true to there roots. If the emotion in the chorus was carried through throughout the whole song, "Shoot The Thrill" could be one of the best songs on "Back In Black".
"What Do You Do For Money Honey", is growing to be one of my favorites on the album. Why a like the best about AC/DC is when there songs are dark, risky, and have duel vocals choruses. This song has all those elements and is even aggressive in the instrumental work, while the one line chorus claims the song title. The surrounding lyrics, which are, obviously sex-oriented which the whole song, even the guitar riffs are, Are pretty good. The breakdown restates some of the lines in the chorus while it leads perfectly into the guitar-solo which is just plain out nasty [in a good way], The duel vocal and emotion fueled chorus is repeated and the song ends.
"Givin The Dog A Bone", is the most overplayed song [by my football coach during weight lifting], but it remains a great song. The sort of distorted [For AC/DC] guitar riff starts the song and the fast paced vocals follow, the pre-chorus is even better than the chorus, "She's using her head again." The chorus maybe one of the most random lines ever thrown into a chorus: "She's givin the dog a bone", and the second lines which trot over the first lines in the chorus have some meaningful lyrics. The pre-chorus again sets up the chorus, which somehow sets up a guitar solo with the band screaming "yeah" in the background. The best part of this song is right when you think the song is over, the band comes back and plays even harder and more aggressive. The whole album is aggressive but I thought that moment of the album was absolutely unbelievable.
The opening guitar riff and instrumental work in "Let Me Put My Love Into You", suggests that an explosion of sounds is going to happen anytime, and that we might be hearing one of the louder sounds of the album. Even during the first lyrical session of the album suggests this as well, but it just never happens. This song ends up being one of the softer and least aggressive songs on "Back In Black". The pre-chorus features some of the darker lyrics on the album, while the chorus keeps it up with lyrics about love and even knives thrown into one chorus. It's really amazing some of the ideas the band threw together to make this album. And even though this isn't one of the best songs on the album, it still does a pretty good job for being one of the softer songs on the album, and adds a new element to AC/DC.
"Back In Black", is one of the darker but yet harder songs on the album. The songs chorus is enough to get it played on every single phone commerical ever released, but the song is more than just a advertisment for the album. It contains little surrounding lyrics to it's chorus for it's length, and it contains some of my favorite guitar solos on the album, two are featured on this song. "Back In Black", though unoriginal in songwriting still remains a very good song.
"You Shook Me All Night Long", is my favorite AC/DC song. It somehow tweaks the voice of the new lead singer into a simpler and more understanding form, and the lyrics though very AC/DC are still some of the best on the album. The song isn't as chorus oriented as the other songs, and it isn't near as hard. So for pure originality this song would get a perfect score. But the way the band somehow fits a guitar solo into this song is pretty mind boggling and complicated to me. But that's AC/DC on this album: Overcoming all of their expectations and reinventing there sound.
"Have A Drink On Me", is probably one of my least played and least favorites on the album. The song contains some good lyrics, but the lyrics in the first session of the song are pretty bland and contain a lackluster rhyme scheme. The chorus repeats the songs title but does it in a clever way compared to "Givin The Dog A Bone". The second lyrical session is all right, but nothing real special or anything to remember. This song also contains one of the weakest guitar solos of the album in my opinion, and the song in general doesn't do much for me.
Shake A Leg", is pure rock and roll, a 1972’ ish guitar riff that stays consistent throughout the whole song accompanies fast-paced lyrics. The moment I like in this song is during the first chorus were all the music stops and the lead singer sings the chorus, it is one of the coolest and more original moments on the album. The sort of distorted guitar riff, which sounds like a bunch of bird songs leads into the end of the songs breakdown, which is very aggressive and well done. A good risk-taking song in general, and it brings the album back to form.
"Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution", is one of the best songs AC/DC have ever done. It starts out with the plain out fattest guitar riff of AC/DC career, and progresses into a intro of all these ideas AC/DC have thrown together. The chorus is definitely the best AC/DC have ever done while the band screams "Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution/Rock And Roll Ain't Going To Die/ Rock And Roll Will Survive". The lyrics in the second surrounding lyrics are more like AC/DC, which shows that the band can still make an outcry that they are "Rock And Roll", while staying true to there other ideas of the album. The chorus is done again perfectly, and the album comes to a dramatic ending.
Individual Song Ratings:
1. Hells Bells 5/5
2. Shoot To Thrill 3.5/5
3. What Do You Do For Money Honey 4.2/5
4. Givin The Dog A Bone 4.9/5
5. Let Me Put My Love Into You 4.4/5
6. Back In Black 5/5
7. You Shook Me All Night Long 5/5
8. Have A Drink On Me 3/5
9. Shake A Leg 4.5/5
10. Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution 5/5
In conclusion, even though AC/DC had a new singer and even did the soft song a few times on this album it remains a great album since the band were facing so much adversity. Not a classic album, but it still does the job for the listener.