Review Summary: The sound of perseverance.
Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Certainly not AC/DC, as in their 15th release they finally modified the recipe that made them one of the most successful rock bands, by adding some extra layers of keyboards and even female vocals! Yes, that’s right, gone is the tried and tested formula that carried them since the mid-'70s. With their new studio album, a whole new world of possibilities and dynamics has exploded right before our eyes. If you haven’t heard Power Up
yet, just imagine how much better Rock or Bust
could have been with a few neoclassical Jens Johansson-style keyboard solos sprinkled here and there or a ballad vocal duet a la Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey. You don’t think that Brian Johnson can pull it off? Just wait and see.
But let’s be serious. You can’t possibly expect Power Up
to be any different than the other 10 AC/DC albums with Brian Johnson on vocals. This is the same high voltage, toe-tapping, sleazy boogie rock that if you don’t like, chances are that you’re close to giving up hard rock altogether at some point soon. Malcolm Young may have ascended to Valhalla, but his presence is still felt, as all tracks come from unreleased material written by him and Angus, mostly during the Black Ice
era. “Witch’s Spell” emits strong “Hold Me Back” vibes and “Demon Fire” could have easily been part of Ballbreaker
. However, there’s no point comparing new with old material, as, in all honesty, the only difference here, is that no song title contains the word “rock”, for the first time since 1985 and Fly on the Wall
. Therefore, if the real question is how successfully has the AC/DC formula been implemented here, the answer is pretty well. Fans of the band will have a blast for as long as this one lasts, feel proud for the old boys, and probably revisit it very rarely in the future.
At the end of the day, though, Power Up
is not just about the music, it’s about perseverance and determination. It’s about never giving up, regardless of what life throws on you, old age, deteriorating health, or even death. And we can sit here all day and debate whether a “new” album by these veteran rockers has any real raison d’être. But guess what, AC/DC will release new music as long as they like, not only because they can, but because after all the years, the success, and sales, they are still blue-collar.