Blow Up Your Video



by PsychicChris USER (492 Reviews)
March 22nd, 2023 | 2 replies

Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: AC/DC’s “almost there” album

As the eighties went on, AC/DC seemed to be growing more out of step with the heavy rock climate. The group remained an institution on the live front but beyond a commercial shot in the arm provided by the Who Made Who compilation, the band’s many acolytes seemed to be beating them at their own game. While they were likely just going about business as usual with 1988’s Blow Up Your Video, the decision to bring back the production team of elder brother George Young and Harry Vanda for the first time since Powerage suggests a subconscious desire to reach back to their glory days.

Things certainly start off smoothly with the one-two punch of “Heatseeker” and “That’s the Way I Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll.” The former just might be one of the Johnson era’s best songs with its ’the nuclear missile is my cock’ lyrics and a sped-up blues strut that’s just a hair away from heavy metal. The latter mixes in some fifties rock-isms in its lyrics and guitar/vocal trade-offs without sounding out of place. I must admit these could’ve used just a little more fire, but the guitar crunch and echoed vocals coming off with more conviction feel like they learned the right lessons from Fly on the Wall and Who Made Who.

Subsequent songs offer the mix of stealth highlights and fillers that have come to be expected at this point though with a more balanced delivery than the last couple batches. “Go Zone” is a standout with an especially tight mid-tempo groove and “Kissin’ Dynamite” walks the fun-stupid tightrope with its gruff but catchy vocal hooks but comes out endearing.

Tracks like “Ruff Stuff” and “Two’s Up” throw on some lighter flavor with more melodic hooks, the former feels like a Van Hagar castoff without the synths but the latter works off the Who Made Who playbook quite nicely. The closing “This Means War” is also noteworthy as its aggressive shuffle is a palette cleanse that comes close to tapping into that old fervor.

Overall, Blow Up Your Video is a very ’almost there’ album in the greater context of AC/DC’s trajectory. On one hand, the songwriting is at its most level since the For Those About to Rock days and the production might be at its best since Back in Black. On the other, it doesn’t have the massive singles or electrifying edge to qualify as an earnest comeback. Such turnaround was just around the corner but the band was treading water for now.

Depending on how you look at it, this is either just another AC/DC album or secretly one of their most underrated. It gives me a similar sort of brain fog as Flick of the Switch though I usually find myself enjoying it more than I remember whenever I try it out again. If it’s been a while for you, it might not be a bad idea to give it a revisit.

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user ratings (483)
other reviews of this album
TommyT (4)
Raucous, raw, hard rocking and criminally underrated....

Pedro B. (1.5)

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 23rd 2023


Album Rating: 4.0

Super underrated; this is actually one of my favorite AC/DC albums. Sure there are a few duds, but tracks like That's the Way I Wanna Rock n Roll, Two's Up, and This Means War are among my favorite tracks from the band.

March 28th 2023


Album Rating: 4.0

^^ Totally agreed, always loved this one, among my first vinyls as well. Great write up again Chris, pos'd.

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