[Review] AC/DC: Powerage (1978)

A merely good album sandwiched in between some great ones, at least in my annoying opinion.

Kronomyth 5.0: The energizer Bonnie.

Sandwiched in between the brilliant Let There Be Rock and Highway To Hell, you’ll find the merely average Powerage. There are AC/DC fans who will tell you this is every bit as powerful as their last or, for that matter, that Flick of the Switch is an underrated masterpiece (among the rank amateurs of Amazon, anyway). And if you believe that all it takes to make a great AC/DC record is to have Angus bang out some power chords and Bon scream his lungs out then, yes, Powerage is a great album. But I would tell you that their greatness rested on more than that. It was the salacious genius of “Big Balls” or the guitar riffs that you would give your soul to write that made AC/DC special.

Powerage is a good rock and roll record, make no mistake. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation,” “Sin City,” “Riff Raff,” “What’s Next To The Moon,” “Down Payment Blues,” they’re all classic AC/DC songs more or less. What’s missing is the knockout punch. Instead, Powerage is more of a TKO, wearing you down over nine rounds of rock and roll. Then again, I’m not your typical AC/DC fan. I like my music sweetened with fantasy and artistry, and barely tolerate the blues. So a song like “Kicked In The Teeth,” which bores me to death, may actually be your bag.

It’s probably some kind of testament to AC/DC’s awesomeness that I like their music as much as I do, although I don’t think it’s possible to dislike their music so much as dislike the idea of liking their music. And if you were trying to annoy those people who do dislike the idea of AC/DC, then the unsweetened energy of Powerage might be the perfect AC/DC album after all.

Original LP Version

A1. Gimme A Bullet
A2. Down Payment Blues
A3. Gone Shootin’
A4. Riff Raff
B1. Sin City
B2. Up To My Neck In You
B3. What’s Next To The Moon
B4. Cold Hearted Man
B5. Kicked In The Teeth

Original LP Version (US)
A1. Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation (3:35)
A2. Down Payment Blues (6:00)
A3. Gimme A Bullet (3:21)
A4. Riff Raff (5:14)
B1. Sin City (4:40)
B2. What’s Next To The Moon (3:28)
B3. Gone Shootin’ (5:04)
B4. Up To My Neck In You (4:10)
B5. Kicked In The Teeth (3:52)

All compositions by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott.

The Players

Phil Rudd (drums), Bon Scott (vocals), Cliff Williams (bass), Angus Young (guitar), Malcolm Young (guitar). Produced by Vanda and Young; engineered by Mark Opitz.

The Pictures

Photography by Jim Houghton. Art direction by Bob Defrin.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and cassette on May 25, 1978 in Australia and New Zealand (Albert, APLP 030), the UK (Atlantic, K50483), the US (Atlantic, SD/CS 19180), Argentina (Atlantic, 83817), Canada (Atlantic, KSD 19180), Germany (Atlantic, ATL 50 483) and Yugoslavia (Suzy, ATL 50483); reached #26 on the UK charts and #133 on the US charts (RIAA certified platinum record).

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1981 in Mexico (Atlantic, LWA-5407).
  2. Re-released on remastered compact disc in October 1994 in the US and Germany (Atco, 92446).
  3. Re-issued on remastered elpee and compact disc on May 5, 2003 in Europe (Epic, 510762) and the US (Epic, E 80204).
  4. Re-packaged with Blow Up Your Video on 2CD in Russia (CD-Maximum, 798154).

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