AC/DC, “Play Ball” from Rock or Bust (2014): One Track Mind

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A little more than 40 years into their careers, Aussie rockers AC/DC have made a bold new statement, releasing a track that takes their music in directions never before imagined and combines new influences and techniques for a rich, stunning soundscape.

Just kidding.

They’ve released their song again.

It comes ahead of a new record, Rock or Bust, which will likely feature 11 slightly different versions of that song.

“Play Ball” is, essentially, what most hardcore AC/DC fans probably want and expect. And isn’t that really the only audience still buying their records at this point? It’s a basic three-chord rock tune with a not-at-all veiled double entendre — pretty much what they’ve been doing at least since 1980’s Back in Black, when vocalist Brian Johnson joined up. They’re nothing if not reliable.

There is a little bit of drama tied up in the recording and release of Rock or Bust, with the absence of rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who it has recently been revealed is suffering from dementia. While his presence may be missed in the live setting, the recorded AC/DC sounds the same as ever.

I’ve always said you really only need two AC/DC albums: Pick your favorite from the Bon Scott era and your favorite from the Brian Johnson era, and you’re covered. Nothing about “Play Ball” makes me revise that opinion.

Call it boring or uncreative, and you’d be correct, but it works for them and always has. Their fans know exactly what they’re getting for their hard-earned dollars, and judging by the packed houses the band plays to on tour, they’re happy with that. For my part, I’ll just keep on listening to Dirty Deeds and Back in Black.

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse
Fred Phillips

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