AC/DC – Rock or Bust (2014)

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Earlier in 2014, U2 gave away Songs of Innocence for free over the internet via iTunes. This became somewhat of a marketing fiasco, as it turned out many customers complained they didn’t want it in the first place.

In some think tanks, this was taken to be proof incontrovertible that rock ‘n’ roll as a significant force in pop culture was over. That eulogy was probably premature. It turns out that a more significant release in the rock ‘n’ roll Armageddon sweepstakes is AC/DC’s end of the year release, Rock or Bust.

AC/DC are either the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll rebels that stuck to their guns, or else an aging corporation who rose to the top by feeding the public generic, hi calorie/low nutrition musical filler. At this point, the argument tips positively in their favor: If nothing else, they’ve got to be credited for their longevity and their tenacity in dealing with the loss of long-time writer/rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young.

With 11 songs clocking it at about 35 minutes, Rock or Bust is short — which is good, as previous albums have sometimes taken criticism for being overlong. The tracks were developed from ideas Malcolm and his brother Angus Young were working on before Mal’s departure, and replacement Stevie Young fills his uncle’s place on guitar perfectly.

Best surprise: producer Brendan O’Brien gets singer Brian Johnson’s voice in a perfect spot in the mix, shedding years off his road-worn voice. He sounds like he could sing this kind of material for another decade or so.

Whether it’s the final AC/DC album or not is unknown; still, Rock or Bust should be remembered as one of the better of the band’s latter-day releases. And if it’s the final album in the history of classic rock, well, that’s probably OK too.

JC Mosquito

JC Mosquito

JC Mosquito spends most of his day keeping the wolves from the door. When he's not occupied with this pastime, he's interested in all things rock and roll -- which may or may not have died back in the late 1950s, the late 1970s, or the early '90s, depending on who you believe. Contact Something Else! at [email protected]
JC Mosquito
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