AC-DC | Backtracks

Columbia (2009)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  November 10, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars

How easy is it to admire AC/DC? First, “tenderness” is not in their vocab: they just might be the only working rock band ideologically opposed to ballads. Shit, even Def Leppard had “Love Bites,” and Ozzy locked slow-dance horns with Lita Ford. Second, in their post–Bon Scott years with Brian Johnson, they’ve rendered entire decades irrelevant.

It doesn’t matter whether an AC/DC track was cut in ’87 or ’08 — they all sound as if they hailed from the same Herculean recording session of some undefined year. To boot, the band’s rarities on display in this two-CD/one-DVD set sound exactly like their beloved album renditions. The Young Bros. and company are nothing if not militaristically consistent. Backtracks collects a handful of Australian bonus tracks, B-sides, and promos, like “Cyberspace.” (You know you want to hear Johnson sing about cyberspace.)

CD2’s smoking live versions are where AC/DC defend their reputation as a well-oiled machine, as oiled up as the jugtastic fembots that permeate the music’s hyper-hetero fantasia. And the band’s testicle-laden metaphorical fodder is brought to life on the DVD’s music videos, which often find them performing in some Mad Max steel cage of rock. If nothing else, I no longer have to bust out my copy of the Last Action Hero soundtrack every time I want to hear “Big Gun.”

Related: Review: The Bad Plus's For All I Care, Photos: Aerosmith, Dropkick Murphys at Comcast Center, Photos: AC-DC at Gillette Stadium, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Music Reviews,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BROWN BIRD | FITS OF REASON  |  March 18, 2013
    Brown Bird, a boundary-pushing Americana duo from Rhode Island, make music that touches upon that can't-put-my-finger-on-it amalgamation of past and future sounds.
  •   NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS | PUSH THE SKY AWAY  |  February 20, 2013
    Much like the similarly low-key The Boatman's Call , Cave's highly anticipated 15th album with the Bad Seeds manages the puzzling feat of making a great band seem inconsequential, if not entirely absent.
  •   SCOTT WALKER | BISH BOSCH  |  November 27, 2012
    Scott Walker's late-period about-face is one of the strangest in the annals of pop music.
    Bill Withers has always been the down-to-earth, odd-man-out of the '70s soul brothers: he's the one who came bearing a lunch box on the cover of his relaxed 1971 debut, Just as I Am .
  •   R.E.M. | DOCUMENT [25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION]  |  September 19, 2012
    Fans of R.E.M. enjoy arguing over which album was the band's true shark-jump, but 1987's Document was inarguably the end of a groundbreaking era.

 See all articles by: ZETH LUNDY