Thursday, August 15, 2013

AC/DC - Flick of the Switch

Today (August 15th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Flick of the Switch, the eighth world-wide released studio album from hard rock band AC/DC. A Platinum seller in the band's native Australia and here in the US, it charted at number 28 in Switzerland, number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 12 in Canada, number 9 in Austria, number 8 in New Zealand and Sweden, number 5 in France, number 4 in Norway and the UK, and number 3 in Australia.

Side one opens with the thumping drums of Phil Rudd on "Rising Power", showing us that the Australian band is on the warpath for another rocking good time.

I like how the guitars from Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams ring out like an alarm on "This House Is on Fire".

The second single released was also the title track. "Flick of the Switch" went to number 26 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

"Nervous Shakedown", with its heavy, methodical grinding rhythm, charted at number 35 in the UK.

The rapid-fire "Landslide", the B-side to the first single, buries the first half of the record. Lead singer Brian Johnson has no problem though keeping up with the pace of his bandmates.

Side two blazes in with "Guns for Hire", the first single. It charted at number 84 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 37 in the UK and on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

"Deep in the Hole" describes being trapped in a relationship.

On "Bedlam in Belgium”, the lyrics describe a concert that was pre-empted due to some local turmoil.

The B-side to the second single was "Badlands", a bluesy rock number that likens the dating scene to a desolate, no-holds-barred western landscape.

"Brain Shake" closes things out.

One thing about AC/DC is that the band is consistent in their sound. If you put on Flick of the Switch, you know exactly what you are going to get - balls-to-the-wall heavy rock that sound great with the stereo cranked up.

For the band’s 1978 album Powerage, click here.

For 1980’s Back In Black, click here.

1 comment:

HERC said...

After going multi-platinum with each of the three albums made with super-producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange, AC/DC decided to get back to basics and produced their next album Flick Of The Switch themselves. In interviews after the album's release, they said they were happy with the results. Judging by the sales figures, their fans were not happy at all with the results - it is among their lowest selling albums; especially disappointing when the previous three albums - Highway To Hell (1979), Back In Black (1980) and For Those About To Rock (1981) - have cumulatively sold more than 30 million copies in the United States alone.

Like a million other U.S. AC/DC fans, I bought Flick Of The Switch upon it's release and like just about every other fan, I was very disappointed. In the enusing years, many fans have changed their tune regarding this album, citing it as one of the band's best, but not HERC. Only one song stands out from the rest on this one for me: "Guns For Hire".

The band's subsquent tours support the fact that the album's songs were not fan or even band favorites: on the Flick Of The Switch tour immediately following the release of the album, only three of the album's songs showed up in the average 16 song setlist from the tour: "Guns For Hire" (which opened nearly every show on that tour), "This House Is On Fire" and "Flick of the Switch". In fact, none of the album's songs were ever performed live again after that initial tour. I saw them in October 1983 at a venue which has since been converted to a dirt track for off-road motorsports.

Critic David Fricke noted in Rolling Stone that the band had "now made the same album nine times" and "if you've heard one AC/DC album, you've heard them all" yet still gave it a three star rating. Flick Of The Switch gets two stars from me and that's only because I had an extra star lying around. There would be worse albums to come from the band but this one remains the most disappointing for this fan.