AC/DC’s ‘Flick of the Switch’ Is a Raw Masterpiece | Album Review

AC/DC’s Flick of the Switch (1983) was their eighth studio album released internationally and their ninth album released in Australia. Besides being the third AC/DC album to feature Brian Johnson on vocals, it was also the final one to feature drummer Phil Rudd before his eleven-year departure from the band. The previous three albums got produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange. But for Flick of the Switch, AC/DC decided to part ways with Lange in an attempt to recapture their raw sound and go back to the basics. 

The main riff for “Rising Power” is insanely catchy, I enjoyed the chorus, and despite not being my favorite guitar solo of Angus Young, I thought it was a great way to kick-off the album. I wasn’t a fan of “Flick of the Switch” the first time I listened to it, but after a few listens, I think it’s one of the best tracks on the album, hence being the title track. “Nervous Shakedown” is one of the rare slower tempo songs in AC/DC’s catalog; the slower tempo meant more emphasis on the backing vocals, another common distinction on the album. It’s a shame they never performed this live on the respective tour because it’s got a good groove.

“Landslide” was Rudd’s time to shine. It’s a simple beat, but if you don’t keep up with the tempo, you’re screwed! Rudd stepped up to the challenge and delivered for sure! “Guns for Hire” was the set opener for the tour supporting the album. If the song is loud and has a good beat, I like it! “Deep in the Hole” is good old rock ‘n’ roll, and you can’t help but praise Johnson’s screeching vocals.

“Bedlam in Belgium” was inspired by their 1977 show in Kontich, Belgium, that escalated in chaos after police tried to stop the show because the band ignored the strict 11 p.m. curfew. You know, when Rudd starts tapping that hi-hat, he means serious business! “Badlands” stands out for numerous reasons: the lyrics, the main riff, and the groovy drums. But another reason being Angus’ guitar solo because he plays a slide guitar. If you thought he was a nasty guitar player before, wait till you hear this! “Brain Shake” closed off the album with justice.

Malcolm Young said that Flick of the Switch got put together quickly and was a bit rushed. Remember, the band had no producer, but they had the help of engineer Tony Platt. I’m happy with the result, though, because there are no bad songs on the album. Yes, the songwriting lacks that magic touch, but it’s still AC/DC! I think because 80s hair metal came into place, that’s why the album never charted as high as it should’ve. If released in the 90s, maybe Flick of the Switch would’ve done better, but who knows. 

Since this was Rudd’s last album with the band until Ballbreaker (1995), this is something to treasure because the following three albums would lack the flavor he brought to AC/DC. Keep that in mind!

Let me know your favorite track from Flick of the Switch in the comments below!

Take care and see ya real soon!

Lana

16 thoughts on “AC/DC’s ‘Flick of the Switch’ Is a Raw Masterpiece | Album Review

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    1. Thank you so much destroyerofharmony, I really appreciate it! “Rising Power” is an amazing song; AC/DC needs to play more songs from that album if there’s a slight possibility of them doing one last tour! I love your username by the way, really badass!

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  1. Mr. Buried on Mars said to check this review out.
    This is my favorite Johnson fronted AC/DC album. The rawness that you write speaks for itself that is perhaps the charm. No polish just rough around the edges throughout.
    Favorite song? Nervous Shakedown maybe? but tomorrow it would be another track!
    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! The toughness and raw power in Brian’s voice on that album give it a whole new meaning and you can hear the backing vocals of Malcolm and Cliff much clearer. “Nervous Shakedown” is a banger! Cheers to you my friend!

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  2. There is ZERO question my favourite song on this album is Landslide. I have been fortunate enough to have seen them 6 times live. They are my favourite band EVER! Stiff Upper Lip isn’t my favourite album, but it is my favourite concert of all time, not just by them!!!!!

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    1. “Landslide” is awesome! What years did you see AC/DC live? Yeah, the Stiff Upper Lip era was great. I have ‘Stiff Upper Lip Live’ and I loved the setlist. There was so much energy on that tour.

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  3. I loved the title track Flick of the Switch. I agree wholeheartedly. The first time you hear Flick of the Switch you’re like “holy crap, what the hell is that?” I didn’t like it either until I played it again and again and again. Each time I fell more in love. Why? Because Angus ripped that guitar to smitherines on the leading notes and continued throughout the track. I know these days with these death metal bands something like that they can pull at a moment’s notice but it was not ACDC like we know it. They fell off the reservation ladies and generation. I play it frequently even though Back in Black is my favorite track because Flick of the Switch is like Back in Black’s wicked raw 3rd cousin.

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    1. Yep, that’s AC/DC! Powerful and rocking! Yeah, Angus nailed it on lead guitar, but Malcolm was playing the foundation of the song. Both were a force to be reckon with. Rest in peace, Mal! I love “Flick of the Switch” more than “Back in Black,” actually. Partially because the latter is overplayed, but also because “Flick of the Switch” was so mean and unlike anything you’ve ever heard of! Thanks for reading, Joshua!

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