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!

From left to right: Brian Johnson (former lead vocalist), Malcolm Young (former rhythm guitarist), Angus Young (lead guitarist), Phil Rudd (former drummer), and Cliff Williams (former bassist)

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

Take care and see ya real soon!

Lana

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

Add yours

    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!

      Liked by 1 person

  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!

      Liked by 1 person

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