Ok that was a bit of an exaggeration, but it did get you to click on this review, right? I was going to do a review on Queen’s first album, but after a trip to the Book Off at Pearlridge this past Friday, those plans changed. I scored four kickass albums, including AC/DC’s High Voltage (1976). The best part was that the album was only $7!!! What a deal, right? I played it as soon as I got home, and I thought, “why don’t I review this album?” Queen can wait, so here we go!
Here’s a little background before we begin this review. I bought the 2003 remastered CD as part of the AC/DC Remasters series. High Voltage features tracks from their first two albums, High Voltage and T.N.T., both released in 1975 and only in Australia. “She’s Got Balls” and “Little Lover” are from High Voltage (1975). While “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll),” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer,” “The Jack,” “Live Wire,” “T.N.T.,” “Can I Sit Next to You Girl,” and “High Voltage” are from T.N.T. (1975).
Here’s a funny story, when I first heard “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)” about two years ago, I hated it! I thought the chorus was lame and that there weren’t many words to the song, which is true. But it grew on me once I learned how important it was in the early Bon Scott years. I respect Brian Johnson for never performing the song live ever! Plus, whoever heard of a rock ‘n’ roll band that incorporated bagpipes in their music? “Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer” took a while for me to enjoy as well, but it’s loud, and the guitars sound great, so I’m happy! I like the message of it; stick to your guts and be a rock ‘n’ roll singer.
“The Jack” is fascinating because the lyrics AC/DC used in concerts are way better than the ones used for the studio version. I mean with the King, Queen, and holding a pair thing, like what? Also, Bon Scott’s original lyrics were more explicit than the ones on the album, so I wonder what the original ones were. “Live Wire” is a great track, and I like it better than Mötley Crüe’s “Live Wire” for sure! Two words: Phil Rudd. When he hits his hi-hat, he means serious business! I don’t picture this song with Mark Evans, though; I see Cliff Williams because I’ve only seen live performances of this song with Williams. Nice bass riff too!
“T.N.T.” is a banger, no doubt!!!! When the boys start chanting “oi,” I’m already lost in the song. According to Wikipedia, the chanting was George Young’s idea after hearing Angus Young chanting “oi” to himself. “T.N.T” is one of my top five AC/DC songs ever, so thank you, George Young! “Can I Sit Next to You Girl” sounded cute and innocent with former lead singer Dave Evans, but Scott made the song dirtier if that makes sense? He brought his carefree personality to it, even going as far as softly emphasizing the line, “can I sit next to you, girl.”
“Little Lover” has a good groove, and there’s no harm in it; it’s just a silly love song. “She’s Got Balls” is another fascinating track because I thought the title was weird when I first heard the song about three months ago, but after listening to it for a second time, it’s not as bad as I remember it. Not a typical love song, but that’s AC/DC! “She’s Got Balls” was the first song that the Young brothers and Scott put together, so their songwriting improved overtime thankfully!
The album ended on a high note with “High Voltage.” Thank Angus Young for coming up with the idea to use the chords A, C, D, C for a song because it worked! AC/DC played “High Voltage” on the Rock or Bust tour as well, and Johnson’s energy lit up the stage. But there’s nothing like listening to the original recording with Scott’s vocals and Rudd’s drums.
Most music journalists find AC/DC’s sexual lyrics inappropriate; and sick in some ways, but I think it’s hilarious because they’re boys! Let them be boys and let them believe that they’re bad cause they smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and have weird clothing choices because I find it adorable. Please don’t come at me, AC/DC fans!
Overall, I love this album a lot and would blast it again for sure! I remember seeing High Voltage at the Book Off for months; it was there when I bought the Powerage (1978) album back in late May/early June, but I was scared to buy it because I didn’t want to take a huge gamble. After deliberating for so long, I finally decided to buy High Voltage, and I’m glad I did!
Let me know in the comments below your favorite song from High Voltage!
Take care and see ya real soon!