For my last AC/DC review, I gave my thoughts on Ballbreaker (1995), now I’ll be looking at Stiff Upper Lip (2000). I bought the Stiff Upper Lip album in June/July; it’s all a blur now. The point is, we’re here, and I’m ready to share my thoughts on the band’s 14th (13th internationally released) studio album.
“Stiff Upper Lip” started the album off on a high note. Why did AC/DC stop playing this song live? I have no idea. I love how it starts with the riff and Brian Johnson singing in his lower register, then the rest of the band comes in, and Johnson screams away! It’s a great tune to blast in your car, and it’s one of my favorite AC/DC songs; it’s so good! “Meltdown” has a good groove, courtesy of Phil Rudd on drums and the Young brothers’ bluesy guitar riffs. Toward the last 20 seconds, I love how Rudd plays quarter notes on the kick drum; that was a nice touch.
The chorus in “House of Jazz” is catchy, and overall, I love how blues-oriented this album is. George Young (Mal and Angus’ older brother) did a fantastic job producing the album. Angus Young delivers the goods, solo-wise. The riff to “Hold Me Back” reminds me of “Sink the Pink,” which turned me off a bit because of the horrific music video that came with it. Rudd’s groove made it manageable to indulge. It gets a bit repetitive hearing “can’t hold me back” over and over again, so be prepared for that. Now, speaking of repetitiveness, there’s something so annoying about hearing “I feel safe in New York City” sung over and over again. I know it’s supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but no, I’m sorry. Once again, Rudd made the track bearable to indulge.
The second half of the album got better with “Can’t Stand Still.” It’s another killer headbanger, and Malcolm Young does a rare guitar solo, another reason to love that track. I can’t explain it, but there’s something unique about the main riff; I don’t know if it’s cause Angus plays the fretboard differently, but I don’t know. “Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” speaks for itself, nothing unusual about that one. “Satellite Blues” is made to perfection, enough said. Fun fact, I’ve been singing the chorus wrong this entire time; I thought it was “in the satellite blues,” but it’s actually “new satellite blues.” I guess that’s what happens when I don’t look at the lyrics right away, haha.
“Damned,” besides having one of the best song titles ever written, the track contains the funniest AC/DC lyrics I’ve ever heard (“I’ll make a monkey outta you”). Also, why not call this post “Lana Praising Phil Rudd’s Drumming;” because that’s what I’m doing. It’s a blues-oriented album, so it has to have a good beat (and a good hi-hat). Thank you, Phil Rudd, for delivering straight to the point, hard-rocking drum parts! “Come and Get It” features impeccable playing by the Young brothers, but the best part is when Johnson sings “come and get it,” and Malcolm Young repeats that line. I think that’s Malcolm; correct me if I’m wrong.
I mentioned my problem with repetitiveness before, but I like “All Screwed Up,” and it helps that the riff doesn’t bring back memories of another painful AC/DC music video. “Give It Up” has a faster tempo and ended the album on a high note. So it started well and finished well.
However, I’ve noticed that I complimented Brian Johnson, Angus and Malcolm Young, and Phil Rudd, but not Cliff Williams. Why is that? Because I couldn’t hear him (except on “Safe in New York City”). I heard more bass lines on High Voltage (1976) than I did on this one! Maybe I have bad ears for bass players; I’m sorry, Cliff, you know I love you! Phew, glad I got that one off my chest.
I’ve made some complaints about Stiff Upper Lip, but I still think it’s a banger! I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Stiff Upper Lip makes me regret not getting into AC/DC back in 2000, despite only being two-years-old at the time. Plus, for the price I paid, it was worth getting!
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite track is from AC/DC’s Stiff Upper Lip!
Take care and see ya real soon!