AC/DC’s ‘Power Up’ is For Mal! | Album Review

Travel back to the Rock or Bust era. Phil Rudd had to face his demons and couldn’t participate in the tour; Brian Johnson had to step out during the fifth leg of the tour or risk hearing loss, and Cliff Williams decided that he had enough. By that point, the only members left were Angus Young and Stevie Young. There have been talks that AC/DC was finally pulling the plug on the rocking machine that Angus and his late brother/founding member Malcolm Young formed back in the early 70s. Flash forward to 2020, where life couldn’t be better (haha covid), the boys gave us Power Up (2020). 

It is the band’s 17th (16th internationally released) studio album. Produced by Brendan O’Brien, Power Up is not only a killer AC/DC record filled with memorable riffs and fun headbanging jams, but it is also a tribute to Mal. 

Rudd’s hi-hat kicks off the album with “Realize.” Great backing vocals from Williams and Stevie Young and Johnson’s voice is clean and polished. It’s clear that Johnson doesn’t take “Rejection” lightly, and neither do the rest of the guys. With Rudd’s solid groove and the Youngs’ synergy, these guys know how to kick a**! “Shot in the Dark” is an AC/DC classic! It’s not their best, but it brings familiarity, and you know it’s them by listening to the opening riff. There is a subtle bass riff in there too, which makes me appreciate the song even more. 

“Through the Mists of Time” is the best song the boys have released in years! It took on a new meaning once fans started using it in tribute videos for Mal. Have you ever heard of an emotional roller coaster ride? “Kick You When You’re Down” has a funky vibe to it. Oh yeah, the bass turned up, drums kick in, and Stevie Young delivers the goods. 

“Witch’s Spell” is another headbanging classic, and Stevie’s guitar pierces the whole way through. Where did they come up with these titles, by the way? “Witch’s Spell,” “Through the Mists of Time,” and “Realize”? Who knows! “Demon’s Fire” has a similar vibe to “Safe in New York City” because the human metronome doesn’t miss a beat, and it features a riff from Satan himself. Does AC/DC have a “Wild Reputation”? “Oh yeah”! Nah, but I found it adorable how they were trying to be bad boys.

Just like “Witch’s Spell,” Stevie’s guitar pierces the whole way through on “Systems Down.” What is the anecdote on “Money Shot”? Only a brilliant guitar solo by Angus and his nephew leading the rhythm section. Once again, Rudd’s hi-hat is in full swing on “Code Red,” Johnson wails up a storm, and it has a Led Zeppelin type of vibe.

Overall, Power Up is so current and just what 2020 needed! The backing vocals were spot-on; Rudd brought simple but effective drumming, and Johnson howled like there’s no tomorrow! Stevie showed his chops, Angus ran wild, and Williams did his best to stay out of Angus’ way (while still having his moments). The boys returned, paid their dirty deeds, and survived every obstacle the world threw at them, proving that nothing could stop the AC/DC train! I’d rank this album 4 out of 5 stars.

Let me know in the comments below what your favorite song is from Power Up

Take care and see ya real soon!

Lana

37 thoughts on “AC/DC’s ‘Power Up’ is For Mal! | Album Review

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      1. No, it was high up on my Christmas list, and I didn’t get it here from family. Our Christmas with my lovely wife’s Christmas was postponed thanks to Covid so I’m waiting til that happens to see if I need to get my own copy. No biggie, it’s not going anywhere, there’ll be a copy for me one way or the other!

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      2. As Canadians, we always forget how big our space is compared to many others. Like, I learned you could fit about 13 Germanys into Ontario, just one of our provinces here. Anyway. An hour and a half, to us, isn’t that far at all.

        I know visiting is tough, these days, but I wish beyond wishing that I could visit any of my grandparents now, no matter how far the drive, but they’re all gone now. So, if I may, I’d say that if there’s a safe way to visit, a half hour drive is doable anytime you can, as often as you can, and then a few more times extra as well. If not, phone of FaceTime or something, anything you can do.

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      3. Yikes 13 Gemanys in Ontario? Canada is huge!

        Yeah now that you’ve mentioned it, I haven’t seen my grandma since last year. My dad visits my grandma every week, sadly I do homework the days he visits. I suppose I could go with my dad on some days when he visits. I’m sorry your grandparents aren’t alive anymore. I lost three grandparents within the same year or two and it’s sad that I only have one grandparent left. With covid, it’s even more hard now.

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      4. Ha yeah, Canada is the world’s 2nd largest country, by area. We have a wee bit of space here. Just for fun, I looked up size difference between Hawaii and Canada:

        Hawaii is approximately 16,635 sq km, while Canada is approximately 9,984,670 sq km, making Canada 59,922% larger than Hawaii. Roughly 600x bigger! πŸ™‚

        My family stayed close to grandparents. Man, I’d love to talk to them all today, and introduce them to my kids (only my Dad’s Mom ever met them). We make sure our kids know their grandparents well too. It’s beyond important, I think, to maintain that love and respect and care and connection!

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      5. Woah thanks for researching the size difference between Hawaii and Canada. I knew Hawaii was small, but I didn’t know it was that small compared to your home area. I’m from Oahu and it’s the biggest out of the eight Hawaiian islands. Oahu is only 597 sq km.

        Awww that’s sweet and cool that you’re helping your kids know their history and where they came from. I’m grateful for the time I had with my grandparents before three of them passed away. Though I showed resentment for my grandma on my mom’s side for quite some time and now that she’s been gone for a little over 5 years, I regret it. Regardless of what they did or if they’re not easy to get along with, family is important. That is a lesson I have to remind myself of everyday.

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      6. That must’ve been all of Hawaii, then, because Canada is roughly 9.98 million sq km, so if you dived that by your roughly 600 sq km on Oahu, that gives you Canada being 16,633x larger. Now, just Ontario, my home province, have 908,607 sq km area, so that would be 1514 Oahus. This is fun!

        We’re definitely making sure the kids know their grandparents. They’ve already lost one, too. Resentment is tough, but time runs out. I hope you at least were able to work things out a bit before she went. You’re right, though: Family is most important, bar none.

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      7. Oh gosh and I thought California was big compared to Hawaii lol. Indeed, I never realized how small Oahu was until now.

        Sadly I never did and I don’t even remember the last thing I said to her. So, there’s that. At least I have better memories of her now cause I remember what she did for me and my sisters, rather than my annoyance with her.

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      8. I’d still love to see Oahu some day. So many place I’d love to see on this Earth. Do you surf? I know that’s a stereotypical question to ask but I was just curious if you’d caught the bug for it.

        I’m glad you remember the good things too. Carry those with you, honour the memory. πŸ™‚

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      9. Oh Oahu is beautiful, despite the size. Honestly, other than the food, Hawaii doesn’t suit me. I hate the beach (no surfing for me), don’t care for hiking, I’m not into the whole local scene, and we hardly get good concerts. Bon Jovi and Def Leppard came here, but I missed them. I’m guessing you never surfed either?

        Thanks, I will!

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      10. I have not ever surfed, no, though we did boogie board one day in Mexico. Still the Pacific Ocean so that counts, right? πŸ˜‰

        If Hawaii doesn’t suit you, where would you prefer to be? Or is Hawaii home and you can visit other places?

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      11. I think that counts lol! Boogie boarding is the closest thing I ever got to surfing. But you’ve been to Mexico, so you win!

        I’d much rather be in California. When I visited Orange County for Disneyland, I fell in love with all the scenery and the food. But also it looks like a fun place to live. California is also a great place for concerts. I’d like to move there one day, but I’m worried how I would survive without a car because I don’t think I’ll get my license anytime soon.

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      12. Yeah we were in Mexico once, for one week, I’m no expert. The Pacific did try to break my back (literally), though, so I was cautious about it overall.

        California would be awesome. It’s a bit messed up, in some ways, right now, but I’m sure most people are just living their lives. It would be tough without a car, as my understanding goes, but maybe you could work out a circle of living/working that didn’t much require it. Google Maps is your friend! πŸ™‚ My lovely wife had two offers to work in California (among other places) years ago, when Bush Jr was still president, in San Bernadino and Napa Valley. She opted to stay in Canada, but it might’ve been interesting nonethless.

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      13. Yikes! Yeah the ocean is rough. I almost drowned because of it.

        Yeah I’m always staying up to date with Disneyland and the state of California, so I know things are bad there especially with the covid cases. I have tickets for Harry Styles in Vegas in September, but we’ll see if that happens. Yeah I could always uber, but costs can add up. I’ve seen Napa Valley on TV and it is beautiful. But if you moved to Canada, then you wouldn’t have been able to visit Mike often.

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      14. Yup, the ocean was lovely until it wasn’t.

        If we’d moved to California, we’d have left everyone behind. It’s a whole story (she had job offers in the States, in CA and OR, a chance to do a second MA and job offers in Canada besides). We wanted to start a family so we came back closer to home. And here we are.

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      15. Good memory! Yes, I’ve lived two years in Montreal, four years in Saskatoon, and several places in Ontario before all that. We’ve also travelled other places (to visit), like Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Halifax… So much more I still want to see, here, too!

        Liked by 2 people

      16. Yup, Saskatoon is a major city in the province of Saskatchewan. Lovely place, really. Tries to kill you in the winter, but hey, otherwise we liked it. πŸ˜‰

        Canada is vast. You could travel and see everywhere. It’s often been a dream of mine to fly to either coast, rent a car, and then just drive to the other end, stopping where we wanna stop, do what we wanna do, see what we wanna see, etc. It would take months! Especially if we went north into the territories (which I would want to do). Might have to break the country in half and do it in two summers. A great retirement project.

        Liked by 2 people

      17. There’s a word more complicated than Saskatoon? Saskatoon and Saskatchewan, who came up with these place names?

        Ah Justin Bieber is from Stratford, Ontario so I’m only a little familiar with that side of Canada. That would be a fun trip to visit all over the place. Would be expensive and tiring though if the trip could take months.

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      18. Native North Ameicans came up with those names (from their languages, of course). Oughta be like home: Lots of place names in Hawaii that are a bit of a trick for the tongue too!

        Saskatchewan: “The name of the province comes from the Cree name for the Saskatchewan River, β€œKisiskatchewanisipi” or β€œswift-flowing river.” The modern spelling was adopted in 1882 when the area became a district of the North West Territories (it would later become a province in 1905).”

        We went to Stratford, to see a play at the Festival. They even have a tourist map, all of Beiber’s fave pizza joints or whatever. I sent one to James.

        You could travel for a lifetime and never get tired of seeing Canada. So much gorgeous. And even if you’d been somewhere cool before, going back is fine too! Just go around and around!

        Liked by 1 person

      19. Yeah I’m sorry that was rude of me to say that when I can’t even pronounce some of the places and rulers of Hawaii.

        Oh Kisiskatchewanisipi river, does it still exist?

        Yeah Stratford had those buildings for Shakespear festivals, if I remember correctly.

        Ok you say the scenery is nice in Canada, but how is the food there? Besides the fish.

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      20. Ha not rude, just honest. I can remember a pilot mispronoucing Saskatoon as we were landing there one time, and he was probably a Canuck.

        I’m sure that name still applies but if I remember correctly, the river splits at Prince Albert and at Saskatoon it’s called the South Saskatchewan River now. Here’s more than you need to know! πŸ™‚

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Saskatchewan_River

        Yup, the Festival is a huge deal in Stratford. So many amazing actors and performances there, over the decades.

        Food? Canada is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world. Depending on where you are and what you’re looking to eat, you ought to find a lot of tasty things! Most people eat fairly boringly, I’m sure. What would you try?

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  1. Such a great album, I pulled it out a couple weeks ago and played it again and Through the Mist of Time is the standout for sure. Love that song. Love the whole album which is why it was my #3 album of last year. Great review Lana.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely worth the wait and hooray I can hear the bass on this album! I’ll need to listen to it tonight. I agree, if the boys don’t play “Through the Mists of Time” on their next tour (whenever the heck that may be), I’m going to have a serious talk with Angus! I’m glad you enjoyed the review John, thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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