This was the final AC/DC album before their original vocalist Bon Scott tragically died in 1980. It is a strong album, and although is often not seen as good as Back In Black, this review may prove otherwise. Let’s take a look at the music here, and see how it sounds.
We begin with the awesome title track Highway To Hell which is fantastic from the start, with that iconic opening guitar riff, leading into the song itself. AC/DC sound like they are on a mission to tell people a musical journey of sorts. Regardless, this is a really excellent song, and sets the theme for the entire album. The guitar work in particular here is really superb. The song itself is about Canning Highway from Bon Scott’s home city Perth, an interesting sub note. Great song though.
Next is Girls Got Rhythm which is a faster and slightly more upbeat song about chicks who enjoy have a good time. Once again, this song is really superb, showcasing a simple and constructive approach to rock music. This is really great music, sounds like it could be cranked on the radio today, regardless of its age. The guitar solo by Angus Young is fantastic here too. All in all, a crazy and upbeat song.
Walk All Over You comes next, with its riff heavy intro. It is very much hard rock territory here. It then goes into the lead guitar break of the song, which is awesome. This is a more unusual sounding AC/DC song, but is still as good as the best songs that the band could pump out. A tempo change in the middle accommodates the guitar solo here, sounding great, fresh and inspired. Angus Young plays his heart out here, proving to be a truly great guitarist in the history of rock music. Bon Scott goes into turbo mode towards the end, showcasing himself as a great singer and showman.
Touch Too Much is about some explicit sexual topics, but is an interesting listen regardless. Although AC/DC’s music is very simple, it is a really awesome listening experience. The song itself is a strange listen about masturbation based topics with a woman. This is something that the feminists would despise, it is very explicit and out there. Still, another great AC/DC song and fun listening, proving at this point that the group had many great songs up their sleeve. Excellent.
Next is Beating Around The Bush which has a loud rockabilly sort of riff laden intro, before going into a vocal/music call and response sort of song. This is extremely intelligently thought out, most songs these days don’t bother with such intricacies. The guitar solo is fantastic and manic, with Angus Young showing the world he can rock in many ways. Bon Scott and co. put in a fantastic performance. Unforgettable. The outro in particular is amazing.
After that is Shot Down In Flames which is a more straightforward piece by AC/DC about lusting for women who aren’t in the mood for some. Just remember, this was 1979. The sort of macho lyricism here wasn’t exactly unusual at the time, although it is today. It would be heavily frowned upon today. Still, a great song and excellently delivered by AC/DC.
Get It Hot is back to the dirty gutter mind that AC/DC were in at the time. Musically, it is a decent combination of vocals, guitars, bass and drums in an almost syncopated fashion. Lyrically, it is so heavily sexual that one could consider AC/DC heavily sexist. Which is probably the case. Still, an enjoyable and upbeat short listen.
If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) comes next and you can almost see AC/DC making music for pubs filled with cigarette smoke and attitude. Another great song with some excellent guitar riffs to please one, this is really great music to hear, even at this point way into the future. A superb and consistent listening experience, quite like no other. The guitar solo is very Led Zeppelin, but is still AC/DC through and through. Great listen. Musically, although dead simple, this music is highly enjoyable. Great song.
Next is Love Hungry Man which sounds like something Spinal Tap would name for a song. Regardless, although it is a lesser cut, it still shines through as a good piece. The riff in the song’s breakdown is really fantastic. AC/DC were setting themselves up for success here, and you can easily hear why. A really super effort, it sounds excellent still to this day. It is somewhat repetitive, but still a good song. It gets really loud towards the end, finishing before you know it.
Last is Night Prowler sounds like the anthem for sexual predators, seriously. You cannot imagine otherwise. It is a great listen all the same, and the chorus in particular is super catchy. It is a great way to finish off a top album. The guitar solo, once again, is brilliant. Although AC/DC all play well here, Angus Young in particular deserves credit for keeping these tracks alive. Great job boys. Awesome listening.
Although the sexual overtone and loud rock feel of the record may seem very dated in retrospect, it is an excellent listen and certainly seems as though AC/DC were on track to go Back In Black. This is the best Bon Scott AC/DC album as well. It’s sad that he died shortly afterwards, this is a great album that deserves credit where due.