Man, I’ve loved AC/DC ever since I was introduced as a little kid to Back in Black. The band was one of my first initiations to the hard rock and heavy metal genres. Angus Young was one of my primary influences for picking up a guitar and learning how to play. There was just something about the bare-bone simplicity of the music that just immediately clicked with me as a child. Even though my tastes have much evolved over the past years, their style has never seemed to have drastically lost its initial impact it left on me long ago. They were and still are one of my favorite bands of all time.
So if the following review comes of as hardcore fanboy praise, I apologize in advance to the reader.
The year 1976 saw Australian’s own AC/DC releasing their second international album titled Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. While I do not think that the album is their best by any means, it is still overall very satisfying and comes packaged with some great tracks that remain some the best of the band’s massive catalogue of over 30 years.
The album immediately kicks of with the hard rocking title track “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. The music is fantastically driving, and nearly every listen can always put me in a good mood regardless of the circumstances. The dark humored lyrical content involves a hired hitman who takes care of his dirty work at reasonably low rates (thus, dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap); just dial 36-24-36 (there’s a joke in there somewhere). It also includes one of the better Angus Young solos I’ve heard in a song. Sure everybody knows the song, but frankly, who cares? It is one of their best of all time in my opinion.
Next is the much lesser known “Love At First Feel.” It’s got a bluesy-style guitar riff to it that you may come to find in other AC/DC tracks. My opinions of the track are that it’s structure is very well put together and, like the previous track, it has a BA guitar solo. However, as a whole, I wasn’t incredibly blown away. It’s definitely not throwaway material, but no matter which way you slice it, it does not equal up to some other tracks. Next is the humorously titled “Big Balls,” which might as well not even say that it’s using clever innuendo; everybody knows what Bon Scott’s really talking about. Even though it only clocks in at two-and-a-half minutes, it leaves you with both the feeling of listening to a good rock track and unrefined dirtiness.
The fourth track, “Rocker”, is equally as short in length, but it doubly fast-paced (possibly the fastest track by the group). The track offers great performances by Bon Scott and the two Young brothers. Even as uneventful as bass and drums usually are for AC/DC, they are at least a little bit amped up for the track. Overall, “Rocker” is a decent listening experience. Now begins the streak of much longer tracks with “Problem Child.” The song’s got a groove that is hard to resist and guitar work that is more complex than usual. All performances here fit together very well no matter how simplistic any of them are. Also included is not one solo, but TWO solos by Angus. “Problem Child” is a fun listen all around and I still love it to this day.
“There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’” is another blues rock number that in my opinion is better than “Love at First Feel.” Its coarse tone sounds like a song that would be played by a band in a small bar, but that is not criticism at all. The way I look at it, AC/DC is the ultimate bar band because of their easygoing style and the standard hard rock lyrical fare. The track, though a little short and leaving more to be desired, is still a good listen. Next is the longest track on the album (a whopping seven-minutes), stating at the beginning “the following is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.” “Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire)” describes that the hard road to being a successful rockstar is not all a walk in the park, which shares the same theme as another AC/DC track “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll).” The first four minutes are slower in tempo but equally punching as any other track, but right after that mark transforms into an upbeat variation on the previous riff while Bon and company chant the title over and over. This song I can assume is not for everyone, but for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the track.
The final track is “Squealer,” a grimmer feeling track from the band. The song begins very quietly with pretty much just Bon singing some lyrics and the bass repeating a bass line. Eventually, the song becomes heavier and the rocking riffage comes through. The entire song has an addictive groove that always gets me. I know you’re probably getting sick of me talking about solos, but this track has an extremely well-crafted one that goes on basically until the song and album ends. This song got stuck in my head several times during the reviewing process, which in this case automatically signals it as a good track for myself.
Even though Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap has only nine tracks and clocks in at under forty minutes, it is still a must-have for AC/DC fans if only for it’s numerous standout tracks it brings to the table. While Back in Black still holds a soft spot in my heart for introducing me to one of my favorite acts ever, Dirty Deeds definitely deserves some deliberation (try saying that three times fast).
Top 3: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Big Balls, Problem Child