Rock or Bust is exactly what you would expect from AC/DC. We’re talking classic, bluesy, Angus Young guitar riffs, gravelly vocals from Brian Johnson, and shamelessly wild lyrics. The boys are back, and oh, how sweet it is.
The anthems on the album are “Play Ball,” “Rock or Bust,” and “Rock the Blues Away.” They have the screeching guitar solos and flare. However, I think the album’s best points are the less obvious tracks. “Rock the House” delivers violently-addictive guitar maneuvering. “Dogs of War” is gritty to its core. It’s an uncompromising fight song—a call to arms.
This album is full of brazenly punchy lyrics (“In rock we trust/ It’s rock or bust”) and clever, fearless guitar riffs. If they aren’t singing about rock and roll, it’s about women. This album could singlehandedly set the women’s rights movement back ten years. But something about the seedy lyrics and rough atmosphere feels right. AC/DC still has yet to pull a Metallica and write a cheesy love ballad to gain more radio time, and for that I respect the band immensely. They know who they are.
These guys are an old-school rock band. This album is exactly like all the others that have come before, and thank god for that. They’re already rock legends—they have no need to reinvent their sound or image. With all the band members in or nearing their 60s, they don’t have the time or the desire to experiment. They’re more focused on staying out of the nursing home so they can tour. At the end of the day, the album is really just an excuse for one last tour. They don’t need the money or the fame. At this point, it’s just a bunch of old guys who love to rock out.
Despite some changes within the band, AC/DC is still touring. Their rhythm guitarist and co-founder, Malcolm Young, is no longer in the band due to dementia and other health issues. In his place is his nephew, Stevie Young, who fits right in at the age of 58. Typically, when one of your band members is suffering from dementia and his replacement is just as old as you are, you decided to hang up the gloves.
Long-time drummer Phil Rudd has also recently gotten himself into legal trouble concerning hiring a hit man, death threats, and drug possession. Somehow all charges have magically disappeared, and he is still scheduled to tour with the rest of the band in the spring. AC/DC is determined not to let little things like dementia and attempted murder stand in the way of their final tour.
AC/DC’s final album is a tribute to their legacy. They’re as electric and explosive as their name implies, even after so many years. When they’re gone, after five decades in the music industry, we’ll all miss them dearly. But for now, we can’t wait to see their final tour.