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10 Underrated AC/DC Songs

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Since their albums sound consistently similar, it’s understandable that most of us don’t have an appreciation for their lesser-known songs.

So, we’re here to help, and, in the spirit of discovery, our 10-song list comes in reverse chronological order to ease you into an appreciation for the small, much-forgotten parts of the legendary AC/DC.

1. 'Sweet Candy', Rock or Bust (2014)

The sultry 2014 album Rock or Bust was the first without founder and guitarist Malcolm Young as well as the band’s highly anticipated return to creating new sounds. Whilst ‘Sweet Candy’ was not billed as a single, it is an excellent example of a fresher AC/DC wherein they move their focus from intense volume towards a more restrained sound. The drums and electric bass are steady and refined. Listen out for the guitar solo at the bridge, does it not remind you of the gliding cries of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’? This, along with the deep harmonisation and throaty singing, is a calmer sample of the hard rock genre.

2. 'She Likes Rock N Roll', Black Ice (2008)

An issue with said rock genre is often the sexism it brings along with it. Yet in ‘She Likes Rock N Roll’ AC/DC remind us that rock isn’t just for men. Whilst the sensualised lyrics about the titular woman perhaps aren’t brilliant cases of equality, it certainly is an empowering song from AC/DC’s fantastic comeback album. The song makes you feel like you’re a leather-donned patron in a dimly lit dive bar off the long dirt track, locking eyes with that special someone rocking the pool table. Maybe it’s worth wondering what the pause between “she likes,” and, “rock and roll” really means to you.

3. 'Money Made', Black Ice (2008)

This Black Ice single is often overlooked for better-known tracks as WWE anthem ‘Spoiling for a Fight,’ and ‘War Machine’. It is somewhat cleaner than the other songs on the album, and Brendan O’Brien’s production value comes into play. Admittedly, for some this song may seem a little flat compared to the other menacing and thrill-seeking guitar riffs of their other works, and yet there is a sense of maturity and experience in the song’s message and tone. It features the monotonous motif “work, work, money made”, a nuanced chorus, and some brilliant lines like “there is no burning out”. AC/DC are here to reflect on our monetary-centric world, and, hopefully, rock the obsession out of us. 

4. 'House of Jazz', Stiff Upper Lip (2000)

Blues and jazz are the inspiration behind this song, just as the title suggests. Stiff Upper Lip is renowned for its rock and blues fusion threading throughout the album, embodied in 'House of Jazz', and was well-received upon release. Listen out for the introductory low and steady drum as it draws you in: so very subdued for AC/DC, it is almost relaxing. The song is a sneer worthy of Elvis Presley, and his cool, confident refrain. 

5. 'Come and Get It', Stiff Upper Lip (2000)

“Burnin' down the road in the night / Don't you scold me, or I'll bite…”

Ever wondered why vampiric characters are always either Vikings or from the 1800s? Because their writers never heard this! ‘Come and Get It’ is the perfect tune to blast in your getaway car, like you, the unexpected anti-hero of our story, race down the back roads of dirt Louisiana. A monotone backing vocal gyrates against the chorus, challenging the encroaching night to bring you down from your power trip.

6. 'Caught with your Pants Down', Ballbreaker (1995)

With an opening that sounds like it was a pre-synthesised demo for Muse, the gentle start is soon replaced by an accusatory cry of “caught with your pants down.” Even if you’re sat in your pyjamas on your sofa, reading Jane Austen, listening to this will make you feel like you were just arrested for public indecency. The strong strum of the guitar in this song is the ideal heartbeat to enable righteous (or less so) anger. Classic rock on full blast.

7. 'Whiskey on the Rocks', Ballbreaker (1995)     

If you’ve ever worked in a bar, you’d recognise the type of person this song invokes. Leaning an elbow on the bar top, wearing a collared shirt, an expensive watch, an air of sophistication, and ready-to-wink scintillating eyes. You can almost hear their order before they say it: whiskey, on the rocks. This song is pure sex and alcohol. The devil himself probably plays the air-drums to this song in hell. But please, drink responsibly. This is rock and roll, not drop and fall. 

8. ‘Got You By The Balls’, The Razors Edge (1990)

Here she is again: the mystical woman of AC/DCs dreams. In this piece, she’s tyranny embodied. ‘Got You By The Balls’ warns a “mister businessman” about a woman after his money, walking all over him. This woman is in charge, the lyrics are very careful to reinforce. It’s a fun song and probably deserves a lot more analysis, but the guitar work and the robust screaming vocals are wild enough induce headbanging. If the style seems more robust, it may be because Bruce Fairbairn produced this album, having previously worked with the likes of Aerosmith and Bon Jovi.

9. ‘Hell or High Water’, Fly on the Wall (1985)

“Superstition / Black cat in a cradle / Dancin' on the table”

‘Hell or High Water’ is a definitive rock and roll tune. It’s EBGDAE chords rack a high-to-low pitch across the neck of the guitar, with repetition creating a well-rounded experience. In collusion with striking guitar solos, the lyrics take an ambient backseat to some impressively steady guitar progressions. It’s an unobtrusive, simple song that is fun to dance to, even if some of the lyrics are a bit unconventional.

1. 'Badlands', Flick of the Switch (1983)

Badass is the easiest way to describe ‘Badlands’. A very impressive guitar solo features in this typical gun-slinging song. The lyrics are an apocalyptic and empty voice of a man driven to find companionship in a harsh terrain. Self-produced Flick of the Switch was an album without Phil Rudd on drums, an absence which is noticeable. This album, despite reaching high in the UK charts, was slated by critics, labelling the album as unformed. ‘Badlands’, however, is the single that shows the raw talent of AC/DC at their very roots and, Rudd or no Rudd, it remains all-encompassing.

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