5.0 out of 5 stars Why isn't there more music like this?
There exists today an entire army of reviewers ready to dismiss every AC/DC outing as "the same old thing."
There is no problem with "the same old thing" when the same old thing is simple perfection. By contrast, the last few AC/DC albums have suffered from a bit of an identity crisis; they attempted to layer heavy-handed production on what is...
Published on March 9 2003 by Aron Hsiao
3.0 out of 5 stars Why've gotta stiff upper lip!!
"Why've gotta stiff upper lip...and I shoot from the hip!!"
- Brian Johnson, 2000
That line says it all about this tuff New York band who came from England and Scotland. This is one tuff album, and AC/DC is one tuff band, one of the last tuff bands around, actually.
Gritty frontman Brian "the grit" Johnson has never sounded better than on this album,...
Published on July 8 2003 by Da Peace Dogg
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4.0 out of 5 stars full circle,
I've been a life-long AC/DC fan, in the purest sense. I've never lost faith in them, even throughout the 80's and 90's when their albums decreased in quality and they became more or less professional entertainers more than anything else. I mean, these days going to see AC/DC is... well, "going to see AC/DC", you know? They have long since ceased to be a real, live rock-n-roll outfit... or have they?
All I'm trying to say is that this album really kills. I mean, for real. This is the real deal. These guys have gone completely around the world and back... from hungry rock and roll pioneers, to well-fed and complacent, to... being AC/DC damn it. I don't know how else to say it. This is AC/DC doing... AC/DC. This is AC/DC simply trying to be AC/DC. They haven't felt this natural in years. All y'all who've dissed our man Brain Johnson (myself included) can all go suck on a gym sock because damn it, the guy is cool and this music proves it.
Of course, this review would not be complete without mentioning the inclusion of third Young brother George Young behind the boards. This the first record he's produced during the Brian Johnson era, and it makes me wonder where the hell he's been (or where Angus and Malcolm's heads have been). These guys haven't felt so alive since I can't remember when. All I can say is I hope the next one is as good. God bless AC/DC.
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Only Rock n Roll and I love It.,
By A Customer
I was 22 years old, I was never really interested in music at all. Then I saw AC/DC performing the song "Stiff Upper Lip" on MTV's TRL and my life was changed at that moment. This album was my first proper introduction to AC/DC and after a year of listening to this album, It Rocks!! "Lip" truly has some classic rock n roll tunes. On "Stiff Upper Lip", AC/DC sound suprisingly vibrant & inspired, as opposed to the plodding of "Ballbreaker" which was a pressured album release. Even though Brian Johnson should still see a throat specialist, his vocals are much improved. After 20 years of wear & tear, Johnson still shreds his pipes with unmatched intensity, which means more to me than any imperfection in his voice. Even though Bon Scott was by far AC/DC's strongest lyricist, At age 52, vocally Brian Johnson can still easily overpower Scott. And that's where the the album has its few shortcomings, the lyrics, as with almost any other post-Bon Scott album. "Damned", House of Jazz, Meltdown, & Come and Get It, all have great riffs, but not so great lyrics. OTHER THAN THAT, "Stiff Upper Lip" has some of the strongest AC/DC tunes in almost a decade, "Safe In New York City" has the best groove of the album from beginning to end, Rudd, Williams, and Malcolm Young lay it down, while Angus Young tears up the fretboard with a blistering solo and Brian Johnson punctuate the song with reckless and unrestrained intensity, "I FEEL SAFE IN A CAGE IN NEW YORK CIITTYY!! Throw Away the Key!"......"Can't Stand Still" really displays a fresh and clever way of playing a good ol' 50's rock n roll tune, this song could easily revive Chuck Berry's career.......Now "Hold Me Back" & "Stiff Upper Lip" (their ode to Elvis Presley) are truly two of the strongest songs AC/DC have ever recorded, undoubtedly equal to anything on "Highway to Hell, Back In Black or Razor's Edge". If you've never liked AC/DC, "Lip" won't change your mind. If you consider yourself an AC/DC fan and do not instantly like this album, Guess What? You're not an AC/DC fan, the fact of it is you were never an AC/DC fan because there is simply nothing to dislike about this album. "Stiff Upper Lip" rocks with a passion and it's the essence of AC/DC.
4.0 out of 5 stars AC/DC has slowed down a bit in the studio, but not on stage,
When I first heard this album, I gave it an honest listen. I mean we all know what to expect when we buy an AC DC album. It was slower and bluesier than earlier releases. That's not a bad thing, in fact this album continues in the vein of what one would expect from AC DC. In fact after listening to it a couple of times, you can almost imagine how the album came about.....
Ring, ring, ring,
Brian : Hello?
Angus : Brian? This is Angus, hey Malcolm and I are sitting around the house drinking Foster's and playing our guitars, you wanna come over?
Brian : Sure, I'll be right there.
Two hours later, the tapes from the living room and brought to the studio for Cliff and Phil to finish. Yeah, it's a pretty laid back album.
Now on stage it's a different story. I saw the Stiff Upper Lip Tour in Ft Lauderdale this year, and let me tell you, AC DC hasn't lost a step. All their classics, Angus' antics, Brian's screaming, and the rhythm section's thunderous noise is all there. I hadn't seen AC DC in over ten years, but they still played like they were on the Back In Black tour. They were on stage like a hungry bunch of twenty year olds trying to get signed. If you've never seen AC DC in concert, you're missing one hell of a rush. The only song they played off Stiff Upper Lip was the title track, but that's OK, they have a very long songlist to choose from.
I hope these guys go on forever.
5.0 out of 5 stars AC/DC's Best in a Long Time,
Stiff Upper Lip is AC/DC's best album in a long time. While all of their other albums throughout the 80's and 90's have been good Stiff Upper Lip blows them all away. AC/DC manages to start 2000 on a high note with one of the best albums of the year. Singer Brian Johnson's voice seems to have gotten more powerful since the Ballbreaker album, just when everyone was doubting him he comes back and surprises everyone. As far as the band what else can be said, they've been making the same style of music for almost 30 years and they still sound great. This is Phil Rudd's second album back with the band, and he and bassist Cliff Williams prove that they are one of the greatest rhythm sections of all time, and of course you can't forget rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, he is one of the most underrated rhythm players ever. Then of course there's lead guitarist Angus Young, what else can be said about him, besides the fact that he's one of the greatest guitarists of our time, with his simple blues based riffs and solos he's gained respect from many other musicians for playing under his ability. It is also the reason why he's also very underrated, as the whole band is. Stiff Upper Lip was produced by George Young, brother of Angus and Malcolm, who produced their early albums. You can expect from this album what you'd expect from any other AC/DC album. It's very much blues rock, so if you didn't like them before the odds are that this album won't do it for you. There are many upbeat rockers on this album such as the title track, Safe in New York City, Can't Stop Rock and Roll, Satellite Blues, Damned, Give It Up and All Screwed Up. There are also some laid back songs that are very bluesy such as Meltdown, House of Jazz, Can't Stand Still, and Come And Get It. Stiff Upper Lip is a great album, the best AC/DC has put out in years, but like I said before if you don't already like AC/DC this album probably won't change your mind, but if you do like them definately get this one.
3.0 out of 5 stars Spinal Tap or Basic Blues?,
"The musical growth rate of this band is uncharted -- they swim in a sea of retarded sexuality and sexist lyrics." (From "Spinal Tap: The Movie" -- paraphrased) This quote is more than apt when describing AC/DC's latest aural assault; however, it is not enough. True, the bass and the drums sound like they might as well be coming from a drum machine; to put it more accurately, Cliff Williams' bass isn't even noticable until you finally realize that all he's doing is the same thing he's always been doing -- mimicing Malcolm's rhythm's guitar for that extra oomph. Yes, the lyrics are stagnant and yes, it is the same old thing they've always been doing, but it's more than that. What "Stiff Upper Lip" really is, beyond the Spinal Tap lyrical stagnation and the parody of itself the band has become, is a real genuine blues album. The bass and drum aren't relavant as music so much as they are as something to keep the beat with. From the title cut to the final torturous growls of "Give It Up", they serve the function as the primeval footstomp, the pounding of the foot on the front porch. At some point in time, AC/DC is going to have to give up playing the arenas and become a blues festival favorite, and this disc is the precursor to it. "Meltdown" is the kind of raunchy guitar romp familiar to those fans of the band during their bar-brawling "Dirty Deeds" days, while "Can't Stand Still" is a simple 12-bar blues played to echo the idea behind the "Thunderstruck" riff. "Satellite Blues" and "Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll" are the boys doing their best imitations of, respectively, the Stones and themselves, while "Safe In New York City" (which, judging from the cover of the album, was originally intended to be the title cut until the marketing people put it up against Rage's "Battle of Los Angeles" and decided that AC/DC should never, ever be associated with anything safe, which, ironically, is all they have been since Bon Scott passed away) is an ironic comment on America, joining "Damned" and "Ballbreaker's" "The Furor" in the social commentary section of the 'DC library. The real treasure here, however, lies in "Hold Me Back", a song which uses an incredibly restrained riff backed by a steady beat to build dramatic tension before exploding into a cutting (predictable) guitar solo by Angus Young, yet still remaining somehow subversive? How do the guys do it? I don't know, but something must be pissing them off, and thank God for that. However, they may want to let Brian start writing lyrics again, because the ones on this album are lame and repetitive. On the other hand, they'd do just as well to just throw in well-timed grunting noises -- this is, after all, the basic, hard, sexy blues...
1.0 out of 5 stars well, they WERE awesome...,
By A Customer
Back In Black and Highway to Hell have got to be two of the best rock albums ever--catchy riffs by Angus, and vocal-chord-shredding vocals by Bon/Brian. Now though, Angus is playing the same ol' riffs repackaged, Brian (for those of you who don't keep up on current events, BON IS DEAD!) probably DID shred his vocal chords on earlier stuff, and even though i have no problem with the songwriting on the album, the musicians are not anywhere near good enough for me to spin this album more than once. i was especially looking foreword to this after hearing how great Bon Jovi and Aerosmith's new albums (Crush and Just Push Play, respectively) were, but AC/DC--one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time--ain't what they used to be.
Okay, that was my good side talking. Here's my nasty side. This album sucks. Brian's voice, which used to be one of the best on the planet, sound like an old lady, a choking cat, yoda, and maybe a little of his old signature sound under all that. Angus has run out of cool little riffs (Back In Black, Highway to Hell, etc.). Also, he and Malcom ain't so young. The musicianship is not bad, but to quote Aerosmith, "It's just the same old song and dance my friend." These guys don't sound like AC/DC. They sound like posers.
2.0 out of 5 stars Better than some, but still "not the ol' days" ...,
At my teenage son's urging, I recently listened to this disc (twice) ... while it IS a more encouraging effort than the last few, it still pales -- and very much so -- in comparison to '70s-vintage Bon Scott stuff. In other words, it's about a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10 (compared to recent ones scoring 1 or 2), but the WORST of Bon's albums was a 7 or 8.
And I have to agree with some other reviews here. Brian Johnson's voice sounds totally shot ... he relies way too much on the gravelly sound in hopes we'll ignore the actual SINGING. Such was obvious, for instance, at their live show in Greensboro NC the other night. Johnson doesn't get anywhere NEAR some of the high notes any more ... and these in the songs written by/for HIM, much less the Bon stuff (and nothing against Johnson, but hearing "Bon's songs" sung by ANY other voice is simply a disappointment).
Speaking of that show (and to support my critique) ... for a tour that's supposedly in support of "Stiff Upper Lip," I found it incredibly telling that the band only played two (or was it three?) songs off this album. The show relied HEAVILY on the old stuff. So I'll give 'em credit ... these guys know what the long-time fans want -- and don't want -- to hear.
So if you've just GOTTA have Brian Johnson's vocals, stick with "Back in Black" (and we conspiracy theorists still believe that most/all of that one was written before Bon died, anyway) ... otherwise, stock up on Bon Scott's stuff, crank up the volume, and let 'em rock.
4.0 out of 5 stars CHANGE????? NEVER!!!,
I remember an AC/DC interview I read a few years ago. I don't remember the exact words, but some cynic asked the band how they felt about having released 10 albums that are exactly the same. And Angus replied, "Actually we've released 12 albums that are exactly the same." Well, I have not counted how many albums AC/DC have released as of today, but Stiff Upper Lip is....exactly like their other albums. However, that is not such a terrible thing, considering there are few hard rock bands out there today; and even fewer who do it as well as AC/DC.
The title track is as good as any hit single in AC/DC's extensive catalog. And the other radio single, "Safe in New York City" is fantastic as well. In addition, "House of Jazz" and "Satellite Blues" are two favorites of mine; both of them featuring tasty guitar work by Angus Young. The entire CD is one great rock song after another.
AC/DC has always been the band that reminded me that,"Hey it's not rocket science, it's Rock n roll!" And that's often something I forget, especially after listening to a band like Radiohead or Godspeed You Black Emperor. It's fun, energetic, and completely devoid of artsy pretentions. I suppose the question to ask yourself is, "Is this album worth buying if I already own a bunch of AC/DC CDs??" Well that depends on how tight your budget is, and how much you enjoy AC/DC. But if you got the dough and you dig AC/DC i strongly recommend this Stiff Upper Lip.
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Only Juke Box Music,
This is a masterful dollop of rock n roll the way it is supposed to be. Thank goodness these guys did not sell out like other rock bands of their time, such as The Pretenders or Scorpion. On this album, AC/DC rocks like it;s 1979. Who knew such a sound could still be created in the current musical atmosphere of cluttered production, techno drum beats and prefabricated pop music?
No, AC/DC will not give you poetry, their lyrics are as wonderfully bourgeois as Angus's gritty guitar. Personally, I delight in lyrics such as "Love at First Feel" or choruses like "All Screwed Up" and "I'll Be Damned." Stiff Upper Lip is indeed the best album since the legendary "Back in Black." This album is full of the kind of fun, adventurous brainlessness that you seek when going to see a Steven Segal film or moonlight bowling with some buddies on Saturday night.
These guys rock to high heaven, and on Stiff Upper Lip, they may have lost a bit of melody, some of the throat gripping luster of Dirty Deeds and Hells Bells may be irretrievable by now, but every track offers hooks, riffs, drums and vocals that you can sink your teeth into. Come to think of it, listening to Stiff Upper Lip is little different from biting into a juicy London Broil. That is what classic, hard rock is supposed to feel like, and these guys have it down to the bone. This is in fact a new installment in the canon of "essential" AC/DC albums.
If you're looking for fun on your morning commute or at the beach on a carefree August night or just laying around in your room and hoping the world will just shut up for a few hours, Stiff Upper Lip is an instant pleaser.
3.0 out of 5 stars This Band Is Getting Old And So Is Their Music,
This band is getting old and so is their music. Many people have said this is their best album since Back In Black and that might very well be true, but it still isn't that great. A lot of their songs are just starting to sound like a lot of their other songs. For instance, "Stiff Upper Lip" one of the better tracks off this album sounds a lot like "Hells Bells" while another decent track "I Feel Safe In New York City" sounds a lot like "Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" both tracks from Back In Black.
That being said, if I had never heard there previous work, I would have though this was a pretty good album. It's hard-rocking from the beginning and never really lets up, though there are four tracks that are a little slower than the rest. There is a lot of variation on the album itself with only a couple of the tracks having really similar sounds. There are three really good tracks on here which is my usual criteria for buying any CD and the rest are okay with none that I skip on a consistent basis.
The best tracks are of course the title track that I mentioned above. "Stiff Upper Lip" is a great fast sound, with a lot of pep to it. And the great thing about this song is that if anything it seems to get faster as it goes along.
"I Feel Safe in New York City" is probably my favorite track off this disc. It has the cool syncopated feel to it with the beats just hitting you one right after the other. It also has some good lyrics and a nice all around sound.
The final really good track is "House of Blues" is more of a groove tune and slows down somewhat from the other tracks above, but it's a great tune, with some of the most bluesy sounding AC/DC I've ever heard.
Anyway, if you're an AC/DC fan this is definitely an album you want. If you're not and you want a better introduction to AC/DC I recommend Back in Black and after that get Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap both are truly great albums. Nonetheless, full of power, this album is definitely the cure for the wimpy rock blues.
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