ACDC: The last rock band

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Reviewing Black Ice, AC/DC's latest album, one critic summed up its strengths thusly: "Sounds exactly like every other AC/DC release." And its weaknesses? "Sounds exactly like every other AC/DC release."

That pithy assessment gets to the heart of this band's remarkably durable 35-year career: Are they geniuses for being so reliably consistent? Or are they just lazy?

At a time when our musical genres slip-slide into one another—whatever it takes to stay cutting-edge—AC/DC is by and large the same band today as it was when it announced its dedication to unrepentant crudity on mid-'70s records like Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. AC/DC's only hint of growth in subsequent years was out of necessity: singer Bon Scott's 1980 death, which prompted the hiring of fellow banshee-wailer Brian Johnson. AC/DC has had a few personnel changes before and since, but only the truly obsessive could detect any noticeable sonic differentiations. The idea is not to try new styles and sounds, but rather to steadfastly maintain the AC/DC brand, one of the most enduring in rock history.



AC/DC performs Friday, January 23,at American Airlines Center.

But it's not just a commitment to loud, louder and loudest that has made AC/DC so irrefutably iconic. The band has an almost monastic purity about the things it won't stoop to do. No ballads, no touchy-feely rehab stories, no breakups, no lame solo albums, no tell-alls, no VH1 reality shows about their family lives, no New Wave-influenced comeback record. Plus, its continued refusal to sell its music on iTunes—"We don't make singles, we make albums," explained guitarist Angus Young—has a whiff of cranky traditionalism to it that's almost touchingly noble.

Of course, that old-school sensibility also extends to their Neanderthal-ish, "you woman, me man" lyrical approach. When it comes to the fairer sex, it's not that they're creeps, per se; they just don't know no better.

While other bands "evolve" and "mature," AC/DC remains hopelessly unredeemable, which, yes, is why we love them.

On Black Ice, as always, they're selling an attitude—harmless nostalgia for rock 'n' roll's big-dumb-male past.

Maybe that's why we don't laugh at Young for still wearing those silly short pants in concert after all these years. Deep down, we know it's ridiculous, but we're willing to play along.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.