The Razors EdgeLABEL:
East West, AtcoSERIAL:
1990COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LINEUP:
Brian Johnson - vocals * Angus Young - guitar * Malcolm Young - guitar * Cliff Williams - bass * Chris Slade - drumsTRACK LISTING:
01 Thunderstruck * 02 Fire Your Guns * 03 Money Talks * 04 The Razors Edge * 05 Mistress For Christmas * 06 Rock Your Heart Out * 07 Are You Ready * 08 Got You By The Balls * 09 Shot Of Love * 10 Lets Make It * 11 Goodbye And Good Riddance To Bad Luck * 12 If You DareWEBLINKS: www.acdcrocks.com
The mid to late 80's were admittedly not the greatest time for AC/DC, despite some excellent albums which fell under the radar. The nadir had to be the tour for 1988's 'Blow Up Your Video' when Malcolm Young went on hiatus due to alcohol related issues and was replaced by nephew Stevie Young. However sales for the album were up from 'Fly On The Wall' and the resurgence was completed by 'The Razor's Edge' which returned AC/DC to levels of popularity unseen since the early 80's. The drum stool was vacated once again, this time by Simon Wright, who perplexingly opted to join Dio
instead. His replacement was veteran Chris Slade, who image-wise fitted right in with the band with his bald-headed, tank top look. This was the first album where Johnson didn't contribute lyrics, leading to even more ludicrous ones from the Young brothers. This album is another exercise in comedy, but not nearly as diabolical as 'Ballbreaker' five years later.
This album exploded during 1990, with a succession of hits that were inescapable that year and into 1991. I can't fathom anyone still being able to stomach 'Thunderstruck' after the overexposure it received through radio and video airings. I'm sure everyone recalls the video, which needs no explanation here and it would agonize me to do so. The song itself can be heard anytime on classic rock radio here in the U.S. and to me the track isn't really indicative of AC/DC, a bit too slick. That said 'Fire Your Guns' is more like the band of old, with a riff that wouldn't have been out of place in the 70's. This is the type of boogie they excelled at, but didn't explore enough in that era. 'Money Talks' was another hit, an anthem once described as being a Slade
cast-off, which is quite apt, especially the chanted chorus. The title track is somewhat brooding, providing musical tension quite unlike anything heard from the band before. It's almost sinister, but the riffs really raise this above average, a seemingly forgotten masterpiece. 'Mistress For Christmas' is pure ham, the band delving into one of their best hooks, a classic from the days before political correctness ruined everything. Then again nothing applies to AC/DC. Another tasty rocker is 'Rock Your Heart Out' which again contains the spirit of the 70's, with a great raw guitar sound that should have been explored more.
'Are You Ready' provided yet another hit, but this one's never really convinced me, despite the huge made for radio chorus. It sounds too commercial, even for AC/DC, a bit contrived perhaps. Also quite weak is the pedestrian 'Got You By The Balls' and its almost labored pace. The chorus could be seen as a novelty with the title, but musically it's bland, not one of their better songs. There's a bit more energy on 'Shot Of Love' but even it doesn't sound tough enough for an AC/DC track. The melody is there, but the riffs are slightly weak this time and the lyrics don't have any impact even for humorous reading. 'Let's Make It' is another by the books tracks, nothing worth crowing about and far inferior to most of the 'Blow Up Your Video' tracks. This letdown of a side continues with the filler of 'Goodbye And Good Riddance To Bad Luck' and is only redeemed by the brazen 'If You Dare' where finally the band sounds somewhat like themselves, with a bit of fire and a chorus with guts. It certainly doesn't save what is a weak album by AC/DC standards.
After reviewing The Cockney Rejects
'Lethal' I was inspired to see how this stacks up and by comparison it doesn't. This rates for me as one of the weakest AC/DC albums overall, without the spark that usually invigorates their albums. They did what they had to with the singles though and it helped them sell unlimited quantities of the album, although the tour was blighted by a crowd crush that killed three fans in Salt Lake City. I recall crowd trouble when they came to New Zealand in 1991 also, with mobs running rampant after the shows! Typical stuff for that place.. Looking back, this album ended the productive phase of AC/DC's career, with only three albums in the last 24 years, verging on Boston
territory with marginally better quality. I suppose they'd achieved everything they needed to by this point and in all reality there's no way they could ever top the Bon Scott
years or a few of the Johnson albums. One more album wouldn't hurt though, hopefully banishing memories of 'Black Ice.'
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