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Anyone else agree that AC/DC's Flick of the Switch is criminally underrated?


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Initial post: Dec 14, 2012 7:40:34 AM PST
just something ive always wondered about...this album is raw, catchy, and heavy by AC/DC standards. in my opinion is much better that for those about to rock but not NEARLY as successful.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 7:51:40 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2012 7:52:53 AM PST
It wasn't nearly as successful because it didn't follow a smash like "Back In Black" and it didn't boast a big single like the title track of "For Those About...." did. Having said that, I don't find "Flick" to be 'criminally underrated' at all. I remember getting it when it first came out and at 13 I was quite underwhelmed. I think its pretty much on par with "For Those About to Rock" and slightly weaker but not nearly as bad as "Fly on the Wall", which was pitiful.

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 9:16:46 AM PST
agree with fly on the wall being pitiful..what were they thinking

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 9:16:49 AM PST
T. Boyle says:
I agree with you, velvet revolver. I wouldn't say it's better then FTATRWSY, but equal by my standards. I feel it has 2 essential top 20 AC/DC songs: "Guns For Hire" and "Landslide", and several other top 50 songs: "Flick Of The Switch", "Bedlam In Belgium", "Brain Shake", and "Badlands". Brian's voice is in top form and the music is as heavy and in-your-face as they get.

Besides the fact they had no real "hits" on the album, I think "Rising Power" is one of the weaker opening tracks they have ever had, which doesn't hit the listener as strongly as "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" or "For Those About To Rock", for example. I think that since it takes the album longer to build into the more quality tracks, it left a bad taste for new listeners, and therefore never gained as much popularity.

I give Flick Of The Switch a 9-out-of-10 rating and consider it as the last in a long string of amazing AC/DC albums. I like Fly On The Wall, but it was their first signs of starting to fall off in terms of both song and performance quality. Flick Of The Switch is great stuff and I'm glad there is at least one other who shares my opinion.

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 5:06:19 PM PST
B. rogers says:
It was lacking "Robert John "Mutt" Lange! He had produced the previous 3 albums to spectacular commercial success..."Flick" is self-produced and had an unfinished quality to it. I love the album(@T...Rising Power was an awesome opener!) but lacked the polished sound and arrangements that songs needed to have to be played on the radio in 1983.

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 6:20:49 PM PST
D. Mok says:
I like Flick of the Switch more than any other AC/DC album except The Razors Edge and Highway to Hell. I actually think "Rising Power" is one of the band's strongest songs -- very tough and martial. And the bone-dry production is actually a nice change from "Mutt" Lange's full production, which was easy on the ears but had all the rough edges sanded off.

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 7:49:39 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2012 7:50:51 PM PST
This conversation has inspired me to break out the old vinyl and give it a spin for the first time in over 25 years. It's actually better than I remember it to be but still cannot say its criminally underrated. Without Lange at the knobs it's definitely rawer and the songs are decent. However, in sticking with my original assessment I think it's an average to slightly better than average album. I don't know, I just don't get off on this sort of music as much as I used to.

"Rising Power" was a better opener than I remembered and I'm laughing because every song ends exactly the same. Gotta love 'em! ;)

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 9:58:59 PM PST
T. Boyle says:
Sorry, I'm not buying it about "Rising Power". It's a good song, but certainly doesn't measure up to most other AC/DC album openers. If you line them all up, "Power" has got to be near the bottom, ahead of only "Hard As A Rock" and "Stiff Upper Lip". Even "Fly On The Wall" and "Heatseeker" start their respective albums off with bigger bangs.

Here's how I rank the songs on "Flick Of The Switch"
1) Guns For Hire
2) Landslide
3) Bedlam In Belgium
4) Flick Of The Switch
5) Brain Shake
6) Badlands
7) Rising Power
8) Nervous Shakedown
9) This House Is On Fire
10) Deep In The Hole

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 10:11:30 PM PST
T. Boyle says:
Here's how I rank AC/DC album opening songs. I am counting the Australian version of "High Voltage", but not live albums or "Who Made Who", which is more of a "hits" collection.

1) For Those About To Rock
2) Highway To Hell
3) Hells Bells
4) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
5) Thunderstruck
6) Fly On The Wall
7) Rock & Roll Train
8) It's A Long Way To The Top
9) Heatseeker
10) Baby Please Don't Go
11) Rock & Roll Damnation
12) Go Down
13) Rising Power
14) Stiff Upper Lip
15) Hard As A Rock

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 6:47:39 AM PST
D. Mok says:
> "Rising Power" was a better opener than I remembered and I'm laughing because every song ends exactly the same.

Yeah. Big problem I have with AC/DC. The band ends almost every song in that "jam, crash cymbals" style usually used in live situations. Do that enough times and you kill the drama. I always wished they'd have more endings like "Thunderstruck" or "Back in Black" -- nice and clean, composed, confident. "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" is especially bad on that front, a great song with an ending that just drags on and on -- 30 seconds!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 9:56:43 AM PST
...and Brian Johnson..yelling "YOW!" With the jam crash ending...

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 8:19:48 PM PST
T. Boyle says:
I usually prefer when a song has an actual ending rather than just fading out. I've always thought that fade outs were an example of lazy songwriting. Every song should have an ending - when it's played live it has to end somehow, right?

That being said, I will admit that AC/DC were notorious for lazy songwriting in other forms. Especially when it came to repeating the title in the chorus multiple times!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 4:28:40 AM PST
Nova137 says:
God I hate the fade-out! I always assumed the fade-out happens when bands make songs too long for the script of the album and the record execs/engineers just say, "Nope, too long." And, then they slowly fade it into an end, conveniently, for radio play length requirements.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 5:15:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 5:19:42 AM PST
Nova137 says:
Hey, velvet, great Pen Name. Love Scott Weiland and Slash. Love Scott in STP (just saw them this summer, twice! Once at Tags in Big Flats, NY, Scott was well-behaved, i.e., sober and sang beautifully. It is a small, open-air venue so it was an intimate treat. 4 days later they head-lined at the KROC-A-THON in Syracuse, NY. Needless to say [?], he was high [how could he not give in to temptation after a day around bands getting high!] and out-of-sync/tune! Ugghh! But, it was still awesome!). Never listened to GNR, though! Nope. Never really like Axel much. Didn't get them.

I can't answer your OP, but I do have a love of AC/DC! It is an old love. Ancient. Going back to my 15 year on earth. It was the summer of 1980, I was at a friend's house and he played Highway to Hell. Whoa! Bon Scott's voice and the hard-driving, raw guitar sounds from Angus and his bro captured my heart that day. I've never been the same since.

This would be June or July that year and Bon had died of asphyxiation on his own vomit in February. I didn't know this that wonderful day of initiation into all things AC/DC, but I would soon learn of it when Back in Black came out. I bought it even though I didn't think anyone could replace Bon.

Backing up a bit, once I heard Highway, I had to have everything AC/DC had made before that moment. I bought all of their studio albums, over the next year and found some rarities, too. They didn't sell Dirty Deeds in record stores in the US! You had to go import. I didn't, but finally did get a copy years later when they released it in 1981. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_Deeds_Done_Dirt_Cheap

My, how times have changed.

I bought every mag with Angus and the boys on the cover. I love the logo and drew it incessantly on everything. I bought only one shirt, but I cherished it! Because of this love and because Bon was dead and I was going back in time in the next few years with the band's past, Brian never caught on for me.

I read about how the band met, how Bon was their limo driver, etc. I read about Angus coming up with his permanent costume, going through several different ones and, finally, going permanently for the school-boy outfit. Brilliant! There has not been another one like Angus since!

I love Angus' influences. Especially evident is how Angus was influenced enough by Chuck Berry to have some obviously influenced guitar playing and songs (Beatin' Around the Bush, comes to mind) and on-stage Chuck's duckwalk.

Angus does have some simplicity in his approach, but he does it innovatively. That's what you have to give AC/DC. Raw, powerful, repetitive, but innovative. Really, 1974 did not have any band in the world like what AC/DC was about to bring for the next 30 years. Rock and Roll genius simply, innovatively, repetitively. lol.

Now, as for Brian Johnson. I never got that. I'm human, too. The fact that I was 15 when I first heard the band with a different singer, a unique singer in rock and roll history, a vagabond, rascal, a nare-do-well, a thug with a heart of gold, a rasp like no other, a father-figure to the boys, a sex symbol of his time, a lead man for the ages of Rock and Roll, a legend whose demise is as fitting of that status as Kurt's was in his time (if you get what I mean on both accounts of these great frontmen).

I did begin to buy post Back in Black AC/DC several years ago. I have Razor's Edge and Black Ice. Thanks to this thread, I'm going to pick up a few more copies, including, of course, Flick of the Switch. Maybe recapture some of that magic that's in the music, no matter the lead singer.

Posted on Dec 16, 2012 9:13:50 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 10:07:37 AM PST
B. rogers says:
"Flick Of The Switch" stands out to me as one of the steepest plummets in popularity I can recall in rock music. Rock bands(in general) have always had a more loyal and less fickle fan base. *Almost* every band has one spectacular peak and then gradually come down and level off. Not the case here. 1980/81 were absolutely fenzied years with the record-buying public for all things AC/DC. 1980 began with "Highway To Hell" still riding high on the charts and establishing them as the most controversial band in hard rock. By late summer, with the release of "Back In Black" it exploded. The album sat forever in the top 5(if it were the Soundscan era it would have certainly made it to #1) and then Atlantic re-released "Dirty Deeds" in early '81 which charted even HIGHER than "Back In Black" and sat at #3 for a few weeks(not bad for a 6 year old album). Folks...that's what you call a phenomenon. Of course, later in the year, "For Those About To Rock" entered the charts at #9(virtually unheard of in the pre-Soundscan era) and quickly raced to #1.

1980/81/82...the whole back-catalog was on fire. With every release recharting to higher levels(in most cases) than they had originally. Atlantic was frantically trying to press more and more copies of all of the back catalogue to quench the thirst of the public. Record stores(remember those) had back-orders for smetimes hundreds of people per store.

Just one year later, "Flick Of The Switch" is released with little promotion...peaks at #16 and falls off the top 200 in under 20 weeks. It barely achieves Gold status. Remember...this was the follow-up to "For Those About To Rock"!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 9:54:42 AM PST
Nova137 says:
Great reflections, B. roger. Real record stores! I'm crying. For me, a last great real record store, that is also the beginning of the end is Tower records. See http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/2006/08/the_end_of_the_.html

The last one I experienced was in Seattle, WA. In the U district of the UofW. I asked my wife what she remembers of them. She remembers the multi-storied building. I asked her if she thought of them as the beginning of the end or representing the last great record store. She had no comment!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 10:04:57 AM PST
KISS may have been the only other rock band that fell as hard and quick when they released "Unmasked" in 1980. They didn't just slowly fade, they fell off the cliff.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 10:13:01 AM PST
B. rogers says:
Exile...I don't think it was quite as steep in the case of Kiss. The 4 solo albums were disappointing in sales and Dynasty was also considered a mild disappointment. Dynasty peaked at #9 and went platinum, but that was considerably less than Destroyer and Love Gun had done. But, you are correct..."Unmasked" was where the alarms went off in the Kiss Army. "The Elder" is where they bottomed out. The album barely cracked the top 100!!! the following year and failed to go gold..

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 10:24:39 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 10:29:34 AM PST
I remember "Unmasked" being the last KISS album I bought until they had a mini-comeback in the 80s. "Flick" was my last AC/DC album until many years later I saw "Fly on the Wall" in a bargain bin for like $2.00.

I just remember being in school and it seemed everyone stopped listening to KISS at exactly the same time. "Unmasked" performed about as well as "Flick" did. The reason it may have seemed like a bigger drop(and I'm not saying it wasn't) was because AC/DC wasn't really known in the US so when they hit, they hit extremely hard and everyone went out to buy their back catalogue all at once when "Back in Black" and DDDDC were released. But they went as quickly as they came.

Despite whoever flopped hardest, it would be difficult to find two other rock bands that were as popular as they were who hit the bottom as hard. KISS, who once could sell out any arena or stadium in minutes was now canceling a lot of gigs.

Posted on Dec 16, 2012 10:38:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 10:39:33 AM PST
And just to add, that was also the time when rock was changing and the NWOBHM emerged and hair metal was on the rise just as VH was hitting their commercial peak. This combined with inferior product from the likes of AC/DC and KISS led to their (temporary) downfall, although to both bands it must have felt like forever.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 10:47:46 AM PST
Nova137 says:
B. and Exile,

Do you like the albums that fell *now*. Do they acquire a taste that reflects KISS not listened to as much. Do you have favs from these albums, etc?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 11:10:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 11:13:27 AM PST
B. rogers says:
Nova...I liked "Flick Of The Switch" immediately when it came out. I actually thought it was better than "For Those About To Rock".

As far as "Unmasked" I thought it was a joke of an album(including it's "comic-strip" cover art) except for "Is That You"(one of their best songs ever imo). I *did* really like "The Elder", though.

As for *now*? I LOVE "Unmasked"...lol. I think it's a great pop/rock record. It's fun and highly listenable. As for "Flick Of The Switch" I rarely have a desire to listen to it as I've lost a lot of my fondness for really hard-edged music as I've gotten older. And the production is really grating...AC/DC needed accomplished producers to refine their sound. I don't think it's a coincidence that AC/DC didn't really make a "comeback" until they hired Bruce Fairbairne(of Loverboy fame) for The Razor's Edge.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 11:21:55 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 11:27:10 AM PST
I haven't heard "Unmasked" since I owned it on cassette in 1980 and I doubt my opinion of it has changed very much. I have never heard "The Elder" nor the Simmons or Criss solo albums. I rarely play either band these days and if I do, it's basically the peak material from the early years...The last AC/DC I owned was "Blow Up Your Video" and I got it for free...and it still wasn't worth it...LOL

As for "Flick" it is really where they began repeating themselves. Its ok and feel its on par with FTATR, but slightly weaker.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 11:24:45 AM PST
Rogers, do I need to give "Unmasked" another chance?

By the way, I'm reading this...
Makeup to Breakup: My Life In and Out of Kiss

And its really good.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 11:28:34 AM PST
B. rogers says:
I'm a real sucker for polished and commercial pop/rock. It contains some of Paul's best vocals imo. It's just a really *fun* and pleasurable listen.
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Discussion in:  Rock forum
Participants:  17
Total posts:  75
Initial post:  Dec 14, 2012
Latest post:  May 25, 2014

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