The Razor's Edge


Atco Records, 1990

REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez


I'm somewhat amazed no one's tackled this album yet here at "The Daily Vault." Why? Is it AC/DC's finest? Is it some groundbreaking album? Nope. But it was the album that brought AC/DC back to the forefront and reintroduced them to millions (and millions) of hormonally-enhanced teenage boys and girls. After years of subpar albums and controversy, the boys from Aussie land finally crafted an album that captured most of their attitude. Now, kids could see why their older brothers swore allegiance to a man dressed in a school uniform!

Now, that said, I have to say that it suffers from the same problem as Metallica's Master Of Puppets. What does that mean? Simple: Side one of both of those albums were filled with classic and terrific material. However, side two flounders and falls with less-than-stellar material. I'll explain as we head down.

The album opens with the neo-classic "Thunderstruck." (By the way, screw the jackasses of Sprung Monkey for dissin' this song). It's hammer-on heaven for all those metalheads that picked it up. While the lyrics aren't really that deep, the song is meant for quick consumption. I remember seeing the video that goes with this song and just falling in love with AC/DC. Followed by "Fire Your Guns" - which follows the trend of great music and okay lyrics - the one-two punch is quick and merciless. If you take it too seriously, you are missing the point.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This album contains what was probably AC/DC's only other hit besides "You Shook Me All Night Long." I, of course, refer to "Moneytalks." In many ways, that song is perhaps the theme song for the 1980s. Hell, it still works! (Isn't that what every rap star says to all their womens? "I'm rich! Love me for it!") The song is a perfect blend of rock and pop.

Another pop and rock mixture works just as well, but is less recognized. "Mistress For Christmas" is great and fun. Why it isn't a classic, I don't know. Meanwhile, the low and growling title track harkens back to the meanness of "Hell's Bells." It is one of the finer tracks in here. I guess the only track that falters on side one is "Rock Your Heart Out." It tries to capture that 80s rock feel and...well...AC/DC was not anything like that.

As for side two, let me be honest. Two, perhaps three, songs are decent. They are "Are You Ready," "Got You By The Balls" and "If You Dare." The first one is a better example of pop-rock fusion that "Rock Your Heart Out." "Got You By The Balls" is somewhat slow, but has a meanness to it and is rather amusing. (Who says women can't take charge?!) "If You Dare" is a toss-up. Either you'll like it or you won't. In any case, it's one of the shorter songs - mostly the chorus repeated - and you won't mind. I do think, however, that "If You Dare" was not a good choice for an album closer. (When will bands learn?)

Well, what of the rest of side two? Let's see, "Shot Of Love" may have been another attempt to join the late '80s glam rock scene, but it's not AC/DC's style. "Let's Make It" is very weak - could have fit well in one of the late '80s albums that tried to make AC/DC something else. As for "Goodbye & Good Riddance To Bad Luck," I liked it when I was fifteen, but now, it has lost all of its flavor. This band can do much, much, better when it wants to.

The good side of getting mega-producer Bruce Fairbairn (may he rest in peace) was that he - like "Mutt" Lange ten years before him - brought out the best sound of the band. Angus Young's thunderous leads hadn't sounded this good in a while. The same went for the rhythm section, which featured perhaps its strongest drummer in Chris Slade. While Phil Rudd was an overall better fit for rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young and bassist Cliff Williams, Slade manages to match the thunder out of Angus Young's Gibson SG. The bad side? Unfortunately, Johnson's voice does not return to its growling, sneering best of the early 80s. However, Fairbairn does make it sound better than it did on Fly On The Wall or Blow Up Your Video.

While The Razor's Edge brought AC/DC back from its slumber, some of the material isn't up to the Aussies' par. Still, the strong songs are strong, the pop hooks are on and, you just got to love those hammer-ons and that chanting! (Oh-ah-oh-ah-ah-oh-ah-oh-THUNDER!)

Rating: B-

User Rating: B



© 1999 Alfredo Narvaez and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atco Records, and is used for informational purposes only.