AC/DC, Power Up, (Columbia)

In a year where “Believe The Science” became something of a mantra, then you best fucking believe in AC/DC. With the possible exception of Motorhead (Rest In Power, Lemmy), no other well-known group has their sound down to such an “if it ain’t broke then don’t even dare try to fix it” formula; take a four-major-chord riff which by no means has to differentiate itself from any other four-major-chord riff in the catalog (Rest In Power Malcolm), tack on some Chuck-Berry-On-Crystal-Meth solo runs (Long Live Angus), then add in the screeching vocals (Rest In Power Bon, Long Live Brian), and tie it all up with a crunching but sugar-rush-catchy chorus. It’s a lab-tested formula that has worked over and over and over and over and over and over again for four decades and counting, sparking off countless platinum plaques, jam-packed stadiums fist pumping in unison, soundtracks to easily millions of episodes of late night good times, jean jackets with the sleeves cut off and patches on, anthems for long distance truckers and college kids and bikers and nerds, from the outcasts smoking behind the school dumpster to the jocks at the head of the class. In the territorial, combative world of heavy metal, what other band could be revered by classic rawk feather hairs, black metalers, pop metalers, thrashers, deathers, and grindcore enthusiasts? Only AC/DC. And they continue their populist run with Power Up (a terrific name for an AC/DC album, it must be said). But then why would you even begin to think these dudes would fall off? This album could be from 1985, 1978, 2020, 2027….whenever, sparking off stone cold AC/DC classics like “Shot In The Dark”, “Witch’s Spell” and “Wild Reputation” as if perfect rock anthems were the easiest thing in the world (they’re not). The boys even work in some “Hell’s Bells”-style early-80s PMRC-courting mid-tempo doom with “Demon Fire”, truly one of the only variations on their core style these guys ever attempt, and they pull it off with Back In Black malevolent glee. And in a direct rebuke to any self-important critic site labeling this type of rock n’ roll music “out of date” or simply not covering it, Power Up shot right to number 1 in the nation with 117,000 copies sold in a streaming age where only top-tier hip hop and pop acts (i.e. “of the times”) can match such a figure. So where do we find this hard rock institution in 2020? The science is perfect. The amps are humming. And The People have spoken:

The Number One Band in the World