AC/DC – Backtracks (2 CDs/1 DVD)

AC/DC is one of those bands where there is very little fence sitting. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em and I just happen to fall into latter category.

The argument that always gets trotted out in discussing AC/DC is that the band sounds the same on just about every song on every album. Well… you’re right. They found a formula very early on that works: big crunchy power chords paired with stadium sing-along lyrics about sex and rock. Not sure what the problem is here. They have found a way to tap into that horny, rebellious teenager in all of us regardless of age.

Personally, I was sold on the band at the age of 9, when I first heard “Big Balls” after liberating the Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap cassette from my older sister’s room. Haven’t looked back since.

Backtracks is packed with a slew of rare tracks (27 to be exact, spread out over two discs) that have never appeared on studio albums. The songs have shown up on various soundtracks, many were released as singles or available in special promo releases over the band’s 35 years of existence. The box set includes 15 live tracks and another 12 studio tracks, all remastered. Among the collection are stellar live takes of “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”, “Jailbreak” and “Live Wire”, as well as hard-to-find songs, highly coveted by AC/DC diehards like “Cold Hearted Man,” “Borrowed Time” and “Big Gun”.

The DVD boasts a ton of music videos, including four rare videos, promo clips and two mini- “Makings of” docs for “Hard as a Rock” and “Rock n’ Roll Train.”

I would say this box set is probably better suited for the diehard AC/DC fan, but as stated at the beginning, there is no middle of the road. You’re either a diehard fan or scratching your head trying to figure out what all the hype is about.

Rating: 8.7 out of 10

Top tracks: “Live Wire” and “Cold Hearted Man”

AC/DC – Backtracks /2 CDs and 1 DVD/27 tracks/2009/Columbia, Legacy Records

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