We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
AC/DC: the soundtrack of our lives…. In 1986, when I was but a pimply teen, I spent a foreign-exchange summer living in the Oslo, Norway, suburb of Grorud. My host family, the Stroms, had a 15-year-old daughter, Trine, who was vivacious, curvaceous, flirtatious—and totally smitten with Fruta, a homely metalhead who spent most of his waking hours bowing at the feet of the fair Nordic goddess. As the summer wore on—and the sun-worshipping Trine opted for less and then no clothing—I grew restless and decided to distract Fruta by exploiting his major weakness: AC/DC. Whenever the young lovers were squirreling away in Trine’s room, I would crank some newly purchased tunes in the nearby guest chambers: “Sink the Pink,” “Hells Bells,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” Like that, the door would open, Fruta would emerge head-banging, and Trine would silently curse the no-chance-in-hell American fumbling in her social life. By the end of my stay, I knew only a handful of Norwegian phrases (“Hvor aer toalett?” or “Where’s the toilet?”), but I had Highway to Hell pretty much memorized. AC/DC hasn’t changed much since my Scandinavian sojourn—OK, the boys from Down Under haven’t changed at all—but the occasional snort of Angus Young’s forked-tongue guitar licks can still really do the trick. On Stiff Upper Lip, the band’s 17th album, the songs remain the same: thinly veiled double-entendres drenched in bluesy hard rock and howled by a raspier-than-ever Brian Johnson. The title track is the best thing here—a pounding, midtempo beat, Angus’ schoolboy-horny noodling, and the lead singer’s pausing after each lascivious grunt of “stiff”—but almost every song contains a blissfully cheeseball moment. Fortuitous Fruta, no doubt wearing the hand-knitted “Bon Scott R.I.P.” sweater Trine made him to combat my interference, is somewhere smiling. —Sean Daly