When the Ballbreaker album came out I was a huge fan, but over time that album has fallen out of graces with me. I blame part of it on growing up, and that album being very juvenile lyrically. However, Stiff Upper Lip has held up better over the years with me.
The album opens with the title track, which is a very standard AC/DC tune. It's got a great vibe, amazing feel, and spectacular tone, but it's very typical AC/DC. But, as I stated it's in all the best ways.
Then it's on to Meltdown. This is a bit old school sounding. There's a little boogie woogie to get the tushies wiggling, and the honey running, but you've heard this song from the band before in a dozen other songs. However, still good all the same.
House Of Jazz is the first song on the album that actually has me picking up my ears. This has all your typical AC/DC elements to it, but it's thick and heavy like a track from Razor's Edge. I mean this is one of the bad ass songs, that can kick your fucking ass when you turn up them heavy Blues. "Humdinger / Bell ringer / Got a nasty stinger / To slow you down / Mud slinger / Gold digger / Who point the finger / And do you down / Kickin' and a fightin' on a TV show / Lightin' blindin' in the middle of the road / Are you comin' in / Are you comin' in / I said come into the house of / Come into the house of / Come into the house of jazz / Come into the house of / Come into the house of / Come into the house of jazz". Also those choruses are so catchy that by the time you hit the third one your fist is pumping, your heart is racing, and your ripping your throat raw trying to sound like Brian Johnson.
The next track, Hold Me Back, is pretty good, especially if you are into mid 80's AC/DC. This one sounds like it could have easily been on the Who Made Who album as a new track, or from Fly On The Wall. My only complaint about this one is that it feels like it runs a bit long.
In 2000, when this album was released, no one would have thought a song like Safe In New York City meant much. After all, the Big Apple isn't exactly known for being friendly. After 9/11 this song developed a whole new meaning. In fact, I hope the band plays the shit out of this song everytime they are there. I'd be cool with them playing this song anywhere, but they shoud really still play it there. I think my favourite line in the song, though, is at the end when Brian says "I feel safe in a cage in New york City".
Can't Stand Still is some basic stock AC/DC. It's good like any other AC/DC song, but it's nothing special. Part of me even thinks they ripped off and modified Thunderstruck's main riff to do this song.
It's another standard track with Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll. Like many of the other standards this one is really cool and groovy. I can bitch all I want about how it seems like AC/DC just made the same album again, but they opted to use all their best skills and techniques to make a great album of it all.
New Satellite Blues is a whole lot of innuedo wrapped in a clever new guise, and presented in the same old clever wrapping paper.
Basically, by the time you get to Damned it's very clear that the band is channeling their mid 80's through early 90's style and tone. Lyrically it's basically a commentary about how no matter what you do you're damned.
I always forget Come And Get It is on this album, but that's because it sounds like it's really from Razor's Edge. It's like If You Dare part two.
I'm not entirely sure if the album needed the last couple tracks, but then again they are really good. See the biggest probelm with this album is that it sounds so much like everything they've already done. Which is a good thing and a bad thing. The good part is that it's a really well done album, the bad part is that they did the album at least ten other times prior to this one. If this album was switched in time with Razor's Edge, I'd be making those complaints about that album instead of this one. I could say the same thing about switching it with For Those About To Rock as well. This album reminds me of both of those, and the song All Screwed Up belongs on either of those albums as much as this one.
The album ends with Give It Up and that wasn't a good idea. This album doesn't have a strong closer, but the previous track and this one should have been switched. It would have ended better. This song is probably one of the weaker on the album and should have been jammed in the middle as more of a filler.
I think I've covered how I pretty much feel about this album. But, just to sum it all up, this album sounds very much like The Razor's Edge, especially in production if you compare it to the digitally remastered copy I reviewed a while ago. The music also reminds me of the For Those About To Rock album. Both of those other albums I think are top notch albums, and with the exception of the title track of the latter album, this album could easily replace either of those. I also see some simularities to the Fly On the Wall album, and the mid 80's material found on the Who Made Who album.
I'll give you a second to process all that.
So, basically it's only because of when this album was released it has an issue with stock or filler sounding songs.
7/10 - content
8/10 - production
8/10 - personal bias