Maybe I should do this as part of a 100 days challenge. It will also include creating music for each day.
I’m up for the task (but will have to make some adjustments according to my schedule).
I’m currently in a pilot program for producers that is supposed to help us find and define our own sound as artists/producers. Part of the challenge is to listen to a “classic” album daily for the remainder of the program.
One of the requirements of the challenge is to listen to music that is outside of the genre(s) that you are used to working in. With that in mind, I listened to AC/DC’s Back In Black. I recently read a few chapters of a Rick Rubin biography. Rubin references this album as one of the best albums by one of the best bands of all time.
As a DJ, “Back In Black” is a staple in my sets. The beginning riff has to be one of the most recognizable melodies in music! With Rubin vouching and my familiarity with some of their songs, I decided to dive in.
And I was shocked. I loved the whole project front to back. (in black. Haha…kidding!)
This isn’t going to be a track by track review. As a producer and an artist, I want to notice what stands out for me about this project after ONE listen. I know I need to really listen to this at least 4 times to give a proper review, but with 99 more classic albums to listen to, here is what I got.
Overall, the simplicity of this album is what makes this work so well. There are no filler songs, no filler sounds, no filler words. It feels like every piece services the song, which in turn services the whole album.
Sonically, I hear four major parts – drums, lead guitar, bass guitar, drums. These are the (obviously) dominant sounds.
Musically, the rhythm is dominant. It’s not just the drum patterns, but the guitars as well. They complement each other so well and the guitar melodies really drive the music throughout the whole album, especially when Ben Johnson isn’t singing.
And speaking of singing…vocally, I LOVE Ben Johnson’s voice! It’s simply unique and very defining. A vocal performance can truly define a song and really bring it to life in a way a simple instrumental cannot. Mutt Lange did an incredible job bringing out the best in Johnson’s performance, especially after the tragic loss of Bon Scott. (Talk about pressure…)
I would need to go through the album again to follow Johnson’s lyrics to break that down, but I can say this – the hooks are on point. This album would be a great study of hook writing.
Not a bad start. Here is my beat with an AC/DC influence: