The mid to late ’80s was a weird time for AC/DC. Commercially, they were at their peak while in a serious songwriting slump. One of their (if not thee) best from this era, was Who Made Who. Released in 1986, the tune gave them a mini-resurgence as lifted the Who Made Who album to selling 5Xs platinum. Another huge part of the band’s resurgence was how they found a way to sell themselves on the MTV.
The videos they released for Who Made Who and an updated one for You Shook Me All Night long were big hits for the channel:
Naturally, for the follow up, Blow Up Your Video AC/DC wanted to replicate the same formula. Back in the producer chairs were Who Made Who‘s Harry Vanda and George Young and the band took their time recording 16 tracks in 1987. Ten of which made it onto the album when it was released in January of 1988.
Videos were made for the album’s first two tunes, Heatseeker (The giant penis is at the 2:04 mark)
…and That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘n Roll…
…and the strategy worked. The album became their biggest-selling album of new material since ’81s For Those About to Rock We Salute You and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental in 1989.
And yet it is by far far their weakest album. Heatseeker and That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘n Roll are solid. Not so much for the rest.
I do like the riff for Ruff Stuff but is really is just average overall. Angus does some killer work on Meanstreak, Go Zone, Nick of Time and Kissing Dynamite, but 30 seconds of guitar solos on each cannot save tired riffs and lyrics. By the time we get to the final tune, This Mean War I can’t wait for it to be over.
I seriously believe Angus was the only one who showed up in the studio as the rest of the band does not sound inspired at all.
Blow Up Your Video is something for the hardcore fans only. As for the rest, you would be better served to put the cash towards the deluxe edition of AC/DC Live which features better versions of the album’s best tunes Heatseeker and That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘n Roll.
As an AC/DC album: 1.5/5
Compared to everything else: 2/5