How is this for a memory… The song Stiff Upper Lip was the last one I recorded off of the radio!
In early 2000, Stiff Upper Lip‘s title track and was getting some air time prior to its release. Napster was in full swing by then but somehow it wasn’t immediately there. Maybe the Y2K scare had tripped up the pirates.
I really wanted to listen to it at my pleasure, so I went old school. I waited for the song to come up on Q107. I put my tape deck in pause/record mode and waited. After a few false starts, I finally did catch it. The DJ stomped all over the intro, but I got a majority of what I needed. And having it on tape meant I could play it in my ’93 Chevy Corsica!
Funny enough, Stiff Upper Lip did appear on Napster a few days later. I downloaded it thinking I’d get a clean copy, but someone in Germany did the same as me. The only difference was a German DJ stomping on the intro instead of a Canadian. I think they even hit the same post in the song.
I thought the song was fantastic but I kept my excitement for the rest of Stiff Upper Lip. I remembered how Ballbreaker‘s title track was “the good one”.
Release day, February 28th finally arrived and I headed to Bayfield Mall in Barrie with my friend Wally. I walked into Sunrise records and just like Ballbreaker, there was no fancy display. I grabbed a copy from “new releases” this time and the clerk handed me a limited edition poster after my purchase.
#3664 out of 5000 to be exact. That was two AC/DC albums in a row to come with a complimentary poster!
Wally wasn’t overly impressed with Stiff Upper Lip but I thought it was pretty good. Much better than Ballbreaker at the very least. The tone of the album is jovial with one tune, Can’t Stand Still ending with Brain having a laugh.
Lyrically, it is a great improvement. Satellite Blues starts off about trying to unscramble porn, I think. Typical AC/DC. But then check out the last two verses:
Can’t get nothing on the dial
The frickin’ thing’s gone wild
All I get is the dumbed down newsThis thing’s nothing but a load of crap
I’m gonna send it right back
You can stick it where it hurts, Mac!
Wow! Talkin’ crap about the media!
Safe In New York City hammers home the title throughout the song, but then ends with,
I feel safe in a cage, in New York City
Some John Lennon “out/in” level of head games… from AC/DC!
I think all of the songs on the album range from great to average. There is no real stinker for me. I’m not of a fan of the track listing though. Putting two mid-tempo tunes, Meltdown and House of Jazz right after Stiff Upper Lip slows the momentum down too quickly. I would have put the up beat tunes like Hold me Back and Can’t Stand Still closer to the top to give it a really strong opening.
The album does finish off well though with All Screwed Up and my beloved Give It Up. It is great to have a hidden gem in the final spot but it would even better if more people listened to it!
Stiff Upper Lip is 12 tracks with the total running time of 47 minutes and it always flies by for me. I get how some are not a fan it doesn’t sport any pop tunes and it is less polished than the Mutt Lange albums. But that is what I like about it. It is more “blue collar”, straight up rock ‘n roll AC/DC. Maybe at this point you are tired of them going through the motions, but it gave me exactly what I wanted.
As an AC/DC album: 3.5/5
Compared to everything else: 4/5
PS: This is my 200th post on BuriedOnMars.com!