Despite their reluctance to issue any sort of “greatest hits” package officially, I have to break this news to AC/DC: You already have. Repeatedly.
Granted, it’s easier to try and catch a jumbo jet barehanded than distill Angus Young and crew’s legacy into one or even two discs, and you would never have complete agreement among AC/DC fans. But some could argue that the band did this when they last stepped into the area of movie soundtracks with Who Made Who, the companion piece to the craptacular movie Maximum Overdrive. You could argue that AC/DC Live was a version of a best-of release, as were the Family Jewels DVDs.
Now, presented less than two years after Black Ice was released, AC/DC again find themselves as the soundtrack to a movie – the film in question this time being Iron Man 2. And, if this were viewed as a best-of collection, I’d have to say…they could have done worse. In fact, this proves to be an enjoyable, if not groundbreaking, collection.
Unlike Who Made Who, this disc maintains a nice balance between the Bon Scott and the Brian Johnson eras, and literally covers the group from beginning to – well, the present day (with “War Machine” from Black Ice being featured on this collection). There is also no duplication of songs on the two soundtracks, though with no new material being included on this set, it’s fairly safe to say that any AC/DC fan worth their weight in salt probably has all of these tracks.
Surprise number one is the inclusion of “Cold Hearted Man,” a track which just made its US debut a few months ago as part of the
Backtracks collection (but had been available outside the States since 1978). Surprise number two is that “Guns For Hire” is included; Flick Of The Switch is not one of AC/DC’s albums that is held by many in high regard.
The fact is, with the exception of “Cold Hearted Man,” the chances are excellent that the typical AC/DC fan has already purchased multiple versions of these tracks. (The fact that three songs are pulled from Back In Black speaks volumes.) And while the band would hesitate to call any release a “best-of” for fear that such a release marks the end of their career, the plain truth is that, while this is hardly a greatest-hits disc, it is a nice primer for the next generation who might not have discovered their older brother’s well-worn AC/DC records or CDs.
That isn’t to say that this collection is bad – in fact, quite the opposite is true. There is not a single moment where the energy lags on Iron Man 2 – though I would have questioned if “Evil Walks” was the best selection to pull from For Those About To Rock (We Salute You), or if the title track from The Razor’s Edge was an optimal selection. On the other hand, I always welcome a chance to crank the Scott-era version of “Let There Be Rock” at full volume, and I like that “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be” also is given the attention that I believe is well overdue. (Yes, I know it’s a live staple…but the original version, as creaky as it was, just kicks serious ass. So there.)
There is only one thing that could have made this collection better (aside from putting at least one goddamn photo of Scarlett Johansson in the booklet of the deluxe version) – namely, some type of bone should have been thrown to the long-time, drooling AC/DC fan to make them want to spend another $20 on a collection of songs they already have. But, in the age of the Internet, and coming off the vault-raiding collection of Backtracks – what could they have included? To be honest, I dunno…and I have to concede that the selection of these 15 tracks could have been the work of the filmmakers, so including nuggets even rarer than “Cold Hearted Man” might have been an impossibility in this regard.
(The deluxe version of Iron Man 2 comes with a DVD that, in all fairness, does include a few new things, such as the promo video for “Shoot To Thrill” and the making-of documentary, as well as a version of “Highway To Hell” shot last year in
Does it break new ground? No. Does it rehash tracks you have bought numerous times? Yes. Does it still rock? Hell, yes. Who knows how much longer we’re going to have AC/DC around as a working band, so Iron Man 2 is a nice reminder of why we should appreciate them while we still can.
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