I've never been a big fan of rock and roll songs about rock and roll. I know marketing experts will disagree with me, but there are some things in this world that sell themselves. Sex never goes out of style. I've never read The Kama Sutra but that book is ancient and people continue to study it. Sex doesn't need marketing. It doesn't even need two people anymore (or so I hear). Rock and roll feels like one of those things that doesn't need marketing, either. Bands need marketing. Bands need someone to tell the world "Hey, look over here would you ever on account of this here band what you should listen to right this second!" Rock and roll? That sells itself, right?
Even if it doesn't, I don't need a rock and roll singer to sing me a song about how great rock and roll is. Dude, I bought the record. I don't need you to tell me how good it is. That's what I hate about most essays in most box sets, too. It reminds me of Jimmy (Quentin Tarantino) talking about his coffee in Pulp Fiction. I said all that to say I cringed a bit when I saw that AC/DC's first single off their first album in eight years was called "Rock 'N' Roll Train."
I don't know what a "Rock 'N' Roll Train" is and I don't think I need one, but there's something undeniable and catchy about it so I guess I'm going to have to have one.
People can knock them for being derivative and dumb all they want. I say it takes a hell of a lot of talent to make the same old thing sound catchy, and that's exactly what they've done here.
Analyzing AC/DC lyrics is a pointless endeavor. I don't know what Brian Johnson is screeching and I'm better off that way. I just nod my head and go along with it. Phil Rudd's drumming isn't quite the minimalist masterwork it's been in the past, but it's still nowhere near the ear-splitting cymbal fest of, say, Alex Van Halen.
They're not as rude, hard, or nasty as they've been in the past, but there's still something here that works. In the '70s with Scott, they were a sex-obsessed, juvenile, bratty prank punk band. In the '80s and '90s they were a bit too old for that shtick and made some albums that were classic rock without a lot of classics. Now in their 50s and 60s, they don't have to put on a show for anybody. They're a barebones, no-frills rock band with classicist tendencies. It fits them. It works.