AC/DC - Fly On The Wall review



Reviewer:
5.5

275 users:
6.61
Band: AC/DC
Album: Fly On The Wall
Release date: June 1985


01. Fly On The Wall
02. Shake Your Foundations
03. First Blood
04. Danger
05. Sink The Pink
06. Playing With Girls
07. Stand Up
08. Hell Or Highwater
09. Back In Business
10. Send For The Man


Every band has their low ebb, and for AC/DC, that (dis)honour falls on 1985's Fly On The Wall. It is surprising how far AC/DC could sink but sink they did; drowning in awful production and poor quality songs, Fly On The Wall hit lows that thankfully the band would not hit again.

To address the biggest and most evident problem on the album first, the production on Fly On The Wall is simply crap. The amount of echo and reverb the songs have plastered to them just ruin the charm that AC/DC songs have. AC/DC are a riff-driven band; name any classic track and you will remember the song's riff. While Let There Be Rock was an unconcise distorted album, it worked because it was the sheer unhinged volume that shook the music and consequently the listener that gave it a raw charm. For Fly On The Wall this unconcise sound is a result of overproduction that makes the sound murky and does not allow you to clearly hear the music properly.

At least one small mercy is that the production only ruins what are mostly subpar tracks rather than actual classics, with the album sounding like rejects from the past few years thrown together on one release. While "Danger" is a nice nod to the blues roots of the band, my God is it boring. Sitting alongside songs like "Stand Up" and "First Blood", rock bottom only seems to get deeper. Don't believe me? Check out the chorus to "Shake Your Foundations"; if the "Aie aie oh" doesn't work for you the first time, don't worry, you'll have plenty more chances for it to work its charm!

There are only two songs on Fly On The Wall that I would say are diamonds in the rough and deserve to be pulled out of the obscurity this album has faded into. "Playing With Girls" is an AC/DC classic through and through; it is the only song that seems to have much effort put into it and is probably the best song by the band from '83 until The Razor's Edge in '90. "Send For The Man", while not as good as "Playing With Girls", is still enjoyable and will have you tapping your feet along to its 4/4 rhythm.

It is AC/DC, it goes without saying that the band can handle their instruments well; it's just a shame they don't do much with that talent here. Fly On The Wall is the first album with Johnson to see his strong voice of before break; sure, it's not as good as before, but it has its charm that endears itself to you. It's just on this album the band haven't yet found out a way to compensate for this; as a result, while he isn't bad, he doesn't have the tools to pull up the nosedive. The rest of the band are competent but unremarkable for much of the album, with "Playing With Girls" the only track that the Young brothers excel themselves.

There is a reason the band have largely disowned this album, there are only really two songs worth salvaging from it. I would only listen to this album if you are an AC/DC fan through and through; if you're anything less, then you will be delving into the scrap pile while neglecting the raft of solid gold classics on other albums.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 8
Production: 5

Written by omne metallum | 30.05.2020


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 12   Visited by: 44 users
30.05.2020 - 15:30
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Hey, mommy?"
"Yes, Angus and Malcolm?"
"We gonna be musicians!"
"Great! Where?"
"IN A GUITAR BAND!"
I think that this band should watch a bit of the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup. Imagine those events every year or every other year; they wouldn't be as good as they are now every fourth year. Same with this band - more of them is good but also not good. Too much is TOO MUCH. Good thing they took a four-to-five-year break in the '90s!
Standout songs: "Fly On The Wall," "Shake Your Foundation
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Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

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30.05.2020 - 16:00
JoHn DoE
That's harsh, you are over-analyzing AC/DC like you are trying to ruin them for everyone. I've never had problem with this album, it's always been listenable for me, besides the two songs you mention as stand outs, I've always enjoyed Sink the Pink and Shake Your Foundations and Stand Up.

I still would rather listen to this album to anything they released after Ballbreaker.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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30.05.2020 - 16:48
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by JoHn DoE on 30.05.2020 at 16:00

That's harsh, you are over-analyzing AC/DC like you are trying to ruin them for everyone. I've never heard a problem with this album, it's always been listenable for me, besides the two songs you mention as stand outs, I've always enjoyed Sink the Pink and Shake Your Foundations and Stand Up.

I still would rather listen to this album to anything they released after Ballbreaker.

Me or he. Its their worst but compared this band or kiss or other bands worst album, this still is solid album
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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30.05.2020 - 16:53
JoHn DoE
Written by Bad English on 30.05.2020 at 16:48

Written by JoHn DoE on 30.05.2020 at 16:00

That's harsh, you are over-analyzing AC/DC like you are trying to ruin them for everyone. I've never heard a problem with this album, it's always been listenable for me, besides the two songs you mention as stand outs, I've always enjoyed Sink the Pink and Shake Your Foundations and Stand Up.

I still would rather listen to this album to anything they released after Ballbreaker.

Me or he. Its their worst but compared this band or kiss or other bands worst album, this still is solid album


Me or he? I don't understand what you're trying to say.
Yes, there are far worse albums than this one, I agree. Like I said, a listenable album for me.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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30.05.2020 - 18:08
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by JoHn DoE on 30.05.2020 at 16:53

Written by Bad English on 30.05.2020 at 16:48

Written by JoHn DoE on 30.05.2020 at 16:00

That's harsh, you are over-analyzing AC/DC like you are trying to ruin them for everyone. I've never heard a problem with this album, it's always been listenable for me, besides the two songs you mention as stand outs, I've always enjoyed Sink the Pink and Shake Your Foundations and Stand Up.

I still would rather listen to this album to anything they released after Ballbreaker.

Me or he. Its their worst but compared this band or kiss or other bands worst album, this still is solid album


Me or he? I don't understand what you're trying to say.
Yes, there are far worse albums than this one, I agree. Like I said, a listenable album for me.

Referring to my comment or reviewer
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
30.05.2020 - 18:20
JoHn DoE
Written by Bad English on 30.05.2020 at 18:08

Written by JoHn DoE on 30.05.2020 at 16:53

Written by Bad English on 30.05.2020 at 16:48

Written by JoHn DoE on 30.05.2020 at 16:00

That's harsh, you are over-analyzing AC/DC like you are trying to ruin them for everyone. I've never heard a problem with this album, it's always been listenable for me, besides the two songs you mention as stand outs, I've always enjoyed Sink the Pink and Shake Your Foundations and Stand Up.

I still would rather listen to this album to anything they released after Ballbreaker.

Me or he. Its their worst but compared this band or kiss or other bands worst album, this still is solid album


Me or he? I don't understand what you're trying to say.
Yes, there are far worse albums than this one, I agree. Like I said, a listenable album for me.

Referring to my comment or reviewer


The reviewer is harsh.
I would have quoted you if I had reacted to your comment.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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30.05.2020 - 20:32
omne metallum
Written by JoHn DoE on 30.05.2020 at 16:00

That's harsh, you are over-analyzing AC/DC like you are trying to ruin them for everyone. I've never had problem with this album, it's always been listenable for me, besides the two songs you mention as stand outs, I've always enjoyed Sink the Pink and Shake Your Foundations and Stand Up.

I still would rather listen to this album to anything they released after Ballbreaker.


I'm glad you are able to enjoy the album, my aim isn't to lambast and deride people for what they enjoy; if you like the album more power to you, don't let my opinion ruin your fun. I refer you to my last paragraph, my aim isn't to turn people off the band, it is to direct them away from what I see is a subpar album towards what I feel is their better material, once they've immersed themselves in that then they should work their way back to this album as I think it is their worst.
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Just because I'm not listening doesn't mean I don't care
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30.05.2020 - 20:41
Jope of Steele
Hmm the album is dogshit IMO. 5.5 seems generous.
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30.05.2020 - 20:57
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
There's no way I'm listening to an AC/DC song called "Playing With Girls"
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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10.06.2020 - 17:19
Rapid Fire
Never understood the animadversion towards this album. I love AC/DC and, while I don't consider this to be among their best works I still like it a lot, and think it's clearly better than ''Flick Of The Switch'' and even ''For Those About To Rock''.
Agree that production is quite a bit flawed but it still features a bunch of enjoyable songs, and in fact ''Send for the man'' stays as one of my favourites from them.
Anyway, respect for all opinions. Cheers!
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Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
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16.06.2020 - 00:16
toussa
I don't understand the arguments explaining why this album is so hated, it's one of my favorite. Okay, there are no iconic songs, but, each are awesome for me. Strange. "... and jutice for all" prove the prod is not the most important, and i love the prod here (and "bon scott"'s voice was so horrible in the 3 firts albums), neither "back in black" or "highway to hell "are very originals ...
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excuse my English, i'm training :) (and it's well know that frogs speak english like a spanish cow)
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14.10.2020 - 10:57
Timelord
I think this is a very good album. "Fly on the Wall,Shake Your Foundations,Danger,First Blood,Sink the Pink" are all great songs. I'll listen to this over "Black Ice,Blow Up Your Video or Flick of the Switch" anyday.
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