REVIEW: AC/DC – “Shot in the Dark” (2020)

AC/DC – “Shot in the Dark” (2020 Sony single)

Be honest with me.  Until recently, did you really expect a new AC/DC album in 2020?  The notoriously private band were spotted at a studio in Vancouver a while ago, but aside from that it’s been total radio silence.

Until now.  Power Up!

Brian “Beano” Johnson found himself the recipient of brand new, high-tech in-ear monitors enabling him to sing live once again.  Phil Rudd put his past behind him.  This was enough to get Cliff Williams back on board.  Angus Young had been sorting through dozens of riffs written by Malcolm.  With nephew Stevie Young still in the fold to play those riffs, AC/DC were a band once more.

2020’s Power Up (or PWRϟUP) will be the first AC/DC album since the death of both George and Malcolm Young.

“Shot in the Dark” is the first single, available now on iTunes when you pre-order the album.  “Shot in the dark, beats a walk in the park.”  I highly doubt that it was a walk in the park, but the thing about AC/DC is that they make everything better.  (This week’s episode of the LeBrain Train was supposed to be about AC/DC bringing us exactly what we needed in 2020.  It has obviously been postponed so we can talk about Eddie Van Halen instead.)  If Black Sabbath’s “Rock and Roll Doctor” was a real person, there is little question that they would have prescribed us some AC/DC in 2020.  We needed this.  Like an Aspirin when your head is achin’, we needed a “Shot” of AC/DC.  Something bright and shiny to look forward to.

What AC/DC do, only they can do right.  There’s nothing even remotely unique about “Shot in the Dark”.  It’s AC/DC.  It is what it is and does what it does, and it’s pretty simple.  All you need is a beat, a catchy guitar lick, and a belting singer.  “Shot in the Dark” has all that.  The things that do jump out this time are Angus’ solo — slidey goodness — and the sheer joie de vivre of it all.  Brian is sounding great.  Some have noted that AC/DC sounds more like the genuine article when Phil Rudd is on drums.  His thrift and pocket groove are peanut butter and jelly.

Rating a new AC/DC song is kind of pointless.  They always come out with something good, albeit familiar, for a first single.  1990’s “Thunderstruck” was an exception.   It’s been this way since 1995’s “Hard As a Rock”.  AC/DC drop a new single, and it’s always the same.  Good and familiar.  Same thing here.  Ratings are meaningless so we’ll call it a perfect score just because we should all be happy as fuck that AC/DC are back.

5/5 stars


  1. If AC/DC came out with an album and it didn’t sound like AC/DC, I’d be displeased. Who wants to hear AC/DC do a twenty-chord epic in 7/4, 9/8, and 5/4 time with non diatonic secondary dominant shifts and borrowed chords? Not this guy! This song fucking rocks, and you know what? Not one single song on the album has the word “rock” in the title. How about that? I’m stoked!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point Holen. I will admit slight disappointment with one thing. A fake track list circulated last week with a song called “Rock Your Balls Off” as the last number. While the fake tracklist didn’t fool us, I did wish “Rock Your Balls Off” was a real title.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!!! What I’ve always liked about Phil Rudd is his hi-hat, they give the song a little extra. In an interview with Mal from around 2000/2001, he talked about how the hi-hats in rock ‘n’ roll have like air to breathe, but the hi-hats in rock music are more stiff and tight. That’s how I’ve always been able to tell when Phil is playing or not. AC/DC were great on this single as always!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries! Eddie Van Halen’s death is a huge blow to the music industry. Eddie’s playing was impeccable and his style can never be replaced.

        I only heard stuff with David Lee Roth, so sadly I never got into them much. I only started listening to stuff with Sammy recently. I prefer Sammy, but I like some stuff with Roth. Who do you prefer as Van Halen’s vocalist?


  3. Hate to say this, but as an AC/DC fan of many decades I was less than impressed by Shot In The Dark. It just sounds to me like something off Black Ice, which arguably is the band’s lamest album of recent years.

    When I first read the news about PWRUP – especially with the hint that some of Malcolm’s guitar work may appear on it – I couldn’t wait for the album. But after hearing this single my enthusiasm has severely dampened. It’s AC/DC by numbers, and not in a good (or interesting) way.

    Liked by 1 person

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