Back in Black

Common Sense Media says

Rude, rowdy good-time power rockers' best album.

Age(i)

2
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9
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11
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The guitar playing on this album is topnotch. The values kids will absorb from the lyrics, not so much. Most of the songs seem to come from a cultural expectation of free-flowing liquor and loose women, and some lyrics describe sex in metaphorically violent terms. Some songs (e.g. "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution") have a theme of endurance against hostile forces, always popular with adolescent audiences.

Positive role models

A band fresh off the recording of Highway to Hell is probably still not in the positive role model business, or given to any such aspirations. What they're doing in their songs is proclaiming, in raucous, unapologetic terms, the joys of partying, and not always in the most sensitive terms.

Violence

The line between sex and violence blurs in "Shoot to Thrill": "Shoot to thrill, play to kill I got my gun at the ready, gonna fire at will/ Yeah I'm like evil, I get under your skin/ Just like a bomb that's ready to blow/ 'Cause I'm illegal, I got everything/ That all you women might need to know/ I'm gonna take you down -- yeah, down, down, down/."

Sex

"You Shook Me All Night Long" is an ode to a night of sex that starts out "Taking more than her share/ Had me fighting for air/ She told me to come but I was already there," and keeps going enthusiastically. The album's entire worldview doesn't seem to extend much beyond sex and drinking. So, for example, when Johnson screams "Let Me Put My Love Into You," Young's wailing guitar and the pounding of the band make it seem unlikely that he's talking about long-term investment in a relationship. "What Do You Do for Money Honey" mocks a woman who (the singer seems to think) is selling her favors. Just about any phrase, e.g. "Givin' the Dog a Bone," can be assumed to have a sexual subtext.

Language

Low-level crudity -- "arse" in "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution," "bitch" in "What Do You Do for Money, Honey,"  "ass," "dick" in "Shake a Leg." Frequent occurrence of "hell," both as the place of eternal punishment and as an idiom, for example "hell to pay."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

"Have a Drink on Me" is an enthusiastic invitation to hit the bar sooner rather than later.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Australian rockers AC/DC have always been about sex, booze, and power chords, and that this album immediately follows the death of their original lead singer, Bon Scott, from too much alcohol. That said, Back in Black, which includes such classic rock anthems as the title track, "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution," and "You Shook Me All Night Long," proved to be their most successful album ever, and keeps up a frenetically partying pace from start to finish. Thoroughly steeped in testosterone and teenage frustration, it leaves little doubt about what's on the band's mind at all times. It also includes some of the best hard-rocking music in the history of the genre. Some crude language: "arse," "bitch," "ass," "dick," "hell."

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

No one was sure AC/DC would survive the sudden death of their malevolent, hard-drinking singer Bon Scott in early 1980, but within a month the Australian rockers, noted for schoolboy-uniformed lead guitarist Angus Young, had recruited new vocalist Brian Johnson and gone into the studio. Back in Black begins with the tolling of \"Hell's Bells\" in Scott's honor, and then the party that left off at the end of the previous year's Highway to Hell picked up without missing a beat. It's loud, raucous, anthemic rock, unabashedly about hedonistic fun.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

If you're looking for deep introspection, sensitive lyrics, or tender love songs, this is not the album for you. Its power lies in Johnson's screeching vocals, the churning Young-fronted instrumental engine, and the shared, fist-pumping faith of band and audience that "Rock and roll ain't noise pollution / Rock and roll ain't gonna die / Rock and roll ain't noise pollution / Rock and roll it will survive." The most commercially successful album of AC/DC's career, Back in Black is also widely considered the band's best.

 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about lewd, crude rock 'n' roll -- who does it appeal to, and why?

  • Angus Young is considered one of the world's best guitarists. How does he compare with some of your favorites?

  • These guys were touring well into 2010. Does it seem silly for geezer rockers to be singing this kind of music?

Music details

Artist:AC/DC
Release date:February 18, 2003
Type:Album
Label:Sony Music
Genre:Rock
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

This review of Back in Black was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written bySuddenImpact February 7, 2015
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

A Classic From One of Classic Rock's Greatest

AC/DC is great! They're right up there with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rush, Pearl Jam, and The Grateful Dead as one of the greatest bands of all time, in my opinion. From the first second to the last second, Back in Black is a thrill ride through the hard rocking music of the band. If you like classic rock or are just a fan of music in general, I highly recommend checking this out, as it is an essential piece of music history.
Teen, 15 years old Written byMetzgeraz123 February 4, 2015
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

AC/DC: Back in Black album review

Parents should know that AC/DC: Back in Black is a rowdy, loud, rock n roll album from the 1990's and 1980's. This album is excellent for getting motivated to and jamming to, but there are few contents that parents may want to know about. There are a few songs in this album that feature drugs, drinking, language, violence, and sex related contents. Really the only songs that features violence is Shoot to Thrill, and this is a few lyrics from the song: "I'm gonna get you down, I'll fire at will. Shoot to thrill! too many women with too many pills! Shoot to thrill! I'll fire at will!". The second song is hells bells, which features a violent message. "I'm rolling thunder through the rain! I'm coming on like a hurricane. My lightning flashes across the sky! your only young, but you're gonna die!". A few songs also feature sexual messages such as "You shook me all night long", the 4th song on the album. "She made a meal out of me and came back for more. After cooling down to take another round, back at the rick, to take another swing. My legs shaken, the earth quaking, my mind is aching!" "She told me to come, but I was already there. I wanted a look at those American thighs!". Other than that, parents and children should enjoy this rock hit album.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old June 8, 2014
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

?

Some uses of f--k s--t b---h hell damn and ass and some sexual material.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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