Friday, February 29, 2008

Guns N' Roses

Post #17
In my first post I mentioned Guns N' Roses as the primary reason I became a fan of hard-rock music. Now I'm finally reviewing the career of this legendary rock band...

It all started in 1987 with the release of Appetite for Destruction. GN'R's debut took the rock world by storm. I was in Jr. High at the time, and got swept up in the frenzy with everyone else. The song that did the trick for me was Paradise City. I couldn't get enough of that song! My buddies & I listened to Appetite practically non-stop throughout 7th grade.

One of the fondest memories from this stage of my life is a story involving my classic "Guns N' Roses Was Here" T-Shirt (which I still have, although you can practically see through it!). My group of friends went out to a mall to catch a movie & shop (it was one ours' Birthday). Two of us were wearing GN'R tees already (one of the Appetite album cover, the other w/ the GN'R Was Here design), in the course of our shopping, the other 3 of us in the group also picked up the "GN'R Was Here" tee-shirt. So for the final hour or so of our mall-crawl we looked like a walking fan club and drew quite a few looks. But that's not the end of this story...

Now, back in Jr. High, we were all growing boys, and our wardrobes were a bit limited. I was always eager for my mom to wash my GN'R tee shirt so I could wear it again. I usually got to wear it at least once a week. Coincidentally, one of my friends from the mall-birthday party happened to be on the same schedule as me in terms of our laundry- and we unintentionally wore our "GN'R was here" tee-shirt on the same day so often we became know as "The Guns N' Roses Brothers". At first it was kinda cool, but after a while we both got annoyed about it, and tried to guess which day one of us would wear the shirt and wear our own on a different day, and we still coincided plenty of times! At least it makes for a memorable time from my childhood.

Now for Guns N' Roses' music, here are my thoughts: Appetite was such a huge hit, and the band themselves were a phenomenon, it seemed impossible to ever top that success. GN'R Lies was a kind of filler album- a handful of new predominantly acoustic numbers, an acoustic re-recording of "You're Crazy", put together with a re-release of their EP-Live Like a Suicide. It took forever (it seemed) for the band to record an official follow-up album, and when it was finished it became a double-album: Use Your Illusion I & II. The quality and effort that went into these albums was apparent, and everyone who followed GN'R knew they were trying to top the success of Appetite. The band itself was volatile-none more so than Axl Rose, the band's front-man. A final somewhat united effort resulted in The Spaghetti Incident?, a collection of cover songs-mostly of punk-rock favorites of the band members. Shortly after, Axl began firing band members, until he was the only original member left. That was in '93-'94, and the world is still waiting for Axl to come up with another studio album. The rumored "Chinese Democracy" album has had so many anticipated release dates I've given up anticipating it. If it happens to come out, then I'll check it out, but Axl's had me waiting so long I've lost interest.

The music that Guns N' Roses has recorded has left a monumental legacy in the world of hard-rock music. I'll try to avoid some of the frequently played singles that most of you probably know by heart, and recommend some personal favorites based on nothing more than my opinion as a long-time fan who once had a nick-name of "a Guns N' Roses Brother"...

From Appetite For Destruction:
-Welcome to the Jungle (okay, how could I not recommend it?)
-It's So Easy
-Out Ta Get Me
-Paradise City (I guess you can say this is my all-time favorite)
-You're Crazy
-Rocket Queen (this one's a unique gem, just when it seems to become another cliche rock song with too much innuendo, it changes pace and transforms into a sincere ballad)

From Lies:
-Reckless Life
-Mama Kin (a cover of the classic Aerosmith rocker!)
-You're Crazy (I don't mean to be redundant, but this acoustic version is every bit as good as the fast heavy one on Appetite, and it deserves its own listening)
(I'm torn about whether or not to recommend One In A Million. It created so much controversy in its time due to Axl's choice of lyrics, but I think its interpretation should be left to the listener.)

From Use Your Illusion I:
-Dust N' Bones
-You Ain't The First
-Bad Obsession
-The Garden
-Garden of Eden

From Use Your Illusion II:
-Civil War
-14 Years (gotta love Izzy Stradlin on lead vocals on this one)
-You Could Be Mine (Paired with the movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day, this song was a monumental experience for me!)

From The Spaghetti Incident?:
-New Rose
-Human Being
-Ain't it Fun
-(untitled hidden track)

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