Discography Reviews – No. 2 – Guns N’ Roses

The mighty GN’R are up next on the discography reviews front and for a band as big as they are and for all the years they’ve been around, their whole catalogue is quite a slim affair!! Blame it on Axl Rose’s procrastination and endless tinkering for perfection but I’m sure in years to come loads more stuff will escape the vault and become available for public consumption.

Let the journey begin…

Appetite For Destruction (1987) (53mins)

Not only perhaps the greatest debut album of all time, it’s undoubtedly one of the best albums to ever be recorded. I remember hearing it for the first time as a seven year old kid and being blown away and I still get those same feelings even after countless spins. This album never gets old, it feels as raw and dangerous today as it did back then, everything about it from the songs themselves, to the muscianship, to the album artwork just sets it apart and gives it it’s deserved icon status. Everyone plays and performs on this record like their life depends on it (it probably did), especially Slash who’s solos are incredible throughout. They would never top this and to be honest I’m not sure of any band that could make a record this good on their first attempt and then produce an even better one. The highest of recommendation’s for this.

  • 1. Welcome To The Jungle – 9.5/10
  • 2. It’s So Easy – 9/10
  • 3. Nightrain – 9/10
  • 4. Out Ta Get Me – 8/10
  • 5. Mr. Brownstone – 9/10
  • 6. Paradise City – 9.5/10
  • 7. My Michelle – 9/10
  • 8. Think About You – 7.5/10
  • 9. Sweet Child O’ Mine – 9.5/10
  • 10. You’re Crazy – 8/10
  • 11. Anything Goes – 7/10
  • 12. Rocket Queen – 9.5/10
  • Overall – 9.5/10

G N’ R Lies (1988) (33mins)

Stop gap mini-album that they had to get out there to take full advantage of the clamouring for material by the band, it comprises the previously released EP, Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide (1986) and four acoustic tracks. The ‘live’ EP was in fact not live at all but studio tracks with crowd noise overdubbed!! The four acoustic tracks are comprised of three new songs with an acoustic version of ‘You’re Crazy’ from Appetite for good measure. It’s an overall really good listen, the first half showing the gritty, rawness of the group, the second a more restrained, almost laidback vibe. The final track ‘One In A Million’ is an absolute belter of a song but is marred by some outright disgraceful lyrics that have no place in music (or in the world at large for that matter). It’s a shame because it puts a downer on proceeding’s come the records end. Still highly recommended as a whole though.

  • 1. Reckless Life (Hollywood Rose Cover) – 7/10
  • 2. Nice Boys (Rose Tattoo Cover) – 7.5/10
  • 3. Move To The City – 6.5/10
  • 4. Mama Kin (Aerosmith Cover) – 8.5/10
  • 5. Patience – 9/10
  • 6. Used To Love Her – 6/10
  • 7. You’re Crazy – 6.5/10
  • 8. One In A Million – 9/10 (as a song but 0/10 for some of the lyrical content)
  • Overall – 8/10

Use Your Illusion I (1991) (1hr 15mins)

For their official follow up to Appetite For Destruction (1987) the band decided to release not one but two new albums simultaneously. No, not a double album but two separate albums released on the same day!! It had been four years since the release of their debut so it could be argued that they’d built up enough quality material to justify the dual release but truth be told, it would have been better to just have one album of all top quality tracks. That’s not to say that the albums aren’t really good, with both containing a handful of the band’s very best songs. This was to be the last time Izzy Stradlin was involved in any recording’s and his loss would be felt greatly in the years to come, he’s definitely the most underrated member of GN’R. This was also the debut of Matt Sorum on drums, taking over from the awesome but let’s just say unreliable Steven Adler. The songs range from epically proportioned pomp rock masterpieces, to raw rockers to Bond theme/Bob Dylan cover versions to a truly atrocious attempt at Nine Inch Nails style industrial rock (‘My World’) and create a set of albums that is never boring and at times is absolutely sensational. Highly recommended.

  • 1. Right Next Door To Hell – 8/10
  • 2. Dust N’ Bones – 6.5/10
  • 3. Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney/Wings Cover) – 9/10
  • 4. Don’t Cry – 8.5/10
  • 5. Perfect Crime – 8.5/10
  • 6. You Ain’t The First – 5/10
  • 7. Bad Obsession – 5/10
  • 8. Back Off Bitch – 8/10
  • 9. Double Talkin’ Jive – 7/10
  • 10. November Rain – 9.5/10
  • 11. The Garden – 4.5/10
  • 12. Garden Of Eden – 8/10
  • 13. Don’t Damn Me – 9.5/10
  • 14. Bad Apples – 4/10
  • 15. Dead Horse – 7.5/10
  • 16. Coma – 8.5/10
  • Overall – 8.5/10

Use Your Illusion II (1991) (1hr 15mins)

  • 1. Civil War – 9/10
  • 2. 14 Years – 5.5/10
  • 3. Yesterdays – 7/10
  • 4. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan Cover) – 9/10
  • 5. Get In The Ring – 8/10
  • 6. Shotgun Blues – 9.5/10
  • 7. Breakdown – 6/10
  • 8. Pretty Tied Up – 5.5/10
  • 9. Locomotive (Complicity) – 6/10
  • 10. So Fine – 4.5/10
  • 11. Estranged – 9/10
  • 12. You Could Be Mine – 9.5/10
  • 13. Don’t Cry (Alternative) – 8/10
  • 14. My World – 1/10
  • Overall – 8.5/10

The Spaghetti Incident? (1993) (46mins)

Yet another stop gap release to keep the money rolling in, the difference this time was that it was to be a stop gap of fifteen years!! It’s a covers album showcasing tracks by bands that were an inspiration/influence on GN’R and when it first came out back in 1993 I thought it was terrible!! Over the years it’s grown on me and whilst not something I would think to play very often, I do enjoy it on the odd occasion that I do. The quality ranges from absolute turd (‘Down On The Farm’) to being strong enough to include on a GN’R best of playlist (‘Since I Don’t Have You’). Nothing groundbreaking but worth a listen, even if it leads you to check out some of the originals by amazing artists like The Stooges and Misfits.

  • 1. Since I Don’t Have You (The Skyliners Cover) – 8.5/10
  • 2. New Rose (The Damned Cover) – 7.5/10
  • 3. Down On The Farm (U.K. Subs Cover) – 4/10
  • 4. Human Being (New York Dolls Cover) 5.5/10
  • 5. Raw Power (Iggy & The Stooges Cover) – 8/10
  • 6. Ain’t It Fun (Dead Boys Cover) – 8.5/10
  • 7. Buick Makane/Big Dumb Sex (T. Rex/Soundgarden Cover) – 6.5/10
  • 8. Hair Of The Dog (Nazareth Cover) – 7.5/10
  • 9. Attitude (Misfits Cover) – 8/10
  • 10. Black Leather (The Professionals Cover) – 5.5/10
  • 11. You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory (Johnny Thunders Cover) – 5/10
  • 12. I Don’t Care About You (Fear Cover) – 5.5/10
  • 13. Look At Your Game Girl (Charles Manson Cover) – 3.5/10
  • Overall – 7/10

Chinese Democracy (2008) (1hr 11mins)

After one of the longest waits between albums of all time (17 years!!!) there was no way this record could meet expectations and on that front it doesn’t disappoint!! It’s a mess of an album, cobbled together from the brain of Axl Rose over the previous decade and a half, put down on wax by a revolving door of session musicians, hangers on and actual band members (no original’s though, apart from Mr. Rose himself). It’s then been tinkered with, over produced and compressed until any bit of soul has been squeezed from the tracks and all that’s left is a shiny, slick, non-descript record that really should have been an Axl Rose solo album so as not to tarnish the Guns N’ Roses name. It’s a shame as the opening title track starts things off reasonably well but it rapidly goes downhill from there!! Avoid.

  • 1. Chinese Democracy – 7/10
  • 2. Shackler’s Revenge – 4/10
  • 3. Better – 6.5/10
  • 4. Street Of Dreams – 4.5/10
  • 5. If The World – 3/10
  • 6. There Was A Time – 5/10
  • 7. Catcher In The Rye – 4.5/10
  • 8. Scraped – 5/10
  • 9. Riad N’ The Boudouins – 4.5/10
  • 10. Sorry – 5/10
  • 11. I.R.S. – 4.5/10
  • 12. Madagascar – 5/10
  • 13. This I Love – 6/10
  • 14. Prostitute – 4.5/10
  • Overall – 4.5/10

Miscellaneous

Live Era ‘87-‘93 (1999) (2hr 13mins)

I’ve never seen them live but I’m pretty sure they could kick some ass on stage, especially in those early Appetite era days. There is probably an electrifying live document out there somewhere but this is not it. It’s too much of a patchwork of tracks taken from different concerts and places around the world and doesn’t flow like a great gig should and for the most dangerous band in the world, it feels pretty pedestrian. Not overly bad but definitely not a very exciting listen. It does contain an interesting cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘It’s Alright’ though so props for that.

Appetite For Destruction (Super Deluxe Edition) (2018) (3hr 31mins)

Axl’s reconnection with both Slash and Duff led not only to live performances but the remastering of their almighty debut album. To be honest I wasn’t much of a fan of the sound of the remaster (give me the original mix anyday) but this super deluxe edition contains plenty of demo, live, b-sides, covers and rarities to keep fans happy and it contains the previously unreleased (or at least very hard to get hold of) ‘Shadow Of Your Love’, which given the full Appetite production treatment could have fit quite nicely on that album. Not an essential release but worth checking out at least once.

Sympathy For The Devil (from Interview With The Vampire – Soundtrack) (1994) (7mins 31secs)

A cover of The Rolling Stones classic for the soundtrack to Interview With The Vampire (1994), it’s not a patch on the original. In fact, it’s pretty terrible – like Axl Rose fronting a Happy Mondays tribute act, it loses all of the edge and satanic majesty of the Stones version and is a bit of an embarrassment. It didn’t stop it appearing on their Greatest Hits (2004) album for some bizarre reason though, it had to be a contractual decision over fan desire, surely?!!

Oh My God (from End Of Days – Soundtrack) (1999) (3mins 40secs)

I remember when this came out and being very nervous but also excited to hear what Guns N’ Roses had to offer going into a new millennium. The answer was a disappointing mess, much like it’s parent film (not Arnie’s worst but certainly no Terminator). It continues Axl’s infatuation with industrial sounding rock music but this track is all over the place – a mishmash of random noise looking for a hook or something memorable and failing to find either. It’s not available on any streaming services and that’s probably for the best.

https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=jWKwFMKt-Ls&feature=share

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