Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion I review
|Band:||Guns N' Roses|
|Album:||Use Your Illusion I|
|Release date:||September 1991|
01. Right Next Door To Hell
02. Dust N' Bones
03. Live And Let Die [Paul McCartney cover]
04. Don't Cry [Original version]
05. Perfect Crime
06. You Ain't The First
07. Bad Obsession
08. Back Off Bitch
09. Double Talkin' Jive
10. November Rain
11. The Garden
12. Garden Of Eden
13. Don't Damn Me
14. Bad Apples
15. Dead Horse
When I was in 4th grade most of the kids in class were into grunge, metal or rap; unless of course you were one of those sheltered kids who still sang along to "Old McDonald" on the way to school when you were 10. I still remember getting into heated arguments with my best friend who as a grunge fan over who was better: Guns N Roses or Nirvana. Even though Use Your Illusion I was released in '91 it was still insanely popular at the time. The members of GnR epitomized the rock star cliché; into hard drugs, booze, fast women and trashing hotel rooms. Despite the lifestyle factors and all the drama they were dealing with at the time; they put out a refined and complex album that holds some of the most memorable songs ever made in not just Hard Rock, but across all music released in the past 30 years.
When talking about the performance on the album I of course have to start with GnR's two most iconic stars, Slash and Axl. Axl Rose is one of the best frontmen of all time; he has such a unique voice and such a great range. He was also that guy that everyone wanted to be. I heard someone joke one time that Axl could open his own chain of used panty stores with the amount of tail he got, and he probably wasn't exaggerating by much. His vocals on this album are exceptional but they don't live up to his work on Appetite For Destruction, they just don't seem as passionate. On Appetite you could really hear him pouring his heart into the lyrics, which isn't the case here. Slash is often considered an overrated guitarist but I believe he lives up to his hype, no one can convincingly mesh bluesy jazz and sonic sounding metal styles the way that Slash can. He's not really a shredder (though he can play pretty quick), but he plays with soul which is why I say it is convincing when he plays in a "bluesy" fashion. Some good examples of this can be heard on "November Rain" and "Double Talkin' Jive." The other members of GnR are good but don't get the respect they deserve, which is to be expected with superstars Slash and Axl Rose in the band. Izzy is an excellent rhythm player and his vocals are a nice break from Axl's outstanding, but at times overwhelmingly shrill voice. Duff McKagan's an excellent bass player, but I feel like his playing is drowned out by Slash and Izzy's riffs on some of the songs. I can understand this from the producers' stand point; they want people to focus on the massive solos and riffs, but personally I like to be able to hear the bass line more. Drummer Matt Sorum does a great job filling in for Steve Adler who succumbed to his substance abuse issues; he may actually be a better drummer than Adler.
Though this is a great album, it's far from perfect. It seems like they were putting in songs for people with certain tastes, so that everyone would have at least a couple songs they liked. So out of the 16 tracks I skip about half of them, fillers like "Dead Horse", the "Live and Let Die" cover, and "You Aint The First" are just plain bad to me. The good tracks however more than make up for the filler which are especially forgivable in this day and age where you can download one song at a time. It's not a masterpiece like their first album, but Use Your Illusion is definitely a great progressive venture worthy of the Guns N Roses legacy.
Favorite Tracks: "Coma," "Double Talkin' Jive," "Don't Cry," "November Rain"
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