27 April 2013

Guns N Roses - Use Your Illusion 1

In 1991 the music scene was a lot different to what it is now.  Hair metal was still ruling in America, Faith No More were still in love with the Chili Peppers, Nirvana were just another random punk band trying to make it and Madonna was a slut. Ok, maybe one of them is the same but back then, Guns N Roses were still called the most dangerous band in the world.  This is something that I have always had a problem with, yes they know lots of swear words, yes they had a cool edge - but the only thing that might happen was Axl might throw his toys out of the pram again. I find it hard to be scared of a man who wore white legings with roses.  But when this album came out I was very excited.  This was the first of two albums which were both at the top of the UK charts and probably did the same around the world.  I will be reviewing both separately and will give my overall thoughts of the whole project at the end of UYI2, but how was the first one - did it live up to expectations or not?

As an album this record has some of GNRS finest moments.  They had really upped their song writing game for this project. With songs like "Don't Cry", "November Rain" (I will get back to that song later), "Coma" (the stand out track of the whole project) and "Dead Horse".  Also you the classic cover of the Wings Bond theme "Live & Let Die".  When this album soars it is a great record.  But due to this being part of a double album project it also suffers from having too much on offer and quality control.  Some of the songs on this album have just never stacked up for me.  Even with Alice Cooper appearing on the track "The Garden" just drags like a bad Sunday afternoon, as much as I personally like "Don't Damm Me" it is hardly an essential track and could have easily been a decent b-side to a single (if you are too young to know what a proper single is, ask your parents) and "You Ain't The First" is a joke that belongs in the rehearsal room at the best.

Certain songs have improved with age it must be said.  When I was younger I did not like "Bad Apples" with its blues, funky piano and to be honest at the time I thought a generic solo - but now it is a great little number which has grown in charm.  I wish the same could be said with "November Rain".  Maybe it is over familiarity, but I cannot listen to the beginning of that song (it was the same with "Sweet Child O' Mine" from 'Appetite For Destruction') without wanting to throw the nearest object at the cd/mp3 player. It is over the top and dull as dish water after a Sunday lunch, but once it get to the bridge for the end it transforms into this amazing song which can still send shivers down my spine.  This is the only reason I have not deleted it from my memory. With half of the album not exactly being above decent, it is hard to remain excited about this album.

Overall the first part whilst have a small smattering of greatness it could have used quality control.  But that said it is still an improvement in range and style for 'Appetite For Destruction', they were brave in some ways which is commendable (something rarely aimed at GNRS).  It is worthy of a decent mark, but I still have that gut feeling that will not go away.  I will speak about this more on the next review for part 2......

7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

You can purchase the album from here

You can visit the website here

You can listen to the album here on Spotify

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