3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Epic of life and death,
This review is from: Use Your Illusion I (Audio CD)
Listening to this album (and its sister album, UYI2) was kind of like putting together a puzzle... it took MANY listens,and each time a new piece fell into place. At first, I thought both discs were too long, and had too much filler, yet there was to much musical gold to simply say the albums should be combined into a 'Super Illusion.' Now that I actually see the concept underlying this album, which is ENTIRELY DIFFERENT from UYI2's concept, I can firmly say every track on this album, while not excellent, belongs where it is. To those who just find this album 'ok,' I simply say it takes several listens. Now onto the story of this album - check the title of the review:
'Right Next Door to Hell' is an awesome opener, which goes on for just long enough without getting old. Now, listen to the first verse, and then combine it with the message in the next rack, Dust & Bones. That then goes to the cover, live and Let Die, and then Don't Cry. Notice how the lyrics in Don't Cry are empathetic and reassuring - 'I've beent here before.' That becomes important on the next album. These first four tracks create one of hte most solid openings in hard rock ever, and sets up the concept - one can almost see all these songs being sung by one fictional character (Axl doesn't count), which is especially genius because G'n'R didn't wirte track three.
The next phase of the album is the hardest - I don't feel "Perfect Crime" covers any ground that "Right Next Door" and the first half of "Appetite" didn't... thank god it's short. "You Ain't the First" is alright, and stands out as the only track on all three albums not in 4/4 time... Izzy's so proud that he starts off counting it out. It then goes to Bad Obsession, which seems like a re-hash of Mr. Brownstone, sharing the same weakness as "Perfect Crime," but this song also has a conceptual significance to be revealed soon. "Back Off Bitch" is just fun... Then, "Double Talkin' Jive"...this one really grew on me - someone described it as a Metallica rip-off... um, no. It is pretty funny that they put a song with a line like "I got no more patience... man" right before "November Rain," with its message of 'it'll all be ok... just hold on.'
Which brings us to the pinnacle of western music... November Rain. The album's greatest strength and weakness... because I always want to listen to it twice. Eighteen minutes later... who wants to finish the album? Seriously, the progression of November Rain, from that keyboard buildup, to Slash joining the song 4 MINUTES INTO IT, to that final chorus and then the metal-ish outro and the whole band chanting "you're not the only one"... goosebumps.
So then it's time to put the CD away and finish it tomorrow. You do... "The Garden" is trippy and reminds u that a song like this could not have been possible if John Lennon hadn't existed and wasn't the stoner he was. "Garden of Eden," again with those really short songs with brilliant lyrics that can't be understood... I think the fact that they put both 'Garden' songs next to each other, and that the band littered the album with biblical references - being next to hell, being dust and bones, and 'lost in the garden of Eden' was done on purpose - it's all buildup to a man with a crappy life dying.
The last four songs, like the first four, really underline the story of 'Life's a Bitch, then you die' Notice how there's sixteen tracks, and 'Back Off Bitch' is right in the middle? Anyway, "Don't Damn Me" has some of the most important lyrics, like 'So I step into your world,' 'it's all a part of me' and 'silence isn't golden.' This whole song foreshadows the concept of the next album. Then, "Bad Apples"... I really don't like it very much. The 'death' concept is beaten into our heads as Axl beats a Dead Horse on the next track, along with one of Slash's best solos. Then...
...it all comes together with "Coma." Maybe Guns & Roses was really unimaginative and wrote about the same things... but isn't it more fun to think they tell a story? That chick he had a Bad obsession with can be heard yelling 'all you think of is sex, sex, sex,' the cover song is fullfilled, as he has lived and is letting himself die... 'his world' is waiting on the other side, which is exactly what UYI2 is about. Awesome.
Oh yeah, and the solos are great, Sorum's better than Adler, theproductions good, Axl rocks and all the other things every other reviewer's already told you about.