16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The Strongest Pain Relief Money Can Buy,
This review is from: Use Your Illusion I (Audio CD)
There is an energy in this album (along with the other pre Spag. albums) that can not be replicated. The stars lined up just right for a handful of times in the past 50 years, and included in the list of those to benefit is the GUNS N ROSES beast from 87-93. Although contemporary times always make the past look tame, there is still no denying the ferocious, controversial beauty that will probably always be associated with GNR.
I'm not in the generation that's supposed to listen to Guns. I was 11 when the Illusions came out, so that meant that while everybody was telling me that Kurt Cobain was the only thing that was cool, I was just discovering the TRUE POWER of music, which is highly inclusive of the mighty Guns. Also a classically trained pianist, let me say I am very open-minded. But regardless of society's pressure to keep up with the times, I still haven't heard anything since the Illusions that can offer such a profound release of anger, tension, stress, and hurtful emotion. Fans ferociously guard "Appetite..." as the definitive album, and there's obviously a whole host of good arguments for that - but although it was at the expense of the band's unity, I maintain that the Illusions pulled off every epic human goal that music can provide, justifying Axl's egocentric addiction to perfectionism. Here's the review of 1, which although it doesn't pull off the "greatest album of all time" -ness of 2, it is the biggest pack of a punch that good hard rock has ever been able to muster.
The songwriting, performing, attitude, musicianship - EVERYTHING - came together with "Appetite" - but now, with a few more dollars in their pockets, the Gunners could take that same vision and get the recordings polished to perfection. I conceed that that is "for better of worse," in that many people prefer a raw sound, and that appeals to many Appetite heads (and I'm one of them!) But during the Illusions recordings, magic happened; a very spiritual (partially demonic) soul got trapped into the tape, making these recordings transcend all laws of recording techniques, and when you listen to the metallic blues of "Dust N Bones", the more obscure "Bad Apples," or the bone-crunching epic "Coma," you can't help but bleed out all of your internal toxins. Music exists for a release (among other things), and no album has you dealing with your demons more intensely than Use Your Illusion I. Axl's lyrics read like a psychiatric report, which as I mention down below, wouldn't make sense if indeed they were a shallow party band. Indeed, this band was put here with a purpose.
Okay, so they weren't the BEST musicians around, but they weren't bad. And the group dynamic made up for the lack of technique many times over. Afterall, a strong element to the foundation of the band is punk, where attitude is all that matters. The fact that Guns had/have attitude PLUS other things to offer makes me say that that is the best thing you could try to get from any musician.
Which leads me right into the high compliment to this album's effective diversity. I play piano for a living, and Use Your Illusion 1 is like Appetite + piano and a few other things, which is why I hold 1 just a notch higher (not worth arguing about though). I could listen to the bluesy headbanging of "Dust N Bones" (and even more, 2's 14 years) all day long, jamming along on piano, and never want to go do anything else. The hypnotic electricity of this band should come in a bottle. Then there's "You Ain't the First," a really cool acoustic ditty, a royal "Queen-like" cover of Sir Paul's "Live and Let Die", the staple ballad "Don't Cry," the monstrously screaming metal of "Back off B@#$%", and the smash epic that needs no description, "November Rain." I put on a piano recital which, after the Beethoven was over, included a full orchestration of this epic, strings and all. A pretty bold move for a conservative music school. With regards to those saying that if 1 and 2 were combined into one solid (though how much more solid do you want?) album it would be much better... I'll concede only as far as "Double Talkin Jive" and "Perfect Crime," are concerned, which are the closest to filler that is on the first album (Slash's tasteful classical guitar licks notwithstanding). This album, especially when coupled with 2, has it all. Dave Matthews and Phish may open up their jams more, but they still leave you needing your Prozac.
It's funny how documentaries try to establish grunge as a return to seriousness after the partying of the 80's bands - but I never fell for grunge, and I've needed a boatload of musical anti-depressants in my life (who hasn't?). No, kids, Nirvana never really offered that much other than a meeting place for disillusioned teens. The magic of Guns was MUCH angrier, much more MUSICAL, and much more PROFOUND. [Why even mention the N word? Well as you should well know, "N" made it not cool to like GNR, which was a sad sad day for the future of the record industry.] But I digress... The characteristic style of randomly chosen subjects, let's say "The Garden" or "Dead Horse", holds up UNBELIEVABLY well today, and still tastes as fresh as it did a decade ago. And when it's all over, that is the true test.
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Initial post: Apr 10, 2014 5:39:32 PM PDT
I second that! While I don't have this album yet, whenever I hear one their songs on the radio, I just crank it up and let Axl have at it.
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