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CD Review: Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction

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What’s the 4-1-1?
I’m not going to go into the history and present of Guns N’ Roses. If you’re reading this, chances are you know the deal. L.A. band comes out of nowhere and hits one out of the park with its debut release Appetite for Destruction. They garner fame and fortune, release several more successful albums, self-destruct due to personality clashes, and break-up just as fast as they arrived.

Now the singer is crazy, locked-up in an asylum (his mansion), claiming to release the damn near eight-years-in-the-making new Guns N’ Roses album with a completely different line-up (even different from the last time he teased you with it). The rest of the group goes on to do their own thing, while most notably Slash goes on to guest on every album that will have him, and then forms Velvet Revolver. Now you’re up to speed if you forgot.

When this album first came out there was so much mystique and hype behind it. I remember hearing crazy stories of each member. I can recall hearing that Slash was wanted in seven states and that was the reason why he wore the hat, had the hair in his face, and changed his name. Yeah, it’s ridiculous, but we were in fifth grade.

In a time when pop and dance music controlled the charts, when you hear the opening riff and the main riffs that dominate “Welcome to the Jungle” it made you want to say, ‘to hell with pop music, this is where it’s at!’ “Jungle” more or less became the anthem of the rock culture at the time, and it still remains powerful today. Axl switches up his vocals to a more deep tone for the dark rocker “It’s So Easy.” As a kid it was a thrill to hear the F-word in a song. It wasn’t something that happened a lot. Even though it was harmless, to an eleven year old, it was sort of taboo.

Slash & Izzy lay down some great riff patterns for the ultra heavy “Nightrain.” Let’s not forget Steven Adler’s crazy cowbell action either. The sweet chugga-chugga guitar tones of “Mr. Brownstone” still ring out loud and clear today. I had no idea what this was about when back in the day, but as the years progressed, it made more sense. “Paradise City” is the track that really broke Guns N’ Roses into the mainstream. Looking back it doesn’t surprise me either; it has a real pop-vibe to appeal to the non-rock crowd, but still manages to stay heavy enough to captivate their core audience.

“My Michelle” has one of those choruses, that for some reason, you’re compelled to sing along with; even trying to match Axl’s odd voice inflections. Now most rock bands appeal to a predominately male audience, but to combat that tactic, Guns delivers “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” I can’t even begin to tell you how many girls in my class fell in love with that song and Axl Rose because of it. I’ve always thought that “Rocket Queen” never got the praise it deserved. It really displays each member’s expertise during various parts of the six-minute composition.

The Verdict
Appetite for Destruction still blows me away. You can’t deny that this nearly twenty-year-old album stands the test of time, no matter what the musical climate, or what generation is listening to it.

Did You Know?
The original cover for Appetite for Destruction was banned. It can be found on the inside on the CD sleeve. I don’t normally agree with censorship, but the drawing could easily be interpreted the wrong way.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Originally posted by author at Rock-Is-Life.com

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About George Dionne

  • http://detectivebobbygoren.blogspot.com/ Trinket

    I just got all warm & fuzzy reading this review! Brings back great memories & the songs still hold up well!

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    i’ve got a friend who insists this is one of the best hard rock records ever made.

    i should give it a listen again. it’s weird, all i can remember from it are “Sweet Child…”, and “Welcome To The Jungle”.

  • http://www.genericmugwump.blogspot.com/ Aaron Fleming

    Yeah it’s a brilliant album, a classic for sure! You’re right about Rocket Queen, it never gets much attention, then again every song stands out, it’s truly an album of singles. Although Nighttrain still remains my favourite GNR song.

    The original artwork is great, but yeh, understandable why it was stuck in the middle.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    It took me forever to understand the appeal of Appetite for Destruction, since everything about it — Axl’s macho posturing and overwrought vocal style, the misogynist fuck-you lyrics, the over-amped sound — just sounded like very average heavy-metal stuff. I honestly didn’t see a lot of difference between them and Quiet Riot or Scorpions or all those other metal hair bands of the 1980s. Strangely enough, I began to like it the more I played it, and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is a classic. Maybe the record just had a kind of personality to it that I kind of warmed to or something. I thought they stretched a good deal more on the Use Your Illusion discs.

  • http://tresbleu.blogspot.com/ Sister Ray

    You’re right – it is almost 20 years old. Eek. Just send me my senior citizen discount card now.

    I saw them in 1992 at the (then) Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis. Axl warned us about getting out of Indiana before we ended up stuck in a trailer thinking about the girl we shoulda married instead (or words to that effect). Being back in Indiana seemed to upset Axl, but they played well.

    “Paradise City” is my all-time favorite GnR song.

  • Dustin

    This is definitely the best hard rock album ever made if you ask me. I was only 1 at the time, haha, but I got into them in the late 90’s when there was nothing more lame than liking 80’s/early 90’s rock. Every song sounds like it could have been a single. The only song that I’ve never really warmed up to is probably Think About You..only because it sounds so dated..but with the exception of that one song, every other one is perfect. Sweet Child O’ Mine is, in my opinion, the best rock song of all time.