|Well, it’s officially our season (or series) finale. I honestly can’t believe that this has been achieved with the regularity that it has been, so bravo to all those involved and, as always, hats off to Chris Ryan for the idea. It turns out that while we’re completely incapable of deciding where to go for lunch on Fridays, we do have the necessary follow-through to complete two albums a week. I’m pretty excited for the next set, hopefully you guys are too, but for now, without further ado, I’m pretty sure this is one of the albums that got the ball rolling, so it’s appropriate that it finish out the set:Guns N’ Roses-Appetite For Destruction
http://grooveshark.com/#/playlist/Guns+N+Roses+appetite+For+Destruction/61127722I’m not sure what more there is to say about this album, but if you’re looking for mainly just the facts, you can find them here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appetite_for_destruction#Track_listingKnowing this crew though, I’m pretty sure there are some solid preconceived notions without the need for a sneak peek. So there you have it.
|RC: Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction
Least favorite track/tracks:
Overall (1-5 stars): 4
|Guns N Roses – Appetite For Destruction: 4.5 stars
Precon: I might have heard the full album when I was like 8. My brother was into GNR for a while. I liked them well enough and always appreciated the racy photos in their liner notes.
Favorite Track: Can’t decide
Welcome to the Jungle is a great way to begin an album.
|Guns N’ Roses-Appetite for Destruction
Preconceived Notions: I think I was always just **this far** from the Guns N’ Roses generation. I was too little to appreciate the impact that they had in real time and by the time I was old enough, I kind of saw them as a caricature of themselves. Axl’s crazy hips and Slash’s hair and top hat had taken over as their trademarks, and I, quite honestly didn’t care enough about what serious people considered “rock” to give it a listen. I’m hoping I’m old enough now to appreciate it more. Stranger things have happened. Also, every time I think of this album, the only thing that comes to mind is the scene from “Can’t Hardly Wait” where the kid from Hook sings “Paradise City” with the football guy that he was tutoring with LoveBurger as the backing band, of course. I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention Donald Faison.
After Listening: There can’t really be a debate about the fact that “Welcome To The Jungle” is one of the greatest opening tracks ever can there? If there is, I’m almost positive we’ve had it, along with our “greatest middle tracks” discussion. Anyway, it’s a phenomenal opening track, and especially on a debut album, you can pretty much hear the young, impressionable minds being blown. There’s nothing pretentious about the album, but there is a confidence that can justifiably be backed up by their talent. It’s like the whole album is just a bunch of contradictions. There’s something that sounds both gritty and well-produced, both dissonant and melodic, and ultimately, it actually sounds kind of timeless. I think it has and will continue to age pretty well, like most of the other great records. It’s just a solid effort. There don’t seem to be any tracks that are really out of place. Its sound is so focused, yet it doesn’t fall in to the trap of sounding repetitive. I don’t think you can go wrong with this one. Definitely a nice surprise at how many of the songs I liked. Axl is a legitimately great front man and while his voice isn’t something I would naturally gravitate towards, he can do a lot more with it than I gave him credit for; he’s not all just swivel hips and silly snaking. And Slash, well there’s a reason that he’s still sought out for projects. There are a ton of classic elements, some nice moments of backing vocals, but all wrapped up in the kind of abandon that you can only have when you believe you can be the next biggest band on the planet. The problems always come in once you have to figure out how to keep that crown in a world of changing tastes.
Favorite Tracks: Welcome To The Jungle/Out Ta Get Me/Paradise City
Most Surprising: Think About You (there’s something maybe slightly cheesy, but I listened to it twice, so for me, there’s something there)
Overall: 5.0, especially because I’m not as familiar with it or any of the album progeny it might have influenced. It all felt really fresh to me, despite knowing all the Behind The Music details of it.
|Preconceptions: I think, unlike several of my peers at the time that I was able to put GNR in proper musical perspective. Growing up listening to Slayer and Metallica – I knew these guys were simply not the heaviest thing on the planet, not the most badass. You can’t deny they were fun and important though, and I’ll admit hanging around – albeit skeptically right through the double album release in the early 90’s. I saw the Metallica/GNR tour in its death throws at Foxborough Stadium in a cool fall affair (it was supposed to be summer, but James had burnt his hand, and Axl had caused a riot in Canadawhich pushed back the show). Anyway, I went with a bunch of guys that insisted GNR would blow Metallica off the stage…and by evening’s end they ate every word. Axl had made us wait about 2 hours before he took the stage after Metallica had finished, and Guns played an uninspired set behind a obviously washed up and battered voice. Although GNR continued afterward for a few years, fans of the band had to know it was winding down even then. Years and years later after the Napster controversy (not a big deal to me), the “Some kind of Monster” film debacle (actually sort of funny to me), and a slew of bad albums (the only unforgivable sin)…one can ask the question would Metallica too have been better served burning out like GNR? You can always remember Appetite so fondly, in part b/c the band-try though Axl might, didn’t spend years together lessening its impact.
After Listening: Two things jump out at you on this album one is the guitar playing of Slash. Simply put, no Slash, no GNR. Stylistically he’s the direct descent of Jimmy Page and Keith Richards, he’s the evolution of those two, and the only reason I think Slash hasn’t had success out of GNR is that perhaps he really did need Axl’s songwriting and arrangements to keep him focused. The 2nd thing on this is the simple energy put forth by the band. This was recorded of course when they young and hungry so that helps a ton. Not all of these tracks are all time classics, but there’s virtually no filler on the record thanks to the emotion and energy put forth. Axl used to get too much credit for this album, nowadays he gets way too much flack. It’s his eccentricities and attitude that carry some of the simpler arranged tracks like “It’s so Easy” and “ I think about you” and aved them from being forgettable Musically it’s dynamic- it switches tempos, arrangements, and well….acoustic dynamics enough to keep the listener engaged, while at the same time it stays in a fairly unchallenging and larger picture box. For a generation of people this album was a lightening bolt-you had to notice it, and then embrace it, in a way the entire band became a victim of this album’s success. Anthem’s like “Sweet Child of Mine” and “Paradise City” left the widestream audience only wanting GNR to produce clones of them for the rest of their careers. That’s not what happened (thankfully), but when these hits were fresh out of the box the band could be proud of creating them.
Favorite Tracks: “Mr Brownstone” – It’s not Paradise City, this is the quintessential GNR song. It’s got all the attitude and energy of Paradise, but in a more compact and edgier package. The rhythm guitar here is beautiful…perfectly sloppy phrasing behind Axl’s “I don’t give a f*ck” daily monologue. Slash’s solo here is insanely complex and subtle enough that it never loses the groove of the song. It’s a stripped sounding piece with a purpose.
Overall 4.8456 Since I’ve been alive there have been only a handful of albums that you can point to and say this is “rock and roll”. When it was released the mainstream embraced it as hard rock or metal simply because it was so powerful. But that’s a misnomer, this is a rock record pure and simple. The 80’s had so precious few rock records that this was a vital release even in the scope of music history. It’s hard now to hear the “hits” on this and imagine them as fresh interpretations – but they were, they very much were. I’m not GNR’s biggest fan…I don’t really have beef with Axl, or the double albums (there were some excellent non-singles tracks on those)…and maybe it’s precisely b/c I’m not a huge GNR fan that I’m able to lavish praise on this album. I can view this record without the prism of hopelessly waiting for Chinese Democracy for 20 years, or wondering why Slash can’t find a replacement act, or mourning the struggles of Steven Adler as he presents them on television. I see Appetite in a vacuum as a raw rock record, a complete raw rock record with energy and emotion. And since those type of unencumbered records are very very rare…I say pretend it’s 1988 turn up the volume and rock out.
|Guns N Roses – Appetite for Destruction
Preconceptions: Ummm, I think this was my pick, correct? Anyway, this is an album I still listen to from time to time, and I remember when I bought the cassette back in the day when it came out. It’s exceptional.
After Listening: There are really tons of notable and important things about this record, but I think what stands out is how genre stretching it is—in that punks, glam rockers, hair rockers, metal heads and just plain rock n roll enthusiast can appreciate it. Also, while Nirvana gets credit for supposedly changing the direction of rock music, I’d say—as far as mainstream artists go—GnR and their releasing this album is probably more responsible for it, or at least getting the ball rolling. When it was released, its gritty rawness and lack of party boy hair-whipping inanity, was like a bucket full of ice cold water being thrown on CC Deville’s limp, drunken, passed out, half-naked body on a sun drenched LA Sunday morning. At least that’s how I remember it in hindsight, and its influence indeed seems pretty profound.
Aside from its cultural importance and impact on rock music, pretty much every song is awesome, and that is what its all about, isn’t it.
Favorites: Nightrain, My Michelle and Rocket Queen (see below)
Overall: 5 stars
Axl wanted some pornographic sounds on Rocket Queen, so he brought a girl in and they had sex in the studio. We wound up recording about 30 minutes of sex noises. If you listen to the break on Rocket Queen it’s in there.
Another engineer, Michael Barbiero, did not want to record the sex session, so he set up the microphones and left the task to his assistant, Vic Deyglio. Deyglio said the studio was “like a Ron Jeremy set”, and he even had to enter the booth to adjust a microphone on which Rose and Smith had crashed into. The Appetite for Destruction liner notes jokingly acknowledge Deyglio’s contribution by crediting him as “Victor ‘the fucking engineer’ Deglio”.
It was later stated in the music magazine Classic Rock, as well as Rolling Stone, that the person who had been recorded performing sex noises on the song was indeed Adriana Smith, an on-off girlfriend of drummer Steven Adler, who also allegedly had an intimate relationship with frontman Rose. Smith revealed in an interview that Adler “freaked out” when he discovered about the recorded sex session, and she spent some years using alcohol and drugs “because I had this extreme shame and guilt and stuff.”
|Guns n Roses- Appetite for Destruction
Before: I never got the cult of GnR. By the time they hit I had nothing but contempt for that furry addicts in tight pants genre. I have heard most of this album but not by choice. It was impossible to live in West Haven without near constant exposure to ever-present Axl screeching. I waited until after lunch for this because I’d rather work than listen.
After: I am more bewildered than ever. This is just… silly.
Best: It’s So Easy (and that sucks)
Overall: What grown up finds this appealing? Slash sure can play guitar and that Rose does a competent Bruce Dickenson impression but why do the lyrics have to be so stupid? It’s a sophomoric dirty version of RadioDisney-level art. Guns n Roses were one of the best at what they did but what they did was not the least bit interesting to me. It’s like being the top cup stacker in competitive cup stacking, you are amazingly skilled at bullshit. I am stunned at how incredibly cartoonish the lyrics are, especially considering how impressed Axl & company were with Axl & company. GnR was a manufacturer when business was booming, cranking out the product for the lovers of Hostess and Pizza Hut, and they never tried to do anything else. There are some good guitar bits but they work best as chase scene music for killer cyborgs. GnR are dreadfully earnest about living up to a coke-fueled caricature of capital-R “Rock N Roll” yet the songs are weak bullshit compared to AC/DC or Iron Maiden. Those earlier bands had what is missing here: fun. Appetite for Destruction is hilarious like Showgirls, but I never want to listen to it again after tonigh-ee-eye-ee-eye-ee-eye-ee-eye-ee-ight.
Rating: 1.18 (4 for slash’s guitar, -2.82 for songwriting and vocals)