Thursday, April 7, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Use Your Illusion I & II, by Guns N' Roses

In 1991 Guns N' Roses after 4 years of monumental success from Appetite For Destruction and GN'R Lies needed to find a big way to follow up these two gems. In order to show that they could keep this up, become more than just a passing musical fad that would die out as quickly as it came in, and even go a more creative route than they had before they released two gigantic albums on the same day: Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II.

Use Your Illusion takes the raw street punk take on classic rock that GN'R had been doing and blew it into the stratosphere with longer songs, more profound lyrics, and more creative riffs. There are still some straight up rockers and some of the band's best known songs like Don't Cry, Knockin' on Heaven's Door, November Rain, Live and Let Die, etc. but there are TONS of others where if you weren't paying close enough attention you would be missing out on something amazing. One of the most notable things about GN'R's change in sound was the replacement of original drummer Steven Adler with Matt Sorum due to Adler's drug abuse problems.

Coma from Use Your Illusion I is GN'R's longest studio song and it is nothing short of a masterpiece. It takes every last bit of talent the band had at the time and channels it into 10 minutes of multiple different parts that all come together quite well. Quite frankly I'm surprised any of them ever remembered how to play it all the way through. It definitely is some of Axl Rose's best self-reflective lyric writing at its finest. It kind of gives you a look into what it is like to be him at the time. By the time the song ends you are left breathless, but in the most epic way.

Estranged from Use Your Illusion II is definitely the saddest song that I have ever heard out of the classic GN'R line-up. It's also another long one that clocks in at about nine and a half minutes. You can feel Axl's pain in the most cutting ways. Anyone suffering from depression to any degree can certainly relate to the lyrics. Add in Slash's mournful yet powerful signature guitar melodies and solos and you've got something that becomes more than just the sum of its parts. If you are not absolutely changed inside to some extent by the end of the song there is something wrong with you.

I could of course go on and on about these two albums as there is so much more to them but then I'd probably be talking your ear off all day long. Ain't nobody got time for that. All that said though, there isn't a single track on either of these albums that isn't a classic in some way or another. It's two and a half hours of pure adrenaline and thought filled rock n' roll. If you can afford to pick up both albums, it's well worth it. There are bound to be quite a few tracks from each of them that you find enjoyable.

Use Your Illusion I & II receive 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

Use Your Illusion I:

1. Right Next Door to Hell
2. Dust n' Bones
3. Live and Let Die
4. Don't Cry
5. Perfect Crime
6. You Ain't the First
7. Bad Obsession
8. Back Off Bitch
9. Double Talkin' Jive
10. November Rain
11. The Garden
12. Garden of Eden
13. Don't Damn Me
14. Bad Apples
15. Dead Horse
16. Coma

Use Your Illusion II:

1. Civil War
2. 14 Years
3. Yesterdays
4. Knockin' on Heaven's Door
5. Get in the Ring
6. Shotgun Blues
7. Breakdown
8. Pretty Tied Up
9. Locomotive
10. So Fine
11. Estranged
12. You Could Be Mine
13. Don't Cry (Alternate Lyrics)
14. My World

Buy the albums on Amazon:

Use Your Illusion I:

Use Your Illusion II:

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