Sunday, June 15, 2008

600. Guns n' Roses - Appetite For Destruction (1987)

Track Listing

1. Welcome To The Jungle
2. It's So Easy
3. Nightrain
4. Out Ta Get Me
5. Mr. Brownstone
6. Paradise City
7. My Michelle
8. Think About You
9. Sweet Child O' Mine
10. You're Crazy
11. Anything Goes
12. Rocket Queen


Ok, this is pretty crap but it is still a lot of fun. If you, like me, grew up with this it gains an inordinate amount of points for sheer nostalgia value. In fact that is pretty much all the value this album has.

Axl's voice is annoying, the playing is very good but very masturbatory, the lyrics are inane, and it is overall ridiculous. Still, it is fun, and contains what are the three best Guns tracks. The rest of the album really does not stand up to the epic ridicule and awesomeness of Paradise City, Welcome To The Jungle and Sweet Child O' Mine, so you are always kind of waiting for those highlights.

The exception if probably It's So Easy, a great track which sounds out of place in the album, it sounds like it belongs to a better album, maybe because Axl is mostly absent from the track. So, yeah I had fun with this, but I'll keep it out of my iPod, the times I listen to it by accident are quite enough.

Track Highlights

1. Sweet Child O' Mine
2. It's So Easy
3. Welcome To The Jungle
4. Paradise City

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The album's original cover, based on the Robert Williams painting "Appetite for Destruction", depicted a robot rapist about to be punished by a metal avenger. After several music retailers refused to stock the album, they compromised and put the controversial cover art inside, replacing it with a cover depicting a cross and skulls of the five band members (designed by William White, originally as a tattoo), each skull representing one member of the band: Izzy Stradlin, top skull; Duff McKagan, left skull; Axl Rose, center skull; Steven Adler, right skull; and Slash, bottom skull. The photographs used for the back of the album and liner notes were taken by Robert John (photographer).

Sweet child O' Mine, look at Axl dance!:


Anonymous said...

Hi Silva,

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you here. I think this is one of the best albums of the 1980s and quite probably the epitome of heavy metal.

No offense intended (in fact you might just take it as a compliment ;)) but I think that you just don't "get" heavy metal.

The most important thing to understand in heavy metal is that it is all about the guitars. "No shit sherlock," you may very well be saying. Hehe...

However, this defines everything about the music. In heavy metal the guitar is both a rhythmic and melodic instrument. It drives the song on both levels. This means that the lead guitarist is at least as important as the vocalist and good heavy metal effectively has two frontmen pushing the song. This is what creates a lot of the attitude and energy.

Unfortunately, this is also why at least 80% of heavy metal is pretty bad. Getting both a vocalist and a lead guitarist who have the technical ability, musicality and charisma to make it special is pretty rare. Even rarer is when the two egos involved can actually accomodate each other.

Keeping this in mind, lets examine the major criticisms you have with this album (and most of the other heavy metal albums you have reviewed).

The Lyrics

Heavy Metal lyrics are often criticised for being mysoginistic, symplistic, inane even. I won't disagree with you there, they are. It's the thing which turns me off most about the genre. However, if you understand that the music is about the guitars, this is not so important. All that is really required of Heavy Metal lyrics is that they parse well and provide the occassional interesting hook. Of course, there are limits and personally I can't stand bands like Metallica because they are just po-faced beyond belief.

The Guitar Solos

To enjoy Heavy Metal, you have to be able to appreciate a good guitar solo. Just because an instrumental fill lasts longer than a few bars doesn't mean it is masturbatory. A good guitar solo will provide melodic interest, memorable hooks (just like a good vocal line) and either enhance or change the dynamic of the song. If it is technically brilliant on top of this, all the better. I think this was one of your main oversights in your reviews of the Van Halen albums. On the other hand, a bad guitar solo will involve derivative licks, most likely some technical scale work of little interest, probably be too long and will have little interaction with the main melody of the song. In this respect, you were quite right to slate the Def Leppard and Metallica albums.

Often these two aspects become major problems with Heavy Metal because of a failure in one of the frontmen. Either the vocalist is too weak in charisma and vocal technique to compensate for inadequate lyrics or the guitarist does not have the musicality to make his guitar work melodic or rhythmically interesting. The other problem is when the vocalist is a far weaker personality than the guitarist and things end up being purely showboating: technically interesting for guitarists but pretty dull for the rest of the audience.

Appetite for Destruction is a distillation of everything that is good of 1970s and 1980s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Every single song has a vibrant drive and the interaction between the 2 guitars is impeccable. The rhythm work is solid and dynamic, the guitar solo work is artistically outstanding and Axl's voice is continuously interesting and varied. The band is just playing incredibly tight Rock and Roll. The only real criticism of Appetite for Destruction is its often mysoginistic and juvenile lyrics, but this is largely a kickback against the blandness of the hair metal of the time and may actually be a good thing, as the band's rawness was totally lost with the subsequent indulgent and overblown nature of their following albums.

Francisco Silva said...

Hi Shu:

Thanks for that. Yes, I do have some problems getting metal, or at least parts of it, and Axl's voice just annoys the hell out of me. That said, it is always good to have the alternative view expressed in such a nice way.


Anonymous said...

GReat reading here as well.

Nice to see someone writing about heavy metal trying not to be biased.

Anyway, i mostly agree with what you said shu, except for the fact that most of the lyrics in metal are inane. I don't agree. Sure there are quite a LOT inane lyrics in heavy metal. And yes, generally i also pay my first attention to the music and then the lyrics.

But there's plenty of HM bands with amazing lyrics.