Wednesday, February 11, 2009

February 11: Guns N' Roses, "Appetite For Destruction"

Artist: Guns N' Roses
Album: Appetite For Destruction
Year: 1987
Label: Geffen

For some reason, many people cannot fathom how the "good times" sound of "hair metal" transformed into the angry, gritty "grunge" movement. The answer is Guns N' Roses and their landmark debut, Appetite For Destruction. More than 20 years after its release, it still stands as one of the most important records ever made.

It is rather hard to talk about Guns N' Roses without becoming cliche. Their antics and band drama are things of legend (and more recently, jokes). Both in their music, as well as in their personal lives, they remain one of the most explosive bands ever. Appetite For Destruction captures this idea perfectly and the album is a brutal assault from all angles. Even in its slower moments, the music still feels like a constant middle finger to all who are in earshot.

Appetite For Destruction pummels the listener, strongly supported by the unmistakable combination of Slash's guitar work, alongside the devastating vocals of one W. Axl Rose. Musically, Appetite For Destruction has all of the elements of the late 80's "hair metal" crusade. However, that is where any similarities cease. Instead of the "feel good," "constant party," and "girls girls girls" themes, Guns N' Roses explore themes such as the dark side of Los Angeles' city life and the dangers/consequences of drug abuse. Of course, they do take a moment to immortalize their favorite visual stimulation with the anthem, "Paradise City."

From the opening of the album, tension building guitars alongside a screeching howl, the band has everything from their amps to their attitudes "at eleven" and never let up. It has become such a staple song that the killer guitar work and dark, graphic lyrics of "Welcome To The Jungle" rarely get the credit they deserve. Rarely has their been such a loud, realistic depiction of the grim actuality of inner city pitfalls (that wasn't a rap song). The final lyric to the song sternly sums it up, "'s gonna bring you down..."

Of course, Appetite For Destruction, caused at least an equal amount of controversy as by the men by whom it was created. Guns N' Roses "dangerous" image and feel can also be literally seen in the fact that the "real" cover to the album was censored and replaced with the image above. The "real" cover was moved to a smaller (and also censored) version inside of the albums' liner notes. To see a smaller version of Robert Williams' original album cover, click here.

Another interesting point of controversy on Appetite For Destruction occurs during the the albums' final song, "Rocket Queen." For those not familiar with the song, the title is a VERY clever double-entendre for women of ill repute. In the crazy world of rock and roll, perhaps it is more accurate to refer to said "Queens" as "groupies." This in itself is nothing new; rockers have been singing of such ladies for decades. However, about halfway through the song, there are some rather "interesting" noises going on alongside the music. For the record, they were recorded "live," and if you want to fully understand the controversy behind the sounds, click here and skip to the third paragraph (include the opening "quote" as a paragraph).

The truth is, pages could be (and have been) written about the significance of Appetite For Destruction. It is truly one of the most important and "game changing" records in the history of recorded music. While Guns N' Roses would become more musically adventurous with the Use Your Illusion records, Appetite For Destruction embodies everything for which the band stands. Due to both its colossal historical significance, as well as the fact that it's a monster record musically , Appetite For Destruction should have a prominent place in every music collection.

Standout tracks: "Welcome To The Jungle," "Mr. Brownstone," and "Rocket Queen."

1 comment:

CasCbus said...

Appetite is one of my favorite albums from one of my favorite bands with one of my top 3 favorite guitarists!!! Their fury and intensity is hard to match in these songs, no doubt about it. The band went through some MAJOR shit to get this album out, and all that makes it that more special. Standout tracks for me are: It's So Easy, Night Train, & Jungle. Great review!!