Guns' N Roses: Appetite For Destruction (Album Review)


I read on "Ask Billboard" today that "Appetite for Destruction" by Guns 'N Roses has surpassed Boston's self-titled album as best selling debut album of all time. Previously the RIAA had certified Appetite at 15 million copies, and Boston's album at 17 million, but just recently on September 23rd, "Appetite" was certified at an astonishing 18 million copies sold...and that's just in the US.

That's incredible. And what's more incredible is that this album is still selling, without the band touring today or even still existing. (I do not count Axl's weird version of GNR as the band existing...does anyone?? It really should be called Axl Rose is a Wacko...but that doesn't sound too catchy does it?)

Here's the tracklisting:

"Appetite for Destruction" (released July 1987)
1. Welcome to the Jungle 4:34
2. It's So Easy 3:23
3. Nightrain 4:29
4. Out Ta Get Me 4:24
5. Mr. Brownstone 3:49
6. Paradise City 6:46
7. My Michelle 3:40
8. Think About You 3:52
9. Sweet Child O'Mine 5:56
10. You're Crazy 3:17
11. Anything Goes 3:26
12. Rocket Queen 6:14

Sweet Child O'Mine was a #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit, "Welcome to the Jungle"went to #7, and "Paradise City" went to #5. And of course, the whole album went to #1, in both 1988 and 1990.

Even "Nightrain" (which I don't believe was officially released as a single) went to #93 on the Hot 100 and #26 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

But my point is, many of these songs get played on rock radio - 21 years later - even if they weren't released as singles. Because any of them could have been a single. Because they were just that good.

"Appetite" has been listed on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, the Rolling Stone Best Albums of the 1980's, VH1's Greatest Albums of All Time, Q's 50 Heaviest Albums of All Time, and #1 on Kerrang's 100 Greatest Rock Albums Ever.

Songs like "Rocket Queen" and "Paradise City" are epics in and of themselves, rock anthems that still strike a chord today. "Anything Goes" and "Nightrain" are hard-hitting, like a 1-2 punch, fast and furious blasters of songs. "Sweet Child O'Mine" is a ballad - featuring a killer guitar intro - that allowed GNR to attract female rock fans while not alienating their male audience. "Mr. Brownstone" is sort of the sleeper hit on this album that should have been a single. Or maybe that's "Rocket Queen".

This was the album that catapulted GNR to stardom - for better or worse - and perhaps their only true "perfect" album. Lies, being an EP of half live songs, is hard to look at as a true GNR album. Same problem with "The Spaghetti Incident" because it is a mostly forgotten full-length album of cover songs (some of which are genius..."You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory", "Since I Don't Have You" and "Buick McKane/Big Dumb Sex" stand out as the best tracks).

Use Your Illusion I and II are magnificent, but there are flaws, as you could imagine that an album that took several years to complete might have. It seems as though the scope of Axl's vision was so wide it was hard to live up to in reality. The albums are incredible, but missteps like "My World" throw them off. (I am still hostile about the inclusion of this song of Axl psychobabble being included on II. According to Wikipedia, the other members of the band didn't even know about this song until it showed up on the album.) They ended up selling 7 million copies each anyway.

There's something about "Appetite" that's raw, it's actually dangerous, not just an imitation of it. "Use Your Illusion" doesn't have that same raw feeling, it's more polished, although it's evident that the band didn't lose their edge in the recording of it.

All in all, "Appetite For Destruction" is an incredible album...one that changed the face of rock 'n roll at the time period and continues to influence both rock fans and musicians today.

Everyone should own it.

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