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Appetite for Destruction

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  • In 1987, Guns N’ Roses exploded onto the national scene with “Appetite for Destruction.” It was their first and best album. On the first track, “Welcome to the Jungle,” Slash’s beginning riffs and Axl’s eerie howl set the stage for the rest of the songs. “Jungle” is a no-holds-barred look at the dark, drug-infested world beneath the glitz-and-glamour exterior of Los Angeles. “It’s So Easy” shows the heart of the band: Axl’s interplay with Slash and Izzy Straldlin. “Night Train” is another exploration of the sex, drug, and alcohol-fueled world of an L.A. club band at the time that Guns was coming up. “Out Ta Get Me” is the first glimpse of Axl’s paranoia and self-absorption, which would ultimately lead to the band’s downfall. “Mr. Brownstone” is a song about (surprise!) heroin, and with the lyrics “the show usually starts around 7. We go on stage around 9,” it would prove prophetic about the chaotic nature of Guns N’ Roses and their live concerts. “Paradise City” begins in (and the choruses return to) a Southern-Rock style, but is mostly the blues-and-punk-flavored hard rock that made them famous.”My Michelle” is the darkest song Guns N’ Roses ever produced. It’s the semi-true story of a girl trying to grow up in L.A. without any support from her family, and then falling prey to the demons of wanton sex and drugs. “Think About You” is one of the most under-rated Guns songs. It’s a sweet ballad about first love, but set to a hard-rock beat. Not a power-ballad, but a great song that never got the acclaim it deserved. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is another love song set to a rock beat, and showcases Slash’s unique talents as a guitarist probably better than any other song on the record. “You’re Crazy” shows the band’s punk influences. “Anything Goes” is a straight rocker about a mutually self-destructive relationship. The record ends with “Rocket Queen,” one of their best, and least appreciated. Slash and Izzy’s guitar greatness are on display here probably better than anywhere else in the album. “Rocket Queen” also shows Axl’s vocal and song writing talent. It starts as a rocker about a virile young stud (probably Axl) and an older woman. But after the famous interlude, (if you don’t know what I mean, find out for yourself,) the song switches gears seamlessly, to a mellow ballad about friendship and love through tough times. It’s a truly amazing song.The cassette version of “Appetite” is the first album I ever bought. Time has not diminished the impact of these songs for me. Guns N’ Roses are my personal favorite band, and “Appetite” is their high point. As they say, once you reach a peak, it’s all downhill, but that’s not important. What is important is to remember them as what they were: a definitively groundbreaking band.

    Posted on March 15, 2010