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Use Your Illusion II

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Japanese only SHM pressing. The SHM-CD [Super High Material CD] format features enhanced audio quality through the use of a special polycarbonate plastic. Using a process developed by JVC and Universal Music Japan discovered through the joint companies’ research into LCD display manufacturing SHM-CDs feature improved transparency on the data side of the disc allowing for more accurate reading of CD data by the CD player laser head. SHM-CD format CDs are fully compatible with standard CD players. Universal. 2009.Had Use Your Illusion II been combined with Use Your Illusion I, keeping only the best material while dropping the filler, it would have been one of the best rock albums ever recorded. Instead, great songs like ”Civil War,” ”14 Years,” ”Estranged,” and ”So Fine” compete with the inexcusable ”Get in the Ring” and the well-intentioned but off-target cover of ”Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” There’s no point to the second version of ”Don’t Cry,” either. On the other hand, when Guns N’ Roses were good, they were very, very good, and some of the material on this album is unsurpassable. –Genevieve Williams

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  • I still have my original copies of UYI 1 and UYI 2 that I bought some 12 years ago at midnight when the record store opened so they could be sold. I still cant decide which of the 2 is best, 2 just might be a little better. While the 2 albums together have some filler, there is less on 2. We have the ass-kicking tunes YOU COULD BE MINE, PRETTY TIED UP, CIVIL WAR, YESTERDAY,14 YEARS, KNOCKIN ON HEAVENS DOOR. The songs SO FINE, ESTRANGED, LOCOMOTIVE are a little slower, but they are also great songs. The weak link on this album is MY WORLD, this is a song that we dont need. DONT CRY, with alternate lyrics we possibly could have done without, but it is still a good song so I guess thats cool. While I love both albums, and they still find there way into my stereo after 12 years, I agree with some of the reviewers that we might have been better off with just one double album. Like I said before, I consider these albums to be their EXILE ON MAIN ST., and shows the promise this band had before all the internal conflicts ripped them apart. Yes I think they could have been as big as the ROLLING STONES, but we will never know. I highly recommend adding this album to your collection.

    Posted on February 25, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The Use Your Illusion albums were perhaps the most widely anticipated albums, EVER! Hundreds of thousands of fans waited at record stores until midnight so that they could get the album right when it was released. And while most people were expecting more Appetite for Destruction, the new, more sophisticated sound that appeared on the albums kept most fans happy. While Appetite was dominated by Izzy Stradlin and Slash’s double guitar attack, this albums had a different sound. Slash had great solos on 80% of the songs and Axl’s piano playing added a new sound to the dirty punk-influenced rockers. Izzy Stradlin also emerged as not only a great guitar player, but an extremely talented songwriter.1. Civil War 10/10- A great song that has comments from little known revolutionaries and also a quote from “Cool Hand Luke.” These tie in perfectly with the song. Sounds like an anti-Vietnam song, so it’s hard to take it seriously since Axl wasn’t even a teenager when the war was going on, but it is so good. Axl sounds great on vocals, and so does Slash with the wah-wah pedal. A masterpiece.2. 14 Years 10/10- Similar sounding to Dust N’ Bones, they are also both written and sang by Izzy, who sounds great. It is too bad they didn’t keep to this sound: heavy guitars and Izzy’s vocals, balanced by Axl’s piano and harmonies. It’s a shame that when Izzy released his solo stuff that he did not use this sound instead of that Stonesy road music similar to John Fogarty. 3. Yesterdays 7/10- Thought of by many as a great song, but comes off as sappy aand phony. Released as a single, but didn’t do anything thanks to Nirvana. Still has a good guitar solo.4. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door 8/10- Definitely the better of their covers (the other one being “Live and Let Die”), kinda sounds different than what Bob Dylan was aiming for when he wrote it and probably has him jumping in his grave (no wait, he’s still alive). Still is pretty good, but Slash should have done a better solo.5. Get In the Ring 5/10 Basically a platform to call out (by name!) the people who wrote bad stuff about Guns N Roses, is still pretty good and Axl bring up a good point on how the music industry screws us hard-working Americans over.6. Shotgun Blues 2/10- Terrible song that has nothing good about it. Way too much profanity and one of the only true filler songs on the album.7. Breakdown 8/10- A different sound for Guns N Roses where Slash plays a major part in the entire song instead of just taking the spotlight in the solos. A quote from the film “Vanishing Point” is unnecessary and keeps this from a ten.8. Pretty Tied Up 10/10- Sounds pretty cool with the sitar in the beginning. A great guitar solo by Slash and hard rocking guitar riffs by Izzy as well as good bass by Duff make this song worthwhile.9. Locomotive 6/10- The first two minutes are great, but the weird chorus and lack of a good Slash solo keep this from being a good song.10. So Fine 10/10- Written and sang by Duff, who sounds great. Why didn’t he write more songs in GNR? Slower, with good piano and guitars. Written for and dedicated to Johnny Thunders.11. Estranged 10/10- One of the greatest songs ever written. Is really a two part song. The first half (should be called something like “Illusions”) goes on for four minutes and is made spectacular by Slash’s guitar (you will know what I mean when you listen to it). The second half (should be called “Estranged”) sounds great too with a great guitar solo by Slash. A moving song grabs your heart and doesn’t let go until it is over; 9:23 later. Slash and Izzy together sound great, but Slash proves that he is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Axl proves he is a great songwriter and sounds great on piano. A true masterpiece. This alone gives the album five stars.12. You Could Be Mine 10/10- The big hit off the album and the only real heavy metal song, is often overlooked even though it is the second highest selling Guns N Roses song; it just never received any airplay for some reason. It starts out great with pounding blues-driven guitars, and has a raw blues power that is non-existant in today’s music. I did not truly aprreciate this song until I saw Slash doing the guitar solo for this on the Use Your Illusion II tour DVD and it is truely amazing the way he does those 16th notes.13. Don’t Cry (alt. version) 9/10- Unnecessary, but still sounds good, basically is the same melody as the original, but with different lyrics. It would have been great if Guns N’ Roses had combined the two versions together for a November Rain-like ballad.14. My World 0/10- Awful, either filler or something else that did not work. Rap sounding, is no good and unacceptable.Besides a craptacular ending, this is really good and a must own for any music fan. Had they put more time into the album and taken out “Shotgun Blues,” “Locomotive,” and “My World,” this could have been even better than Appetite for Destruction, but if they had waited longer, maybe no one would have cared since everyone was listening to Kurt Cobain whine in “Nevermind.” It is too bad that controversy tore them apart, because anyone can tell after listening to the other projects done by GNR bandmembers that aren’t named Axl (such as Slash’s Snakepit and Velvet Revolver) that they still have great music left in them.

    Posted on February 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Is normal to hear that Appetite for Destruction is one of the best rock albums ever made. It is also normal to hear that is the best album ever from Guns N’Roses. But one thing is for sure: This album is as good(and maybe better) than Appetite. Use your Illusion II is full of excellent, unforgettable songs. Starting with Estranged, a nine minutes masterpiece with a killer guitar work by Slash, and remarkable lyrics by Axl. No other person has ever written so good about the feelings related to the fact of losing the one you love and understanding that your relationship just fell apart. Yesterdays is a simple but beautiful song. Really easy to hear. When i run out of words is when i try to explain how i feel about hearing Locomotive. What a song! Slash is just from another world. Hard and fast riffs combined with Axl’s powerful voice are just amazing. The last three minutes of this song are maybe the 3 best ever recorded by a rock band. Only comparable to Stairway to Heaven, Estranged, and the last 3 from Rocket Queen (also from Appetite). So fine is a gentle song, with an excellent balance of piano and guitar sounds that allowed Duff McKagan to show that GN’R is not just about Axl and Slash. He can write good songs too and sing them with high quality standards. Get in the ring, the song that defined the name of their world tour is pure rock and roll. Excellent intro guitars and following riffs by Izzy and Slash. Axl’s honesty about his feelings for magazine’s columnists and editors resulted in a really powerful song. Its really contagious rythm makes impossible not to sing and jump with these song. Civil war is another classic with an excellent wah-wah pedal work from Slash. Then we find 14 Years, with excellent lyrics and vocals from Izzy Stradlin and powered backing vocals from Axl. And one after another you get through the best group of rock and roll songs ever put together in one album. This one is an album to remember. An album to hear for years to come, because what the gunners accomplished here is just to great and beautiful to be forgotten. Maybe we are lucky and we can have them together again, making really simple, powerful rock and roll, just as they only can do.

    Posted on February 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The quiet-loud fury of “Civil War” opens Use Your Illusion II, a record which despite its more experimental, weirdly unengaging ditties (“Get in the Ring” and “My World”) contain some gut-wrenching rock and roll classics.”You Could Be Mine” drips with power and venom, Slash’s blues-metal guitar sounding as furious as ever and Matt Sorum’s drum attack establishing him as Guns N’ Roses’ best drummer; “14 Years”, with Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin’ sharing lead vocals, is a sleazy but involving kind of swing; “Yesterdays” has ringing guitars with one of Rose’s lost-innocence lyrics; and “Estranged” contains a volley of Slash’s best guitar melodies, all of which can rival the immortal intro to “Sweet Child O’ Mine”.The “blue album” was Guns N’ Roses’ last great album. Short-lived as the band was, its instrumental skill, unusually keen songwriting ear and ambition harkened to an older time when rock and roll could still claim to be larger than life…and deliver on the threat.

    Posted on February 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Easily tied with some other albums for “Greatest of All Time”, “Use Your Illusion II” is the one review I kept putting off, not thinking I could ever be in the proper state of mind to give this piece of music the justice and worship that words can never express. Well, I’ve obviously started typing, so let’s see what happens…(Oh first of all let’s get the “Appetite” and “My World” issues out of the way; yes, Appetite is wonderful and there’s no reason to let any sort of comparison between these two albums impede the immense praise that is deserved by both. And yes, “My World” is an example of “WTF, Axl?????”. HOWEVER, you have over 70 of the most well spent minutes of your entire existence to experience from this album before the final two minutes, so how DARE anyone let “My World” affect the reaction towards “Use Your Illusion II.”)Ok here we go. This album is epic (did I mention that?). When you are down and out, ready to give up, think all hope has gone, etc., etc….. you do NOT go to Nirvana. you do NOT go to Britney Spears. No, my friends (and enemies), you go to this album, track 11. There you will find the reason music exists. Heart and soul, blood and guts, tears, catharsis, anger, rage, emotion of the highest form, a purging of all of your demons: THAT is what will be injected into your veins when you listen to one of the greatest songs ever, “Estranged.” Unfortunately, songs like this were a major reason for the sad (and painfully slow) breaking of the fellowship that was known as the mighty original Guns. Axl was (and is) a control freak that dictatorially directed how the music was going to be. His grand schemes exhausted and frustrated his cohorts, who felt they were losing their voices in the band. As tragic as the break has been, I will offer up the condolences that if an album’s creation pays that very highest price that can be paid (short of death), atleast the album created is “Use Your Illusion II”, and atleast it contains the song “Estranged.”If you liked Guns N Roses after 1993 (such as I did), you were CRUCIFIED by the public. There’s a lot of moral wrongs in society, and I’m not going to start comparing Nirvana fans to terrorists, but I will say that the nineties gave us blatant evidence as to why not enough people are open-minded and think for themselves. The music of Guns N Roses – the very music that was irrationally chastised for being mindless, talentless and overblown – is some of the most gut-wrenching, fist-clenching, serious and thought-provoking music out there. Just LISTEN to what Axl’s actually ranting about. Just FEEL what Slash’s Les Paul is really doing to your soul. It all comes together with this album. I love the Beethoven 9th as much as the next guy, but the grand finale to “Estranged” is the most emotional music I’ve ever heard. It may be from a rock band, but the point is, it’s from THIS rock band. Learning “Estranged” on piano is what made me what I am today – instead of quitting piano, I majored in it. Instead of laying down to die in front of the door of the past decade of musical B.S., I vowed to go to my grave defending the music that really reaches out to people, trendy or not.More than the already unsurpassable amount of blessing must be given to the fact that this is not an album with just one sound. Guns pulled off the project of pure human emotion with diversity! “Estranged” itself winds around into different keys, with different themes, and different moods. A real journey of body and mind. But just about every other song is of the same ilk. “14 Years” was just as influential on me, schooling me on some serious blues rock. I’ve never felt more conviction from any band’s live performance than from the studio recording of this song! The entire band really seems to be letting off some serious steam in this one, so make sure you let it get into your blood! And speaking of letting off some steam, how about “Get in the Ring?” This is THE quintessential anger song. While a simple punk band can only really ever deal with anger in one dimension, Axl and co. really let you into a web of emotional complexity with their ability to actually PLAY their instruments (sorry, some of you might not know what that is). Granted, some of the lyrics are more blatant than a sledgehammer (“When you’re talking ’bout a vasectomy…” ), but these lines are always offset by more crafty, if intense, ones (“I sense a smell of retribution in the air”). It should be noted that if you’re one to be offended at times, the skip button was invented for the song “Get In The Ring”. Everyone else… rock on!100 paragraphs each also go to “Civil War,” “Breakdown,” and “Locomotive,” (not to mention the epic-ifying of a pretty basic Dylan tune, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” and the alternate [better] lyrics for “Don’t Cry,” and don’t forget Arnold ["You Could Be Mine"]!!!)…but I’ve made my point and Amazon only allows 1000 words. Just imagine “Estranged” done 10 times over and you’ve got the album…the MASTERPIECE.Bottom line about the timelessness to these wonderful songs, this album is FRESH. While some bands’ music does sound dated and stale, nomatter how many times I start up “Civil War,” I feel myself taken to a new dimension. The songwriting, playing, band-chemistry, recording, mixing, timing…. it all comes together on this album better than just about any other. If you are in need of therapy, and/or if you like rock music, and/or if you are human, “Use Your Illusion II” is the all-purpose pinnacle.If you find these opinions to resemble your own, you are highly encouraged to email!

    Posted on February 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now