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Use Your Illusion II

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  • 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