*** I wrote this in 2008 as part of my English GCSE. Part of the coursework was to write an album or film review. I got an A for this... ***
It is hard to imagine that it took a good few months for this album to be recognised by the masses, but when it finally did strike, it shook all who listened. The debut album by the californian
rockers successfully combined rock, metal, punk and blues to create an era-defining record and one that has since been highly regarded by musicians and listeners alike.
California, and Los Angeles in particular, was gritty, dirty and drugged up in the 1980's for the five members of GNR. And these surroundings are the inspiration for Appetite for Destruction
. Drugs, alcohol and sex are written about plentiful, as you'd expect from many hard rock bands. However Guns also managed to show a sweet and sensitive side which, when fused together, create one finished package.
Lead guitarist Slash
has always said that he's a sucker for a good riff. And this album has plenty. They're generally so mindblowing that they make up a large part of the album, from the stunning outro in Nightrain
, to the epic scores in Sweet Child o' Mine
. He really is up there with the best of them. Axl Rose
's vocals do not please everyone, but his voice is unique and fits in well with the music. But it's also good to hear Izzy and Duff doing backing vocals, which generally adds another layer to the song.
As the first notes of Welcome to the Jungle
ring out, raw energy clouts you. This continues through to It's So Easy
, the only song written by Duff McKagan
but it certainly doesn't disappoint and has a cocky and confident swagger to it. Nightrain
is written about cheap booze that was drunk to the extreme by all members. It's lyrics are weak but catchy, and it feels just like you're on a journey seperated by Saul Hudson
's guitar. Out Ta Get Me
is a fight to the death, focusing on Axl's constant trouble with the law when he was younger. He screams out "they're out ta get me / they won't catch me / I'm fuckin' innocent / they won't break me
, written by Izzy Stradlin
, is a unique number and is different to anything else on the album. It's about being a heroin addict, but it also has a "I don't care" attitude to it. Paradise City
is where the album starts to change, it starts of gently but soon picks up speed. However it drifts away from the punk rock roots of the first four tracks. The chorus is instantly memorable, as is the supersonic ending. My Michelle
switches back to the much darker side of the album, and Slash even changed his guitar on this one to create that sound. It sounds much more metal than anything else on the album, but with a punk twist as the lyrics get spat at you. The Michelle in question, a friend of Slash's, had heavy drug addictions, her mother had died, and her father worked in pornography.
Once again though this album delivers, and this time you get to see the softer side of Guns in the next two tracks. Think About You
is a sugared song, it could easily be a pop song with regards to lyrics, but it's wrapped in a hard rocking shell. It's hard to achieve but this mix is pulled off completely. The track carries at a fast, steady pace until near the end, however it is broken down by jangly guitar routes which fit in so well. Sweet Child o' Mine
is the perfect article, combining everything great about the band. The lyrics were originally a love poem from Axl to his then girlfriend and are simply beautiful. Slash's epic riff, which criminally was cut from the radio single, is widely recognised as being one of the best ever. Of note to is the ending where the ballad switches pace, with Axl asking himself "where do we go? / where do we go now? / where do we go?
The next two songs would perhaps be argued as being the weakest on the album, but they still add something to the album anyway. You're Crazy
, of which an acoustic version is on the next GNR album, is where Axl's voice shines through because his voice is perfect for the song, with added "ay's" and "no's" following a chorus where ironically Axl is telling someone else that they're crazy! Anything Goes
, the eleventh track on the album, focuses on one thing: sex. It's fast, energetic and fairly detailed in it's coverage of "the crime".Rocket Queen
is a great ending to the album, and manages to combine all the techniques and genres used in the whole album, into this one song. It starts off slowly, with Steven Adler's thundering drum beat, but picks up quickly. As well as Axl's lyrics, which hit you hard with a swaggering twist, everyone will notice the sexual background noises halfway through the song, in which Axl brought a woman in, they had sex in the studio, and it was all recorded. Just like that. The ending sounds like a seperate song, as everything gradually changes and a message of friendship, love and friendship concludes the album.
As grunge burst into America in the early 1990's, it is perhaps surprising that Guns N' Roses were the only real band of their style to survive into that era, with their subsequent albums also selling well. But it's a huge achievement that not only has this album survived that scene, one which Axl loudly hated, but countless other to. This is because the grit, determination and energy that was created in California in the mid-80s, which was fueled by drugs and alcohol, shines through in every track. Quite simply the band have blended their talents together so well, to create a record that is varied enough, but also one that connects together so brilliantly.
"don't ever leave me / say you'll always be there / all I ever wanted / was for you / to know that I care