Song Of The Day - 20 Nov 2008: Welcome To The Jungle (AotY 1987)


Dic 1 2008, 3:20

Guns 'N' Roses / Welcome To The Jungle / Appetite For Destruction (1) / Jul 1987

sablespecter's Album of the Year for 1987 (RDF: 100%)

Outside of L.A., did anyone see these guys coming? We hear new artists/albums/songs on the radio all the time (less that I care about these days versus back then), and most of the time I can't recall details of exactly what I was doing at the time I first heard some band or song, but I do remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the first time I heard this: in my car, on the way to pick up my girlfriend sometime that summer before senior year. There were no singles from this album until 1988, but thank the stars for Z-Rock, because they played cuts from this that summer, leading off with today's album-opener selection. I usually don't buy an album after hearing just one song, but in this case I didn't even wait to hear that one song a second time. Once was enough for me. This is the only time ever that I decided to get something after I heard only one song, the first time. In this case, immediately. I took a detour straight over to the mall to pick up a copy of this, what turned out to be the single biggest album of my summer soundtrack that year.

Until that point, I had basically been rotating between Whitesnake and The Joshua Tree, and had recently added Keel(!) So given that context, it's not surprising that I was floored by what I heard, is it? Something that shook me from 1987's stupor of bluesy, hair-ish pop and rock. Up from the gutter: Axl Rose's gritty howl provoked a more visceral reaction, Slash's guitar played with a take-it-or-leave-it, I-don't-give-a-fuck if you like it or not L.A. street attitude, and that music! Izzy Stradlin's contributions - lyrics and/or music on ten of the album's 12 songs - never got the acclaim they deserved. (The one former partner that Axl could really use the most now.)

IMHO 1987 was the beginning of the end for the hegemony of the golden era of metal. It wasn't obvious at that time, and in fact wasn't even apparent since we were flush with all the great albums of the past seven years or so, but looking back now you can see a sort of a dilution of the scene, less solidarity. The posers-vs-thrashers battle had been pitched for about four years by this time (longer in some scenes), but now it was just a plethora of styles, and the fortunes of metal would start to sort of sink as the hair rose ever higher after this point. By the time the early 90s rolled around, metal was ripe for an upset. From this vantage point in time, it now looks so easy for Nirvana et. al. to have come out of Seattle to knock metal off the perch of its empire, rotted from the inside, without even trying. And to think: Kurt Cobain even found inspiration in GnR!

Rounding out the Top Five of 1987 (in order of descending RDF):

Pink Floyd: A Momentary Lapse of Reason (89% RDF): A new machine indeed! Shaking off the dust, and after getting his second solo album out, David Gilmour firmly took the Pink Floyd into their third era of leadership, and one that I enjoyed just as much as the era dominated by Roger Waters. For me, it really didn't even feel like much of a gap between The Final Cut and this album. I only really started to get into Floyd once The Wall came out, and I spent the intervening years checking out the back catalog and adding to my collection in the spaces between the metal. So much of the older Floyd was still relatively fresh to me. This album just seemed a natural progression, just minus Roger.

Dokken: Back for the Attack (85% RDF): For me, the high water mark for them. This is when it all came together in a relatively consistent package front to back: great songs, great guitar work, great vocals. Maybe it was the creative result of the tension from the clash of the titantic egos that unfortunately split them for a good number of years after. Hey, at least we got a couple of good albums out of Lynch Mob in a few years.

Anthrax: Among the Living (83% RDF): The fourth of the Big Four got their defining album out a few months after the other three, but at the time it was my second favorite after Master of Puppets (Peace Sells... has since surpassed it). I don't know how many school desks I scrawled the "NYHC" X label on in the wake of this. It also led to the biggest music event of that summer after junior year. We actually bolted school early on the last day of school to get over to Record Revolution for an in-store meet-and-greet album signing with Anthrax and Metal Church, followed that evening with their show at the old Phantasy Theater. I still have all that autographed merch, though the shirts long ago shrunk to "junior high gym tee" size...

King Diamond: Abigail (78% RDF): I just recently commented on this album, but couldn't give away too much about where it ranked at that point with this list coming soon. I got by without my own official copy of this for quite awhile, just owning a dubbed cassette copy from a friend. I didn't listen to it much during the nineties, but it was one of the last cassettes that I retired from my regular tape rotation, only leaving my car once I got a new car with a CD deck. Still my favorite King Diamond work, including over anything by Mercyful Fate. Abigail II ain't on par with the original, though.

Honorable Mentions (in not-entirely-correct alphabetical order by band/artist name):
Armored Saint: Raising Fear
Candlemass: Nightfall
Great White: Once Bitten...
Grim Reaper: Rock You to Hell
Helloween: Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1
Keel: Keel
Saint Vitus: Born Too Late
Testament: The Legacy
Trouble: Run To The Light
U2: The Joshua Tree
Whitesnake: Whitesnake

Is your favorite album from 1987 on this list? Are there any others you would add?

\m/ (ò_ó) \m/


  • GrantRS

    While there are a few things I could mention, there are two very guitar centric releases that would undoubtedly be running a very close race for my stamp of approval as my AotY '87 would be Surfing With The Alien and Second Heat. I wouldn't be able to do without those two, even if it did mean depriving Among the Living of a win.

    Dic 1 2008, 17:34
  • sablespecter

    Ah, yes, Joe Satriani. One of the many choices of the guitar players, and probably near the top of most of their lists. I didn't miss this album. I actually have this and [i]Flying in a Blue Dream[/i] on cassette, and of all his albums like those two best. But I rarely listen to them. I can understand a guitar player listening to them A LOT. But I need more and these don't have it. Objectively awesome, though. Racer X I just don't know. I know how important they are to you, but they're just a band that I don't know all that well, though they're on the list with about 20 or so others that I know I need to know. Someday.

    Dic 7 2008, 7:42
  • GrantRS

    Yeah, I don't blame you. That's more or less what I expected you to say, which is fine. Just thought I'd put in my two cents, as it were.

    Dic 7 2008, 12:18
  • sablespecter

    Uh oh...I'm being predictable! I definitely want the $0.02 (or is it £0.01?) to try and kick-start threads - not dismissing them by any means. I thought with this many links that it might draw more comments on these, but I think it just proves that people have less sense of albums these days as opposed to individual tracks. I guess that here on Last there's just not so many old farts like me that still think of albums back to 1970! :D

    Dic 9 2008, 21:02
  • GrantRS

    1) The exchange rate isn't as good as it used to be. 2) Actually, it's what I'd expect any non-guitarist to say unless they're one of these people who REALLY sound like they should have been a guitarist they've just had things go against them at some point preventing them from realising the thing they were meant to do. 3) People who've genuinely heard enough full albums from a given year to really pass judgement a validly as you or Kris seem to be few and far between. Accounting in part for the lack of comment. 4) A lot of your journals are now pushing your other journals off the links pages. Such is the result of publishing ten journals in one day. 5) I think people are turned off by the 'song of the day' title. When all you see is the title listed on a page, it'd be tempting to assume it's just a blank journal with a name of a track and a bunch of connections. If you wanted to attract more readers the best thing to do would be to choose titles that sound like you're trolling. Problem then would be that everyone commenting would probably acknowledge in some way (positive or negative) that they'd been tricked into clicking the link. 6) I'm sure some of the regulars are simply taking their time to acknowledge your return/work through the beginning of the decade.

    Dic 9 2008, 23:02
  • sablespecter

    [quote]A lot of your journals are now pushing your other journals off the links pages. Such is the result of publishing ten journals in one day.[/quote] I had been thinking that doing that much at once might be too much, and this was a really good point I had not realized. I took this one to heart, which is why the catchup is either coming in chunks or else just a few a day. I probablu shouldn't bother with catchup but we completists are so annoying like that...can't help ourselves. And hate to waste the inspiration that comes with each day. [quote]I think people are turned off by the 'song of the day' title[/quote] Really? Or do you mean not so much "turned off" (don't like it) as much as "don't realize" what's contained? This is seriously good criticism if you think it is a problem. (Unlike probably most people who write online, I very much value thoughtful criticism as much as non-critical feedback and am not offended by it at all, so thank you for the objectivity!) [quote]If you wanted to attract more readers the best thing to do would be to choose titles that sound like you're trolling[/quote] No, won't do that, at least not intentionally. Enough of that probably already. I didn't mean to imply that I'm disappointed there weren't more comments - just an observation. I bother to put this much time into the writing because I genuinely enjoy it and love sharing thoughts and recommendations about the music as much as listening to it. I know you know that, just clarifying that I don't use lots of links in order to attract more comments for validation or anything like that. The satisfaction can come just from the regular feedback of close friends like you and Kris, the less-frequent comments from the other friends, and the occasional serendipitous visitor. That's enough for me! [quote]I'm sure some of the regulars are simply taking their time...[/quote] Yes! That's what I would hope. I don't expect people to be hanging on or waiting around just for me to post something new! :D Some of the best threads yet have been the those that took days or weeks to develop, and I'd prefer thought and time over instantaneous responses. That would be disingenuous anyway, since it is taking me forever to even put up some ideas I've been threatening to post for a long time and also to be kind enough to ackowledge/comment back on these thoughts (look how long it took me to get back to this one?! and others...) AND take time to explore what you regulars have also been doing. I am trying not to be selfishly "post-only" as I get back into the swing...

    Gen 27 2009, 7:01
  • GrantRS

    I think with the title, people expect the jounral to simply list the links and maybe say "have a nice day" at the end, or something to the effect. I think also there would be an element of "Hang on, how does this guy have the right to declare one particular song a 'song of the day', who decides this - what?" going on in people's heads. I think though that if you switched the title on these AotY threads to something like "sablespecter's top 5 albums of 1987" for example, that would likely get more readers and comments. OF course, with the bulk updates, it would be less of a problem in recent years as two-three years has become the standard gap between album releases, unlike in the late 60s, early 70s when it wasn't too uncommon to release two albums in a year. Off the top of my head, Saxon released two albums in one year as late as 1980. Still though, if someone goes to an artist page and sees the three most recent journals are all written by the same person. I think they lose interest.

    Gen 27 2009, 10:32
  • sablespecter

    Actually, my guess is it would be better to leave the threads as named. Not because I'm snobbish about it or unaccepting of a suggestion, but because hundreds of people post things like "my top albums etc." If it looks more, uh, [i]definitive[/i] (?) people might be inclined to look at it and say exactly what you said about "how does this guy have the right..." I think most would realize from the read that it's a personal evaluation, particularly if they read the explanatory post about what an "AotY Award" is and the story behind the RDF. I mean, you don't read it wrong, do you? I probably SHOULD have stuck to just That. One. Album. for each of the AotY posts, but couldn't help putting it into context. I think it's a bit better to see how each of them stand against competition, rather than just in a vaccuum. Even more: probably should have done a track-by-track review (or at least for dotted tracks) as I started to do in the beginning, but it just got to be TOO much. Plus would leave less to say when I do pick from among those tracks for a proper SotD sometime later. Sorry about the bulk updates. Just the only way I can do them lately. Trying to space them out now - thus the delay between first half of the 90s and second half. May have worked better than one-per-day as originally intended anyway? Definite thanks for taking the time to critique!

    Feb 10 2009, 22:32
  • GrantRS

    [quote]I mean, you don't read it wrong, do you? [/quote] The very first time I came across one it was a bit "wtf?", but me being me I was intrigued enough to read before judging. Apart from which, I think I'd already come across your non-SotD journal about Bruce Dickinson's solo albums and recognised your screenname. It was kind of weird that I came across two of your journals by means other than going through your user page to your journal. Almost as if they had been invisible to me before I came across the Bruce Dickinson one, which is an interesting thought. I am tempted to think it was genuinely just coincidence though. What you could have done to space out the AotY awards is done one year a week, doing runners up on monday through thursday, essentially counting down to the winner. i.e. 5th place on Monday, 4th place on Tuesday...etc... You could always have put links in your journals to next and previous. That would've been quite cool and a way to spread out your workload.

    Feb 11 2009, 10:17
  • sablespecter

    Toying with this idea for the Naughties. What I would want for consistency sake is a single final entry for the AotY that includes the other Top 4 and the HMs, because it will serve as a handy reference for future linking. I suppose I could just include the four previous days' selections without using the artist/album/song links (otherwise there'd be five in a row including the fifth place selection, four in a row with the fourth place, etc...) and instead the link to those entries. Hmmm...this might work.

    Mar 4 2009, 3:00
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