While the concept of the difficult second album is hardly original, Guns N Roses seemed to have taken the tired old cliché and milked it for all it was worth. A seemingly endless four years separated the release of their multi million selling debut album Appetite For Destruction and it's eventual full length (and more) follow up, the two part Use Your Illusion. The intervening years had forged a different Guns N' Roses from the lean, hungry monsters from the streets who decimated the opposition with their debut record. Time, money and fame, and with it all the resultant trappings, had all taken their toll and the band's attitude was somewhat different in 1991 than that back in 1987, the rampant egos and excesses of superstardom were beginning to make their mark on relationships within the band and the public at large.
And yet Use Your Illusion 1 contains many of the features
that made Guns N' Roses the only real supergroup on the planet at the
beginning of the '90's. Traditional hard rock tracks such as Right Next
Door To Hell and Back Off Bitch were now sat side by side with Axl's growing
penchant for rock epics, Illusion 1 containing the best examples of which,
the definitive sprawling power ballad, November Rain, and Coma, a trawl
through Axl's psyche and one of the band's most vastly undervalued masterpieces.
The influence of Izzy Stradlin's songwriting is especially prevalent on
Illusion 1, with tracks such as Double Talkin' Jive and Don't Cry
highlighting Izzy's integral role in the machinery of the band. Here was
no hired gun rhythm guitarist, a talented singer and songwriter in his
own right, he was al too often overlooked by the media and fans in favour
of the up front duo of Axl and Slash.
Review by Alan Hylands
Conceivably, the two aspirations could have been divided between the two records, but instead they are just thrown into the blender; it's just a coincidence that part 1 is a harder-rocking record than 2. Stradlin has a stronger presence on 1, contributing three of the best songs "Dust N' Bones," "You Ain't the First" and "Double Talkin' Jive" which help keep the album in Stonesy, Aerosmith territory. On the whole, the album is stronger than 2, even though there's a fair amount of filler, including a song that takes its title from the Osmonds' biggest hit and a dippy psychedelic collaboration with Alice Cooper. But it also has two ambitious set-pieces, "November Rain" and "Coma," which find Axl fulfilling his ambitions, as well as the ferocious metallic "Perfect Crime" and the original version of the power-ballad "Don't Cry." Still, it can be a chore to find the highlights on the record amid the over-blown production and endless amounts of filler.
Review from www.allmusic.com
|©Copyright Alan Hylands 2001|