Friday, January 24, 2014

61 Appetite for Destruction (1987) Guns and Roses

1. Welcome to the Jungle
2. It's So Easy
3. Nightrain
4. Out ta Get Me
5. Mr. Brownstone
6. Paradise City
7. My Michelle
8. Think About You
9. Sweet Child o' Mine
10. You're Crazy
11. Anything Goes
12. Rocket Queen

Guns and Roses exploded onto the musical scene in 1987 with such force that it was hard to imagine a time when they weren't around and impossible to conceive of a future without them. Their debut single It's so Easy, didn't make much of a splash but Welcome to the Jungle was a huge smash which seemed to be everywhere back in the late eighties. Sweet Child of Mine and Paradise City followed soon after and the band dominated radios and MTV. Appetite for Destruction became one of the biggest selling albums of '87 and was a hit with hard rockers and even with those who didn't normally associate their music tastes with leather, hair and guitars.

And then it all fell apart fairly quickly. The band followed up Appetite with a strange eight track EP which clocked in at just over half an hour and was padded with covers and rerecorded versions of already released songs. Four years after Appetite their first full length albums of original material were released when the massively bloated Use Your Illusions I and II were released with strings, excessive post production, massive video clips, a new drummer and new management. A half-arsed covers album followed and then the band fell apart completely. It continues in name only with a fat and bloated Axl Rose taking 13 Million dollars and over a decade to complete albums that nobody cared about that much.

It took just ten years for Guns and Roses to go from the biggest band in the world to the biggest joke in the music business. The slid from triumph to farce so quickly it must have worn the bottoms out of their leather trousers.

Personally I think they're a classic example of how success totally ruins some bands and the fame and fortune they strive for completely kills any creativity. The songs on Appetite were written by a young and struggling bunch of musicians who were travelling from smelly club to stinking bar, huddled in the back of a crap van. The wrote songs partly because they were desperate for hits and partly because they were too broke to do much else. They partied with a bottle of Jack Daniels between them and any girls they could lure back to the dressing room.

Appetite made them huge. Suddenly they were being flown from stadium to stadium in a jet. They were staying in 5 star hotels and partying with mountains of cocaine and rooms full of willing groupies. The years of near poverty paid off and suddenly 5 guys who were young and horny had more money than they knew what to do with. What motivation did they have to write songs? They were no longer sitting bored and resentful in cheap accommodation desperate to write the hit that will get them a better life, they were sitting in a penthouse suite surrounded by naked women, cocaine and stacks of cash.

When they finally went back into the studio they took their extravagant lifestyle with them and demanded orchestras, big budget production and a double album running length. The end result is as bloated as Axl Rose would later become.

Appetite for Destruction is a great album because you can hear the desperation on the band in every song. You can smell the sweat and cheap alcohol and you can sense the cocksure arrogance undercut with a fear that they will never make it big. It's the sound of a band playing for their life and a man singing as if it's the only chance he'll get to step into a studio. The songwriting is honed by years playing each track to audiences who had to be won over. It rocks and swaggers and swings and cooks and does everything a great rock and roll album should. Every track is a winner and nobody is thinking it needs a string overdub or they need another snort of cocaine or the drummer needs to be sacked because they're all too good for him now.

Appetite is the biggest selling debut album of all time but it would have been better for everyone if it was an underground hit which sold just enough for the label to invest in follow ups but not enough to actually chart. There's no doubt Guns and Roses are at their best when they're unsuccessful.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Stay far, far away from this and get Foreigner's Fourth album insted."

-Why is it that every single negative review of this album feels the need to point out a far superior album that the listener should hear instead?

So does this sate your appetite or not? Let me know below.

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