Appetite For Destruction

Guns N' Roses

Geffen Records, 1987

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Let's talk politcal incorrectness today. We all have had experiences of doing something that wasn't p.c. - farting in church, calling a member of NOW a "honey" (which landed me in the hospital nursing a broken jaw) and blaring Guns N' Roses at top volume.

Their 1987 major-label debut, Appetite For Destruction, is as politically incorrect as they come. Washington wives were sent running for cover when this one came out, and nervous fathers locked up their daughters when Axl Rose and the boys came to town. And it is still a very solid heavy metal album, one which they have not equalled yet (and with the recent departure of Slash, probably never will).

From the opening notes of "Welcome To The Jungle," Rose and crew let you know you're going to be in for one powerful ride. Shash's leads flow as freely as the Jack Daniel's probably did during the recording sessions, but he proves himself to be a vey talented guitar player. Also of note are the bass workings of Duff McKagan and backbeat of drummer Steven Adler. (Interesting to note Adler is back drumming after problems with drugs and suffering a stroke. Good luck.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The political correctness is thrown out the window on the song "It's So Easy," where the band makes their view of women known quickly: "You get nothin' for nothin', and that's what you do / Turn around, bitch, I got a use for you /Besides, you ain't got nothin' better to do, and I'm bored." While I have never advocated the views of many cock-rock bands, Rose sings it like he means those words - and that is a tad scary.

The first hit single, "Sweet Child O' Mine," has an opening guitar lick by Slash which is one you'll always remember. Rose goes from singing about pooching his latest catch to a song that's damned close to a ballad. The only thing I'm not crazy about in the song is the shift in style midway through - I would have preferred to hear how Guns N' Roses could have ended the song in the original style. Oh, well - it's still one of the best songs on Appetite For Destruction.

"Paradise City" is still a song I love to blare when it comes on the rock stations around me, and "Nightrain" is a down-and-dirty boogie that will get you in the mood for a bottle of the real stuff. (Don't bother, I once tried it - it tasted like varnish.) Probably one of the most overlooked tracks on this one is "Rocket Queen," whose only weakness is the shift in musical direction similar to the one on "Sweet Child O' Mine."

There are a few weaknesses on Appetite For Destruction - I've never been able to get into "My Michelle" or "Anything Goes," for reasons that I am uncertain of. And while "Think About You" has some interesting use of acoustic guitar, the song just fails to go in any special direction.

Parents may find the language a tad strong - oh, yeah, like it's not used on any playground today. (If you believe that, I have some swampland to sell you.) But Appetite For Destruction seems to be somewhat autobiographical around life in an up and coming band in 1987. Rose and crew capture the feel quite well, creating an album I would rank among the top 10 in the heavy metal genre.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A



© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Geffen Records, and is used for informational purposes only.