Friday, April 02, 2010

CD of the Day: ‘Use Your Illusion 1.5,’ Guns N’ Roses (1991)

After listening to both “Use Your Illusion” CDs repeatedly, I’ve come up with a tracklist that would have made for an excellent follow-up to “Appetite for Destruction.” Nothing was ever going to compare to that classic, but had GN’R managed to rein themselves in, the results as demonstrated here would have at least been a worthy successor.

It says a lot, though, that I could only bring myself to include 13 of the two-disc set’s 30 tracks—and even a few of these are pushing it. Anyway, here’s my “Use Your Illusion 1.5”:

Right Next Door to Hell

Perfect Crime

You Could Be Mine


Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door


Dust N’ Bones

Live and Let Die

Don’t Cry (Original)

November Rain

Bad Apples

Dead Horse

You Ain’t the First

The first three tracks rocket out of the gate and flow together very well as a strong take-no-prisoners statement. Then the next three start to open things up a bit more, treading the line between ballad and straight rock that GN'R do so well.

“Dust N’ Bones” is an oddball change of pace, serving as an interlude before the album enters the next—and best—three-pack of the disc. You can’t do much better than “Live and Let Die,” “Don’t Cry,” and “November Rain” back-to-back-to-back. A series of this magnitude this far back in the set would have pulled people through, giving all the tracks that came before additional import.

The final three make up a group of solid and varied, if unspectacular, tracks to come down off of the previous trifecta. These represent well the band's turn toward the blues for the "Use Your Illusion" sessions, and weird songs like “You Ain’t the First” often work best as an album coda.

Ah, what could have been. I guess that’s what iPods are for.

Grade: A-

Favorite Track: “Live and Let Die”

Least Favorite Track: “Dust N’ Bones”

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