Guns N Roses Appetite For Destruction: A Mean Spirited Masterpiece That Still Sounds Good Today
30 Years Hasn't Dated Appetite For Destruction at All
I decided to take Appetite For Destruction for another spin, been a few years, but you'd be hard pressed to find a better hard rock album top to bottom the past 30 years. Perhaps Metallica's self titled "Black" album, Pearl Jam's Ten, Nirvana's Nevermind, Alice In Chain's Dirt, or Stone Temple Pilots' Core can rival it?
The only band recently I can think of that's even rivaled these is Mastodon. That band has softened a bit, but the accessibility of albums like "The Hunter" draw new ears to the fold.
The great albums hold up well no matter what decade they're played. Appetite still sounds fresh to me after probably 500 listens in my lifetime.
Over 30 Million Sold
Appetite For Destruction was without a doubt Guns N Roses' magnum opus.
In fact, you would be a hard pressed to find a better debut album in rock history.
Over 30 Million Records sold since it's release, and in sales volume is the biggest selling debut album of all time.
Every single track is a classic, and I rarely ever listen just to select album tracks. I always find myself investing an hour to listen to the entire album. It still holds up well 30 years later. Heck, I've been waiting for something in hard rock to equal it ever since.
The nihilistic tone of the album, no fluff, and hardly a wasted paranoid viewpoint left unmentioned. Somehow GNR managed to one up The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers is this regard. Sex, drugs, and Rock n' Roll with an extra middle finger for all to savor.
"Welcome to the Jungle"
What Rebellious 15 Year Old Boy Wouldn't Like Guns N Roses?
I was 15 years old the first time I became aware of Guns N Roses, The album was released on July 21, 1987. I was introduced before the album was widely available via MTV's Headbangers Ball.
I vividly remember the first time I, along with a neighborhood friend watched the music video for "Welcome to the Jungle", at this point we were into mainly the glam metal of the day. Motley Crue, Dokken, come to mind.
Things changed for me at this point, this music was far different, and unbelievably raw. Who the hell wouldn't look at this top hat wearing guitar player and have their minds blown? From then on I knew who my favorite band was.
Looking back now, with 30 years of music listening under my belt, Appetite is indeed a combination of The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers and The Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks. Yet the band doesn't resort to mimicry... they were without a doubt original and each very good musicians foremost.
My friend and I went looking for the album the next day after seeing that video, we couldn't find it anywhere, we eventually had to special order the cassette, we waited 2 weeks for it to come in.
I wore that cassette out, then not long after that I bought my first CD player, and yep, Appetite was the album I had have first.
No Filler on Appetite For Destruction
I already mentioned how my friends and I had our minds blown back in 87' by "Welcome to the Jungle," but tracks like "Out to Get Me" and "Crazy" highlight the mean-spirited middle finger to the establishment attitude. These tracks were shocking at the time, and yes I ate it up.
For a young man like myself, who had a very similar mid-west upbringing in Ohio as AXL did in West Lafayette Indiana. I had a sense of rapport with the music that hit home, it's honest. Lot of fist pumping anthems here.
I was on board with GNR from the first tune I ever heard. I know among my friends it was spreading quick, tracks like "Night Train", "Out To Get Me", and "It's So Easy" had captured us. By the time they hit the big time with "Sweet Child O Mine", we were wondering what took everyone else so long?
This was well before "Sweet Child O' Mine" catapulted the band into super stardom status. In fact "Welcome to the Jungle" was actually re-released after "Paradise City". At its first release, Jungle didn't gain much mainstream attention, just brainwashed me and a few other teenagers the first go around I guess?
Funny now thinking how overproduced and uneven those Illusion albums were compared to Appetite, had they taken the 12 best tracks from both albums, it could have rivaled Appetite in overall quality.
Appetite took a lifetime to make for the band, and those Illusion albums took just a few years. I think Axl also had all this freedom in the studio and couldn't say no to all those production bells and whistles.
When I was a kid, before I ever picked up a guitar, I remember thinking how complex the music was with the unusual guitar interplay and Axl's low and high-toned vocal approach. At the time I wasn't so sure there wasn't more than one lead singer.
Tracks like "Anything Goes" , "My Michelle", and Mr. Brownstone highlight the seedy underbelly of the sunset strip. These mini epics offer a glimpse into a rough, yet exciting lifestyle that GNR does with relish.
Appetite is one of the least pretentious sounding albums I've ever heard. Never once do I get the vibe that this band is just trying to sell records, or become famous. It's a work of art, honest and pure...
You Had to Figure GNR Would Burn Out Fast
Listening to Appetite in retrospect, you can certainly see why Guns N Roses flamed out so quickly. The things that made the music and lyrics so great, "Axl" is what ultimately lead to its early demise.
No doubt Axl was a powder keg, light his fuse, and well, you know the rest. All the woman problems, band-mate issues, and even a love hate relation with the fans comes at no surprise.
I still remember vividly waiting for GNR to take the stage after Metallica on July 22, 1992 at the Indianapolis Hoosier Dome. After 3 hours, we were getting a little irritated, most of my friends were there mainly for Metallica, to them, they were ready to get out of there.
Since I was the driver, and "I knew this could happen", and I am no fool, we waited. It was a really good show once Axl decided to take the stage. I wonder how many times Slash said to himself during this period WTF!
Appetite For Destruction was what started it all for the masses, and damned if it isn't still one hell of a listen.
Guns N Roses and Metallica Ticket Stub
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