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Hard Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The "difficult second album" is one of the perennial rock & roll clichés, but few second albums ever were as difficult as Use Your Illusion. Not really conceived as a double album but impossible to separate as individual works, Use Your Illusion is a shining example of a suddenly successful band getting it all wrong and letting its ambitions run wild. Taking nearly three years to complete, the recording of the album was clearly difficult, and tensions between Slash, Izzy Stradlin, and Axl Rose are evident from the start. The two guitarists, particularly Stradlin, are trying to keep the group closer to its hard rock roots, but Rose has pretensions of being Queen and Elton John, which is particularly odd for a notoriously homophobic Midwestern boy. 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 Use Your Illusion I is a harder-rocking record than II. Stradlin has a stronger presence on I, 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 II, even though there's a fair amount of filler, including a dippy psychedelic collaboration with Alice Cooper and a song that takes its title from the Osmonds' biggest hit. But it also has two ambitious set pieces, "November Rain" and "Coma," which find Rose 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 overblown production and endless amounts of filler. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released July 21, 1987 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Guns N' Roses' debut, Appetite for Destruction was a turning point for hard rock in the late '80s -- it was a dirty, dangerous, and mean record in a time when heavy metal meant nothing but a good time. On the surface, Guns N' Roses may appear to celebrate the same things as their peers -- namely, sex, liquor, drugs, and rock & roll -- but there is a nasty edge to their songs, since Axl Rose doesn't see much fun in the urban sprawl of L.A. and its parade of heavy metal thugs, cheap women, booze, and crime. The music is as nasty as the lyrics, wallowing in a bluesy, metallic hard rock borrowed from Aerosmith, AC/DC, and countless faceless hard rock bands of the early '80s. It's a primal, sleazy sound that adds grit to already grim tales. It also makes Rose's misogyny, fear, and anger hard to dismiss as merely an artistic statement; this is music that sounds lived-in. And that's exactly why Appetite for Destruction is such a powerful record -- not only does Rose have fears, but he also is vulnerable, particularly on the power ballad "Sweet Child O' Mine." He also has a talent for conveying the fears and horrors of the decaying inner city, whether it's on the charging "Welcome to the Jungle," the heroin ode "Mr. Brownstone," or "Paradise City," which simply wants out. But as good as Rose's lyrics and screeching vocals are, they wouldn't be nearly as effective without the twin-guitar interplay of Slash and Izzy Stradlin, who spit out riffs and solos better than any band since the Rolling Stones, and that's what makes Appetite for Destruction the best metal record of the late '80s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released July 21, 1987 | Geffen

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Welcome To The Jungle, It’s So Easy, Nightrain, Mr Brownstone, Paradise City, My Michelle, Sweet Child O’ Mine, You’re Crazy… Look no further to explain the success of this monument that sold over thirty million copies worldwide: right from the start, it feels like a best-of album rather than a first studio effort… Even Out Ta Get Me, Think About You, Anything Goes and Rocket Queen, the four “weak tracks” of this masterpiece, would have satisfied fans of other bands who were sick of Guns N’ Roses at the time. Add to this two tracks that were sidelined at the time mostly for copyright reasons and are unearthed here, Shadow Of Your Love and Move To The City, as well as the studio version of Reckless Life. Though they feel like a walking disaster, this mighty gang had something others didn’t have in the microcosm of the Los Angeles hard rock scene: the ability to give birth to rock classics in record time. Some will no doubt find it unjust that the controversial track One In A Million was a kind of collateral victim of the reissue of Lies, from which it was removed. But this improved rerelease goes to show that, even if it wasn’t necessarily their goal, the musicians’ sound and performance are also two major components in any masterpiece. The reason they decided to include the before and after Appetite For Destruction, meaning the two EPs Live?!*@ Like a Suicide (the false live) and G N' R Lies, is because it is clear that all the ingredients were far from being in place at the Sound Studio where the twenty-ish alternative versions were recorded, featured here as a “bonus”. Mike Clink’s expert production, and Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero’s calibrated and well-balanced mixing obviously helped give the selected original twelve songs their ultimate form. And therefore optimal efficiency. But other live or acoustic titles gleaned here and there to close out this reissue (Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Live), It’s So Easy (Live), AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie (Live), November Rain (Acoustic), the very short but promising The Plague, the instrumental Ain’t Goin’ Down No More or the Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Acoustic)) prove that the band’s five members went through a period, albeit much too short, in which they were touched by grace. And there will most likely be further proof if one day Axl Rose decides to unearth the version of the album he re-recorded in 1999 with the new Guns N’ Roses line-up, without Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler. It was with this winning cast that Guns N' Roses beat the ultimate sales record for a first album in the United States. And although the multiple line-up evolutions that followed didn’t lead to any commercial disasters, they never gave the band the opportunity to repeat the feat of Appetite For Destruction. © Jean-Pierre Sabouret/Qobuz
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Hard Rock - Released September 17, 1991 | Geffen

Use Your Illusion II is more serious and ambitious than I, but it's also considerably more pretentious. Featuring no less than four songs that run over six minutes, II is heavy on epics, whether it's the charging funk metal of "Locomotive," the antiwar "Civil War," or the multipart "Estranged." As if an attempt to balance the grandiose epics, the record is loaded with an extraordinary amount of filler. "14 Years" may have a lean, Stonesy rhythm, and Duff McKagan's Johnny Thunders homage, "So Fine," may be entertaining, but there's no forgiving the ridiculous "Get in the Ring," where Axl Rose threatens rock journalists by name because they gave him bad reviews; the misinterpretation of Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"; another version of "Don't Cry"; and the bizarre closer, "My World," which probably captures Rose's instability as effectively as the tortured poetry of his epics. That said, there are numerous strengths to Use Your Illusion II; a couple of songs have a nervy energy, and for all their pretensions, the overblown epics are effective, though strangely enough, they reveal notorious homophobe Rose's aspirations of being a cross between Elton John and Freddie Mercury. But the pompous production and poor pacing make the album tiring for anyone who isn't a dedicated listener. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released July 21, 1987 | Geffen

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Guns N' Roses' debut, Appetite for Destruction was a turning point for hard rock in the late '80s -- it was a dirty, dangerous, and mean record in a time when heavy metal meant nothing but a good time. On the surface, Guns N' Roses may appear to celebrate the same things as their peers -- namely, sex, liquor, drugs, and rock & roll -- but there is a nasty edge to their songs, since Axl Rose doesn't see much fun in the urban sprawl of L.A. and its parade of heavy metal thugs, cheap women, booze, and crime. The music is as nasty as the lyrics, wallowing in a bluesy, metallic hard rock borrowed from Aerosmith, AC/DC, and countless faceless hard rock bands of the early '80s. It's a primal, sleazy sound that adds grit to already grim tales. It also makes Rose's misogyny, fear, and anger hard to dismiss as merely an artistic statement; this is music that sounds lived-in. And that's exactly why Appetite for Destruction is such a powerful record -- not only does Rose have fears, but he also is vulnerable, particularly on the power ballad "Sweet Child O' Mine." He also has a talent for conveying the fears and horrors of the decaying inner city, whether it's on the charging "Welcome to the Jungle," the heroin ode "Mr. Brownstone," or "Paradise City," which simply wants out. But as good as Rose's lyrics and screeching vocals are, they wouldn't be nearly as effective without the twin-guitar interplay of Slash and Izzy Stradlin, who spit out riffs and solos better than any band since the Rolling Stones, and that's what makes Appetite for Destruction the best metal record of the late '80s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released July 21, 1987 | Geffen

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Welcome To The Jungle, It’s So Easy, Nightrain, Mr Brownstone, Paradise City, My Michelle, Sweet Child O’ Mine, You’re Crazy… Look no further to explain the success of this monument that sold over thirty million copies worldwide: right from the start, it feels like a best-of album rather than a first studio effort… Even Out Ta Get Me, Think About You, Anything Goes and Rocket Queen, the four “weak tracks” of this masterpiece, would have satisfied fans of other bands who were sick of Guns N’ Roses at the time. Add to this two tracks that were sidelined at the time mostly for copyright reasons and are unearthed here, Shadow Of Your Love and Move To The City, as well as the studio version of Reckless Life. Though they feel like a walking disaster, this mighty gang had something others didn’t have in the microcosm of the Los Angeles hard rock scene: the ability to give birth to rock classics in record time. Some will no doubt find it unjust that the controversial track One In A Million was a kind of collateral victim of the reissue of Lies, from which it was removed. But this improved rerelease goes to show that, even if it wasn’t necessarily their goal, the musicians’ sound and performance are also two major components in any masterpiece. The reason they decided to include the before and after Appetite For Destruction, meaning the two EPs Live?!*@ Like a Suicide (the false live) and G N' R Lies, is because it is clear that all the ingredients were far from being in place at the Sound Studio where the twenty-ish alternative versions were recorded, featured here as a “bonus”. Mike Clink’s expert production, and Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero’s calibrated and well-balanced mixing obviously helped give the selected original twelve songs their ultimate form. And therefore optimal efficiency. But other live or acoustic titles gleaned here and there to close out this reissue (Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Live), It’s So Easy (Live), AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie (Live), November Rain (Acoustic), the very short but promising The Plague, the instrumental Ain’t Goin’ Down No More or the Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Acoustic)) prove that the band’s five members went through a period, albeit much too short, in which they were touched by grace. And there will most likely be further proof if one day Axl Rose decides to unearth the version of the album he re-recorded in 1999 with the new Guns N’ Roses line-up, without Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler. It was with this winning cast that Guns N' Roses beat the ultimate sales record for a first album in the United States. And although the multiple line-up evolutions that followed didn’t lead to any commercial disasters, they never gave the band the opportunity to repeat the feat of Appetite For Destruction. © Jean-Pierre Sabouret/Qobuz
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Hard Rock - Released August 28, 2020 | Geffen

Guns N' Roses' Greatest Hits may bear all the hallmarks of a hastily assembled compilation, but it does offer all the band's biggest hits, "Welcome to the Jungle," "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Patience," "Paradise City," "Don't Cry," "You Could Be Mine," "November Rain," and "Live and Let Die" among them. While there are certainly several noteworthy tracks missing -- charting singles like "Nightrain" and "Estranged," and album tracks like "It's So Easy," "Mr. Brownstone," and "Used to Love Her," for instance -- for listeners who want a collection containing the group's biggest hits on one disc, Greatest Hits will serve their needs nicely. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released July 21, 1987 | Geffen

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Welcome To The Jungle, It’s So Easy, Nightrain, Mr Brownstone, Paradise City, My Michelle, Sweet Child O’ Mine, You’re Crazy… Look no further to explain the success of this monument that sold over thirty million copies worldwide: right from the start, it feels like a best-of album rather than a first studio effort… Even Out Ta Get Me, Think About You, Anything Goes and Rocket Queen, the four “weak tracks” of this masterpiece, would have satisfied fans of other bands who were sick of Guns N’ Roses at the time. Add to this two tracks that were sidelined at the time mostly for copyright reasons and are unearthed here, Shadow Of Your Love and Move To The City, as well as the studio version of Reckless Life. Though they feel like a walking disaster, this mighty gang had something others didn’t have in the microcosm of the Los Angeles hard rock scene: the ability to give birth to rock classics in record time. Some will no doubt find it unjust that the controversial track One In A Million was a kind of collateral victim of the reissue of Lies, from which it was removed. But this improved rerelease goes to show that, even if it wasn’t necessarily their goal, the musicians’ sound and performance are also two major components in any masterpiece. The reason they decided to include the before and after Appetite For Destruction, meaning the two EPs Live?!*@ Like a Suicide (the false live) and G N' R Lies, is because it is clear that all the ingredients were far from being in place at the Sound Studio where the twenty-ish alternative versions were recorded, featured here as a “bonus”. Mike Clink’s expert production, and Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero’s calibrated and well-balanced mixing obviously helped give the selected original twelve songs their ultimate form. And therefore optimal efficiency. But other live or acoustic titles gleaned here and there to close out this reissue (Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Live), It’s So Easy (Live), AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie (Live), November Rain (Acoustic), the very short but promising The Plague, the instrumental Ain’t Goin’ Down No More or the Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Acoustic)) prove that the band’s five members went through a period, albeit much too short, in which they were touched by grace. And there will most likely be further proof if one day Axl Rose decides to unearth the version of the album he re-recorded in 1999 with the new Guns N’ Roses line-up, without Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler. It was with this winning cast that Guns N' Roses beat the ultimate sales record for a first album in the United States. And although the multiple line-up evolutions that followed didn’t lead to any commercial disasters, they never gave the band the opportunity to repeat the feat of Appetite For Destruction. © Jean-Pierre Sabouret/Qobuz
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Hard Rock - Released January 1, 2008 | Geffen

Booklet
To put Chinese Democracy in some perspective: it arrives 17 years after the twin Use Your Illusion, the last set of original music by Guns N' Roses. Consider that 17 years prior to the Illusions, it was 1974, back before the Ramones and Sex Pistols, back before Aerosmith had Rocks and Toys in the Attic, back before Queen had A Night at the Opera -- back before almost anything that Axl Rose worships even existed. Generations have passed in these 17 years, but not for Axl. He cut himself off from the world following the trouble-ridden Use Your Illusion tour, retreating to the Hollywood Hills, swapping every original GNR member in favor of contract players culled from his mid-'90s musical obsessions -- Tommy Stinson from the Replacements, Robin Finck from Nine Inch Nails, Buckethead from guitar magazines -- as he turned into rock's Charles Foster Kane, a genius in self-imposed exile spending millions to make his own Xanadu, Chinese Democracy. Like Xanadu, Chinese Democracy is a monument to man's might, but where Kane sought to bring the world underneath his roof, Axl labored to create an ideal version of his inner world, working endlessly on a set of songs about his heartbreak, persecution, and paranoia, topics well mined on the Illusions. Using the pompous ten-minute epics "Estranged" and "November Rain" as his foundation, Axl strips away all remnants of the old, snake-dancing GNR, shedding the black humor and blues, replacing any good times with vindictive spleen in the vein of "You Could Be Mine." All this melodrama and malevolence feels familiar and, surprisingly, so does much of Chinese Democracy, even for those listeners who didn't hear the portions of the record as leaked demos and live tracks. Despite a few surface flourishes -- all the endless, evident hours spent on Pro Tools, a hip-hop loop here, a Spanish six-string there, absurd elastic guitar effects -- this is an album unconcerned with the future of rock & roll. One listen and it's abundantly clear that Axl spent the decade-plus in the studio not reinventing but refining, obsessing over a handful of tracks, and spending an inordinate amount of time chasing the sound in his head -- that's it, no more, no less. Such maniacal indulgence is ridiculous but strangely understandable: Rose received unlimited time and money to create this album, so why not take full advantage and obsess over every last detail? The odd thing is, he spent all this time and money on an album that is deliberately not a grand masterpiece -- a record that pushes limits or digs deep -- but merely a set of 14 songs. Compared to the chaotic Use Your Illusion, Chinese Democracy feels strangely modest, but that's because it's a single polished album, not a double album so overstuffed that it duplicates songs. Modest is an odd word for an album a decade-plus in the making, but Axl's intent is oddly simple: he sees GNR not as a gutter-rock band but as a pomp-rock vehicle for him to lash out against all those who don't trust him, whether it's failed friends, lapsed fans, ex-lovers, former managers, fired bandmates, or rock critics. Chinese Democracy is the best articulation of this megalomania as could be possible, so the only thing to quibble about is his execution, which occasionally is perplexing, particularly when Rose slides into hammy vocal inflections or encourages complicated guitar that only guitarists appreciate (it's telling that the only memorable phrases from Robin Finck, Buckethead, or Bumblefoot or whoever are ones that mimic Slash's full-throated melodic growl). Even with these odd flourishes, it's hard not to marvel, either in respect or bewilderment, at the dense, immaculate wall of god knows how many guitars, synthesizers, vocals, and strings. The production is so dense that it's hard to warm to, but it fits the music. These aren't songs that grab and hold; they're songs that unfold, so much so that Chinese Democracy may seem a little underwhelming upon its first listen. It's not just the years of pent-up anticipation, it's that Axl spent so much time creating the music -- constructing the structure and then filling out the frame -- that there's no easy way into the album. That, combined with the realization that Axl isn't trying to reinvent GNR, but just finishing what he started on the Illusions, can make Chinese Democracy seem mildly anticlimactic, but Rose spent a decade-plus working on this -- he deserves to not have it dismissed on a cursory listen. Give it time, listening like it was 1998 and not 2008, and the album does give up some terrific music -- music that is overblown but not overdone. True, those good moments are the songs that have kicked around the Internet for the entirety of the new millennium: the slinky, spiteful "Better," slowly building into its fury; the quite gorgeous if heavy-handed "Street of Dreams"; "There Was a Time," which overcomes its acronym and lack of chorus on its sheer drama; "Catcher in the Rye," the lightest, brightest moment here; the slow, grinding "I.R.S."; and "Madagascar," a ludicrous rueful rumination that finds space for quotations from Martin Luther King amidst its trip-hop pulse. These aren't innovations; they're extensions of "Breakdown" and "Estranged," epics that require some work to decode because Axl forces the listener to meet him on his own terms. This all-consuming artistic narcissism has become Rose's defining trait, not letting him move forward, but only to relentlessly explore the same territory over and over again. And this solipsism turns Chinese Democracy into something strangely, surprisingly simple: it won't change music, it won't change any lives, it's just 14 more songs about loneliness and persecution. Or as Axl put it in an apology for canceled concerts in 2006, "In the end, it's just an album." And it's a good album, no less and no more. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released November 29, 1988 | Geffen

Once Appetite for Destruction finally became a hit in 1988, Guns N' Roses bought some time by delivering the half-old/half-new LP G N' R Lies as a follow-up. Constructed as a double EP, with the "indie" debut Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide coming first and four new acoustic-based songs following on the second side, G N' R Lies is where the band metamorphosed from genuine threat to joke. Neither recorded live nor released by an indie label, Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide is competent bar band boogie, without the energy or danger of Appetite for Destruction. The new songs are considerably more problematic. "Patience" is Guns N' Roses at their prettiest and their sappiest, the most direct song they recorded to date. Its emotional directness makes the misogyny of "Used to Love Her (But I Had to Kill Her)" and the pitiful slanders of "One in a Million" sound genuine. Although the cover shrugs them off as a "joke," Axl Rose's venom is frightening -- there's little doubt that he truly does believe that "faggots" come to America from another country and that "niggers" should stay out of his way. Since he wasn't playing a character on the remainder of the album, there's little doubt this is from the heart as well. And what makes it harder to dismiss is the musical skill of the band, which makes the country-fried boogie of "Used to Love Her," the bluesy revamp of "You're Crazy," and the tough, paranoid fever dream of "One in a Million" indelible. So, you either listen to the music and are satisfied or else listen to the lyrics and become disturbed not only by Rose's intentions, but by the millions of record buyers that identified with him. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Geffen

The double-disc Live: Era '87-'93 was designed to do two things -- satiate die-hard fans longing for old-school GNR, while clearing decks for a new studio album. It sounds good in theory, yet it suffers in its execution, since it relies on tapes "recorded across the universe between 1987 and 1993." That's not what GNR fans want -- they want the band in its nervy late-'80s prime, when it seemed like they could self-destruct at any second. Live: Era '87-'93 offers the polar opposite with slick, professional tracks that sound pieced together from various performances. Axl's vocals are not only distant -- as though they were sung in a booth, separate from the band -- but also amazingly mannered, sounding for all the world as if they were redone in the studio. Meanwhile, the band's performances are either brushed up or heavily edited, so it's impossible to tell if any of this was recorded during Appetite-era shows. Certainly, much of this derives from the Illusions tour: there are backing vocals, horns, and just what every fan wants -- lots and lots of Dizzy Reed. And if that isn't indicative of Axl's mindset, there is the priceless moment on "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," when he shrieks "Gimme some reggae!" and the band collapses in a sunsplash groove. So, this is heavy on Axl pretensions and short on pure, brutal rock & roll. At its best, it may come closer to vintage GNR than the Illusions did, but the missing ingredients are all too apparent, and in this context, their absence is all the more painful. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released July 21, 1987 | Geffen

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Guns N' Roses' debut, Appetite for Destruction was a turning point for hard rock in the late '80s -- it was a dirty, dangerous, and mean record in a time when heavy metal meant nothing but a good time. On the surface, Guns N' Roses may appear to celebrate the same things as their peers -- namely, sex, liquor, drugs, and rock & roll -- but there is a nasty edge to their songs, since Axl Rose doesn't see much fun in the urban sprawl of L.A. and its parade of heavy metal thugs, cheap women, booze, and crime. The music is as nasty as the lyrics, wallowing in a bluesy, metallic hard rock borrowed from Aerosmith, AC/DC, and countless faceless hard rock bands of the early '80s. It's a primal, sleazy sound that adds grit to already grim tales. It also makes Rose's misogyny, fear, and anger hard to dismiss as merely an artistic statement; this is music that sounds lived-in. And that's exactly why Appetite for Destruction is such a powerful record -- not only does Rose have fears, but he also is vulnerable, particularly on the power ballad "Sweet Child O' Mine." He also has a talent for conveying the fears and horrors of the decaying inner city, whether it's on the charging "Welcome to the Jungle," the heroin ode "Mr. Brownstone," or "Paradise City," which simply wants out. But as good as Rose's lyrics and screeching vocals are, they wouldn't be nearly as effective without the twin-guitar interplay of Slash and Izzy Stradlin, who spit out riffs and solos better than any band since the Rolling Stones, and that's what makes Appetite for Destruction the best metal record of the late '80s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released January 1, 1993 | Geffen

As punk albums go, The Spaghetti Incident? lacks righteous anger and rage. As Guns N' Roses albums go, it's a complete delight, returning to the ferocious, hard-rocking days of Appetite for Destruction. The Gunners play Stooges and New York Dolls songs exactly as they do Nazareth -- as straight-ahead, driving riff-rockers. After the epic Use Your Illusions, the band sounds like it's having fun, not caring about making "art" like "November Rain" or "Estranged." Unfortunately, the tacked-on Charles Manson song leaves a bad aftertaste, but not because of the song itself; the inclusion of the song seems like a publicity-seeking stunt, a way to increase their sales while trying to regain their street credibility. And as The Spaghetti Incident? proves, they didn't need to stoop so low. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released July 21, 1987 | Geffen

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Welcome To The Jungle, It’s So Easy, Nightrain, Mr Brownstone, Paradise City, My Michelle, Sweet Child O’ Mine, You’re Crazy… Look no further to explain the success of this monument that sold over thirty million copies worldwide: right from the start, it feels like a best-of album rather than a first studio effort… Even Out Ta Get Me, Think About You, Anything Goes and Rocket Queen, the four “weak tracks” of this masterpiece, would have satisfied fans of other bands who were sick of Guns N’ Roses at the time. Add to this two tracks that were sidelined at the time mostly for copyright reasons and are unearthed here, Shadow Of Your Love and Move To The City, as well as the studio version of Reckless Life. Though they feel like a walking disaster, this mighty gang had something others didn’t have in the microcosm of the Los Angeles hard rock scene: the ability to give birth to rock classics in record time. Some will no doubt find it unjust that the controversial track One In A Million was a kind of collateral victim of the reissue of Lies, from which it was removed. But this improved rerelease goes to show that, even if it wasn’t necessarily their goal, the musicians’ sound and performance are also two major components in any masterpiece. The reason they decided to include the before and after Appetite For Destruction, meaning the two EPs Live?!*@ Like a Suicide (the false live) and G N' R Lies, is because it is clear that all the ingredients were far from being in place at the Sound Studio where the twenty-ish alternative versions were recorded, featured here as a “bonus”. Mike Clink’s expert production, and Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero’s calibrated and well-balanced mixing obviously helped give the selected original twelve songs their ultimate form. And therefore optimal efficiency. But other live or acoustic titles gleaned here and there to close out this reissue (Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Live), It’s So Easy (Live), AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie (Live), November Rain (Acoustic), the very short but promising The Plague, the instrumental Ain’t Goin’ Down No More or the Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Acoustic)) prove that the band’s five members went through a period, albeit much too short, in which they were touched by grace. And there will most likely be further proof if one day Axl Rose decides to unearth the version of the album he re-recorded in 1999 with the new Guns N’ Roses line-up, without Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler. It was with this winning cast that Guns N' Roses beat the ultimate sales record for a first album in the United States. And although the multiple line-up evolutions that followed didn’t lead to any commercial disasters, they never gave the band the opportunity to repeat the feat of Appetite For Destruction. © Jean-Pierre Sabouret/Qobuz
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Hard Rock - Released June 8, 2018 | Sonic Boom

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Hard Rock - Released July 21, 1987 | Geffen

Guns N' Roses' debut, Appetite for Destruction was a turning point for hard rock in the late '80s -- it was a dirty, dangerous, and mean record in a time when heavy metal meant nothing but a good time. On the surface, Guns N' Roses may appear to celebrate the same things as their peers -- namely, sex, liquor, drugs, and rock & roll -- but there is a nasty edge to their songs, since Axl Rose doesn't see much fun in the urban sprawl of L.A. and its parade of heavy metal thugs, cheap women, booze, and crime. The music is as nasty as the lyrics, wallowing in a bluesy, metallic hard rock borrowed from Aerosmith, AC/DC, and countless faceless hard rock bands of the early '80s. It's a primal, sleazy sound that adds grit to already grim tales. It also makes Rose's misogyny, fear, and anger hard to dismiss as merely an artistic statement; this is music that sounds lived-in. And that's exactly why Appetite for Destruction is such a powerful record -- not only does Rose have fears, but he also is vulnerable, particularly on the power ballad "Sweet Child O' Mine." He also has a talent for conveying the fears and horrors of the decaying inner city, whether it's on the charging "Welcome to the Jungle," the heroin ode "Mr. Brownstone," or "Paradise City," which simply wants out. But as good as Rose's lyrics and screeching vocals are, they wouldn't be nearly as effective without the twin-guitar interplay of Slash and Izzy Stradlin, who spit out riffs and solos better than any band since the Rolling Stones, and that's what makes Appetite for Destruction the best metal record of the late '80s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released August 6, 2021 | Geffen Records

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Hard Rock - Released September 24, 2021 | Geffen Records

Artist

Guns N' Roses in the magazine