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Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion I

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Use Your Illusion I

Guns N' Roses

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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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Use Your Illusion I

Guns N' Roses

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1
Right Next Door To Hell Album Version (Explicit)
00:03:01

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - Izzy Stradlin, ComposerLyricist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist - Timo Caltia, ComposerLyricist - Timo Caltio, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

2
Dust N' Bones Album Version (Explicit)
00:04:57

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Slash, ComposerLyricist - Matt Sorum, ComposerLyricist - Duff McKagan, ComposerLyricist - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - Izzy Stradlin, ComposerLyricist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist - Darren Reed, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

3
Live And Let Die Album Version
00:03:02

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Mccartney, ComposerLyricist - Linda Mccartney, ComposerLyricist - Jim Mitchell, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Don't Cry (Original) Album Version
00:04:43

Saul Hudson, ComposerLyricist - Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Duff McKagan, ComposerLyricist - Jim Mitchell, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist - Jeffrey Isbell, ComposerLyricist

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Perfect Crime Album Version (Explicit)
00:02:22

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Slash, ComposerLyricist - Duff McKagan, ComposerLyricist - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - Izzy Stradlin, ComposerLyricist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

6
You Ain't The First Album Version
00:02:35

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Slash, ComposerLyricist - Duff McKagan, ComposerLyricist - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - Izzy Stradlin, ComposerLyricist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

7
Bad Obsession Album Version (Explicit)
00:05:28

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - Izzy Stradlin, ComposerLyricist - West Arkeen, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

8
Back Off Bitch Album Version (Explicit)
00:05:02

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Slash, ComposerLyricist - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist - Paul Huge, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

9
Double Talkin' Jive Album Version (Explicit)
00:03:23

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Slash, ComposerLyricist - Duff McKagan, ComposerLyricist - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - Izzy Stradlin, ComposerLyricist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

10
November Rain Album Version
00:08:56

Saul Hudson, ComposerLyricist - Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Duff McKagan, ComposerLyricist - Jim Mitchell, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist - Jeffrey Isbell, ComposerLyricist

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
The Garden Album Version
00:05:20

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Alice Cooper, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Slash, ComposerLyricist - Duff McKagan, ComposerLyricist - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - Izzy Stradlin, ComposerLyricist - Del James, ComposerLyricist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist - West Arkeen, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

12
Garden Of Eden Album Version (Explicit)
00:02:40

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Slash, ComposerLyricist - Duff McKagan, ComposerLyricist - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - Izzy Stradlin, ComposerLyricist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

13
Don't Damn Me Album Version
00:05:18

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Slash, ComposerLyricist - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist - David Lank, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

14
Bad Apples Album Version (Explicit)
00:04:26

Saul Hudson, ComposerLyricist - Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Duff McKagan, ComposerLyricist - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist - Jeffrey Isbell, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

15
Dead Horse Album Version
00:04:17

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Slash, ComposerLyricist - Duff McKagan, ComposerLyricist - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - Izzy Stradlin, ComposerLyricist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

16
Coma Album Version (Explicit)
00:10:15

Bill Price, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Slash, ComposerLyricist - Mike Clink, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guns N' Roses, Producer, MainArtist - W. Axl Rose, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1991 Geffen Records

Album Description

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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