Though none of their subsequent albums matched the drug-crazed genius of Appetite for Destruction, they did, as the Greatest Hits reminds, have their moments. From the bloated Use Your Illusion I & II came ultimate rock ballads "Don't Cry" and "November Rain", along with the primal rage that was "You Could Be Mine". And while the covers of the The Spaghetti Incident were largely forgettable, the fact that their final single was a seedy sneer through the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" seems spectacularly fitting. --Dan Gennoe
Of course being notorious for your anti-social behaviour and third world-supporting drug habit is a pretty good excuse for a low work rate. And didn't these boys come along and save rock'n'roll? Casting a timeworn eye over these offerings suggests that history may not see it quite that way. The fact is that, in context, G'n'R were a very American aberration. Always hailed as some mutant hybrid between hard rock and punk attitude, Slash and Co. were more the illegitimate offspring of earlier, poodle-haired LA monstrosities such as Motley Crue. The look was pure cartoon; Johnny Thunders meets Keith Richards in a transsexual bar. Any reference to punk makes the common error of mistaking acting like a five year old after a long birthday party with challenging cultural mores in a constructive manner. No one ever changed the world with a bottle of Jack Daniels and an inability to say 'no thanks, I've had enough'.
What is really bewildering is how they conquered the world back then. This kind of stadium rawk was frankly dated by the late 80s, so why did we take them to our hearts? The clue's in three of the first four tracks (''Welcome To The Jungle'', ''Sweet Child O' Mine'', ''Patience''). All lifted from their breakthrough album Appetite For Destruction they show a band who, although they hated each other and had a singer with a voice like Bruce Dickinson on steroids, still knew that if you had a good riff and a lovely melody there was no stopping you.
Unfortunately, after that no one could. While their Neanderthal stance was a brief respite to the over-pc 80s (check the unpleasant original cover to the first album) nobody told the band it was a joke. Four addled years later they gave us the unwieldy Use Your Illusion(I & II)double offering with ill-advised cover versions and maudlin ballads (showing off Axl's sensitive side, natch). Only their Terminator II-marketed ''You Could Be Mine'' retained the fire of their early work. And even that starts with the lovely lines: 'I'm a cold heartbreaker - fit to burn - and I'll rip your heart in two. And I'll leave you lyin' on the bed.' Charming...
So, less a guilty pleasure than a warning to all people who think spandex, heroin and anger management problems are like, cool, man. These days a band like the Darkness, who retain a sense of irony, wit and their own transience in the scheme of things, make a man whose name is a naughty anagram and has mates with names like Izzy, Slash and Dufflook a little silly. Their day has truly passed... --Chris Jones
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