Overblown, overproduced and really quite stunning.,
This review is from: Use Your Illusion II (Audio CD)
With this being part two of a double album, there is of course a considerable amount of filler contained within. Some have suggested combining parts 1 and 2, but shorn of "14 Years" (mundane at best), "Knocking on Heaven's Door" (sacrelige and mistaken), "Get In The Ring" (ludicrous to anyone older than 12), "So Fine" (tiring), "Don't Cry (alt vrsn)" (pointless alternative), and "My World" (bizarre, irritating non-sense) 'Use Your Illusion II' could stand alone as a great heavy rock record.
OK, that seems like quite a change but think about this running order:
1. "Civil War". Often cited as the albums' masterpiece, the song showcases Axl's ability to lace his poetry seemingly effortlessly into Slash's riffing. Epic.
2. "Yesterdays". Along a similar vein to Civil War, just not as good.
3. "Shotgun Blues". A punk-esque blitz of a song, it's tight and fast, breaking up the pace of the album, varying the epic ballad theme.
4. "Breakdown". Classic Axl. A vast array of instruments, an eclectic mix of styles, an epic storyline, yet all cajoled into an intoxicating driving anthem.
5. "Pretty Tied Up". Awesome heavy blues riff, synching perfectly with an aggresive Axl rasping through the lyrics. Perhaps Izzy Sradlin's greatest moment?
6. "Locomotive". Guns n' Roses' crowning achievement! Axl's vocals and Slash's funky riff perfectly harmonise as each one wrestles the initiative from the other. Magnificent and furious, the song races through six minutes before closing with a beautiful piano-led outro.
7. "Estranged". Conspicuously absent from "G N' R" best of lists, Axl's grandiose love epic is another masterpiece. From the chilling opening lines, this is spine-tingling stuff. Borderline pretentious, but it is always kept in line by Slash's guitar 'til the epic piano outro.
8. "You Could Be Mine". Taken from the Termintor 2 soundtrack, this track is the most reminiscent of 'Appetite..' on the album (it had been written prior to it's release). Here Axl is snarling infront of a driving crescendo of rock n roll vitriol. Classic G N' R. Should have been the album closer.
Now that would have been a magnificent album!
Despite the over-abundance of epic's, Axl's obsession with layers and layers of vocal tracks, a ridiculous array of instrumentation and the generally pompous over-production, Use Your Illusion II has enough gems on it to make it a worthwile listen even for people outside the hard-rock fraternity.
The fact that W. Axl Rose almost pulls this album off is testament to his undeniable genius, and songs like "My World" testament to his flaws. Depsite the fact that the man is a gigantic phallus with an ego of galactic proportions, at times during Use Your Illusion 2, you just have to doff your cap.