Use Your Illusion Song by Song Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Musicman1998, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    Actually, it's funny: Axl has said upon retrospective listening to the albums that the drums bring HIM down. And he's always been consistent in saying that with hindsight he doesn't really hold the UYI records in high regard.
     
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  2. Cooks420

    Cooks420 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY
    I most certainly cannot deny it - Matt's intro is song-defining. But this is the exception that proves the rule! Still, I respect your opinion and your ears.

    As for VR, I re-sampled some of their music and stand by my opinion regarding Matt and his playing. In fact, the only song I could feel any real emotion from him was when he was channeling his inner-Grohl on their “Negative Creep” cover, which I absolutely adore.
     
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  3. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    Joining this thread - will keep up as much as work/life allows. Looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks of the individual tracks.

    I got these on release day - Sam Goody’s! It was a really, really big deal. I’d already worn out my cassette of the Nobody’s Child benefit album, rewinding and playing “Civil War” over and over again. I had a cassette single of “You Could Be Mine” that I’d also played to death. Schwarzenegger on the sleeve, if I recall correctly.

    They’re great albums, overall. Some filler, but it’s very hard to distill a single 50 minute album from this. The long tracks are some of the best.

    Not a fan of the mix, not a fan of the drum sound, and wish there was more Izzy & Slash guitar interplay, with less overdubbing from Slash. The covers tend to be superfluous for me.

    “You Could Be Mine” would’ve made an ideal opener over “Right Next Door To Hell.” I love the Axl/Izzy vocal interplay on that toward the end, and the guitars on the intro define “ferocious.”

    Love Dust + Bones. Izzy = the man!
     
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  4. Standoffish

    Standoffish Forum Resident

    Live and Let Die

    I love the tone of Slash's guitar on this. I also think Axl's vocals are better than Macca's...and I have nothing much else to like here. Never liked the abrupt transition to the wacky fast part. The less said about the reggae part, the better.
     
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  5. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    That reggae part is possibly the lowest point of both Illusions albums, for me. Including “My World.” Cringe-inducing.
     
  6. HotelYorba101

    HotelYorba101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    When I saw VR live in 2008 they did Brownstone and Matt grooved WAY more than he did in the early 90's with that song, it almost gave me a tad of an Adler vibe and they played it a bit more uptempo and it rocked
     
  7. Musicman1998

    Musicman1998 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Georgia
    Here's NuGnR doing Live and Let Die in 2011:
     
  8. Musicman1998

    Musicman1998 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Georgia
    And pseudo-Reunion:
     
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  9. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    You can blame the lack of guitar-play on Izzy. He only came in for basic tracking and did just bare-bones chords. Basically, he phased himself out of the band as soon as he became sober. Didn't participate in full-band recording. Didn't do more than barebones chords except for the intro solo on "Back Off Bitch" (that whole intro is Izzy alone). Slash had to double-up for him and overdub because he did the Brian Jones thing and didn't come to most of the recording sessions. He failed to show up for any of the video sessions. They had to unplug his amp on the UYI tour for most shows on the new songs because he would be playing different tunes. Listen to like 95% of the 91 UYI shows before he left - you can't hear him on the new material, and when you do, he's not even really playing that much. He also began travelling on a separate bus from the rest of the guys. He also stopped moving on stage or really being into it. This pissed off Axl and Slash, who felt they were carrying a wooden leg, and they tried to 'demote' him to serve as a warning...And he quit right after.

    As soon as he got sober, he basically left the band. He was still a "member" and still contributed but not in any real way. The firing of Alan Niven (who he very much liked) was another thing that further alienated him.
     
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  10. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    Definitely. Everything played out the way it had to - even if it’s not how I, or many fans, would’ve wanted it. It was a super-complicated pressure-cooker situation. The more I learn over the years, the more I’ve learned to see this band from multiple angles. I don’t think it was easy for anyone to be in GNR anytime after 1987 or so.

    Being newly-sober in a band riddled with substance & ego issues is no fun. Add heaps of money and intense commercial pressures = a mess. Izzy didn’t have much choice, the way I see it.

    One of my favorite imaginary GNR tracks is a version of “Shuffle It All” with Axl & Izzy both on vocals. In my mind, it’s amazing.

    I tend to see the band’s whole saga as an endless series of conflicts & curcumstances. Not partisan to Axl, Slash, Duff, Adler, Izzy, etc... Glad I got to see them in ‘92 and again this past fall. Glad I got to see them in ‘03 and also for an amazing & epic show in 2012. They’re all GNR to me, and I’m just glad for all of the music, UYI included. Even the filler tracks and flaws on the Illusions albums are mostly interesting, sometimes if only for their excesses.

    That said, I highly value the Stonesy ‘70’s influence that Izzy brought to the table. It’s one thing that Chinese Democracy really missed.

    Back to our regularly scheduled programming...!
     
  11. Cooks420

    Cooks420 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY
    ... But the trade-off was Bucket! Can you imagine if Buckethead was utilized to his full potential? CD would’ve undoubtedly been a lot better.
     
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  12. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    It was also not built to last because you had five guys (well, 3 really) who approached not only music, but the entire concept of being in a band, from utterly different ways. This tension is what made AFD so great. But as soon as they were famous and wealthy, they didn't NEED each other anymore. You had Axl, who had grandiose aspirations to superstardom from day one and also had a definite route he had in mind (November Rain was a song he wanted on Appetite, for example). Slash, whose motives or vision I will never really know but who clearly wanted to just play hard rock and have fun. You had Izzy, who never wanted the band to go past a certain point of fame. He would've been content for the band to be maybe, a mid-level, just above garage, tier band.

    And massive superstardom came in almost overnight. AFD took a year to get hot, but as soon as it did, in the summer of 1988, it was EVERYWHERE. I think it's forgotten just how huge that album was. GN'R were arguably as big as The Beatles in 1964 in 1988 and 1989. AFD was literally selling a million copies a month thoroughout 1988. Their name was mentioned in movies and TV-shows all over the place. They were inescapable. They had five songs in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 at one point.


    8x Multi-Platinum | July 26, 1989
    7x Multi-Platinum | February 1, 1989
    6x Multi-Platinum | December 6, 1988
    5x Multi-Platinum | October 4, 1988
    4x Multi-Platinum | September 13, 1988
    3x Multi-Platinum | August 16, 1988
    2x Multi-Platinum | July 12, 1988

    I mean, look at that. Now imagine what that did to all these guys' heads. Then take into account the insecurities, egos, and quirks of all involved. They were guys in their mid 20s. They weren't ready for this level of fame. They were literally up there with Michael Jackson in terms of popularity virtually overnight. How would anyone - much less a nut like Axl, addicts like Slash, Duff, Izzy, and Steven - deal with that?

    And can you imagine the pressure to create a "perfect" followup? I mean within the band, even? At least bands like The Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, and even Nirvana had had at least one album or a few years together to establish a true identity and sound before superstardom hit. Michael Jackson had a decade of practice at being a pop singer before he was truly huge. GN'R were in really a situation not seen since The Beatles - and even then, those guys were together 4 years before Beatlemania.

    I can't really blame Axl for his overdubs or perfectionism on the UYI records. There was a ton of pressure both in himself, in the band, and on expectations from the fans for something equal to or better than AFD. And it's very rare for an artist to be able to do that, especially when they don't even know what their sound is.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 12:01 AM
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  13. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    Right on.
     
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  14. Musicman1998

    Musicman1998 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Georgia
    I adore Bucket, amazing amazing talent, but I think him and Guns were doomed to fail from the start. First off, apart from him and Brain, there was no real chemistry in that band. Second, he's..... a little off. And not to mention, like Izzy, he doesn't really seem comfortable being past a certain level of fame, I mean, why do you think he wears the bucket and kabuki face mask? It frees him in a lot of ways, not least because he can get himself on stage. Hey, it's either that or a few drinks, so yeah, go for it. Musically, he was more than capable of playing those songs, but it was like seeing Zappa in KISS, just not his style, not his scene, really overqualified for the job. And he's, in an odd way, too good to be in GnR. I don't mean that in an elitist way, I mean that in that he can really play this loose, dirty way like a Keith Richards or a Jimmy Page way, no, he's this wierd, quirky artist who does whatever the hell he wants. He and Slash have three things in common: they played in Guns N Roses, they play a Les Paul, and they wear some form of headgear. Other than that, you cannot get more Night and Day.
     
  15. 3coloursbeige

    3coloursbeige Active Member

    Location:
    London
    The presence of covers on the Illusion albums bothers me much more now than it did back then...but it's hard to deny that Live And Let Die is absolutely killer live.
     
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  16. drbryant

    drbryant Forum Resident

    Live and Let Die is just a great song - lyrically brief and musically epic. They did it straight up, and they did it very well. Because of the dramatic transition from verse to chorus, it works well in concert - custom made for pyrotechnics, it is a highlight of any McCartney or GnR show.
     
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  17. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Both UYI I & II have aged pretty well, save the Rose penned ballad tracks. Of course.
     
  18. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    The decision(s) to add so many covers to UYI 1 + 2 is somewhat strange, in hindsight. With so much riding on these albums, and Axl especially determined that they form a grand artistic statement, the covers seem like they’re second-guessing themselves.

    ...But I could maybe say the same about the 2017 setlist, and I loved that show overall.

    I wonder if the cover tunes were an inevitable by-product of the albums’ long & difficult birth, a stress-reliever, so to speak. TSI was, so it’s possible.
     
  19. Cooks420

    Cooks420 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY
    Or they could’ve just wanted the next “Cum on Feel the Noize,” or “Faith,” or “Smooth Criminal.” Playing someone else’s hit song is a great way to get on the right path straight from jump.
     
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  20. Runicen

    Runicen Forum Resident

    Live and Let Die

    This was the first I heard this song and I had ZERO awareness of McCartney as a solo force at the time, so it was all new to me. From that perspective, I always thought of this as a big, theatrical rocker with some nice changes to it. Yes, even the reggae bit.

    Speaking of, I didn't think the reggae thing was cringey or anything until I heard the live album a few years ago. Axl yelling, "Gimme some reggae" was such a "hide your face in shame as Dad embarrasses you" moment that it shot the big rock band vibe through the heart. Some of the excesses of these albums probably got magnified on tour. On album though, I can't find anything wrong with it. Again, I was coming at this as a budding prog fan first, not as a GNR fan, so my attitude was, "Oh, cool! They're bringing in different styles. That's amazing!" For the GNR orthodox, I'm sure this was the worst kind of heresy. :D

    Oh yeah, and I guess if you were into a little indie singer/songwriter by the name of Paul McCartney, you may have strong feelings about this as well. Ignorance can be bliss. :p

    PS. I do like the original, but I'll always find myself waiting for those overdriven Slash guitars when the song hits its gallop.
     
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  21. Musicman1998

    Musicman1998 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Georgia
    There might be some truth to what you are saying, because I heard this version first
     
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  22. uncle

    uncle Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mass
    I am confused isn't the "gimme some reggae" from Knocking on Heaven's Door? Live and Let Die is not on Live Era although it should have been along with Civil War but that is another discussion.
     
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  23. Musicman1998

    Musicman1998 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Georgia
    Don't Cry:

    And here we are at Don't Cry, the second single from either UYI, written by Axl and Izzy in the early days of the band about a girl named Monique Lewis that both of them had been involved with. Three versions were recorded, two of which each appeared on a Illusion, a third version, recorded during the AFD era jr cut as the band couldn't find the desired sound.
    The song begins with a moody sounding riff with some tasteful bass from Duff, and Axl vocalizes over the feedback from the guitar before he and Hoon come in at :18, and I do love how their voices blend with each other, the two really compliment each other, and the band (minus the drum machine, who is as cliched as ever) are solid, and Slash's solo at 2:21 really packs an emotional punch, is really well constructed and structured, and even though I hadn't listen to this song for a while before this thread, I still remembered how this solo went, honestly, Slash is easily the highlight of this song.
    The song as a whole, it's no Patience or Sweet Child, not even remotely, but it's good enough, and certainly the performances (minus the drummer) elevate this song. Although, did we really need two of this song?
     
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  24. Musicman1998

    Musicman1998 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Georgia
    Here's the demo, in my opinion the best version:
     
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  25. Musicman1998

    Musicman1998 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Georgia
    Alternate version:
     
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