Use Your Illusion II
The second half of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums contains more softer bluesy tunes compared to the more hard-rocking Use Your Illusion I
. The line up for this CD is:
Axl Rose - Lead/backing vocals, piano
Duff McKagan - Bass
Slash - Lead/rhythm/acoustic guitars
Izzy Stradlin' - Rhythm/acoustic guitars, vocals, sitar
Matt Sorum - Drums
Dizzy Reed - Keyboards, piano
Probably one of the best songs on the album, and one of the best GNR has ever written. It's change in dynamics and blend of acoustic and electric guitar provide great energy to the song. A protest against the cost of war on humanity, this song delivers its message in a strong, powerful way.
An Izzy/Rose composition, this song is about suffering through a 14-year relationship. It's not their best, but certainly not their worst either. Izzy sings it, which adds an interesting twist with his voice while Axl moves over to the piano. It has a nice momentum to it, with a nice piano lick, but again, nothing special.
A lighter tune about moving on away from the past. Axl returns to vocals with his high-pitch voice, which gives it a more heartfelt feel. Slower, and more soft rock, but overall better than 14 Years (which seem to be of similar nature).
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
- [5/5] (a Bob Dylan cover)
This song is amazing. Most rock fans have heard it probably, and it takes a Bob Dylan classic and gives it a new energy that is totally rocking. The guitar is perfectly done for the song, and the light distortion interludes give it a stronger presence. Axl's voice is in top shape as he cries out "Knock knock knockin' on heaven's door - hey, hey, hey hey hey." Some people complain about the little phone break after the second chorus - it really doesn't detract from the song, but then again it doesn't really add to it either. But this Bob Dylan classic has had an extreme makeover, and is so awesome.
Get in the Ring
This track is a chance for Axl and GNR to get back at all the critics who didn't believe in them. Cheering at the beginning, then a blues guitar intro, which eventually leads into the fast tempo for the rest of the song. Halfway through, Axl takes a moment to address all the critics in a tirade that is good for a laugh at the very least. Nothing totally special (they said most of it in "Don't Damn Me" on UYI I), but still good for a jolly.
This track seems more like a hard-rock song than blues. Not a very good hard rock song at that either - lots of repetition and it doesn't really go anywhere. It sounds like a generic hard rock song, but maybe even a little worse.
A nice ballad-type song with a banjo intro and a good mix of guitar and piano. Moderate pace with blues electric guitar in the background, piano and acoustic guitar carrying the main melody. It's about finding that special person in your life and making everything is okay. By the second verse, it picks up a little bit with a more frantic tempo, reaching a peak during the guitar solo which is frantic and bluesy at the same time.
Pretty Tied Up
This song was written by Izzy Stradlin' about living a rock 'n' roll lifestyle and getting caught in all the perks. It starts off with an Arabian sounding intro and keeps that sound throughout. This is one of the more hard-rock tracks and includes Izzy playing the sitar. Averagely good song.
Clocking in at almost 9 minutes, this is one of GNR's longer songs - and it's intensity the whole way. With a solid drumbeat kicking it off, joined in by distorted guitars carrying on the tempo. The percussion section really keeps this song moving as Axl sings his way through of dealing with relationships and the crap that comes with them. It slows down for a more bluesy, slower piano and guitar solo that takes the song off its strong pace to a more wandering feel to it.
Duff wrote this song and it's another one of the lighter tunes with a nice, light piano part and eventually gets faster paced towards the middle. The piano throughout keeps the melody going, and eventually it slows down again until the blues guitar solo. However, right after, it picks up once again to slow down once more for the last chorus.
I've heard this song called 'November Rain' Part II, and it's easily as good of a song, if not better, as 'Novembera Rain'. This song simply delivers the goods - and at 9.5 minutes, it should. It's about being lonely, love, and moving on. It starts out soft, then kicks in with the blues guitar (again) and moves into a stronger verse. It slows down again (props to the percussion section of Duff and Matt for keeping it together) and picks up several times to reflect the mood. The guitar and piano keeping it together and offering a wailing blues sound to it.
After a few more blues interludes on the guitar, the piano kicks in for its solo. A slow, cresendoing solo that gives the image that maybe the clouds are parting on this story and the sun is coming through. It becomes more hopeful as Axl goes on about moving on and trying again. Another blues guitar solo (more wailing, and envoke a more painful emotion) and then the song picks up a little as Axl begins to wonder why it's got to hurt. A piano solo mixed with some guitar wailing gradually picks up and continues the dynamic through the end.
Simply a wonderful blues song with great piano and guitar parts, not to mention beautiful lyrics and steady, forceful drumming that keeps it all together.
You Could Be Mine
One of the more hard rocking songs on the CD with high-paced drumming and rhythm guitar as the song kicks in. Axl almost like raps his way through this song, but at the same time it's more like singing. Something he did quite often on Use Your Illusion I
. And just to pull out the lyric that stands out in my head: "With your bitch slap rappin' and your cocaine tongue, you get nothing done."
[4/5] (alternate lyrics)
Same music from the original "Don't Cry" on UYI I, but with different lyrics. A slow, melodic song with heartfelt lyrics and good music to match. A solidly good effort.
Pure shit. A mix of techno, rap, and god knows what makes this catastrophe the worse song I've ever heard by GNR. Seriously, it needed to be left on the cutting room floor. There are no redeeming features to the song, except that its less than 2 minutes. Thank GOD.
Probably my second or first favorite GNR album (along with Appetite for Destruction
). Songs like "Civil War", "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", and "Estranged" alone make it good enough to be bought. The blues rock on this album is terrific, Slash is an amazing guitarist and so is Izzy. Axl and Dizzy do wonders with the piano as well. If you like GNR's slower, blues-ier stuff like "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "November Rain", you'll definitely like this album. It's also got plenty of hard rock songs like "Civil War" and "Locomotive" to keep you satisfied. It's too bad Axl felt the need to include "My World" at the end, it really does suck the big one.