Guns N' Roses
Use Your Illusion I


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mark Stebbing USER (36 Reviews)
July 13th, 2005 | 54 replies


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist


Use Your Illusion I is an album by Guns N' Roses. It was the first of two albums released in conjunction with the Use Your Illusion Tour, the other named Use Your Illusion II. The Use Your Illusion albums represent a turning point in the sound of Guns N' Roses. Although they did not abandon the hard rock tendencies so vivid in their first album, Appetite for Destruction, Use Your Illusion I demonstrated, for the first time, more or less, elements of blues, classical music, and country. For example, lead singer Axl Rose plays piano on several tracks of both albums. Use Your Illusion I contains two of the three songs, "November Rain" and "Don't Cry", whose videos are generally held by fans to be a trilogy (the third song, "Estranged", is on Use Your Illusion II). It was songs like "November Rain" which brought Guns N' Roses popularity among music fans who usually did not listen to hard rock or heavy metal.

A number of songs on the album were written in the band's early days but were not included on Appetite for Destruction. "Back Off Bitch", "Bad Obsession", "Bad Apples", "Don't Cry", "November Rain", and "The Garden" are considered part of this group.

Besides stylistic differences, another new aspect seen in Use Your Illusion I was longer songs. "November Rain", an epic ballad, is over 8 minutes long, and "Coma" is nearly 10 minutes long. The whole album clocks in at 76:05 which is really long even though their is 16 tracks here.

There are significant differences to be noted between Use Your Illusion I and II. The cover art of these two albums, identical except for color, is very representative of these differences: Use Your Illusion I is red, and has, for the most part an angrier, heavier sound; Use You Illusion II is blue, and has a softer, even more bluesy sound.

The Guns 'N' Roses band at this point was:

W. Axl Rose - Vocals, Piano, Acoustic
Slash - Lead/Rhythm Guitar, 6 String Bass, Backing Vocals
Duff McKagan - Bass, Backing Vocals
Izzy Stradlin' - Rhythm/Lead Guitar, Percussion
Matt Sorum - Drums, Percussion
Dizzy - Backing Vocals, Piano

--- The Review ---

"Right Next Door To Hell" kicks off the album with a fast, frantic song that really rocks. The start is really good with an aggressive bass line that I think Slash plays it on a 6 String Bass, this bass line is a rocker!!! Then the drums just comes in with power and scratching on the guitar gives this amazing Rock welcome. Excellent start to the song and then it gets to the cool riff that gives the melodic side of the song which is proper Guns N Roses style, the drums accompaning it snared based. The verse is actually fast vocals and at times you can't understand what Axl is sayin, thats why there is a booklet with this album (Thank God!!). The chorus rocks with aggression and there is a mild explicit lyrics here at the bridge. The solo is fantastic and Slash never fails to impress. This is a brief song but an amazing start to the album.

"Dust N' Bones sets the tone off to a more slower tempo. I would say this is a kind of country based song that has a lot of instrumentation on it from an organ to Slash's voice box. The lyrics aren't fantastic, they seem flawed to me as they have done better than this. This song to me doesn't live up to the recent one and this song really indicates a massive difference to the songs on "Appetite For Destruction" with its non-aggression standards. The music here on this song is very good by its construction and guitaring shines here on the voice box that is overlapped by the verse and the solo is brief but effective. I would say that this is just above average to their standards that this band can produce.

"Live and Let Die" is a well known song off this album that is written by Paul and Linda McCartney. This song starts very nicely with Axl singing emotionally and piano playing gracefully in the background. Then the scene explodes into a frenzy of guitaring and wierd melodies. The song has in my opinion good vocals and excellent music, Axl can sound a bit flawed on this song but the music makes up for it. The song repeats its construction at halfway so it goes soft - hard - soft - hard. This song is quite brief but it is effective to the album.

"Don't Cry" is another well known song on this album. It has beautiful music with excellent vocals. Starts with an excellent piece of guitaring and vocals that you can relate to when you are sad. The lyrics makes you feel like this with an example:

"Talk to me softly,
There's something in your eyes,
Don't hang your head in sorrow,
And please don't cry."

This song proves a lot of emotion with its music and vocals being great. The solo really gives that lift of emotion which in my opinion is perfect for this kind of song. This song is a classic and I personally love it. The ending is a bit wierd though when Axl continuously wails out for at least 30 seconds.

"Perfect Crime" goes back the frantic side of the album with a fast tempo and controversal lyrics. This song has great guitaring and the vocals are fast again. I would say this has a similar logic to "Right Next Door To Hell". This has a really cool bridge with excellent climax to the great solo from quiet to hard. This song is the shortest on the album but again it is effective and this is a great song to put your mood up.

"You Ain't The First is a country based song but with limited amount of textual music. I think this song is actually beautiful with really nice sound of the acoustic guitar and a Slide Dobro by Slash. The vocals here is really nicely sung and the music is very relaxing. This is a nice brief song and I never skip it.

"Bad Obsession" is a song that is full of instrumentation. This song has a cool start with a cow bell starting the rhythm out and then a harmonica plays the melody with the guitar accompaning it, at a point, the guitar reallys blows out power in distortion and that is favourite part of the song. But the rest of the song in my opinion is mediocre with its annoying repetition of rhythm and vocals. The solo only consists of the rhythm part being together and it doesn't create that spark. All in all this song is average and one of the worst on the album.

"Back Off Bitch" is a really rocking song that has an excellent start of amazing guitaring and drumming. The riffs used here is full of harmonics and cool silding of power chords. The vocals are great by Axl Rose with excellent usage of his abilities. The chorus is very rhythmic based with few chord progression and few words. The lead guitaring here is excellent and it really shines between the verse and chorus with excellent usage of fretting and timing with the vocals. The solo is fantastic as always by Slash. The song reeks of aggression with its lyrics and power of the guitaring. Excellent stuff and it is needed after an average song.

"Double Talkin' Jive starts with some nice work on the drums and on to the main rhythm guitar that is full of fretting. The song is moderate and it has a beat to it. The vocals are somewhat effected by a machine. The song is not long but the solo takes at least half the song to play. The solo is amazing with its classic sound and lovely choice of frets and technique. Near the end it changes completely to an acoustic style of the song and sounds beauitiful. An excellent treat of a song.

"November Rain" we all know even if you are not a fan of Guns 'N' Roses. This is one epic ballad that has real beautiful music on it. The piano at the start really sets the scene of a ballad and the orchestra with it gives the atmosphere that it needs. The isn't much guitar at the first half of the song as the climax doesn't pick up till then. The vocals are so emotional here with the love lyrics:

"'Cause nothin' lasts forever,
And we both know hearts can change,
And it's hard to hold a candle,
In the cold November Rain."

The first solo is a beauty with great sound and ability used to it's highest, just perfect bendind and hammer-ons that give the emotion of the song. The vocals are always excellent on this song and seems to be Axl at his best as he sings properly on this, feels like he means it on this song. The second solo is brief but still gives that lovely atmosphere to the song. The song completely changes when there is 2 minutes left where the whole scene changes to sadness and where the music get dramatic. The third solo is frantic but still keeps its limits, this solo is amazing and the ending of the song really bulids climax until it just collapses to a screaming guitar at the end which gives that sad touch and it really blows you away. Simply amazing song.

"The Garden" starts very mellow and dark with a bass line that gives an impression of an eerie surrounding. The vocals are very good here with emotion. The guitaring here is great and also gives the sad touch of the song. The chorus completely changes the song to a inferno with Alice Cooper guest starring in it and he really gives that boost to the song. The solo here is bloody fantastic bursting into craziness, always a pleasure from Slash. The song repeats the process and ends with Alice Cooper saying "Bye Bye." This song is underrated and I really enjoy this song so it is an excellent song.

"Garden Of Eden" is a way fast song that is even faster than "Right Next Door To Hell". There is so much lyrics here and Axl says it so fast there is no hope of deciphering it without a booklet. The song is a real Rock song that has really fast music on it.The guitaring on it is amazing all the time with a perfect solo. Again, this is a brief song but it is son effective to the album and I really enjoy listening to this song. This song has a bit of controversy on it but you won't spot it.

"Don't Damn Me" has the same logic as "Back Off Bitch" but this is more crazy with its more detailed guitar riff and more powerful drums on the rhythm. Axl's vocals are very sleazy but effective. The riff used on this song is very good and catchy so it keeps you hooked on the song. The song moves along very well with the construction and beat used. The song slows down to a more mellow sound and more forgiving but then it picks the tempo up and goes to a fantastic solo that is the best on the album in my opinion. The song then moves to the bass line that gives that catchy move and then goes to the final verse and ends to Axl shouting "Don't Damn Me!!" a few times which really gives power with the drums banging away on the snare every beat. This is a great song and carries well to the next song.

"Bad Apples" is a more blues type of song with a funky start on the guitar and it sounds really cool. The music on this song is very detailed and carries a beat well, the shame is that it is so repetitive and the music is not very fitting into this album really. Also, the vocals are not brilliant and the lyrics are not great. I would say this is another average song on the album and the low point of the album.

"Dead Horse" starts with Axl playing the acoustic guitar using simple power chords and him just singing for at least a minute then it goes to an outbreak of the main rhythm but with more of a style. This song is very good with its great riffs and lyrics. The vocals are fitting to this song and the solo is very simple to start with but then goes onto an outbreak of bending and great sound. The ending is just a repeat of the start but then it ends with a tape rewinding rapidly so it is not your CD that is wrong.

The last song "Coma" is an epic 10 minutes. This starts with a pulse rate then goes to a freaky bass line and some feedback on the guitar. The main rhythm is full of power and aggression. The verses are just Axl singing about he likes to stay in a coma as he can stay away from trouble in the world. I really like the verses as it goes to cut scenes of a hospital panic when doctors try to revive the patients from dying, this has a great effect on the song and it also creates the dramatic side of the song. Also the song is full of controversy. The song is a revolution of the main riff really but it changes at the 4 minute mark when it all goes quiet and no drumming but just a wierd atmosphere and Axl singing. But then the whole climax picks up again to the adrenaline rush again at the hospital when the whole picks up again and you hear the beeping of the heart rate and all the doctors start to panic. The solo after this is simply amazing and the song goes to some sluts talking about Axl being a pervert and telling him that he is a asshole. The final verse which is really long but the climax really picks up and Axl's vocals become more and more emotional until it all collapses into a really high screeching noise on the guitar, that effect signals a great end of a 10 minute journey of excellence.

--- Overview ---

The rating of the songs:

1. Right Next Door To Hell - 5/5
2. Dust N' Bones - 3/5
3. Live And Let Die - 4/5
4. Don't Cry (Original) - 5/5
5. Perfect Crime - 4.5/5
6. You Ain't The First - 4.5/5
7. Bad Obsession - 2.5/5
8. Back Off Bitch - 4/5
9. Double Talkin' Jive - 4.5/5
10. November Rain - 5/5
11. The Garden - 4/5
12. Garden Of Eden - 4.5/5
13. Don't Damn Me - 4/5
14. Bad Apples - 2.5/5
15. Dead Horse - 4/5
16. Coma - 5/5

Overall, this album was a success all over the world and it was highly anticipated. It made a lot of selling successes and it is still now. Their are some bad points on this album that I have pointed out but their are really good stuff in this album that I am sure people would be interested in. This was a big step after Steven Adler was fired and the music on this album was pulled in a different direction so people of "Appetite For Destruction" are in for a surprise. So the rating I am giving this album is:

Overall: 4/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Oli
July 13th 2005


6 Comments


You really know your stuff

EdwardTheGreat
July 13th 2005


57 Comments


Great review, although I would have given 4.5. Amazing review though.

Priestmetal
July 13th 2005


542 Comments


Nice review. Great album too.

DesolationRow
July 13th 2005


833 Comments


Good review. May I suggest a final rating of each song. And Dead Horse is an awesome song.

DesolationRow
July 13th 2005


833 Comments


^stupid me didn't see the final ratings. :upset: I apologize.

Final Origin
July 15th 2005


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for great feedback.

I actually thought that I had vocabulary mistakes. I will edit the review to make sure it is up to standards.

Should I write about Use Your Illusion II or is the one existing good enough?

DesolationRow
July 16th 2005


833 Comments


Definitely do UYI2. Your review for this was fantastic and doing 2 would be magnificent. Keep it up.

Final Origin
July 16th 2005


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It will be here in this week hopefully since I have important work in the way and that's priority but I am definitely doing UYI2.

DesolationRow
July 16th 2005


833 Comments


Cool. :cool:

Final Origin
July 16th 2005


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ive started writing it now so it come in either today or in the next 2 or 3 days.

barosjn
August 13th 2005


501 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is an awesome album and beats the crap out of its sequel. I disagree with your opinion on Bad Obsession though. It's my favourite song on the album with how unique it is compared to the other tracks.

Shuffle It All
August 21st 2005


121 Comments


i really like dust n bones, a true bluesy rock n roll song

Hugh Jass
September 1st 2005


92 Comments


This album is one of my favourites at the moment it's brilliant. I do think Don't Damn Me is worth a 5 as well as Garden of Eden. What! You Ain't the First is not bette rthan Back of Bitch, check out Slash's Guitar man! And Shuffle It All, mate I hate Dust n Bones but I LOVE Coma!

Reasonable Review apart from the alterations I would recommend. 4.5/5

Rus.T.Spoons man, Rus.T.Spoons

Final Origin
September 2nd 2005


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You ain't the First is a nice relaxing song in this album and I think it deserves what it has, I definitely agree with you about the solo on Back off Bitch.

DownPaymentBlues78
October 17th 2005


278 Comments


the use your illusions combined could have made for an astounding album, but theres too much filler on the two.

Killtacular
October 17th 2005


1314 Comments


'Filler-itis' shows it's ugly head again.

DownPaymentBlues78
October 17th 2005


278 Comments


If they had made it one album with the good tracks from both, it would have been HUGE.

Final Origin
October 18th 2005


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol, good one Hobohead but true. It was still huge and I didn't think there wasn't much fillers in both of them except "My World" that was it really.

Final Origin
October 18th 2005


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They were creative but in another way that is really controversial.

Bitc|-|
October 18th 2005


5 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

IMO UYI II is better i think there's some bad rock crap sh*t in this album and the (almost) whole stuff is overshadowed by NR...



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