Guns N' Roses
Use Your Illusion II


5.0
classic

Review

by Mark Stebbing USER (36 Reviews)
July 17th, 2005 | 21 replies | 4,459 views


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist


9 of 9 thought this review was well written

Use Your Illusion II is an album by Guns N' Roses. It was the second of two albums released in conjunction with the Use Your Illusion Tour. Use Your Illusion II was the more popular of the two albums, debuting at #1 on the US charts.

The Use Your Illusion albums were a stylistic turning point for Guns N' Roses. In addition, Use Your Illusion II is more political than most of their previous work, with songs like "Civil War", a cover of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", and "Get In The Ring" dealing respectively with the topics of violence, law enforcement, and media bias. The thematic material deals less with drug use than previous Guns N' Roses albums.

The first single "You Could Be Mine" was released in July 1991 is and featured in the film Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The band also filmed a video featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. The original subject matter of the song dealt with Izzy Stradlin's failed relationship with his ex-girlfriend Angela Nicoletti.

The Use Your Illusion albums can be taken as a single cohesive work, and certain elements of Use Your Illusion II underscore this intent. For instance, both albums have a version of the song "Don't Cry". Both albums also have one cover song; "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney (Use Your Illusion I) and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan (Use Your Illusion II).

The mood of the album is broken by the song "My World", considered by many fans to be the worst Guns N' Roses song, and certainly very different musically from any other Guns N' Roses has written.

The album's cover (like I mentioned on Use Your Illusion I) is Blue/Black.

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

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


--- The Review ---

"Civil War" starts with a cut from a film "Cool Hand Lake" with a person from the film called Strother Martin speaking and it sounds very odd, sounds like an old woman speaking. This is accompanied by an acoustic guitar that has a kind of sad feeling to it. The vocals starting on this song is very mellow and soft with lyrics talking about the violence and action of war:

"Look at your young men fighting,
Look at your women crying,
Look at your young men dying,
The way they've always done before."

The emotion is in the lyrics on this song and the vocals just carry the emotion along to the chorus that outbreaks in distortion in a slight angst way. The vocals get more serious here and the guitar riffs at the end of the chorus are excellent with its wah-wah based style and it really gives more emotion. The song has 2 different choruses and they differ in the way it is played, this is more lighter and more emotional vocals are used. The solo is very good but it is just a continuation of the other riffs Slash uses after a chorus. The ending is excellent with its slick wah-wah riff that ends the song perfectly with thunderstorms at the background.

"14 Years" is very different to "Civil War" giving it a change of atmospheric mood. This is more of an upbeat song but with hateful lyrics in it. The drum intro is brief as it brings the vocals straight away, the piano brings the melody and the guitaring accompanys the rhythm. Izzy sings in this song showing that he wrote this song so you would expect something good, Axl is the background vocals on this song to give the emotion in the chorus. Both vocals are excellent on this track as it gives so much emotion and bluesy feel to the song. The solo is great as always by Slash and the piano has so much variety near the end with so much playing and gives a great blues feel. This song is great and is enjoyable to listen to.

"Yesterdays" starts with a kind of country sound with the guitar sounding clean and the drums just hitting the bass drum on every beat. Then the song picks up with all the emotional vocals by Axl and a powering bass line giving the boost. The chorus goes to distortion and Axl's voice gets more powerful and serious. Lovely solo guitar performances on this song to give a blues feel and an emotional atmosphere. The song has then reached its climax at the last chorus then it breaks down to a quiet outro where Axl whispers "Yesterday" and the whole music is just arpeggio. An excellent song in my opinion as it has soul in it.

"Knockin' on Heavens Door" is Guns 'n' Roses most successful release in their singles and this song is a cover of Bob Dylan's. I think everyone kind of knows this song really but I still will tell you what it is like. The song has a nice chord arpeggio on the guitar and then it picks up to distortion and slow drums. The vocals are emotional again with Axl changing his voice at the verse towards the chorus (Low to High). The chorus just consists of distorted guitaring with chords that was the progression at the start but not arpeggio. The brief solo afterwards is just beautiful as it has so much emotion and feel to it with its lonely sound and soulful bending. This song is quite slow which it should be as you don't want to spoil the feeling that this song has. The second solo is a bit longer and more texture in it, it is more full of fretting then emotional. The song from here is just Axl singing with "The Waters" singing "Kn-Kn-Kn-Knockin' on Heavens Door", the ending is so emotional with Axl descending his voice with the guitar. Great classic song.

"Get In The Ring" breaks the blues tone and goes to a more Rock side. This starts with a huge number of people in an arena chanting "Get In The Ring!!". This is done a couple of times then a wonderful melody on the guitar by Slash is played and this melody is one of the best I have heard from Slash (excepting solos). After this, the song picks up to a fast tempo and some drunken vocals by Axl. The lyrics are angst as they are very political and point out at the media talking about the media print crap about Guns 'N' Roses and ripping off children as they are printing lies and it is antagonizing Axl. The lyrics are so controversal, if I wrote it here, you will mostly see censored words. The vocals are angst at times and guitaring gives the boost. This song has so much variety as at one point, it is a normal verse then later, you will find that there is angst speaking then different choruses. This song has so much adrenaline with its powerful music and controversal lyrics. The ending consists of the same melody played at the start but faster and put into a solo which is so graceful, and Axl talking about the song dedicated to the fans and people chanting again. This is an amazing song to me so I think it is one of the best on the album.

"Shotgun Blues" is nothing like the blues if that is what you are thinking. The song is so controversal again and the music is powerful. The song starts with a drum intro and then straightaway comes vocals and guitaring. I would say that this song sonds a bit of a mess around but thats what I think. This song has a catchy chorus and a catchy beat, but don't ever sing the lyrics out loud, people will be shocked, you have been warned. The solo is perfect again with its great choice of frets and beat. I would say that this an enjoyable song to listen to for a laugh but if you want something serious, don't bother listening to this.

"Breakdown" sets back the country/blues style with beauty. It starts with a banjo and whistling. Then goes to a piano and some emotional vocals, amazing guitaring is then put in with excellent lyrics. After the vocals comes some emotional music with amazing construction. The verse just picks up the beat with amazing lyrics again. This song has so much beat and great composion of music, the vocals are outstanding all the time. The solo is so amazing as well which gives that adrenaline rush to the song with its frantic fretting and bending. The song repeats its construction again but at the end, the guitaring becomes so frantic and Axl starts reciting the role of "Cleavon Little" - from the film "Vanishing Point". This has so much effect to the song as it gives the blues feel to the song and it ends perfectly with it powering drums banging frantically with the guitaring. A pretty damn amazing song.

"Pretty Tied Up (The Perils Of Rock 'n' Roll Decadence)" starts with a coral sitar played by Slash to give that Middle East feeling and then it picks up with the guitaring going to a wah-wah. The song carries this to the verse when Axl talks about a girl in Melrose. The chorus has a different feeling to it, it sounds more happier then the verse but it is still great. The first solo is amazing with its wah-wah and great fretting, so much emotion. The song repeats the construction then it goes to the last solo which is better than the first and I can't stretch enough praise for it, but sheer class. This is one of my favourites on the album so I would say this song is excellent.

"Locomotive (Complicity)" starts again with a drum intro for at least 10 seconds then a powerful bass line kicks in with distorted guitaring. The riff sounds like a train moving with some wierd vocals from Axl. The pre-chorus brings the emotional vocals by Axl and some great guitaring by Slash. The chorus is different to the verse with its rhythm and vocals, it is a bit frantic towards the end of it. The song is a bit repetitive as it is nearly 9 minutes long so it repeats at least 4 times, so nothing special happens but a long outro that has so much emotion with its great flanger/wah-wah on guitar and some emotional vocals wailing away which gives a great ending to the song with amazing guitaring and music. This actually saves the song a bit so there is some life.

"So Fine" was written by Duff McKagan and dedicated to Johnny Thunders. The song is actually beauitful with its lovely guitaring and piano. Axl's backing vocals on this is so nice with emotion, Duff is the lead vocalist here and it is pretty good. He has that voice that really fits into the song as he sounds like he is talking. The chorus is very different again but it has that uplifting atmosphere to the song with its beatful drumming and overdriven guitaring. The solo afterwards is so emotional with its overdriven bending and lovely sound which gives that lonely feeling. The song repeats the chorus and then Axl kicks in with his part and then it ends perfectly. A moving song overall and another favourite of this album.

"Estranged" starts very quietly with Axl singing gracefully and piano playing in the background, then the lead guitar comes in with its amazing melody which really gives the isolating feel to the song. The vocals on this track is so amazing and the guitar with it really shines. The song is very sad with its vocals and melodies on this song. Slash really shines on this song and in the booklet, it says at the end of this song "Slash, thanks for the killer melodies". This tells you that this is Slash at his best. This song is so beautiful with its music being so emotional and the lyrics being fantastic. The bridge is instrumentation for at least 2 minutes and it sounds excellent. The ending verses are more serious with Axl screaming out the lyrics and the melodies becoming more overdriven and more techniques are used. The last solo is my favourite as it has that wonderful sound and fretting. The ending is so nice with Axl finishing his vocals gracefully, then a piano chord ends this classic Guns 'N' Roses song. I wonder why this was not on their best hits.

"You Could Be Mine" is the "Terminator 2" theme song and this song has so much aggression on it. It has driven drumming on it and some great bass lines on it. The guitaring is great and the vocals really shine with his angst sound. The chorus is very seducing with using the line "You Could Be Mine". This song has excellent stuff on it with a great solo and a great beat to it. This was one of the first Guns 'N' Roses songs I heard and technically, this was what got me into them. Excellent stuff.

"Don't Cry (Alternate Lyrics)" is basically just the same piece of music as the original but different lyrics. The lyrics are somewhat sang differently with a different way of saying it and different syllables in it. In my opinion, this song has more emotion then the original and I prefer this better with the way it is sung, more is shown on this version.

"My World" has been voted the worst Guns 'N' Roses song ever but I think it is not even a song. I think it is just an outro to the Use Your Illusion series with aggression and angsty. It is just techno rap with Axl doing it and a keyboard and drums by Axl and Johann Langlie. No Guns 'N' Roses where in this so I don't even think it is a Guns 'N' Roses song. Either way, this "song" is full of controversal lyrics and effects. I think it is a great way to end the series but if you look at it as a normal track on its own, it is pretty shocking.

--- Overview ---

The ratings of the songs:

1. Civil War - 5/5
2. 14 Years - 4/5
3. Yesterdays - 4.5/5
4. Knockin' On Heaven's Door - 5/5
5. Get In The Ring - 5/5
6. Shotgun Blues - 3.75/5
7. Breakdown - 5/5
8. Pretty Tied Up - 5/5
9. Locomotive (Complicity) - 3.75/5
10. So Fine - 5/5
11. Estranged - 5/5
12. You Could Be Mine - 4.5/5
13. Don't Cry (Alternate Lyrics) - 5/5
14. My World - (Ending - 4/5) (Song - 1/5)

This album in my opinion is a classic as it was so successful everywhere and was highly anticipated. Most songs on this album were amazing and I didn't find one that was terrible (except "My World"). This album is so much better than "Use Your Illusion I" and the songs are on this are so much better constructed so I am going to rate this album:

Overall: 5/5



Recent reviews by this author
Boom Boom Satellites EmbraceBoom Boom Satellites To The Loveless
Boom Boom Satellites EXPOSEDJean Michel Jarre Zoolook
Guillemots Through the WindowpaneTears For Fears The Seeds of Love
user ratings (1101)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Matthijs van der Lee (4)
More mellow and laid-back than its red brother, Use Your Illusion II is just as excellent, although ...

goneshootin22 (3)
This is a decent album from a decent band. Some good and bad aspects of this album can be seen....

Andrew Barr (MM8) (4.5)
...

Humor99 (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Final Origin
July 17th 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, I too think write about the songs a bit too much. Ill keep that in mind, thanks.

DesolationRow
July 17th 2005



833 Comments


Great review! It's good you followed up to UYI1. Estranged, Knockin on Heavens Door, and Civil War are my personal faves. I think we see things the same. :thumb: Great review.

Final Origin
July 17th 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thats cool we see the same things. Thanks for your support.

masada
July 17th 2005



2733 Comments


GReat review. :thumb: I don't think that this is 5 stars though. More like 3.5.

EdwardTheGreat
July 17th 2005



57 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Estranged wasnt on the Greatest Hits? Thats their best song though? Still good review.

Final Origin
July 17th 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

IMO, Estranged is better than November Rain because the music is so much stronger and vocals are better.This Message Edited On 07.17.05

Iai
Emeritus
July 17th 2005



3553 Comments


Is this the album where Axl says 'Immigrants and faggots, they make no sense to me'?

Final Origin
July 17th 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

No, thats G'n'r Lies, the song is "One In A Million".This Message Edited On 07.17.05

Final Origin
July 18th 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, those 2 songs are amazing and the best that Guns 'n' Roses produced after "Appetite For Destruction" but Estranged has more emotion that you can relate to, thats why I find it better.

By the way, if you find this review great, can you vote "Yes" on "Did you Find this Review Helpful?" please so I can tell if I actually did a good job and can be seen by other people straight away. Thanks This Message Edited On 07.18.05

DesolationRow
July 18th 2005



833 Comments


I love both November Rain and Estranged. Musically, I prefer Estranged, but lyrically, I can relate to November Rain more. Both are truly amazing.

heavy metal kid
July 25th 2005



174 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i don't what's the big deal with the album, to me it's average, appetite for destruction it's better in some ways imo.

Final Origin
July 26th 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

There is a big difference between Appetite For Destruction and UYI2, ones just plain Rock music with catchiness(A.F.D) and the other blues rock(UYI2).

2 completely different stuff and I just prefer G 'n' R when they bring out the serious stuff into music which is UYI2.

Sepstrup
July 26th 2005



1563 Comments


Guns N' Roses seema bit overrated to me. Some of their songs are really cool (November Rain, Civil War, Welcome to the Jungle, especially the latter) Their cover of Knocking on Heaven's Door is definitely not as good as the original.

Digging: How to Dress Well - What Is This Heart?

Final Origin
July 29th 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I haven't actually heard the original of Knockin' on Heavens Door suprisingly but all I know is that it was written by Bob Dylan.This Message Edited On 07.29.05

Sepstrup
July 29th 2005



1563 Comments


The original is much better, in my opinion. Bob's voice is better suited for the kind of song it is. Axl's voice is suited for songs like Welcome to the jungle...

DesolationRow
July 29th 2005



833 Comments


Eh, both are great songs. They're both different but equally as cool.

Final Origin
November 8th 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I just thought it had a nice fitting in the album and it sounds very truthful to me.

Saxon Priest
May 22nd 2006



110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album has some very good tracks and some really average tracks, overall UYI1 is better.

On hearing this was a bluesy album I instantly went out and bought it, but if I am honest I was slightly dissappointed. In truth I was hoping for a bluesy Zeppelin feel but basically just got a loads of slow Rock songs.


4/5

PagePlant
June 4th 2011



44 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review. i would change somethings although, Locomotive is relly good and i dont like Get in the Ring a lot, Slash's riff is awsome, but the song gets boring and the lyrics are the worst thing.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy