Review Summary: This cd is a must have for any VR fan or a fan of the more energized GNR years. The guitars are rockin with a sharp bluesy edge and the soulful vocals and drums just add on.
Vocals- Rod Jackson
Lead Guitar- Slash
Rhythm Guitar- Ryan Roxie
Bass- Johnny Griparic
Drums- Matt Laug
Ain't Life Grand is a follow-up to the It's Five O'Clock Somewhere CD released in March of 1995 with Slash being the only member of the original band to stay.
Been There Lately- This song kicks off the cd with a nice build up and screams of "Oh Yeah, Alright" by Rod. Guitars are just fantastic, very blues influenced. Piano is used during the pre-choruses and chorues which add some nice texture to the song. The solo is raunchy and will have guitarists wondering how he comes up with this stuff.
Just Like Anything- Starting with some nice precussion/bongo work by Matt, Rod comes in with the guitars going "Yeah Yeah Yeah". Harmonica is also featured in the beggining. The song is about the sleazyness of hollowood with lyrics going "Jimmy Jaw took a ten story dive, about sixteen thousand feetI watched the body go splat and they scraped him off the street"
Shine- Slash starts out playing a slide guitar riff that is very blues/funk. The song contains many biblical refrences including "original sin" and "You don't have Adam and Eve" to kick around anymore" It seems to be about how the world can change us and alter our minds to sin. Very nice guitar work one of the best songs on the album.
Mean Bone- Starts out with a woman talking about how she has her man "whipped" and would do anything for her. This seems to be what the song was written about women who think they can control men and demean them also obvious sex related lyrics "And if you think that I'm goin' soft Here come some hard times I got one mean bone in my body
I got one mean bone in my hand" this song was the single and for great reason amazing guitar and vibe. In my opinion the song on the album.
Back To The Moment- One of the softer, more melodic songs of the album. Really highlights Rod Jackson's amazing soulfulness and dexterity. Closest song to a ballad on the album. Nothing amazingly special about it obviously about a break-up. Still a good song though.
Life's Sweet Drug- Starts out with nice tom and bass work by Matt and Slash comes in with a rockin guitar riff. Probably the best solo of the album begging around 2:40. The songs about how life can taint us and people us eachother.
Serial Killer- Nice piano and vocal intro definately that turns to a build up by Matt, Slash, and Johnny. Piano and keyboard are prevalent through the song very nice voacals by Rod.
The song seems to be about a serial kiler (shocker right?) "I wanna be like him, he had a dreadful life I wanna learn to shoot, I want to use a knife I like the smell of fear that makes you paralyzed I am the boy next door who put that fear in your eyes."
The Truth- Has a very nice bass line from Johnny. Seems to tell a story of a blues man who despite "Been(ing) in a daze for ten years" can still tell the truth. Another brilliant performance by Slash and the gang with a solo with some strange effects. The guitar work is just plain sexy.
Landslide- Blues heavy guitar for an intro. Nothing that special about this song a weak chours of "It's just a landslide, that feeds my head, that makes it roll It's just a landslide, keep it in mind, takes me out of control It's like a landmine, steppin' out of time, ready to explode I feel the landslide on me down in this hole" probably should have been a b-side.
Ain't Life Grand- The title track of course very, VERY bluesy/jazzy. Features a horn section which is a nice change of pace for this album. Saxophone solos ensue and this song is really more about the musicallity than the lyrics. Amazing groove to it. Purely about enjoying life and taking chances.
Speed Parade- As the name suggests this song is definately more heavy and fast than the other songs. Great intro nice speed and musicallity to the song probably my third favorite. Finger frying solo that makes you stare dumbfounded at the wall. Lyrics seem to be about a car racer.
The Alien- Nice and fast like the track preceeding it Rod's howl is nice in the beginning then some strange almost alien (sorry) voice takes over until the chorus when rod comes back and delivers a great performance.
Cd is just great if your a fan of Slash's work this cd is a must have. Mostly blues influenced rock with some nice variety in speed and texture.