Review Summary: One half loud, one half soft. Turned out great.
After an impressive and rough debut, Guns N’ Roses were going to take some time to record their next proper album (or in fact, albums, as the Use Your Illusions
were only released in ’91, 4 years after Appetite
). In ’88, we got treated with an in-between EP: G N’ R Lies
. Was it worth the effort? Yes, I could say so. Lies
is a combination of Guns’ debut EP Live Like a Suicide
, which makes up the album’s first half, and four other newly recorded mainly acoustic tracks.
For those who have not heard that particular debut EP, Lies
proves to be more interesting, of course. While its two halves may seem a bit grabbed together, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the music itself. Reckless Life
, Nice Boys
, Move to the City
and Mama Kin
(the second and the latter being a Rose Tattoo
cover, respectively) sound just like the majority of Appetite
: loud, sloppy and destructive. The tracks are nothing noteworthy after the release of their debut, but show that Guns got the stuff well taken care of live just as well as in the studio. It’s mainly lovely noisy guitars by Slash and Stradlin, and Rose wailing about what may be, even if the particular lyrics were not written by them, the essential Guns N’ Roses expression: ‘Nice boys don’t play rock n’ roll!’
This is countered right away by a softly whistling Rose as Patience
, and therefore Lies
’ second half kicks off, showing a first glimpse of the band’s more sensitive side. Predominantly accompanied by simple but effective acoustic guitars, the tracks is Guns' first real ballad (whereas Sweet Child
was very, very obviously a hard rock ballad).
An acoustic rehash of You’re Crazy
seems a bit useless though, as there was really nothing to improve upon of the original version. It was meant as a loud track, and it should have remained a loud track. Used to Love Her
is fairly enjoyable but doesn’t stand out because it has Rose basically repeating the line ‘I used to love her, but I had to kill her’ over and over again.
And as the record closes off with the lengthier One in A Million
(yes, that’s the one with the controversial ‘immigrants and faggots, they don’t make sense to me’ line), that leaves its listener with quite a satisfied experience. Lies
may be a mixed bag, it is nevertheless a great bag. Apart from the excellent ballad Patience
and the controversy on the closer, nothing in particular stands out. But hey, there’s no bad eggs either. Lies
’ most interesting feature may just be the contrast between loud and soft, which also takes care of the needed variety. It’s fun, and though it’s closer to the rawer Appetite than it is to the more pretentious Illusions
, the ballads would certainly be an inspiration to Guns’ future sound, making it somewhat of a transition record . Can’t really go wrong with it either.
One in a Million
- William Bruce ‘Axl’ Rose, Jr. ~ Lead Vocals
- Saul ‘Slash’ Hudson ~ Lead and Acoustic Guitars
- Michael Andrew ‘Duff’ McKagan ~ Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
- Jeffery Dean ‘Izzy Stradlin’ Isbell ~ Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Steven Adler ~ Drums, Percussion