Guns N' Roses
Use Your Illusion


4.5
superb

Review

by Mark Stebbing USER (36 Reviews)
October 23rd, 2005 | 33 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist


Use Your Illusion is an album that is mixed from the Use Your Illusion I & II albums. It has been released only in the US so I guess it is very limited to get hold of around the world (obviously). 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 the piano on several tracks of both albums. Use Your Illusion II shows the blues rock side of Guns N' Roses but still have the treatment and some classical music elemnts.

People know that I have written reviews of both Use Your Illusion albums so most people will think that this review is very cheeky of me to do but it is an album and also has been released so I guess it is alright for me to review so onwards we go, and NO FLAMING please.


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 Of Use Your Illusion by Guns N' Roses ---

Tracks 1 - 6 is from Use Your Illusion I

"Live and Let Die" is a well known song off the Use Your Illusion I 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. 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.

"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.

"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 pck 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.

"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.


Tracks 7 - 12 is from Use Your Illusion II


"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.

"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.

"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.


--- The Overview ---

Ratings:

1. Live And Let Die - 4/5
2. Don't Cry (Original) - 5/5
3. You Ain't The First - 4.5/5
4. November Rain - 5/5
5. The Garden - 4/5
6. Dead Horse - 4/5
7. Civil War - 5/5
8. 14 Years - 4/5
9. Yesterdays - 4.5/5
10. Knockin' On Heaven's Door - 5/5
11. Estranged - 5/5
12. Don't Cry (Alternate Lyrics) - 5/5


So, I think this compilation is just the "greatest hits" of the Use Your Illusion albums that were so successful. I realise that there is still some space to put a few more songs on there like the edgy "Get In The Ring" and to the adrenealine rush of "Don't Damn Me". But the songs here are still stellar and are classics on their own. This album is for the people who don't want to buy the 2 albums in prices, this is for the shortcut of the 2 legendary albums put into one. I think that this idea is very satisfying and logical for the fans and semi-fans out there in the world.

Final Rating: 4.5/5



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user ratings (163)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Arrakakaka
October 23rd 2005


685 Comments


I love your format. Good review, yet Guns N' Roses isn't my pinnacle.

Final Origin
October 23rd 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow that was a really quick reply, thanks for comment always appreciated. :thumb:

DownPaymentBlues78
October 23rd 2005


278 Comments


they need get in the ring.

DownPaymentBlues78
October 23rd 2005


278 Comments


they need get in the ring.

Rudd13
October 23rd 2005


952 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

May I say, that is a very attractive album cover.

Im a big fan of the band, but I think itd be better to just get both full-length albums instead of this version. Moslty because this one doesnt include Coma or Locomotive :upset:

Nonetheless, great writing as always Origin.

Final Origin
October 23rd 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree with Rudd to get both albums, you recieve a more full understanding of the albums. I agree Coma should have been there as well but there you go....This Message Edited On 10.23.05

barosjn
October 23rd 2005


501 Comments


Well, we all know one song that shouldn't be on there... My World.

Final Origin
October 23rd 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I totally agree!!

barosjn
October 23rd 2005


501 Comments


I also think that "You Ain't the First" should've been replaced with "Bad Obsession", because that's really the most unique track on Use Your Illusion I. "You Ain't the First" is good, but it's just an interlude to transistion from "Perfect Crime" to "Bad Obsession".

Morvit
October 23rd 2005


71 Comments


i know where is get in the ring, that song owns

bass_player10
October 23rd 2005


8 Comments


holy shit My World is the worst fucking excuse for a gnr song, ever. I mean after Use Your Illusion 1 ends so well, why didnt they end UYI2 with Estranged? that would be perfect

and ya get in the ring definitley should be there, i love that song
"...what you pissed off because your dad gets more pussy than you?.."

Final Origin
October 24th 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's a "greatest hits" of the two albums, I too think it was a bit unnecessary but this album still has most of the great songs off the two.

Final Origin
October 24th 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think there was actually no need for Don't Cry (Alt. Lyrics), obviously its the same logic but different lyrics which is not very attractive, a great closer would be Coma.

Final Origin
October 24th 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Don't Damn Me was one of the best "true" rock songs on both albums, that really deserved a place here but it wasn't to be...

Final Origin
October 24th 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very true, it's all in for the money this album, but this is good for any person who wants to cut to the chase between the UYI albums (I have no damn idea why you would anyway!).

Final Origin
October 24th 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I reckon you also get a more in-depth inside of album reviews and can refer more to the reviewer than other sites like Rolling Stone and AMG.

Final Origin
October 24th 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's helped me a great deal of writing over the past months so I guess this site has helped my English a great deal, better than school can do. :thumb:

Final Origin
October 25th 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow, thanks! I try to keep everything balanced in my reviews and explain everything equally on why it is good or bad, there is something in everything!

Final Origin
October 26th 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Goddamnit, why outsmart me! lol

I haven't reviewed VR yet, I don't think I need to really because there are too much reviews for that now. I watched them at Live8, they were good but it's the people that ruined it as the stupid English (bearing in mind that I'm from England) don't appericate that music, they like chav music like "The Streets".

Final Origin
October 26th 2005


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, that was actually funny! The one's with horror on their faces don't actually know what talent is though.



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