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Use Your Illusion II - Guns n' Roses

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: Guns N' Roses / Audio CD released 2002-12-23 at Polydor Group

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    19 Reviews
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      19.11.2011 19:54

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      Overall a brilliant album, which won't leave you disappointed

      Opening with 'Civil War' it is clear that this is album is not going to be lame!

      1. Civil War = Lasting 7:42, and opening with the line 'What we've got here is faliure to communicate' we are hopeful that it is going to be an album that will impress both musically and lyrically. 'Civil War' shows off many sides of Axl's voice. First off, we hear him talking, then his soft low voice, then as it breaks into the chorus, a voice comes that could almost be compared to a clean guitar.
      Best line: My hands are tied
      The billions shift from side to side
      And the wars go on with brainwashed pride

      4. Knockin' On Heaven's Door = Gun's N Roses cover certainly do justice to the original by Bob Dylan. Although you shouldn't be immediately influenced by the artist, you immediately think that the lyrics will be good when it's Bob Dylan writing them. The song starts off soft and then builds up.
      Best line: Mama put my guns in the ground
      I can't shoot them anymore

      11. Estranged = 9:23, this is the longest song on the album, and one of the best. It has brilliant guitar solos. My only criticism is though, that being this long, it does get slightly repetitive. However, by it having such brilliant singing, brilliant instrumentals, and overall a great song, at least it's good repetition.

      13. Don't Cry = This is perhaps one of the lesser known songs on the album, but is personally my best. Axl's voice is at it's best, it has a very memorable chorus, and the lyrics are very moving. This version of Don't Cry has alternate lyrics to the one on 'Use Your Illusion II', and musically-wise I prefer this version, as there is a slight alternate melody to fit in the different lyrics.

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      16.03.2011 15:24
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      Not as good as Use Your Ilusion One....

      Use Your Illusion was a double album released in two parts by Guns 'N' Roses as a follow up to Appetite For Destruction. Part One had a red and yellow orangey colour, this second had more of a blue and black feel. And was the weaker of the two albums.....

      Don't get me wrong, there is quite a lot on here to like and it's not totally rubbish but there are more than a few tracks that I could either take or leave. Pretty Tied Up is okay but feels a tad unimpressive as do tracks like Locomotive and 14 Years.

      You Could Be Mine is notable only for the fact that it is featured on the Terminator 2: Judgement Day soundtrack (when John and Arnie are being chased through the culverts by t-1000) and again is okay but really doesn't do much for me.

      It is only with a classic track such as the Knockin' On Heaven's Door cover that this album really stands out and confirms its own identity. Heaven's Door rates right up there with some of my favourite Roses' tracks of all time and, at 5 minutes 36, is a rip-roaring ride of a song that, justifiably, did really well in the charts and earned the boys quite a bit of musical respect from their peers.

      Likewise the alternative version of Don't Cry also bears mention....with different lyrics that compliment the version to be found on Use Your Illusion 1. To my mind, it is the beter of the two versions...

      Get In The Ring is Guns 'N' Roses at their most confrontational and controversial with a song aimed solely at their critics both in public and in the press. Naming and shaming several journalists in paticular, the song makes no bones about the fact that Axl would like to rip off their heads and s*** down their necks! It is more like the aggressive, in-your-face Guns 'N' Roses that fans first fell in love with and much more in keeping of what you expect from the band!

      The last song that totally redeems this album from any wrong is of course Civil War! An anti-war song with very evocative lyrics, it remains one of my favourite Roses songs of all time, even to the point where I would stick my neck out and say I like it even more than Patience, my absolute favourite. I love the style, I love the content and the lyrics are sublime. Certainly it is the best song on the album if not one of the best songs the band has ever done!

      Overall then, this is an album pretty much strictly for the die-hard fans. I think anyone else hearing this might feel a little disappointed. Certainly I would reccommend listening to it only after listening to Illusion One though there are others who disagree and say this is the better album because it is perhaps less commercial.

      All I know is that the previous album is the one I prefer of the two though this has enough quality on to make it worth listening to!

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      16.02.2011 22:56
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      A useful use of anyone's illusions

      Back in the late 80s and early 90s one band truly dominated the American, and in fact, the world rock scene, and that band was Guns N' Roses. The widely proclaimed most dangerous band in the world was frequently featured in music and mainstream press releases for a good majority of the time. Unfortunately, a lot of this press would be down to their antics offstage and sometimes onstage, as opposed to their impressive musical talents. This being said, 1991 saw the rock band soar to dizzy new heights with the release of their twin album collection labelled Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, and both albums feature a fantastic array of incredible tracks.


      >> The Illusionists <<

      > Axl Rose - Vocals/Piano

      Even though arguably Axl is not what you could call the most refined of vocalists on the rock scene, he certainly provides the band with a unique vocal talent unmatched by any. His extreme passion and raw vocal power has certainly assured his position within the rock vocalist's hall of fame. Through the bands history Axl has proved to be the real driving force behind the group, and has also been the reason behind a vast amount of the bands reputation both on and off the stage.


      > Slash - Lead Guitarist

      Many guitarists struggle to evolve a style of playing that is easily distinguishable, however, with Slash there is an incredibly familiar ringing to each track, which even the untrained ear would be able to pick up. His relaxed almost laidback approach to much of his guitar work during the bulk of the songs makes for a great contrast when he kicks it into high gear for his solo work.


      > Duff McKagan - Bassist

      Despite being in one of the biggest rock bands of the 90's Duff has a very punky style and sound to his bass playing, however, this lends a great edge to the backing beat of the songs, and just adds to the overall sound of the band. As well as his great playing ability, he has a fantastic voice which he gets to show off to some effect when taking the lead on a few of their tracks.


      > Izzy Stradlin - Rhythm Guitarist/Vocals/Sitar

      While we have the likes of someone like Slash tearing his way through the solos, the main backing and beef of the songs came wailing from the well accomplished guitarist Izzy Stradlin. He provided the prefect compliment to Slash's playing style, as well as proving his worth in the vocal department, not only with the backing of Axl, but also with his own offerings on the album.


      > Matt Sorem - Drums

      Matt is a true powerhouse on the drums, and has a very uncomplicated, yet solid sound to his drumming style, which when combined with Duff's edgy bass line provides a great backing to the band's songs. As well as being a great backing to the band's sound, he could certainly provide a solid opening to a song as he proves very well in the intro to You Could Be Mine, amongst others.


      >> Making the Illusion <<

      Guns N' Roses have a great diversity in their musical styling and manage to encompass a large number of pace and tempo changes within their works. However, a common theme through this album and all of their other offerings is that of a straight up rock and roll thrash around. Within each track Axl's vocal line is the most distinguishable and gives the band a unique sound that very few other bands have been able to top.


      >> Their Illusions <<

      1. Civil War

      As far as opening tracks for a Guns N' Roses album are concerned, Civil War is undoubtedly one of their finest offerings. Starting out with a finely crafted acoustic introduction accompanied firstly by Axl's sorrowful whistling, followed by soft and understated vocals, the song ambles its way along. However, the peace doesn't stay for long though, as the song soon erupts into an explosive musical experience that fills every inch of your speakers and washes over you. Even as one of the longest tracks on the album, the dramatic changes in pace and volume of the song leaves you not noticing just how long the track actually is. Even though this song is best known as part of the album, it actually first appeared as the B-Side to the album's lead single You Could Be Mine, and this is where I first got to listen to this masterpiece, and instantly fell in love with its incredible sound and feel.


      2. 14 Years

      Just like on Use Your Illusion I, this album also features a track sung by the then rhythm guitarist for the band Izzy Stradlin. As with his other offerings on their previous album the feel and sound of the band is kept very consistent to their usual playing style, but with just that little extra edge being added in, as Axl takes up the piano and lends his hand to the backing vocals during the chorus.


      3. Yesterday

      In keeping with the previous tracks Yesterday has a much more toned down pace and styling to it. Axl returns to where he should be at the forefront of the band, and uses his unique sounding high-pitched voice to screech his way over the beautiful guitar and piano arrangements that make up this great sounding song.


      4. Knockin' on Heaven's Door

      Now I know it's hard to top Dylan's original recording of this track, but if Dylan had just used an electric guitar that was turned all the way to 11, then this is just what it would of sounded like. Axl, Slash and the rest of the band just add that little bit of oomph that the song so dearly needs. Guns N' Roses manage to give their version of the song a life all of its own that oozes emotion. Knockin' on Heaven's Door has proven to not only be a favourite of my own, but for a lot of other Guns N' Roses fans out there as well.


      5. Get In The Ring

      After the almost serene attitude of the previous track, the album gives your ears a severe assaulting as the band's pure hatred for certain members of the music press is aired in full uncensored glory. Musically Get in The Ring is a simple run from A to B, but this just feels completely intentional so that the emphasis is left solely on the bitter and furious lyrical content of the song, which really is not for the faint of heart, as there seems to be more profanities used in this one song than in the rest of the album altogether.


      6. Shotgun Blues

      Without even skipping a beat, this track tears up the stereo with some tremendous guitar and drum combinations, in the same vein as the previous track. Axl's vocal line matches perfectly over the top of Slash's guitar riffs, and overall the song has a very short and snappy feel to it. Though not quite as filled with profanities as the previous track, there's certainly no shortage contained within this song.


      7. Breakdown

      After the ferocity of the previous two tracks the album takes a downturn in tempo and anger, however, the passion is still there within this fantastic song. The band as a whole show they have a great sense of how their musical abilities are not just reserved for wailing and guitar blazing, as the song takes several different pace and style changes throughout the track. This to me is where the band manages to excel and far over shadows any of their angrier repertoire.


      8. Pretty Tied Up

      Starting out with a very different sound to the track in the form of a sitar, the styling and flavour of the opening bars of the song continue throughout giving the song a very energetic sound to it, as the guitar rattles along. Pretty Tied Up features a very fetish based sexual content to a majority of it, but this in no way degrades the song in one bit, as the fast and frantic pace of the opening really lifts the listener up throughout the entirety of the song.


      9. Locomotive

      The band seems to like their choo-choo trains, as their favourite form of public transportation makes an appearance in this track. In much the same way as the song Night Train from the band's Appetite for Destruction album, it has a mimicking sound to it like that of a train, this track replicates that styling, but with a much finer polishing to the overall sound of the piece. Every part of the Locomotive takes on the constant chugging along of a train from the vocal, bass and drums, through to the solo work of Slash.


      10. So Fine

      Just like Izzy is given a track to star in, Duff McKagan is allowed to front up his own contribution to the album as well. In keeping with the rest of the album, the overall sounding of the song does not greatly alter in comparison to the rest of the tracks. This being said though, Duff's major punk influences really shine through in his singing style, and it's only during a small section of the songs chorus that we get to hear Axl's underlying vocal tones backing Duff, which makes for an interesting change, as unlike 14 Years I don't feel that Axl's voice in anyway dominates this part of the song.


      11. Estranged

      As the longest track on the album and almost the longest the band has created, this is a true epic of a song. As far as the more ballade tracks from the band are concerned, most people would cite such tracks as November Rain, Don't Cry or Sweet Child O' Mine as some of their finest works, but to me this song absolutely dominates them all. As well as an outstanding vocal performance by Axl, who manages to rein in that massive unique voice of his into a heartfelt and longing performance, Estranged also showcases the vast talent that he exhibits as a pianist, as the songs sound twists and turns it way along, going from subtle and understated to full out rock in a matter of seconds. Alongside these wonderful elements though, it is Slash's turn to really show off as he pulls out all the stops and produces some awesome sounding solo work. Even though he is not the most technical guitarist in the world, the pure emotion and feel of every single perfectly picked out note rings out true in the listeners ear. As well as a truly epic song, the video is certainly something to behold as we see the mighty Slash literally walking on water in full-on solo mode, along with some great imagery to depict the great volume control sounds that he produces through the first parts of his final solo.


      12. You Could Be Mine

      Right from the opening there is just no getting away from the pure aggression that comes flooding out at you as Matt Sorem's drumming fires straight into your gut and prepares you for the onslaught to come. This is one of those songs that doesn't require any fancy soloing or meaningful lyrical content, it's just a straight forward balls to the wall rock out. As the whole band thrash their way from point A to point B as fast as their little instruments will let them. As the lead single to the album and James Cameron's movie Terminator 2, the track found a great deal of commercial success and the accompanying video fast became one the bands most popular.


      13. Don't Cry (Alternative Version)

      Hang on a second, haven't I heard this song before somewhere else, oh yeah on the previous album Use Your Illusion I. Even though this is a fantastic heartfelt sounding track, the resounding feeling of déjà-vu really for me turns this great song into a filler, I mean come on, we have an album full of original works and then this near identical copy of a song, albeit with a few changed lyrics clogging up the ending of the album.


      14. My World

      So first we have an identical track to one featured on the previous album being used as the penultimate song on the album, and then we have this mixture of what can only be described as a full on Axl self pleasuring session. It truly is no wonder that the rest of the band had no idea about this feeble excuse for music until the album's release. In comparison to the rest of the album, My World is a real letdown, and leaves you as the listener feeling almost cheated, especially when compared to the likes of the Use Your Illusion I album which is perfectly rounded off with the epic track Coma.


      >> For Your Listening Pleasure <<

      Estranged

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpmAY059TTY

      Civil War

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHoDKldosXk


      >> Living with the Illusion <<

      Guns N' Roses were an incredibly fortunate band in the fact that they had two amazingly talented songsmiths within the group in the form of Axl and Slash. They very much played at opposite ends of the spectrum with Axl providing all the passion and fire for the band, and the cool and calm foundations of the band being provided by the axe man Slash. Following on from their massive success with the Appetite for Destruction album, the double release of Use Your Illusion I and II provided the band with its crowning glory and certainly cemented the bands place in the rock and roll archives. With such an amazing collection of songs on just one album it can be very hard to pick out just one truly standout track, but if push came to shove then Estranged would get the billing. Apart from the last two tracks on the album Use Your Illusion II is certainly some of their finest work. Since the first time I heard this album almost twenty years ago all the way through till now, there is absolutely no loss in the passion and raw musical talent that is shown on the album, or indeed my love for this classic of the 90's rock era.

      Track Listing

      1. "Civil War"
      2. "14 Years"
      3. "Yesterdays"
      4. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
      5. "Get in the Ring"
      6. "Shotgun Blues"
      7. "Breakdown"
      8. "Pretty Tied Up"
      9. "Locomotive"
      10. "So Fine"
      11. "Estranged"
      12. "You Could Be Mine"
      13. "Don't Cry"
      14. "My World"

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        10.04.2010 16:54
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        Guns N' Roses' fourth album

        "Use Your Illusion I" was released alongside "Use Your Illusion II" as the third and fourth albums from the Hard Rock band Guns 'N' Roses in 1991. Dropping on the same day, they made a massive impression on the charts with a pair of releases packed full of fresh tunes whilst they attempted to show that there was more to them than just the typical Rock and Metal and were about more with hints of Blues, Classical and Country. The albums were put out separately and saw that the other (the second part) sold more with the singles which were included into it.

        1. "Civil War"

        This tune kicks off this side of the double album and has thing taking on a very different feel to the way that the other started up as here we get a very politically-charged track as they argue against war and explain the civil war in their country between those pro and anti war that the country engages it. I thought that it was a very pleasing ballad from them and sets things up nicely here.

        **Four Stars**

        2. "14 Years"

        Izzy Stradlin takes on quite a significant proportion of the vocals on this one (joined by Axl Rose for just a select few seconds) and I thought that it was important to see what else the rest of the band was able to do, but the way thing come together we're really all that impressive to me and I thought that this tune simply stuck in here as a rather general one that never really gets its feet off the ground as he and Axl sing about their long-term friendship.

        **Three Stars**

        3. "Yesterdays"

        Nomality is returned as Axl Rose gets back on the lead vocals for this one and has his raw vocals run powerfully through the tune. I thought that it was a strong choice in being chosen to represent and promote the album as one of the singles from the thing, and it certainly aided in this record outselling the other Guns N' Roses album that was released along with it. It promotes the softer feel to this end of things.

        **Four Stars**

        4. "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"

        This was a big single from the album as they more right into a Bob Dylan cover and show what exactly they're able to do with it. I thought that this was a very nice inclusion to the album and one that draws you in through the warmness that this emotive tune brings with it. There's a lot to it and is bound to excite those familiar with the original as the band give it their own fresh interpretation to it.

        **Four Stars**

        5. "Get in the Ring"

        This was a great track on the album and one that has them deciding to get right in at the critics who have held them back. In it, we find that they get just as raw as ever before as they perform just the things that those who've hated on them don't wish to hear and play up towards the things in order to let people know how they simply won't change their ways and will continue to carry on their controversial on-stage antics.

        **Four Stars**

        6. "Shotgun Blues"

        The band play in and intense manner and so induce listeners into a rough headbang although to the thumping percussion that this track is led by. I thought that it was good to see more of this as they carry on the sorts of things heard from the last track (things heard mainly on the first part of this two-album special) and it takes listeners in with the energy that they blast out as they do their thing.

        **Five Stars**

        7. "Breakdown"

        The band get down into a slower one as they get off the tunes which they know their core fans are bound to enjoy into something a little more risky, yet not exactly original or experimental. I felt that this made for something rather bland and although it may have some special moment within it, generally it sounds as though very little is going on here and it's not really getting thing done as they should and is missing something important. The actual breakdown in it is the best part, but it takes so long to get to that you may not be bothered by that point.

        **Three Stars**

        8. "Pretty Tied Up"

        This is the only track that has been written fully by Izzy Strdlin on this album (where he had two on the last) we see that here he makes more very interesting results as we see that this one takes on a bit of a bluesy edge to it and so draws in another audience that perhaps wouldn't have been drawn directly to this kind of thing at first. There's a lot to like here and it gets things rolling again in a big way.

        **Four Stars**

        9. "Locomotive"

        This tune caught my ear as something that was very in-tune with my tastes as we find that this time around they really go out there with something that they aren't really known for and try out a little Funk Rock. Perhaps influenced by the fact that Red Hot Chili Peppers were leading the game around this time, we find that the band are able to use their versatlilty to reach out towards this field and get something funky laid-out for the listeners.

        **Four Stars**

        10. "So Fine"

        We have them deciding to calm things right down for this one and getting right into something that sounds to be a little more commercial than a lot of the other tracks that you get on the album. McKagan takes a prominent role in the thing (away from just a bass guitarist) and steps up as a vocalist once more. I found that this didn't really suit my tastes, but I could see their intensions.

        **Three Stars**

        11. "Estranged"

        For this one we get the chance to get in on a little of the more experimental recordings from the band as they move right on into a lengthy piece (their second-longest ever after a track ending "Use Your Illusion I"). We have them trying out a range of things with piano and guitar solos thrown in there with no choruses to show that they've got many more ideas by this third/fourth album.

        **Four Stars**

        12. "You Could Be Mine"

        This was a big tune from the album and one that has them staying right into the usual expectations of what the band was about from the "Appetite For Destruction" album. I thought that it was important that they reminded listeners of where they came from and reassured them that too many changes weren't to be made this time around as they would have lost a large backing if they chose to do so.

        **Four Stars**

        13. "Don't Cry"

        Here we get an altered version of a song found on "Use Your Illusion II". I felt just the same towards this as the other as the only changes are subtle and have them amending the lyrics in order to show that they couldn't scrap any of their ideas and had to ensure that the listeners were exposed to the thought process behind putting out their music and giving them more thought-provoking things to take with them as the ender before a strange outro.

        **Four Stars**

        14. "My World" (Outro)

        I saw this to be a strong album from the band and one that gets them bringing a range of tunes to reflect just how diverse their influences are and all the sorts of places they've managed to find connections with other artists. There's nothing really weak here although I'd have to say that it took a while for some of them to really connect with you.

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        04.10.2009 18:25
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        The better of the two Use Your Illusion Albums

        It's a strange marketing ploy to release two albums at the same time - risking commercial suicide some might say - but for Guns n Roses and their Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 albums, it did seem to work. Of course the sales figures were never likely to match those of their debut album, Appetite For Destruction, but each of the Use Your Illusion offerings had successful single releases, proving their individual merits.

        The first four tracks, Civil War, 14 Years, Yesterdays and Knockin On Heaven's Door, are all pretty slow-tempo, thought-provoking and lyrically wonderful - although obviously Bob Dylan has to take the praise for Knockin On Heaven's Door, but I do think GnR have made a better job than Clapton ever did of covering it.

        Get In The Ring is a shocking outburst from Axl Rose to his critics in the media who had obviously upset him. This track is laced with expletives and is definitely not for innocent ears.

        Tracks 6 and 8, Shotgun Blues and Pretty Tied Up, would have been better suited to the Use Your Illusion 1 album, with its similarities to Appetite For Destruction.

        Tracks 7 and 9, Breakdown and Locomotive, are both over six minutes in length and both take you on a musical journey through their respective tales of morality. The instrumental work on both tracks is exquisite and the lyrics are genius.

        I found it hard to tell tracks 10 and 11, So Fine and Estranged, apart. They are both ballads and both very pleasant and emotional - if not too memorable.

        Track 12, You Could Be Mine, was used on the soundtrack to the Terminator II film and is, in my opinion, the best up-tempo song from the band since Appetite For Destruction.

        Track 13, Don't Cry, is a lovely ballad that originally appeared on the Use Your Illusion 1 album with different lyrics and track 14 is nothing but pointless filler material with no musical value whatsoever (sorry but I don't see the point).

        Personally, I think GnR could have pooled the better songs from the two volumes and produced one fantastic album to rival Appetite For Destruction, rather than two average ones that will never make it into musical folklore.

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          03.07.2009 04:12

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          The two illusion albums could have made on great album, sadly they decided to make 2

          So after the breath tacking Appetite for Destruction the band (finally) released something new, not one but two double albums this is the first of them here.

          Out of the two illusion albums this is the weaker, well maybe weaker isn't the right word but due it's song structure (long and over produced) this album tends to tire you out fairly soon.

          This song has some brilliant songs on it and even some of the boring ones could have been good or great if they had not drawn them out so much. Infact this album has some of my top G n R songs on it, but I don't think as an album it works.

          Top songs for me are Locomotive, Breakdown and So Fine.

          There's also a version of Don't Cry with different lyrics (did we really need that?) a cover of Knocking on Heaven's Door and the pretty good Civil War.

          None of the songs named so far are a problem, here's the problem songs and why.

          Get in the Ring - poorly written angst song about the media that basically ends with swearing for the sake of it. Sounds like a teenage punk band.

          Estranged - It's a good song, but it sounds like it repeats it's self 3 times, it just too long, not only is it long but it doesn't change in anyway so doesn't warrant the length of it.

          My world - oh god what a terrible attempt at industrial rock/rap from Axl.

          The GnR of old would never have let such junk make it to the final press, yet here Axl was happy to release these things with the pretence they (or he) was more than a rock n roll band.

          The two illusion albums could have made on great album, sadly they decided to pop some filler on them and made it two releases.

          It's a shame

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          09.02.2008 02:21
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          a calm guns n roses with a very bluesy style

          This album was released on the same day with it's predecessor, Use Your Illuion I. The dual release did also raise a lot more interest aswell as a lot more sales.

          Rather than it's predecessor, this album focuses on a much calmer and bluesier side to Guns 'n' Roses who, at the time, were better known for their sleazy hard rock attitude to music.

          The first track, Civil War, kicks off with a political progressive track which builds up nicely as a crescendo and puts you into the atmosphere of war quite well.

          As with any Guns 'n' Roses album, there are several songs which are still regarded as 'classics' today such as Yesterdays and the superb cover version of Bob Dylan's Knocking On Heavens Door.

          Axl's voice seems to be toned down a little on the screechy side for this one and the track has a much more professional sound than any of their previous work.

          Track fourteen, You Could Be Mine, also features in the film The Terminator 2 and the album ends with what Axl predicts as the music of the future.

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            25.05.2006 15:20
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            Another piece of rock history

            *** PLEASE READ MY REVIEW FOR USE YOUR ILLUSION 1 FIRST ****


            THE BAND
            As this is a 2 part review please see my review for Use Your Illusion 1 for band details and history. I don't want to bore you by repeating myself.

            THE ALBUM
            Use your Illusion 2
            Released 1991 on Geffen
            Produced by Guns n Roses and Mike Clink.

            TRACK LIST

            1. Civil War 7.36 mins

            This is Roses' bash at an anti-war song and its not a bad effort. It starts with a piece of dialogue from the movie 'Cool Hand Luke'. Add a bit of whistling by Axl and some stellar guitars from Slash and you have one of the best tracks on the album. Deep rhetorical lyrics help to underpin Roses message here. The gentle guitars are a perfect match for Rose's gentle tones

            ' Look at your young men fighting
            Look at your women crying'
            - very Homer/Iliadic.....

            It was the only song on the Illusion albums that Adler appeared on before he was booted off in to obscurity. Enter Mr. Sorum please.

            2. 14 years 4.17 mins

            This is a rockin' piano dominated track penned by Messeurs Stradlin and Rose. Izzy sings lead vocals on this one with Axl demoted to piano and backing vocals. It has a bit of a blues feel to it and it was one of my favourites as a 14 year old moping about in my bedroom. I think the chorus must have struck a chord,

            ' But it's been 14 years of silence, its been 14 years of pain. Its been 14 years that are gone forever and I'll never have again.'

            - what a miserable kid I must have been. Its a bit scary to think that I am twice that age now!

            3. Yesterdays 3.13 mins.

            Yesterdays is a nice little melody with a hint of blues thrown in for good measure. Its quite a catchy little number if a bit of a glum retrospective lament about the past. Big powerful guitar riffs with a chilled out guitar solo.

            ' Whooa, Yesterday's got nothin' for me'

            4. Knockin' on heaven's door 5.36 mins.

            After they played this at the Freddie Mercury tribute in 1992, this became one of their biggest hits. A cover of Bob Dylan's song it starts well enough. However, sometime after the guitar solo and the 'telephone call' I think it loses the plot. There are too many female backing singers and it sounds a bit wussy. Its all a bit overblown and drawn out. It features 'The Waters' on backing vocals. It was also in the 'Days of Thunder' movie.

            5. Get in the Ring 5.29 mins

            After the girly, wussy end to the last song its good to hear the lads find their balls again. This is probably the song that made the album famous due to the controvousy that it caused. It is laden with expletives so anyone that is easily offended had better close their ears.
            It started off innocently enough as a punk-esque little number originally penned by Duff. There are some bluesy guitars at the beginning but the tempo begins to change as Axl venomously screams,
            'I sense a smell of retribution in the air...'

            There then follows the infamous rant at the press, you tell 'em Axl! More swearing than in an episode of the Osbournes, but hey, thats rock n' roll!


            6. Shotgun Blues 3.23 mins

            There then follows a pacey rockin' number called 'Shot Gun Blues'. Written by Axl it's allegedly a dig at Motley Crue's frontman Vince Neil (lets face it who wouldn't like to punch the pie-eater). Anyway, he's supposed to have called Axl and Izzy a pair of wussies (or at least something that rhymes with it!) and so started a long running feud.

            ' An now your're blowin' smoke
            I think you're one big joke...' (as do we all now Vince)
            A proper rock song without all the frills.

            7. Breakdown 6.58 mins

            The beginning of this song sounds a bit like country music to me. Yet again Axl chucks in a bit of whistling. The song is quite gentle and mellow as Rose's lyrics drift through the memories of his troubled past (again). Its quite sad and reflective in places but the guitar solo is brilliant. A vocal showcase for Rose as he hits them notes and holds them and then holds them some more!

            ' Remember in this game we call life that no one
            Said its fair'
            Beautiful lyrics accompanied by a fantastic tune.

            8. Pretty tied up 4.46 mins

            The perils of rock and roll decadence!
            This is another Izzy Stradlin tune which also features him on Sitar. The track starts with the sitar before the guitars explode in. A great rock n roll track. However, there maybe something slightly prophetic in Stradlins lyrics,

            ' Once there was this rock n' roll band
            Rollin' on the streets
            Time went by and it became a joke...'
            Too bad it did for a while with in the squabbling and the long running 'Chinese Democracy' saga.

            9. Locomotive (Complicity) 8.42 mins

            'Gonna find a way to cure this loneliness
            Yeah I'll find a way to cure the pain'

            This is another long on by Slash and Axl. The layered vocal technique on this track give a somewhat distorted sound to them. There are some fantastic riffs as it hurtles along. One of the rockier feeling 'long ones', however it gets a bit whiney in places. I find it grates on me after a while and the ending becomes a bit repetitive.


            10. So fine 4.09 mins

            This is one of Duff's songs which is dedicated to Johnny Thunders (guitarist with the New York Dolls that died from an overdose). Its a much more mellow track and Duff sings it well. Axl croons along too but tends to take more of a backseat on this one. The lyrics appear heartfelt and its a nice tribute,

            'If you could only live my life
            You could see the difference you make to me'

            11. Estranged 9.20 mins

            Another big epic follows, this song was written about a messy break up. Its quite a sensitive and emotional track.

            'Still talkin' to myself and nobody's home'

            Its another one of Axl's so I guess he has plenty of experience to draw upon. However, its not the lyrics that are the most memorable thing on this track (it takes about half the song before it even reaches the chorus). A special mention has to go to Slash and the guitars. They are sublime on this track (he even gets a special mention on the inlay). Melodically superb.

            12. You could be mine 5.48 mins

            This song was originally written by Rose and Stradlin during the 'Appetite for Destruction' period and it shows. This has a grittier sound to it with some pacey drumming and ballsy guitars. The lyrics are much edgier too,

            ' With your bitch slap rappin'
            And your cocaine tongue
            You get nuthin' done'.

            It is famous for being in the Terminator 2 film. A great rock song more like the old style Guns n' Roses.

            13. Don't cry (alternative lyrics) 4.42 mins

            Is this a bit of cheating going on? Did they run out of songs? Apparently there are 3 versions of this song; the original demo of 1986, the finished version on 'Use Your Illusion 1' and this one which is essentially the same tune but with different lyrics. The songs are still about the same thing - falling out of love. Its just that the song 'Don't cry' was so old that Axl no longer felt that the lyrics were fitting and so rewrote them.
            Its a sad and moving song with Axl displaying a softer side to his vocal range. Shannon Hoon (Axl's cousin and singer with Blind Melon) again lends a hand with the vocals.
            The guitars are excellent, my only gripe being that Slash could have included another solo of say 1.22 mins go that there would be no room for the god awful 'My World' that follows!

            14. My world 1.22 mins

            NOOOOOOOOO Axl, what have you done? What the hell is this S**t?
            The Use Your Illusions were Axl's babies. I'm sure he saw them as groundbreaking and career defining, so why the hell did he shove this crap at the end? Okay its memorable but for all the wrong reasons. It is just 1.22 mins of arsing about with some synths with some women groaning in the background - really dodgy stuff.
            'Guess what I'm doing now' urges Axl at the end. Wouldn't we all like to know Mr. Rose. Where the hell is 'Chinese Democracy'?

            AVAILABILITY

            Amazon £7.97
            Play.com £9.49 delivered
            HMV £14.99 delivered

            SO WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?

            Both albums shot straight to the top of the charts with 'Use Your Illusion 2' reaching number 1 and 'Use Your Illusion 1' reaching number 2 (confusing!?)

            Izzy left the band and went on tour as 'Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds'. Can't think why I've never heard of them! They have since split and he has done some solo stuff.

            Guns n' Roses went on to record an album of covers called 'The Spaghetti Incident?' which was critically panned (it was a bit shite in places). It was the final nail in the coffin. The rest of the band soon quit or were fired by Rose.

            Slash formed 'Slash's snakepit' and then moved on to playing Blues music. Fortunately all that changed in 2002.
            Duff also had some side projects but teamed up with Slashand Matt Sorum again. They roped in Scott Weiland (ex-Stone Temple Pilots) and Dave Kushner (a mate of Slash's) and Velvet Revolver was born (Izzy was also involved at the beginning).

            Steve Adler struggled to clean up his act. He suffered strokes and heart attacks. He has tried to get back into the rock circuit and was recently milking 'Appetite for Destruction' by touring as 'Adlers Appetite'. They are probably touring at pubs near you!

            Sadly, both Shannon Hoon and WesArkeen that featured on the 'Use Your Illusion' albums died of drugs overdoses in 1995 and 1997 respectively.

            Axl is the sole original member of the band left. Dizzy Reed was still working with him (at least he was last time I heard anything but that could have changed by now). The long awaited GN'R album called 'Chinese Democracy' still hasn't materialised. Musicians and producers come and go (Mike Clink, Moby, Buckethead, Brian May and Robin Finck to name but a few).
            Axl, the world is waiting

            THE VERDICT

            As a 14 year old, Guns n' Roses could do no wrong in my eyes. Even 'My World' was tolerated as it was a bit rude. However, 14 years (and a bit) later, I am a bit more critical.

            With the 'Use Your Illusion' albums, GNR cemented their position as a stadium band (although I don't think that it sits too well with all members of the band). The albums were big and ambitious. I think they just about managed to pull it off. Songs like You could be mine, Civil War and Breakdown are stunning.

            You can feel Axl Rose's pull on the band. I think that with these albums he took the band in a direction that they weren't all together happy with and the strain shows at times. I think the others in the band are more suited to playing rawer, heavier good old rock songs instead of the ballads that Rose thrives on. Use Your Illusion 1 showcases their talents more (which is why I prefer it to number 2).

            Use Your Illusion 2 has some great tracks on it (My World aside) but it is a bit too heavy on the epic long tracks. Some grittier and rockier tracks might have helped it a bit more. I would recommend it to all rock fans, particularly if you like Aerosmith and the Stones.

            EPILOGUE

            So are the albums as good as I remember them? Did 'Time fade the pages on my book of memories'? Well no, not really. I'm afraid that some of the songs do seem a bit like fillers these days. I think that it could be edited down and put on one album, but boy WHAT an album it would be. I'd pick,
            Civil War
            Pretty tied up
            Dust n, Bones
            Get in the ring
            Estranged
            You could be mine
            November rain
            Shot gun Blues
            Bad Obsession
            Perfect Crime
            Dead Horse
            Coma

            Its been fun to revisit these albums as they remind me so much of my youth. Thanks for reading and well done if you have read them both together, I hope I haven't bored you too much
            Vickixxxx

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              28.04.2002 21:37

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              Use Your Illusion I and II didn't go to the number one spot in the charts for no good reason. Both albums are testament to the songwriting abilities of Axl, Slash and co. But by far the better of the two as Use Your Illusion II. They still sound like Gn'R but the production is much better and the resulting sound much richer and textured than Appetite for Destruction. Stand-out tracks are Civil War, Yesterdays, 14 Years, Estranged, and You Could Be Mine (from Terminator 2 soundtrack). But all but the final track are great. There's no such thing as a bad GnR album, bu this and Appetite are the best of a great bunch.

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              19.07.2001 05:48
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              I don’t believe for one moment that you didn’t like Guns ’n’ Roses. They were the best and the most high profile of LA’s rock groups and they could write a mean tune when the occasion called too. Come on admit it! It’ll make you feel better, I promise. “Ah but G’N'R have but four songs: the fast one, the slow one, the barroom stomp and the cover” you say, and I salute you for saying it but it’s what they can do with those songs that counts. So don’t be coy, just give in & we won’t think any less of you. OK. Now that you rock & are proud of it, let’s try to discuss this epic album. I first managed to get a copy of this Use Your Illusion II in 1991, the year of its release & it was so good that my best friend stole it from me. He issued a categorical denial but I knew that the temptation of these boys for a pubescent teenager with plenty of angst (you could have guessed it to look at him) was bound to find its way out through the vulgar brilliance of a shameless bunch of extroverts. Whereas Use Your Illusion I was just a great album, Use Your Illusion II is a landmark record. It's an evolvement for rock in much the same way Led Zeppelin IV was for heavy metal. Civil War is the Guns’ Stairway To Heaven - ostensibly it’s a bit of a singalong, a song of protest, the Cool Hand Luke sample proves that the group are innovative and full of new ideas as does to Slash, almost magically, giving way to Rose midway through the first line of each verse. Dizzy Reed's barnstorming piano gives the song another counter-melody for us to get our teeth into. Civil war, even has a message, that’s novel nowadays. What more could you want from a song? Knockin' On Heaven's Door: This is a lesson in how to cover classics with love and innovation. I give you the fact that it’s good ol’ Bob’s tune & you may whinge about covers never bei
              ng as good as the original, but when you hear the song in a pub, which version do you imitate when you sing? It may give you the vocal equivalent of a hernia to try, but we just can’t resist ‘Knockin’ on heaven’s doo-uh-waw ooh yeah’. And then comes the solo, tranquillity and sheer invention itself. This is a source of constant amusement to my friends whenever we try to play the song but it is amusement borne out of he utmost respect. Get In The Ring is five minutes of tense bile, naming three hapless journalists and offering helpful advice ("Suck my f*****' d**k"). Some think that this is a bit of a waste and that, if the two albums were joined together as one, we would have had a true classic, but I like the fact that Guns ’ n’ Roses could get things off their chest and stir up a bit of controversy in the process. Oh the music scene has become so dull since they split! Estranged: This is a real rollercoaster ride of a song, a true Rock Epic. It is the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody of it’s day, even more so than November Rain purely because of it’s scope and depth of feeling. And to whom did these boys owe their success? Well I believe it was the two true frontmen. Slash: He was hardly Quintessentially English but we can feel proud that the motherland spawned such a talented morass of hair and sweat. What that boy couldn’t do with a guitar you didn’t want to hear. This album especially shows Slash’s brilliance, with many of his lilting solos waxing before the onset of Axl’s lyrics. Those pentatonic legato licks, will we ever see their like again? A truly inspired guitarist, capable of anything but self-indulgence. Axl Rose: A highly talented ex-choirboy who had one dance move that looked like Michael Jackson with epilepsy - go get one of the live videos to relive those memories. As much as you hate to admit it, he was an excellent songsmi
              th too. And I’m spent now. I suppose the truth is you either love or hate this music, but I believe that more people love it than would like to admit. I’ve seen you dancing & singing your socks off to their songs at cheesy discos and, even worse, I know your mum would be ashamed of you. But that was the point. This opinion is for you.

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                16.05.2001 19:01
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                If you were about 12-13 in 1993 and this wasn't your favourite album of all time, there was something very wrong with you. I mean look at Gun's N' Roses, there was no better way to rebel against parents. They drunk, they took drugs, permanently had groupie's hanging off the end of their machine heads....but one thing made this album the ultimate soundtrack to the disaafected angst of a 13 year old.....'Get in the Ring'. Now, you really have to hear this track to understand the power of it and in a post-Eminem world it sounds a little like an old age pensioner having a go at someone for pushing in front of them in the bus queue, but then again...you weren't there man! The song starts with crowd chanting (always a winner) then has a bit of that lovely Slash, Gibson melodicism and then..........'Why do you look at me when you hate me?' the guitars the drums, the angst, this 30 year old man knew exactly how every 13 year old kid in the world felt. But the best bit was yet to come (after the rapping bit which feature the lyrics ''I've got a thought that would be nice, I'd like to crush your head tight in my vice. PAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNAAAAAAAH!) It basically has Axl Rose (an anagram for 'Oral Sex' how my teenage heart nearly exploded) slagging of everyone who has ever had the gall to criticise him and this remains one of the funniest moments in music history. It goes a little like this 'Bob Guccione Junior at Kerrang!!!... What you pi#*ed off coz your dad gets more pus@y than you? F@ck you suck my f@ckin' dick!'. And then he offers them out for a fight. If my parents heard, they'd be so disappointed in me. BRILLIANT! It is probably the most immature piece of recorded music ever and there was absolutely no irony involved whatsoever. The rest of the album obviously never lived up to this masterpiece, though 'You Could Be Mine' got bonus points for being in Terminator
                II. This album saunters through a bunch of Stones/Stooges/Bon Jovi style ballads and cock-rock anthems, and begins to plod a bit after a while. However, 'Knocking on Heaven's Door' is better than the Bob Dylan original (Gun's N' Roses can join the list of people who do Dylan covers better than the original...Hendrix, the Byrds etc). '14 Years' is a hugely effective Stones rip-off, and 'Civil War' though a little cheesy is pretty compelling. Also 'Don't Cry' will have you weeping into your Jack Daniels. One last note, final track 'My World' may be the worst song ever committed to record. You can just see Axl now 'Guys lets do an electronica kinda thing man!'. Please don't ever do this again.

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                  14.02.2001 02:03
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                  alright, the perils of Rock and Roll decadance aside Guns N' Roses are possibly one of the greatest rock bands of all time. The Illusions set are a quality artistic development of a hard, cutting rock band. The differences between the members, combined with the hate, anger, fun, emotions and drugs involved in their personal lives come through in the combination of different styles in the songs. Use Your Illusion II opens with the wonderful "Civil War", proving immediatly that the Guns N' Roses sound had developed from the legendary "Appetite for Destruction". Moving on through the track list "14 years" with a great solo, the cover of "Knocking On Heaven's Door" and the hilarious, jeering "Get in the Ring" all stand out. The great sounds of "Pretty Tied Up" and "You Could Be Mine" also stand out. Aside from "Civil War" there are several other artistic songs on the album, namely "So Fine", the epic of "Estranged" and "Don't Cry". The only negative point of the album being the final track "My World" a twisted and chilling look into Axl Roses mind. It was a real shame that the tour for these albums was to see the start of the member-replacing/adding spree that was to break up Guns N' Roses as we know it. All round a must-buy album

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                  12.01.2001 23:07
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                  Way back in the day in 1991, Guns N’ Roses released two highly anticipated albums titled Use Your Illusion I and II. This is a review of the latter of the two, or as I prefer to call it, ‘The Blue One’. This is the only GNR album I myself own (I stole my dad’s Appetite For Destruction), but I do plan on owning more soon. This is quite possibly one of the best straight-forward rock albums that I have ever heard. It is fourteen tracks long, and goes past the standard 74 minute CD mark, to about 78 minutes. The first of the epic tracks from this album is the anti-war song, Civil War. It begins with a sample of dialogue by Strother Martin from the film, Cool Hand Luke (which we just started watching in film class yesterday). ”What we’ve got here is...failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach...so you get what we had last week, which is the way he wants it! Well he gets it! N’ I don’t like it any more than you men.” The is backed by some folk style guitar and whistling that sound like they could have come straight from the civil war era. Lead singer Axl Rose’s soothing voice whispers the first few lines before he begins to use his high-pitched shrieking voice. This seven minute song is so powerful in all areas of vocals, guitar, and drumming. This is such a great song, I can hardly begin to explain it. A random drum beat and jazzy Jerry Lee Lewis style piano (played by Axl Rose) start of the next song, 14 Years. Izzy Stradlin’ sings on this song and sounds like Alice Cooper. The guitar doesn’t have a big part in this song, but it is definitely there. I focus so much on the piano, vocals, and drums, that the guitar seems mere background noise, added for rhythm. This is a finger-snapping, toe-tapping song, that will be sure to keep you moving. Yesterdays begins with a steady drum beat, that rolls into Axl’s scratchy voice, and powerful guitar chords.
                  This song has an old seventies feel to it, and reminds me of Credence Clearwater Revival. It’s a good song, but there really isn’t a whole lot to say about it. How many times has Bob Dylan been overshadowed by a band that covered one of his songs? I’d have to say hundreds. This is one of those cases where GNR covered Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. It begins with a soft bit of guitar, and Axl wailing until a drum beat sets in with some long, drawn-out guitar riffs. We all know that Axl has two vocal ranges. He can shriek loudly, or he can sing loudly with a soft, soothing voice. One thing that I really love about this song is that he sings its both ways at the same time. They layered one over the other. Although I prefer the soothing voice, this does give it an interesting feel. Much of this song is just regurgitated "Kn-kn-knockin’ on Heaven’s door" over and over again, with a lot of instrumental parts, and a long guitar solo. This song only has two verses, three choruses, and a sample from what seems to be an answering machine. The end of the song is very interesting feature more piano work and some female backing vocals from The Waters. Get In The Ring is probably the funniest song from this album. It’s just Axl screaming at a lot of people he doesn’t like because they p*ssed him off. It is also the most vulgar song here.. This song pays homage to their punk influences and sounds like G. G. Allin on heavy sedatives. The song is very fast and furious, with some repetitive and some wailing guitars and energetic drums. The vocals range from some spoken word, some highly distorted grunts, some singing, and some shrieking. The song also has a live feel to it, with the crowd chanting and screaming. I love the some of the lines to this song I don’t like you/I just hate you/I’m gonna kick your ass/Oh yeah oh yeah.” Shotgun Blues is sort of a throw aw
                  ay track to me. It’s fast and energetic like the previous song, but this one also sounds a bit like Alice Cooper, but lyrics that Allin would sing. If I wanted that feel, I’d just listen to 14 Years and Get In The Ring back to back. Breakdown begins with some old country banjo sounding guitar, a happy piano, and some whistling. Axl’s voice just croons over Slash and Izzy Stradlin’s powerful guitar work. This is a fairly upbeat song, relying mostly on the piano for a tempo. This is another one of those seven minute epic songs on this album, that are typically marked with an outrageous guitar solo. This song is no different, as it’s solo winds in and out of Matt’s drums. A second, less complicated solo accompanies Axl howling, then reciting some lines from the film Vanishing Point. The song ends with a low bit of piano that sounds a little like the Mission: Impossible Theme. Pretty Tied Up (The Perils of Rock N’ Roll Decadence) has an Indian-feeling guitar to it to start it off, and continues faintly throughout the song. The rest of the guitars are very fast and upbeat. The drumming is fairly slow and simple, and there is a hint of piano accenting this song. I really like Axl’s vocals on this song and the song in general, but there really isn’t a whole lot to say about it. Locomotive (Complicity) is almost nine minutes long, and features the longest list of lyrics I have ever seen with 112 lines of lyrics (72 on one page, and 40 on another page). It begins with a simple drum beat that moves into a funky bass line (the first bass line I’ve recognized throughout this entire album). Then some fast, powerful guitar sets in. Axl’s vocals sound like Ozzy Osbourne in this song, but it doesn’t come off as a negative thing. It actually sounds quite good. There are times that he slips and goes back to whining, and times he goes back into his odd deep soothing voice, but it’
                  ;s mostly Ozzy style. This song is mostly a lot of repetition of lyrics and music, with some fairly frequent guitar solos thrown in to break it. Unless you really want to listen to Axl rose saying what sounds like the exact same thing (he says different things, but good luck trying to remember what he says in what order because this song is so long) over and over for nine minutes, I recommend skipping this track after the first few listens. So Fine starts with some melodic guitar and piano, with some slow, quiet drums. This sounds like a stereotypical eighties hair band ballad. About two minutes into the song, it becomes a bit harder, with fast drums, louder vocals, and jazzy piano. It doesn’t last long, and goes back into standard ballad form after a few seconds with a wailing solo. Estranged begins with Axl whispering over light piano and drumming. The drums increase, and some wailing guitar is added. The guitar on this song is so melodic that I would think it was written as a classical song and altered for a guitar. In a combination of this melody, the powerful drumming, and Axl’s heart-felt lyrics, this is a very emotional song. The drumming makes your feet move, and the piano makes your heart feel. This over nine minute epic just hits you on every level, and cannot be skipped. You Could Be Mine begins with very fast drums, and then a smooth bass line, with some screeching guitars and some wailing ones, too. This instrumentation continues for a while, building to a climax with a bit of guitar solo. With a combination of the guitar from this song, and Axl’s whining vocals, this sounds like that song that is always played from the Top Gun soundtrack. This is such an excellent old school GNR song. It just rocks more than any other song on this album. Whatever you do, don’t skip this track if you want a rock song. Don’t Cry (Alt. Lyrics) is a slow, guitar and piano laden track. I don’t have th
                  e first Illusion album yet, so I don’t know what the first one sounds like, but I think this one is alright. It features Shannon Hoon from Blind Melon on vocals with Axl. Between the vocals and Slash’s guitar work, this sounds like it should be a powerful song, but it just seems to be missing something. Maybe it’s the repetition of ”Don’t you cry tonight over and over that makes it lose some of it’s appeal. I still think this is a good song, though. My World is the whackest track on this album. It really isn’t anything except for Axl Rose playing around with some keyboards and drum machines for a minute and a half. His vocals are harsh and don’t make much sense. It sounds like a song from the Howard Stern: Private Parts soundtrack called Tortured Man. This song somewhat foreshadows what Guns N’ Roses would become; Axl Rose messing around with synthesizers with some random help from hired ‘Guns’ instead of his real guns, Slash and Izzy. Overall, this song is totally excellent. It has a few not so good songs, but the great songs more than make up for it. It’s much more blues-oriented than their previous material, and shows a lot of diversity in their style. If you like GNR, you must own this album (if you truly like GNR, you better already own it), and if you want to be introduced to them, buy this as well.

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                    31.10.2000 19:14

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                    Use Your Illusion I & II are the two biggest and fastest selling rock albums ever and its no wonder. Guns n Roses last studio album (and their first) was released in 1987 so fans were screaming out for some new material. Illusion 2 is the one I favour because it is much more creative and experimental than Illusion I which is more of a rock album like Appetite for Destruction. Illusion II is still a great rock album though. Its contains some very ong songs like Locomotive, Breaakdown, Civil War and of course Estranged which is a musical masterpiece with its whining guitar melodies curtesy of Slash. There is a cover of the Bob Dylan classic Knockin on Heaven's door which begins wel enough but is spoiled by pointless sound effects and a gospel choir near the end. Illusion II also has a version of Dont' Cry with alternitive lyrics which could be regarded as a filler used to boost the playlist. Use Your Illusion 2 does contain the worst song ever though! My World is a one and a half minute long number wriiten and performed almost entirely by Axl and its terrible! Thankfully its the last track on the album so you just ignore it and listen to somehting else. All the other good songs far outweigh it anyway.

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                    07.10.2000 14:49
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                    There is a temptation when reviewing any Guns N’ Roses material, to constantly use Appetite For Destruction as a measuring stick. Perhaps this is the constant pitfall of having such a highly successful first album. I believe each album, and even each track should be judged on its own particular merit. One of the things that is so great about GN’R, is that their music does not fit easily into any particular category. Having a style all of your own, plays a great part in any bands success, (try categorising Queen, U2, and even Madness.) and GN’R are certainly capable of playing a huge range of excellent music from beautiful ballads to in your face rants. Use Your Illusion 2 kicks off with ‘Civil War’. A beautifully put together track with a very clear message, that can perhaps be summed up with the lyrics, “D’you wear a black armband when they shot the man who said, ‘peace could last forever’ and in my first memories they shot Kennedy, and I went numb when I learned to see.” 14 Years comes next, with Izzy Stradlin’ handling the vocals, and you can’t help wondering if his ‘14 years that are gone forever’ are 14 of the years spent in Axl’s somewhat volatile company!! Yesterdays has Axl reminiscing on days gone by and is a great sing a long number, after all, we all love a little nostalgia. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door needs no explanation, though I personally prefer this track live, with 70000 or so people all joining in. (It lacks a little something when I sit and sing along on my own!) Get In the Ring comes next, and became the name of the massive GN’R world tour that followed the release of the Use Your Illusions despite the fact that, to the best of my knowledge, they never actually played the track on tour. Get In the Ring is the bands way of getting back at “all the punks in the press who tried to start shit by printing li
                    es instead of the things we said” The music press were not amused, I personally think it was something that’s needed to be said for many years! Shotgun Blues follows Get In The Ring, another Axl rant, this time rumoured to be aimed at Motley Crue fromtman Vince Neil who Axl had a long running battle with. Breakdown is one of my personal favourites, a mellow but not ballady type song with some very thought provoking lyrics, musing on the irony of life, where the ones you most love, are usually the ones who hurt you most. Pretty Tied Up is a nice rocking moment covering the many aspects of life that GN’R find so weird. Locomotive is maybe one of the best tracks on the album, and certainly has some of the best lyrics, though I don’t find it musically as good as some other tracks. So Fine, written and sung by Duff McKagan, proving that Axl, Slash and Izzy are not the only creative talent in GN’R, but also proving to me that Duff should stick to singing punk tunes. Estranged is another Axl brainchild, proving once again to anyone who ever doubted it, that this man, as unpredictable as he may often be, has more talent than he has ever really been credited with, (except perhaps for among the other members of GN’R who often refer to him as a ‘genius’, and I think they have a very good point!) You Could Be Mine, from the film Terminator 2, is hard rock pure and simple! Excellent. Don’t Cry comes next with its alternative lyrics. The original Don’t Cry was actually penned before Appetite, but the band felt it wasn’t quite right for a first album, by the time the Use Your Illusion’s came into being, Axl no longer felt the lyrics were relevant, and so he re-wrote them. He did a brilliant job and they fit perfectly. My World ends the album with another little piece of Axl ranting, beginning, “You wanna step into my world, it’s a sociopsychotic state of bliss
                    ” leaving you to ponder on the greatness of GN’R and the strangeness of the genius that is W. Axl Rose.

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                • Product Details

                  Disc #1 Tracklisting
                  1 Civil War
                  2 14 Years
                  3 Yesterdays
                  4 Knockin' On Heaven's Door
                  5 Get In The Ring
                  6 Shotgun Blues
                  7 Breakdown
                  8 Pretty Tied Up
                  9 Locomotive
                  10 So Fine
                  11 Estranged
                  12 You Could Be Mine
                  13 Don't Cry
                  14 My World

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