Revisiting - Use Your Illusion / by Rollie Agado


While working on a creative assignment this week (laying out Company Newsletter), I had some trouble staying focused for extended periods of time.

I usually remedy this by listening to very familiar music, where I can drown out surrounding noise (conversations, telephones, etc.) and also not get hung up on playing air guitar or focusing to closely on lyrics.

I have a shortlist of albums and artists I usually turn to for this, but for some reason I just couldn’t seem to get into a creative groove.Rose

Then out of now-where it just sorta hit me.  Listen to Appetite to Destruction!   A record I hadn’t listened to in a very long time and I had wanted to listen to it after working on a Dead Pool 2013 image that I didn’t circulate after deciding to use an Adam West image.

The picture featured a young Axl Rose…  a celebrity that always ends up in my top 25 people to pick for Dead Pool, but he’s managed to not make the top 10.

Just before slipping Appetite for Destruction on… I quickly realized that the record would only last about 40 or so minutes.

I reluctantly threw on Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 into my play-queue, but it turned out to be best thing to do as I worked without interruption for nearly 3 hours straight and I completed my project in one afternoon.

By admission, I’m a big fan of GnR.  By big fan, I mean, not only do I own all of their albums… I’ve purchased every one of them on release day.  I also have poured over countless articles and own several books on the band and biographies of key members, because I’ve always been mesmerized by their disfunction and their impact on pop-culture & music.

The Use Your Illusion albums will always have a soft spot in my heart because they were they first Compact Discs I ever bought.  It was actually the album(s) that made me make the digital jump.  I still remember carefully opening and keeping the Long Boxes for a really long time before throwing them out.

The album(s) have always been hard to get my arms around.  I never quite settled on liking one more than the other.  There’s flaws (in my opinion) in respect to the track listings for each album and I found myself constantly falling in and out of favor with songs on each album.

I found myself originally gravitating to Use Your Illusion 2 mainly because of my fondness for the color blue, the intro track “Civil War” (which is arguably one of the best Singles they ever released for either album) and the single “You Could Be Mine” being on the 2nd disc.

Over the years however, I found myself gravitating over to Use Your Illusion 1 because it had more of an Aerosmith/Rock feel to it thanks to the work of Izzy Stradlin on it.

A lot like listening to U2-War album earlier in the week, I found myself quickly immersing myself into every song on each album.   I was shocked by how many of the lyrics I still remembered.  I was even more shocked by my recollection of the track listing.  

We’re approaching the 25 year mark of this double album and I think it’s not going to be looked back on rather fondly.  The album managed to have mainstream success despite  the world of music changing around it.   Nirvana/Pearl Jam and a few years later Green Day (Dookie) all released breakthrough records that drastically date this album when compared to those at the same time.

Shame that this record couldn’t have come together to become an Exile on Main St.