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3.11 | 34 ratings | 6 reviews
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EP · 1988

Filed under Hard Rock


1. Reckless Life (3:20)
2. Nice Boys (3:03)
3. Move to the City (3:42)
4. Mama Kin (3:57)
5. Patience (5:56)
6. Used to Love Her (3:13)
7. You're Crazy (4:10)
8. One in a Million (6:08)

Total Time: 33:32


- W. Axl Rose / vocals
- Slash / guitars
- Izzy Stradlin' / guitars
- Duff McKagan / bass
- Steven Adler / drums

About this release

EP, Geffen, 1988.

Often listed as a full length studio album, but in reality a long EP. First four songs, studio recordings with crowd noise added, were previously released in 1986 as Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide, and the last four songs are acoustic recordings originally intended as B-sides.

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Vim Fuego
What offends people and what is considered offensive are unusual and changeable things. Guns n’ Roses once held the title of most dangerous band in the world, and have managed to offend countless people in a range of inventive and unusual ways. The way in which people take offence has changed over the decades since the appearance of “GnR Lies” the band’s second major release. It can be used as something of a potted study in how society’s attitudes evolve, and how something which seemed scandalous in the 1980s hardly raises an eyebrow now, while attitudes which were fine then are far from it today.

So, first the technical stuff. “GnR Lies” was released in 1988, and even the format of it is is a little ambiguous. It’s not technically a full album, but it’s too long to properly be called an EP. The first four tracks are demos recorded in 1986, but have been manipulated and cleaned up in the studio, with crowd noise and band banter added to make it seem like they are live tracks. This was originally released as “Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide”. The second set of four tracks are mostly acoustic songs recorded in the studio in 1988, and reportedly originally intended to be B-sides. Never ones to miss a trick, Geffen Records realised there was a huge demand for anything with Guns n’ Roses on it because “Appetite for Destruction” was going stratospheric, so the B-sides became side B of this album, the demo side A, and it started flying off the shelf.

Now to the offensive stuff.

Before you even get to the music, the cover is a mock-up of a tabloid newspaper. The headlines quite cleverly used the song titles with a quick blurb under it about each song, mixed in with a bunch of humorous fake headlines, and pictures of the separate band members. And what did tabloid newspapers used to have on page 3? Why pictures of scantily-clad young ladies of course, and this faux tabloid was no different. Yes, right there on the inside cover, the dream of many a teenage boy across the world – a topless woman! With no top on! Real live print boobies!

Naturally, such a thing caused a bit of a stir. A black bar appeared over the woman’s nipples in later versions. The human breast is a source of nourishment for infants, but apparently they are the only ones allowed a peek of nips! The naked human body is nothing to be ashamed of, but there is a time and place for nudity, and apparently it’s not on the inside of a record cover.

And on to the music.

The song which caused the most offence in 1998 was “Used To Love Her”. It’s an acoustic ballad, with a wicked dark streak to it. The protagonist of the song had been in love with a girl, but ended up killing her because she wouldn’t stop talking. It’s open to interpretation, but it’s easy to imagined the guy singing the song is talking to either a psychotherapist or is in a police interrogation room confessing all. Why? He may be haunted by the spirit of his dearly departed, reflecting shades of Edgar Allen Poe, or perhaps he has descended into insanity, driven to psychosis by his vile crime. Either way, the song has the sting right in the tail. On the front cover of the record there is a quick description of the song – “a joke, nothing more” - and to anyone sane or sensible, that’s exactly how it should be interpreted. The band even said it was one of the few songs they had ever written from a purely fictitious point of view. So of course, it got taken “seriously” by people looking for attention and an excuse to be righteously outraged, and they blew up an absolute shitstorm. The band were accused of promoting violence against women, murder, and misogyny. This was during a time when the PMRC were still trying to label and censor records because lazy parents weren’t supervising what their children were doing. This storm in a teacup blew over pretty quick, and it gave the band free publicity and added notoriety, which bumped up album sales even more. In the subsequent years, a psychopath has claimed he killed his wife because of this song, but there is no evidence to the truth of this, and was more than likely part of an attempt to appear insane to avoid justice.

The song which caused a bit of offense at the time, but was still deemed fit for release was “One in a Million”. In the 2016 reissues, it was left off the album. Why? Because standards of offence had changed, and the band themselves agreed. The shame of this is, it’s a powerful song, and ill-considered choices of language aside (which aren’t going to be repeated here - you know what the song says), it’s the best song on the whole album. The acoustic/semi-electric mix of guitar here lets some simple yet effective riffs shine through. Axl Rose’s vocals are some of the most raw and angry of his career. There’s venom and frustration in his lyrics, and it demonstrates feelings of disgust and helplessness at what Rose experienced when moving from small town USA to the seedier side of Los Angeles.

Since we’re on the acoustic side already, let’s deal with the other songs here. “You’re Crazy” is an acoustic version of a song from the band’s “Appetite for Destruction” debut, and if anything, rips all the harder for it. There’s a few more “fucks” and a “motherfucker” in it than on the original, and Axl spits it with seething venom, rather than wild fury like the electric version. The offense? Obscene language.

And “Patience”. This was a hugely successful single for the band. For a period of time in 1989, you couldn’t turn on FM music radio without hearing it. The song is a sickly ballad, supposedly about Axl Rose and his stormy relationship with Erin Everly, who was the subject of another GnR ballad, the far superior “Sweet Child o’ Mine”. So you’re wondering how a schmaltzy love ballad could be offensive? Just think back to the band’s debut album. What powered it’s massive sales figures? It wasn’t all just marketing and flash. Nope. It was a raw, energetic, angry rock album. “Patience” is the opposite. So the Gunners offended their own fans. A bare 18 months after the release of one of the most incendiary albums of a generation, many fans were already calling this the beginning of the end.

So let’s deal with the electric side. “Reckless Life” starts with Slash screaming “Hey fuckers, suck on f Guns N’ fuckin’ Roses!” Great! An obscene intro to the song and the album! Apparently this is an old Hollywood Rose song. Apart from the intro, it’s not particularly offensive, but it’s a good demonstration of the rough and raw rock sound which earned Guns N’ Roses their reputation.

Next up is the old Rose Tattoo rocker “Nice Boys”. The energy is similar to the original, and Rose Tatt’s singer Angry Anderson was obviously a big influence on Axl Rose’s vocal style. The offensive thing here is rock and roll itself – the full title being “Nice Boys (Don't Play Rock 'n' Roll)”. You couldn’t call either band nice boys. The sleaze and seediness of the song for both bands, from the rough side of town.

“Move to the City”, like “One in a Million”, is another small-town-kid-shocked-by-the-big-city song. It deals with a teen runaway unhappy at home, who steals from their parents to hit the city, but then finds it’s not all it’s cracked up to be – hard drugs, prostitution, all the fun stuff. It’s a fairly typical GnR rocker. Yeah, also not very offensive, but it’s about a pretty gritty sort of life.

And finally the Aerosmith standard “Mama Kin”. Aerosmith knew a thing or two about offending people, having been doing it for nearly two decades at this stage. However, for such a hard-living band, they were a bit thin skinned, as if threatened by the young upstarts. It wasn’t exactly offensive, but there were some comments in the press at the time which saw the bands sparring with each other in public. The Gunners had opened for Aerosmith on tour, and seemingly stole the younger sector of the audience from their heroes. It also didn’t help that GnR were partying hard at a time when the Steve Tyler/Joe Perry toxic twins were trying to dry out and stay off addictive substances. It’s been an on again/off again relationship, with the bands occasionally performing together in the years since.

In a single 33 and a half minute release Guns N’ Roses managed to offend a lot of people. But they also managed to sell over five million copies of what was essentially a cobbled together compilation, short on new content, but packed with attitude. It demonstrated where the band had come from, but, with the acoustic side, where they were heading. It’s paradoxically an easier and harder album to listen to than “Appetite for Destruction”. “GnR Lies” is the same but different. And it still has the power to offend.
Released in 1988, just one year after the absolutely monumental ‘Appetite for Destruction’ made Guns ‘n’ Roses one of the biggest bands on the planet, ‘G N’ R Lies’ is an EP which consists of four previously released live tracks and four acoustic tracks.

The first four tracks, taken from the previously released ‘Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide’ EP don’t really do much for me. There’s a cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Mama Kin’, but... meh. The band is in good form however, and you can feel the attitude and energy just oozing out of every guitar chord and vocal screech, but as there’s no studio versions of these tracks, again... meh...

The next four tracks are all acoustic songs, and this is where the EP really shows its worth. ‘Used to Love Her’ and ‘One in a Million’ are okay acoustic rockers, though nothing massively memorable, and there’s an acoustic remake of ‘You’re Crazy’, a song from the bands aforementioned debut album. Then of course, there’s ‘Patience’, the only song from this EP to receive a single release and promo video. With its personal and touching lyrics and catchy-as-hell chorus, this is the true standout moment from this disc.

I’m not the biggest Guns ‘n’ Roses fan in the world, and only own this as I have the rest of the bands discography on CD. Overall, ‘Lies’ is an okay EP for what it is, but isn’t really worth too much attention if you’re only a casual fan. Personally, I’d rather listen to ‘Appetite...’ again.
"G N' R Lies" is the 2nd full-length studio/live album by US hard rock/metal act Guns N´ Roses. The album was released through Geffen Records in November 1988 in the US and December 1988 in the UK. While "G N' R Lies" is considered the band´s 2nd album, it´s actually more of a compilation. On the original vinyl version, side 1 featured the four live tracks from the "Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide (1986)" EP, while side 2 featured four semi-acoustic new recordings. It´s a rather short album with it´s 33:32 minutes long playing time, but at the time of release, Guns N´ Roses fans swallowed it up as there seemed to be an insatiable appetite for new material by the band following the great success of "Appetite For Destruction (1987)". The album has sold over 5 million copies in the US alone.

It´s probably needless to say, but as a cohesive album "G N' R Lies" doesn´t work very well. The mix of live tracks with semi-acoustic rockers make the album a fragmented listen. That doesn´t mean the tracks aren´t top notch though, because that´s certainly the case. I remember I wasn´t too fond of the live tracks when I listened to "G N' R Lies" the first time about 20 years ago, but boy do they rock hard when I listen to the album today. The sound quality is excellent and the material is filled with the snarling "Fuck You" attitude that would make the band so famous a couple of years later. The covers of "Mama Kin" by Aerosmith and "Nice Boys" by Rose Tatoo have been given a shot of adrenaline and Guns N´ Roses perfectly manage to make the songs their own. The two original live tracks "Reckless Life" and "Move to the City" are also raw and powerful rockers.

Out of the four semi-acoustic tracks on side 2, "Patience" is without a doubt the most famous one. It was also the only single released from the album. The video for the track received heavy rotation on MTV and undoubtedly further helped sales of the album. "Used to Love Her" is enjoyable but more in the silly department, while the equally strong "One in a Million" is quite the controversial track, with lyrics bashing minority groups like homosexuals and immigrants. "You're Crazy", which was originally released in a harder rocking and fully electric version on "Appetite For Destruction (1987)", is delivered here in a semi-acoustic version, which the band say was how it was originally intended.

Maybe I´m being a bit too generous with my rating here but I really enjoy "G N' R Lies" and while it´s certainly not perfect or cohesive as an album, a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
The follow-up to the major explosion of "Appetite For Destruction" captured Guns N' Roses in their intense and raw performance, portrayed the obvious sight of the band behind their rebellious youth and shocking naughtiness. Consisted of four live tracks and four acoustical tunes, "Lies" is an important release by the band, succesfully bridging the magical moment of their crazy debut and the next big double-release hit. This album was often compared to Lennon's "Some Time In New York City", not only they shared a similarity in front sleeve design, but inside you'll find previously live-recorded materials as well.

The first half of the album contained my two fave tracks, "Reckless Life" and Aerosmith's cover, "Mama Kin", but the rest of the album that shines. "Patience", is no doubt, one of their biggest ballads, just listens to the memorable whistling and the gentle acoustic strumming, a mind-blowing! And this song is even better played live with electric guitar and drums. "Used To Love Her" is a relaxing sing-along track and the acoustic rendition of "You're Crazy" is also nicely delivered, but the huge controversy of "One In A Million" is a bit exaggerated since this track is among their weakest I believe.

"Lies" is definitely not their greatest, but ain't no dull release and extremely underrated as condemned by many fans. A must buy for GNR hardcore and good to have if you're a casual hard rock fan for the sake of "Mama Kin" and "Patience" tracks alone.
Somehow usually regarded as a studio album, this weird release is actually more like a double EP. The first half of the disc is taken up by Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide, the band's debut EP which was actually a studio recording with ovedubbed crowd noise to justify the title. The EP consisted of two original songs; Reckless Life and Move to the City and two covers; Nice Boys by Rose Tattoo and Mama Kin by Aerosmith. Reckless Life is the hard rocking opener and in my opinion the best song of the bunch, but it has since been forgotten by the band as it has been mostly absent from their set lists since the turn of the 90s. Move to the City was performed at least on the Use Your Illusion tour years later when they had a horn section on road with them to perform the horn parts of this mid tempo rocker. The cover songs are somewhere between these two original numbers, wild rocking tunes livelily performed. All in all pretty good stuff, but oh how much better it would get the next year.

On the second half of the album are four acoustic pieces recorded in the middle of their Appetite tour, one of them being an alternative version of perhaps the fastest rocker on Appetite, You're Crazy. This version is completely different, a rather slow shuffling tune, which actually is closer to their original idea. Works this way too. Used to Love Her and One in a Million are a bit more forgettable tunes, if not for Million's "niggers and fags" which caused a bit of an uproad at the time. Patience is the real gem of this release, a tender ballad about a troubled relationship and lost love. Or apparently according to Slash, about Axl's dog. No wonder I like it then, I'm a dog person.

This release probably was released just to feed the devouring masses hungry for more in midst of the massive success of Appetite for Destruction. And it sounds like just that. Some good stuff, some ok stuff, and some less than that. Let this be the last album of theirs you buy, at least of those containing original material.

Members reviews

1967/ 1976
I'm not a Guns' fan. One my friend, "Tex", love Guns N' Roses more than his mother. For me GN'R is a good band only in "Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide", in "Appetite for Destruction" and in this "G N' R Lies".

"G N' R Lies" was assembled with the fake live Ep ""Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide" that is the debut Ep of GN'R, original issued in 1986. "Rreckless Life" and "Move To The City" are two original GN'R songs, "Nice Boys" is a Rose Tatoo cover and "Mama Kin" is an Aerosmith cover. The final result is a good R'n'R Ep, not totally memorable. The new songs, recorded during "Appetite Tour" are non bad. The 1988 songs are 4 acoustic songs. And for me, today, this is my "G N' R Liese" preferred side. The songs are good and this new version of "You're Crazy" is more Blusy as the all 1988 songs, because more slow and because acoustic.

Not bad at all. In my vision a pure GN'R album and nothing more.

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