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3.54 | 41 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1991

Filed under Hard Rock


1. Right Next Door to Hell (3:02)
2. Dust N' Bones (4:58)
3. Live and Let Die (3:04)
4. Don't Cry (4:44)
5. Perfect Crime (2:23)
6. You Ain't the First (2:36)
7. Bad Obsession (5:28)
8. Back Off Bitch (5:03)
9. Double Talkin' Jive (3:23)
10. November Rain (8:57)
11. The Garden (5:22)
12. Garden of Eden (2:41)
13. Don't Damn Me (5:18)
14. Bad Apples (4:28)
15. Dead Horse (4:17)
16. Coma (10:13)

Total Time: 76:04


- Axl Rose / vocals, piano, keyboards, percussion, additional guitars
- Slash / guitars, 6-string bass, additional vocals
- Izzy Stradlin / guitars, percussion, additional vocals, lead vocals on "Dust N' Bones", "You Ain't The First" and "Double Talkin' Jive"
- Duff McKagan / bass, additional vocals
- Dizzy Reed / piano, keyboards, synthesizers, additional vocals
- Matt Sorum / drums, percussion, additional vocals

- Shannon Hoon / additional vocals (tracks 3, 10 and 11), lead vocals (tracks 4 and 6), choir (track 10)
- Johann Langlie / programming (tracks 3, 10 and 12), sound effects (track 16)
- Michael Monroe / harmonica, saxophone (track 7)
- Reba Shaw / additional vocals and choir (track 10)
- Stuart Bailey / additional vocals and choir (track 10)
- Jon Thautwein / horn (track 3)
- Matthew McKagan / horn (track 3)
- Rachel West / horn (track 3)
- Robert Clark / horn (track 3)
- Tim Doyle / tambourine (track 6)
- Alice Cooper / vocals (track 11)
- West Arkeen / acoustic guitar (track 11)
- Bruce Foster / sound effects (track 16)
- Mike Clink / nutcracker (track 15)

About this release

Released September 17, 1991

Recorded A&M Studios, Record Plant Studios, Studio 56, Image Recording, Conway Studios, Metalworks Recording Studios, Skip Saylor Recording (album mixing) 1990-1991

Label: Geffen
Producer: Mike Clink, Guns N' Roses

Thanks to Time Signature, Pekka, UMUR for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Use Your Illusion I is the 2nd full-length studio album ( I think of Lies (1988) as a compilation) by American hard rock/ metal act Guns N´Roses. The album was released by Geffen on the 17th of September 1991. Use Your Illusion II ( the band´s 3rd full-length studio album) was released the exact same day. The album features a new drummer in former The Cult drummer Matt Sorum as original drummer Steven Adler was unable to perform and was fired in July 1990 due to his struggles with cocaine and heroin addiction. Keyboardist Dizzy Reed had joined as a permanent member a few months prior to Steven Adler leaving.

The album was released as a double LP and as a single CD. With 16 tracks and a total playing time of 76:04 minutes, Use Your Illusion I is quite a long album. Guns N´Roses spend most of 1990 and some of 1991 in various recording studios, recording 30 tracks that would be distributed on Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. Quite a daring stragedy to release two double albums on the same day, but it would prove to be a succesful move. Use Your Illusion I would debut at the number 2 spot on the Billboard chart and Use Your Illusion II would debut at the number 1 spot on the chart. Both albums have sold several millions of copies and while neither have yet reached the gigantic sales numbers of Appetite for Destruction (1987), I´m sure the financial department at Geffen were more than happy with the sales figures.

The music on Use Your Illusion I is still rooted in bluesy hard rock with a heavy metal edge, just as the case was on Appetite for Destruction. The tracks are of a much more eclectic nature though and especially the addition of a keyboard/ piano player to the ranks gives the music a new dimension. There are several in your face rockers on the album ( Right Next Door to Hell, Perfect Crime), but also ballads ( Don't Cry), semi-progressive rock tracks ( the 10:13 minute long Coma) and the epic power ballad November Rain. While all tracks are more or less well composed, only few out of the 16 tracks actually stand out as excellent IMO, and sadly Use Your Illusion I does come off as one of those albums where quantity became more important than quality. Maybe the internal trouble within the band, meant that all members had to have "their" tracks featured on the album, even though a 10 track album might have been more artistically succesful. To my ears it´s actually only the three "hits" that stand out and out of those three songs ( November Rain, Live and Let Die and Don't Cry) only two are originals as Live and Let Die is a cover of Paul McCartney & Wings classic James Bond theme song from 1973 ( recorded in late 1972). A very succesful cover version though.

The production is professional and well sounding. It´s a bit more cold and clean compared to the warmer sounding Appetite for Destruction, but that´s pretty typical for album releases from the early nineties.

I´ve had the vinyl version of Use Your Illusion I since the release of the album and recently purchased the CD version, so I´d say I´ve given this album a fair shot to impress me. I can´t say I´m impressed though as far too many of the songs on the album lack memorable hooklines and therefore don´t linger in my mind after the album is finished. Somewhere between a 3 and a 3.5 star rating is fair IMO and I think I´m gonna have to go with a 3 star rating this time.
Time Signature
Right next door to hell...

Genre: hard rock

"Use Your Illusion I" is the first part of the double-disc album that served as the long awaited follow-up to "Appetetite for Destruction". I remember feeling even more ambiguous about "Use Your Illusion" when it came out than I did about the predecessor. There are a lot of good tracks on "Use Your Illusion", but also a lot of really uninspired pompous ballads and pointless fillers. Axl's vocals are annoying as ever, but thankfully Izzy and Duff take up vocal duties on a couple of songs, and there are also guest performances by other vocalists, such as Alice Cooper himself.

Now to "Use Your Illusion I".

The opener, the dirty rocker "Right Next Door to Hell", promises an experience of unadulterated rock 'n' roll which is followed up on by the midtempo boogie rocker "Dust 'n' Bones" and the cover version of "Live and Let Die", which retains the sloppiness of the original and add a load of dirt and sleaze through the dirty guitar sound. However, things collapse completely with the first ballad of the album, the sappy "Don't Cry". Fortunately, things pick up again with the rockers "Perfect Crime", "Bad Obsession", "Back Off Bitch", and "Double Talkin' Jive", which vary in quality (note I've ignored the pointless barstool song "You Ain't the First").

What's next?

The pompuous and awful ballad "November Rain". Yes, I know a lot of people like it, and that's alright, but I think it's a total waste of time and probably one of the cheesiest things ever written by a rock band. Eech!

The next track "The Garden" is a pseudopsychedelic song, featuring Alice Cooper. This song is nothing special, but it's not bad either, and Alice Cooper, of course, makes it worth a listen. The next track "Garden of Eden" is within the same conceptual universe, carrying on the garden theme, but it's a straight up-tempo hard rocker, which, unfortunately, is packed with friggin' annouying sound effects. "Don't Damn Me" is much better, which can also be said about "Bad Apples" and "Dead Horse". But "Coma", forget about it - it's meant to be weird, I know, but its basically ten wasted minutes.

"Use Your Illusion I" contains a lot of aggressive hard rockers of variying quality, and it's really these tracks that make the album worthwhile. The lyrics are mostly just as stupid and childish as on "Appetite for Destruction", so they're best off ignored.

I think that fans of hard rock and traditional metal will like this album, but - ignorring the ballads - the songs may be a bit to dirty and hard edged for fans of glam, hair, and pop metal.
The first part of the third installment of the most dangerous band in the world is probably not that dangerous because the strongest and most famous part of this album is ironically the ballads. However, GUNS N ROSES did a great variety of style here, from the aggressive and punkish ‘Right Next Door To Hell’, to smokey rock and roll of ‘You Ain’t The First’, from the epic ballad of ‘November Rain’ to the sizzling southern slab of ‘Bad Obsession’.

The anguish and sappy ‘Don't Cry’ is a memorable piece especially the part when Slash slides his guitar with an inspiring solo. The lengthy epic ‘November Rain’, is probably the greatest cut of the album, demonstrating a crystal grandiose piano in an atmospheric downtempo moment before soaring high into a powerful rockin' ballad. And also Slash’ beautiful bluesy solos is the heat of the moment here.

There are several spotlights here worth mentioning such as the swaying-cover of ‘Live And Let Die’, acoustical piece of ‘Dead Horse’, or the sleazy side of ‘Don’t Damn Me’, but it's unfortunate, they also spread at least 4 fillers around. Luckily, it’s a 16-tracks album, put aside the 4 tracks you don’t want to hear, and you’ll still get a solid 12 tracks which is more than enough to build an album.

I still prefer the blue one over this, but GUNS N ROSES still spawned many personal favorites out of this album, and many of them still stood the test of time. 85%
This is the first part of the "We're the biggest rock band in the world, we can do what we want" album of Guns N' Roses. At the turn of the decade they were right about the first point and perhaps the second as well, but that doesn't necessarily mean that anything the biggest band in the world does is as good as everything they did when they were unknown and hungry.

This is probably one of the most patchy albums in my entire record collection, there are some absolute masterpieces and then some rather boring fluff. The sound of the album is somewhat more stiff than the loose and lively debut, thanks to an eternity spent in studio and the new drummer, the rather heavy-handed Matt Sorum. Opening the album is Right Next Door to Hell, one of the best straight-ahead rocking songs of the album, and along with Perfect Crime and Back off Bitch the only one worth mentioning. The latter of them actually is one of the album's finest cuts, the rest of the elite being a lot slower in tempo, which was to become almost a rule on the subsequent GnR albums as well. Almost all the faster songs of this album and even some of the slower suffer from Axl having way too much to say in way too little time and the result is a big mess with no melody or rhythm. The horrible Garden of Eden being perhaps the worst example of this.

Most well known songs of the album are November Rain and the first song the band ever wrote together, Don't Cry. The latter is a nice ballad that has been almost killed by radio and TV overplaying it, but November Rain is still phenomenal after all these years. It was when I was listening to the finale of this epic ballad at my friend's place some eight or nine years ago when I first realized that these guys have got that something. Other high points of the album include both of the Izzy Stradlin' sung pieces, Dust N' Bones and Double Talkin' Jive, especially the latter with its brilliant instrumental outro section.

Unfortunately the rest of the album is nothing worth writing home (or MMA) about compared to the mentioned. Coma is noteworthy for being the longest GnR song ever with its 10 minutes, but well, long duration does not a good song make. Or a good album for that matter, if about 25 minutes were cut from the 76 that were pressed in the end, this could be a great record.

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