Lose Your Illusions

use-your-illusionIn 1987 Guns N’ Roses released their debut album, Appetite for Destruction and, save for a short EP, their next release wasn’t until 1992. The desire for a new material was huge, and fans were rabid with excitement when it was announced that the follow-up album, Use Your Illusion would be not just one, but two double-albums; probably close to 25-30 songs! How amazing would this be?

It should have been, however things weren’t 100% inside the Gn’R camp, politics and egos was taking over everything. As a result the albums’ release seemed to have every musicians input on it, all the songs the wanted, sprawled over the 8 sides of vinyl. But there were some real gems in there.

If like Appetite for Destruction, Use Your Illusion was just one album, then which of those 30 tracks should have made it on the album, and which should have been kept back for future releases, b-sides, EPs, or just not released? It is a contentious and difficult choice.

In fact, in 1998 their US record label released just that; a single CD length entitled Use Your Illusion. Of course this was immediately met with complaints about which tracks are included or missing; the reality was actually that it was a ‘clean’ compilation only including songs with no swearing or unsavoury language. Let’s be honest, this can never be a good way to put a compilation together; not if you care about the music.

Admittedly though, no matter what you drop it will have been someone’s favourite track, so perhaps Gn’R were right to release 30 songs at once, though I don’t think so. 19 years have passed since the original album releases, so here is my view of what that single CD follow-up to Appetite… should have looked like:

Side 1 : 36:32

  1. Right Next Door To Hell
  2. You Could Be Mine
  3. Locomotive
  4. Don’t Cry (Original)
  5. Double Talkin’ Jive
  6. Yesterdays
  7. Civil War

Side 2: 37:54

  1. Pretty Tied Up (The Perils of Rock & Roll Decadence)
  2. Dust N’ Bones
  3. Bad Obsession
  4. November Rain
  5. 14 Years
  6. Estranged

Total playing time : 74:26

Yes, 17 tracks have been left-off, but just because they were written or recorded doesn’t mean they deserve inclusion on the release. Take “My World” as a perfect example, or indeed the alternative lyrics version of “Don’t Cry”, both of which are at best b-side material. I’ve also left off the two rather brilliant cover versions “Live & Let Die” and “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” which was difficult as they were (and remain) a staple of the Gn’R live set.

Don’t get me wrong they are brilliant, and their reading of “Live & Let Die” is iconic to the point Paul McCartney himself now plays the song more like this version live than his original. However from two albums brimming with so many brilliant self-penned tracks their just wasn’t the place for them.

Try making an iTunes playlist or burning a CD of the above track-listing. It works as a perfect progression from Appetite for Destruction.

Gareth Fraser
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10 thoughts on “Lose Your Illusions

    • Try it and let me know what you think. Of course, also make up your own suggested single CD track-listing.

      Only rules are the tracks must be from either of the Use Your Illusion albums, and the selection must be under 79 minutes to fit on a CD.

  1. giogeorgia88 August 5, 2011 at 15:45 -

    Yeah really One Use Your Illusion album would be much better just remove pointless covers ( they`re good better then originals,but unnecessary ) few duds ( You Ain`t the First,Back off Bitch,Bad Apples,Yesterdays,Get in the Ring,Breakdown,So Fine,Alt Don`t Cry and Estranged ) still would be enough material for double album these songs could be on b-sides or in box sets,reissues.
    I made my album witrh this tracklisting :
    Side One
    1.Right Next Door to Hell
    3.You Could be Mine
    4.Civil War
    5.Don`t Cry ( Original )
    6.Perfect Crime
    7.Locomotive ( Complicity )
    8.Bad Obsession
    9.14 Years
    Side Two
    1.Dead Horse
    2.Shotgun Blues
    3.Double Talkin`Jive
    4.November Rain
    5.The Garden
    6.Garden of Eden
    7.Don`t Damn Me
    8.Pretty Tied Up ( Perils of Rock`N`Roll Decadence )
    It really is kickass one disc

    • I’ve listened to your mix the past few days and agree it sounds great!!

      Thanks a lot for taking the time to make on up. Use Your Illusions is two double albums, rightly or wrongly, but there is some great music in amongst the filler.

  2. Yeah agree they`re brilliant even those weak songs make these CDs interesting but one double album would have been even better they`re still best Hard Rock /Heavy Metal album released in 90`s and one of the best of all times

    • Now that’s an interesting idea for an article: the greatest Rock / Heavy Metal album of the 90s??…

      Hmmm. What about FNM Angel Dust, Metallica ‘Black Album’, Iron Maiden ‘Fear of the Dark’? They’re just from the same 180-month period off the top of my head. Must think this one out as a lot of great stuff came out in the 1990s.

  3. OK let`s begin now I don`t have enough time so I`ll be very brief 🙂 Black Album by Metallica ( or shitallica at that time call whatever you want ) has only two good songs Enter Sandman and the Unforgiven the rest ten songs are very lousy repetitive and rehashed with lame meaningless lyrics Nothing Else Matters is total dud even GITHR from UYi 2 is ten times better song then NEM GNR was much superior band then Metallica musically,lyrically,skill wise Lars sucks as a drummer Matt is also nothing special he has strong beats but sometimes is very limited UYIs also suffered from bad mixing Matt`s drums were too high and Izzy`s amps very low thank to Slash by the way as i said in my previous post fillers make these CDs interesting whereas Black has much weaker songwriting songs are really dull black has better mixing and mastering then Illusions but still doesn`t save album.
    As for Fear of the Dark,CD came a year later and frankly sucked ass I was disappointed in Maiden three good songs Fear of the Dark,Be Quick or Be Dead and From Here to Eternity the rest compelete flop.
    Faith No More is n`t my fave band I don`t like them they`re more alt funk metal then Hard Rock wll here`s my opinion.

    • The best thing about opinions is that we are all entitled to them, and life would be shit if they were all the same, however you are wrong on one simple thing; Fear of the Dark came out in 1992 as I said. 11th of May if we wish to get pedantic.

      As for ‘shitallica’ I would argue the complete opposite; Enter Sandman and Unforgiven are likely the worst two songs on the album. Doesn’t make me right, and you wrong, just illustrates more why rock music is so important and the beauty of having reviews and the ability to discuss. After all without it, we would never discover new bands or persuaded to give something we previously dismissed a second chance…

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