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Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion I and II (1991) [24 bit FLAC] vinyl Released: 1991 Genre: Pop/Rock Style: Heavy Metal Codec: FLAC Bit Rate: ~ 5,800 kbps Bits Per Sample: 24 Sample Rate: 192,000 Hz Use Your Illusion I: 01. Right Next Door To Hell 02. Dust N' Bones 03. Live And Let Die 04. Don't Cry (Original) 05. Perfect Crime 06. You Ain't The First 07. Bad Obsession 08. Back Off Bitch 09. Double Talkin' Jive 10. November Rain 11. The Garden 12. Garden Of Eden 13. Don't Damn Me 14. Bad Apples 15. Dead Horse 16. Coma Use Your Illusion II: 01. Civil War 02. 14 Years 03. Yesterdays 04. Knockin' On Heaven's Door 05. Get In The Ring 06. Shotgun Blues 07. Breakdown 08. Pretty Tied Up 09. Locomotive 10. So Fine 11. Estranged 12. You Could Be Mine 13. Don't Cry (Alternate Lyrics) 14. My World The "difficult second album" is one of the perennial rock & roll clichés, but few second albums ever were as difficult as Use Your Illusion. Not really conceived as a double album but impossible to separate as individual works, Use Your Illusion is a shining example of a suddenly successful band getting it all wrong and letting its ambitions run wild. Taking nearly three years to complete, the recording of the album was clearly difficult, and tensions between Slash, Izzy Stradlin, and Axl Rose are evident from the start. The two guitarists, particularly Stradlin, are trying to keep the group closer to its hard rock roots, but Rose has pretensions of being Queen and Elton John, which is particularly odd for a notoriously homophobic Midwestern boy. Conceivably, the two aspirations could have been divided between the two records, but instead they are just thrown into the blender -- it's just a coincidence that Use Your Illusion I is a harder-rocking record than II. Stradlin has a stronger presence on I, contributing three of the best songs -- "Dust n' Bones," "You Ain't the First," and "Double Talkin' Jive" -- which help keep the album in Stonesy Aerosmith territory. On the whole, the album is stronger than II, even though there's a fair amount of filler, including a dippy psychedelic collaboration with Alice Cooper and a song that takes its title from the Osmonds' biggest hit. But it also has two ambitious set pieces, "November Rain" and "Coma," which find Rose fulfilling his ambitions, as well as the ferocious, metallic "Perfect Crime" and the original version of the power ballad "Don't Cry." Still, it can be a chore to find the highlights on the record amid the overblown production and endless amounts of filler. Use Your Illusion II is more serious and ambitious than I, but it's also considerably more pretentious. Featuring no less than four songs that run over six minutes, II is heavy on epics, whether it's the charging funk metal of "Locomotive," the antiwar "Civil War," or the multipart "Estranged." As if an attempt to balance the grandiose epics, the record is loaded with an extraordinary amount of filler. "14 Years" may have a lean, Stonesy rhythm, and Duff McKagan's Johnny Thunders homage, "So Fine," may be entertaining, but there's no forgiving the ridiculous "Get in the Ring," where Axl Rose threatens rock journalists by name because they gave him bad reviews; the misinterpretation of Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"; another version of "Don't Cry"; and the bizarre closer, "My World," which probably captures Rose's instability as effectively as the tortured poetry of his epics. That said, there are numerous strengths to Use Your Illusion II; a couple of songs have a nervy energy, and for all their pretensions, the overblown epics are effective, though strangely enough, they reveal notorious homophobe Rose's aspirations of being a cross between Elton John and Freddie Mercury. But the pompous production and poor pacing make the album tiring for anyone who isn't a dedicated listener.
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