Wednesday, January 16, 2008

GN'R LIES - Chuck Klosterman

Guns N' Roses, GNR Lies (1988, Geffen):

When we first heard this eight-song EP, we all thought the live material on side one was tits and the acoustic stuff on side two was girlie crap. Over time, the conventional wisdom revolved into the opinion that the "R" side was brilliant and the "G" side wasn't worth listening to. Ten years later, I have rediscovered the value of the former without losing respect for the latter (or maybe it's the other way around).

Lies opens with "Reckless Life," an accelerated rocker that would seem to be the résumé for the whole GNR experiment. That blows into a cover of "Nice Boys," which works because Axl Rose really does seem like a boy. Of course, that makes everything a bit awkward on "Move to the City," because suddenly Axl becomes a girl who stole her daddy's credit card—but by the time they're halfway through a rote version of "Mama Kin," nobody cares anyway.

Logic would dictate that the lyrics on the flip side should seem less shocking as time passes, but I find them more spooky today than I did in high school. As I grow older, I'm still intrigued by what Axl was so angry about. His inability to replicate this kind of ferocious emotion on future releases makes me suspect it must have been genuine; if it had all just been a show, you'd think he could do it anytime he stepped into a studio.

There seems to be something obviously wrong with Axl Rose's brain, and it's the kind of three-act neurosis that ruins a man's life, makes a man famous, and then ruins his life again (and usually in that order). Side two of GNR Lies is the peak of Act II.

SOURCE: Chuck Klosterman, Fargo Rock City

No comments: