Graham Reid | | 2 min read
People say the most stupid of things about rock music – “The Stones are greatest rock'n'roll band in the world, maaan” – so let's join the herd by stating this unequivocally: If you don't get off on Guns N' Roses debut album Appetite For Destruction then you are not genetically disposed to “fckn' rock, maaan”.
No matter which way you cut, Appetite in '87 was a monster statement which connected the dots between Bo Diddley (Mr Brownstone rides off Bo's “shave and a haircut, two bits” beat), sleazy post-Zepp LA drug-fueled trash (Welcome to the Jungle, the almost seven-minute Paradise City) and soaring ambition (the battered romance of Sweet Child o' Mine which is just six minutes but seems so much heroically longer and opens with an annoying addictive guitar figure as memorable as Friday on My Mind).
There was a glam-gone-wrong vibe about their debauched poodle-rock and a strutting arrogance which you either thought was funny, courageous and a put-up-or-shut-up risk . . . or you dismissed them as the nadir of rock as a medium for insightful social comment.
Well, they were metal punks (hence their pretty absurd but enormously enjoyable '93 Spaghetti Incident album of UK and NYC covers from the late Seventies) and so taste and refinement were never going to be part of the equation.
They rocked, they sometimes insulted your and their intelligence, Slash could really play guitar, they trashed hotels and themselves on your behalf and turned up unfashionably late for sell-out concerts.
They always sailed right there on the precipice and . . . so yep, they had an appetite for (self) destruction.
This 2018 CD reissue of that classic debut (remastered for your listening pleasure) comes with an extra disc of ferocious live tracks, their more raw Sound City sessions of the album tracks from the previous year, covers of Aerosmith, AC/DC and Rose Tattoo songs) and yes, even some acoustic versions which prove the strength of their songwriting.
Unless you are a GN'R obsessive and require the Super Deluxe Edition of Appetite (four discs, a Blu-Ray etc) then this is the iteration which will not just satisfy for the sheer gall and conceit of that debut but confirm their wayward but undeniable gifts on the extra disc.
They were almost as great again on the sprawling double Use You Illusion albums four years later, but they were much more concise on this life-proclaiming debut which has sold in excess of an astonishing 35 million copies.
Little wonder that within five years Axl could hardly be bothered . . . and it took until 2008 for them (well, another version of them) to get around to the largely yawn-awaited new album Chinese Democracy.
If you don't like Appetite then . . . well, clearly your stereo can't go up to 11.
This double CD is housed in a gatefold sleeve which reproduces the controversial original cover and also comes with a booklet of photos and lyrics, and that wee pack slips inside the cover reproduced above.
It is just $25 at JB Hi-Fi stores here, and that makes it an excellent Bargain Buy.