The GNR Blog: A Ranked List of All 30 Guns N' Roses 'Use Your Illusion' Songs
Ever since hearing "Welcome to the Jungle" at a hockey game as a kid, I fantasized about having my very own Guns N' Roses blog on a popular guitar-oriented website.
Well, actually I fantasized about rocking a Les Paul and being able to successfully pull off a top hat, but you can't win 'em all, right?
Guns N’ Roses were often compared to the Rolling Stones, and if Appetite For Destruction was Guns’ Sticky Fingers, the Use Your Illusion albums would have to be their Exile on Main St. Like Exile, Use Your Illusion I & II won’t be remembered for the hits, but as a strong, collective statement made by a band at the pinnacle of their creativity.
That said, as perhaps one of the biggest aficionados of these albums -- and given they recently celebrated their 20th anniversary -- I wanted to take the recent rash of UYI retrospectives a step further and look at each track individually in order, from worst to best.
Want to see how your ranking stacks up to mine? Take a look at the results of our readers' poll here.
30. “My World” – Use Your Illusion II (Rose)
A bold experiment, perhaps, but more of an Axl solo track than a true Guns N' Roses tune.
29. “Shotgun Blues” – Use Your Illusion II (Rose)
This sophomoric string of insults, supposedly aimed at Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil, makes for an enjoyable listen the first time. Next time, Axl might want to take some lessons from Don Rickles, because his insults here are more on par with Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.
28. “You Ain’t the First” – Use Your Illusion I (Stradlin)
This is by no means an un-enjoyable song to listen to, but it serves little purpose on the album, aside from being a pretty good intro to “Bad Obsession.”
27. “So Fine” – Use Your Illusion II (McKagan)
Again, not a terrible song, just not a good Guns N’ Roses song. This one might have made it as a single on Duff’s solo album, Believe In Me. Here, it’s forgettable.
26. “Don’t Cry” (Alt. Lyrics) – Use Your Illusion II (Stradlin, Rose)
When listening to the albums back-to-back, by the time you get this one you might just get the sneaking suspicion that you’ve heard this song before.
25. “Back Off Bitch” – Use Your Illusion I (Rose, Paul Huge)
Ladies and gentleman, a Paul Huge writing credit. Huge would eventually wind up playing guitar on Guns N’ Roses’ cover of “Sympathy for the Devil” for the Interview with the Vampire soundtrack after Gilby Clarke was booted for asking Axl to rock out a bit more. That aside, this one’s a valiant attempt at a rocker, but it simply doesn’t hold up against some of the other fast-paced numbers on the albums.
24. “Breakdown” – Use Your Illusion II (Rose)
According to Slash, this was one of the most difficult tracks of the UYI sessions to record. It's also the second use of whistling on the second disc, both to good effect. Superb lyrics on this track and a searing Slash solo mean you won’t be skipping it, but a stronger chorus might put it higher on the playlist.
23. “Don’t Damn Me” – Use Your Illusion I (Slash, Dave Lank, Rose)
The only song from the UYI albums to never be played live, this was another track featuring Axl carrying out a lyrical vendetta against his detractors. One of the cooler solo breaks on the whole album, the low ranking for this one is only a product of the list getting into “the rest of the songs are really good so I guess something has to go last” territory.
22. “Bad Apples” – Use Your Illusion I (Slash, McKagan, Stradlin, Rose)
Often overlooked, “Bad Apples” is a fun track and the closest thing to a funk feel GN’R ever accomplished. This one ranked last on our readers' poll of your favorite Use Your Illusion songs, but for my money, it's a keeper.
21. “You Could Be Mine” – Use Your Illusion II (Stradlin, Rose)
The first single from either album and a personal favorite of the Gover-nator, this song hailed from the writing sessions for Appetite, where it might have actually found a better home in lieu of “Think About You.”