The GNR Blog: A Ranked List of All 30 Guns N' Roses 'Use Your Illusion' Songs
We rank all thirty songs on the now-twenty-year-old Use Your Illusion albums.
20. “Dead Horse” – Use Your Illusion I (Rose)
In some ways, one of the most personal moments from Axl on either album. In fact, W.A.R. himself wrote the main guitar riff for the song.
19. “Perfect Crime” – Use Your Illusion I (Slash, Stradlin, Rose)
Maybe the only bad thing to say about this one is that it’s over too soon. Possibly Slash’s fiercest solo this side of the end of “Paradise City.”
18. “Get In The Ring” – Use Your Illusion II (Rose, Slash, McKagan)
Originally a Duff-penned tune called “Why Do You Look at Me When You Hate Me?,” Axl tacked on a savage rant against the music press before it made it into the UYI sessions. Admittedly, the insults here aren’t much better than those on “Shotgun Blues,” but hearing Axl proclaim, “Bob Guccione, Jr. at Spin/What you pissed off because your dad gets more pussy than you?” can’t help but make one smile every time.
17. “Live and Let Die” – Use Your Illusion I (Paul and Linda McCartney)
A strong if not all-too-faithful cover of a Wings classic. Rumor has it Slash was against the horns, and one can only wonder how much better the song would have been had he gotten his wish.
16. “Yesterdays” – Use Your Illusion II (Rose, West Arkeen, Del James, Billy McCloud)
Who are all these other writers and what are they doing on a Guns N’ Roses song? Of course anyone (obsessively) familiar with GN’R knows the names West Arkeen and Del James well. The studio cut is a classic, but the version found on the Live Era compilation is especially potent.
15. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” – Use Your Illusion II (Bob Dylan)
Not a popular opinion, but Guns did their strongest covers on The Spaghetti Incident? Still, this one gets points for being a rock radio staple, and for possibly being more popular than the original (Sorry, Dylan fans.)
14. “Bad Obsession” – Use Your Illusion I (Stradlin, West Arkeen)
Featuring Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks on harmonica (the instrument’s only appearance on a GN’R song), “Bad Obsession” was a primarily Izzy-penned tune that tackled the all-too-familiar topic of addiction. After leaving the band, Stradlin was replaced by Gilby Clarke for the Use Your Illusion world tour. During the tour, Axl took a jab as Izzy, introducing “Bad Obsession” by saying, "This a song that we wrote about one year before ‘Mr. Brownstone’ with the help of our friend West Arkeen and some guy that just, I don't know, his name just escapes me.”
13. “Dust N’ Bones” – Use Your Illusion I (Stradlin, Slash, McKagan)
The second track on the first disc, hearing Izzy singing lead probably threw Guns fans for a loop. “Dust N’ Bones” marks the second GNR song featuring a talk box, and for my money, the best.
12. “Pretty Tied Up” – Use Your Illusion II (Stradlin)
Who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned rock 'n' roll song about S&M? While already the hottest guitar duo in the world by the time Use Your Illusion hit, Izzy and Slash really showed their instrumental range on these albums, instanced here by Izzy’s use of sitar in the song’s intro. One question remains, though: Does he say “cool and stressing” or “cool ranch dressing”?
11. “14 Years” – Use Your Illusion II (Stradlin, Rose)
Stradlin and Rose go back the farthest of any of the band members, both growing up in the small town of Lafayette, Indiana. Izzy wrote “14 Years” about the nature of the friendship between the two, and fortunately got to play the song live a few times before said friendship would end and Izzy would leave the band for good.
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