The Use Your Illusion albums are generally considered to be two single albums – released on the same day in 1991 – and probably worthy of joining together and treating as a double album. But when you look at their running times, they’re double albums in their own right. The vinyl version of both albums come spread across two discs, explained by their lengthy running times – one hour and sixteen minutes for the first one, with the second one only a minute shorter. So if you stuck them together, they’d be a quadruple album (or looking at the size of the run-out grooves on some of the sides, they’d probably make them fit across three discs). I don’t know if anybody in their right minds would cope with that sort of running time.
Prior to the release of these albums, fans of Guns N’ Roses thought the sun shone out of their rock star arses. These albums prove otherwise. There’s a hell of a lot of filler on here, albeit alongside some killer singles and worthy album tracks. Yes, an accomplishment, but like most ‘double-albums’ it’s easy to see here how a single disc would have sufficed. Shit, a single disc of the best tracks here would probably rival Appetite For Destruction.
Mentioning Appetite also brings to mind one other notable downer about the Use Your Illusion albums – the sound. Production-wise, Appetite was gritty and sounded dirty as hell, but being the biggest rock band on the planet brings a curse – better equipment, better recording studios, bigger egos and an inability to self-judge in the same way that was possible when recording a debut album.
The music all sounds way too clean in comparison to Appetite – and the addition of keyboards and several other additional instruments takes the band further away from anything remotely cutting-edge or punk, and towards middle-of-the-road commercial acceptance.
Hit: November Rain
Hidden Gem: Dead Horse