The 10 Weirdest Guns N’ Roses Songs

Guns ‘n’ Roses brought hard rock back to the Stone Age with their earth-shattering 1987 debut album Appetite for destructionchanneling people who The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Six guns across 12 streetwise tales of hard living that rejected the cartoonish decadence of the Sunset Strip glam-metal scene. But no-frills hard rock would never be enough for the mercurial, wildly ambitious Axel Roseas this list of the 10 weirdest Guns N’ Roses songs proves.

Once Appetite made them the biggest band in the world, Guns N’ Roses immediately began taking wild sonic detours from the acoustic odysseys of GN’R Lie to the 10-minute orchestral ballads and prog-metal epics about the twin Use your illusion records. As Rose emerged from his decade-plus seclusion with the 2008s Chinese democracyGuns N’ Roses didn’t even sound like the same band broadcasting Appetite – because they weren’t.

It would be tempting to slap 10 Chinese democracy numbers on this list and call it a day, but Guns N’ Roses’ entire career is littered with songs that were downright amazing upon release and remain head-scratchers today. Here are Guns N’ Roses’ 10 weirdest songs, from breezy ballads to alt-metal bangers.

10. “You Ain’t the First” (from the 1991s Use your illusion I)

Guns N’ Roses had already explored their acoustic side in the 1988s GNR Liebut they took it to a new level on this “full pirate song”, as then drummer Matt Sorum once described it. With tasty slide guitar licks and Izzy Stradlin‘s languid lead vocal, “You Ain’t the First” evokes the dilapidated looseness of Exile on Main St.-era Stones, probably because the band members were so drunk during the recording session that they could barely stand. The great sonic departure is made even more jarring by the fact that “You Ain’t the First” is split between the speed metal “Perfect Crime” and the lean blues rocker “Bad Obsession”.

Read more: ‘You Ain’t the First’ became Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Drunken Pirate Song’

9. “Out to Love Her” (from the 1988s GN’R Lie)

For exactly the first five syllables out of Rose’s mouth, “Used to Love Her” sounds like the kind of lovesick roots-rock lament that Mick and Keef had mastered nearly two decades earlier. Then the punchline – “But I had to kill her” – lands. “I was listening to the radio and some guy was whining about a broad who treated him badly,” Stradlin shared Superstar Facts & Pix in 1988. “I wanted to take the radio and smash it against the wall. Such self-pity! What a bitch! So we rewrote the same song we heard with a better ending.” A song as blatantly macabre and misogynistic as “Used to Love Her” should immediately registered as a joke – but Rose certainly doesn’t sound like he’s joking.

8. “Breakdown” (from the 1991s Use your illusion II)

“Breakdown” isn’t the longest or most grandiose track on Use your illusion discs – “November Rain”, “Estranged” and “Coma” all want a word – but this is definitely one of the strangest. The song opens with a down-home banjo-and-flute intro, swells to a Elton John-style piano repos, digresses into fiery rock guitar tales, and ends with – *checks sheet music* – Rose reciting a Cleavon Little monologue from the 1971 film Vanishing point. He absolutely does it most of the time, barking”Let me hear it now!” in an exaggerated baritone, evoking the sound of a roaring tornado with his drawn-out, raspy screams. It’s no wonder that Sorum “lost it a few times” while laying down the drums for this song, according to Slash.

Read more: The Guns N’ Roses Dustups That Led To ‘Breakdown’

7. “Get in the Ring” (from the 1991s Use your illusion II)

Most rock stars have a beef with the press at some point; some of them even vent their grievances in song. But very few of them call out their critics by name in an X-rated interlude that includes zingers like “Fuck you, suck my fucking dick!“and”Get in the ring, damn it, and I’ll kick your bitchy little ass! Punk!” But hey, Axl Rose is just built differently. Even without the rant, “Get in the Ring” is a ridiculously overstuffed rocker that features live crowd chanting, childish schoolyard banter.”I don’t like you, I just hate you, I want to kick your ass!“) and a campy introduction to the band. Each of these elements would fail spectacularly on their own, but together they make for a glorious rock’n’roll mess—though Bob Guccione, Jr. might beg to differ.

Read more: When Axl Rose went ballistic in the press in ‘Get in the Ring’

6. “Coma” (from the 1991s U.Se Your Illusion I)

With its 10-plus minute running time and linear structure, “Coma” is the most Herculean effort on Use your illusion album. Slash wrote the song while in a so-called “heroin delirium,” basing the eerie, prog-metal stomper on a “repeated pattern that grew increasingly mathematical and involved in its precision as it progressed.” Rose’s lyrics were inspired by a stress-induced drug overdose he suffered years earlier, and several spiky sound effects—a panicked ER call, a flatlining heart monitor, a chorus of berating ex-girlfriends—harness his descent into unconsciousness. After a violent jolt back to reality, he closes the song with a furious stream of consciousness. “Coma” is one of Guns N’ Roses’ darkest and most cinematic songs, and Rose admitted it was “one of the best things I’ve ever written.”

Read more: Slash’s ‘Coma’ pushed Guns N’ Roses into complicated territory

5. “Scraped” (from the 2008s Chinese democracy)

Even on an album that serves up industrial metal, trip-hop and glam rock in equal measure, “Scraped” is a doozy. Nothing can fully prepare your body for the blunt force of half a dozen Auto-Tuned Axls roaring out of your speakers in the song’s acapella intro. From there, “Scraped” settles into a grinding funk-metal groove, with Rose delivering self-empowering mantras (a rarity for the often somber or introspective frontman) in a pinched, heavily processed mid-range voice. There are also some bizarre vocal clips at the 1:19 mark – God only knows if that was a glaring editing error or a bold artistic statement on Rose’s part.

4. “If the World” (from the 2008s Chinese democracy)

Guns N’ Roses previously covered Wings“Live and Let Die,” the title song for 1973 James Bond movie. So it makes sense that Axl Rose would release his own fictional Bond theme 17 years later. What makes less sense is its wild fusion of trip-hop beats, flamenco guitar, synth strings, electro-funk pulses and bluesy piano tickles. “If the World” is one of the most distinctive songs Guns N’ Roses has ever released, but Rose’s 150 percent vocal conviction and lush, atmospheric production make it endlessly fascinating nonetheless.

3. “Oh my God” (from the 1999s End of days soundtrack)

Any lingering doubts about Axl Rose’s evolving musical interests were immediately quashed when he emerged from his half-decade seclusion with “Oh My God,” which evokes Nine inch seam and Marilyn Mansonand performed on End of days soundtrack together with e.g Cereal, Limp Bizkit and Rob Zombie. Heavy guitar feedback, hollow drums and Rose’s hyper-distorted wails dominate the blistering industrial-metal track, punctuated by a catchy dance-beat bridge and a few bits of playfully clean vocals. Taken at face value, “Oh My God” is a fun, pulverizing oddity, but it was a disappointing and underachieving comeback. Slash even said in 2000 that the track “convinced me that my departure had been a wise decision and that Axl and I were definitely no longer on the same wavelength musically.”

2. “My World” (from the 1992s Use your illusion II)

Axl Rose kept his finger on the pulse of musical trends and tried to update Guns N’ Roses’ sound accordingly – sometimes to the chagrin of his bandmates, who on the jaw Use your illusion II closer to “My World.” (“There was a song on that record that I didn’t even know was on it until it came out, ‘My World,'” Izzy Stradlin shared Rolling stones in 1992. “I listened and thought, ‘What the hell is this?'”) In less than 90 seconds, Rose plunged the band headlong into the burgeoning industrial-metal scene pioneered by the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Ministry. Over a rudimentary hip-hop beat augmented by the sound of scraping metal and moaning women, Rose delivers a scathing critique, welcoming listeners into his “sociopsychotic state of bliss” and beckoning “Let’s do it” in his most deranged, psychosexual croon. . In one fell swoop, Rose drew a line between Guns N’ Roses’ past and future, polarizing his colleagues and quite a few fans as only he could.

Read more: Axl Rose’s Divisive ‘My World’ Points to Guns N’ Roses’ Future

1. “Absurd” (2021 single)

Say what you will about the first original Guns N’ Roses song in 30 years featuring Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan, but it is certainly not a misnomer. Originally signed Chinese democracy sessions and recorded in 2001 under the name “Silkworms”, “Absurd” is a roaring punk-metal maelstrom full of pulverizing drums, choppy riffs and some of the dirty, most repulsive texts of Rose’s career. Oh, and then there’s the stunning ambient interlude that breaks up the ruckus, because why not? “Absurd” is brash, tasteless and a laughably illogical choice as a comeback single from the semi-reunited GNR lineup. In other words, it’s classic Guns N’ Roses.

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