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October 23, 1991 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-10-23

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 23, 1991 - Page 7

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Guns N' Roses
Use Your Illusion I & II
Finally! The long awaited re-
lease of Guns N' Roses' new al-
bum(s) Use Your Illusion I & II is
finally upon us, and the finished
product, for millions of fans nation-
wide, was well worth the wait.
They're back - and badder than
The band, which has, after a brief
hiatus, reclaimed the covers of all of
the major music mags across the
country, has undergone a few
changes since their release of their
last album, Appetite For Destruc-
tion. Although these changes may
seem minimal on the surface, the
results of these subtle modifica-
tions have had an enormous impact
on the band's musical style.
The group's first change came
when they decided to oust drummer
Steven Adler, allegedly because of
9 heroin abuse (wait a minute - you
mean band guys do drugs?)
Replacing Adler is Matt Sorum
(previously of the Cult), who plays
drums on all tracks except "Civil,
War," which was released last year,
prior to the band's disposal of
Adler. This change in personnel has
made Guns much more solid
rhythmically. Instead of Adler's
style of four bars beat/four bars
solo, Matt lays down a hard,
pounding rhythm line that drives
through an entire song, allowing
guitarist Slash and vocalist Axl
enough freedom to do their thing
while still maintaining some sort
of unity within the song.
The band also added a sixth
dimension to its music - keyboards
(yes, keyboards in Guns N' Roses)
- played by Axl, Duff, Dizzy and
collaborator Johann Langlie. The ad-
dition of piano, as well as many
other synthesized keyboard parts,
provides this album with many new
textural possibilities, whether as
the leading instrumentation in a
song like "November Rain" (Axl's
own personal baby) or as simple
lines that fill in the empty spaces, as
in "Live and Let Die."
Other subtle changes include: the
acquisition of producer Mike Clink,
who has provided Guns with a much
cleaner, more polished product than
was present in their previous record-
ings; the addition of a female
gospel-style chorus in tracks such as
the band's two respectfully-pro-
duced cover tunes, "Live and Let
Die" and "Knockin' on Heaven's
Door"; and much more topically
mature lyrical choices on cuts like
"Civil War," a song about the cor-
ruption of power hungry leaders,
wand "November Rain." All of these
minor changes, when put together,
seem to give the album a touch of...
a touch of... class?
However, even acknowledging
the production quality and excel-
lent musicianship that is prevalent
throughout a good portion of this
:album, it's difficult to ignore the
band's obvious desire to remain con-
:troversial. Often, the band's insis-
tence on the use of profanity and ex-
tremely wild and metallic guitar
riffs to deal with sexual and other
morally questionable themes seems
contrived and out of place in an oth-
erwise controlled musical environ-
ment. Or is it the other way around?
Either way, there seems to be

two very different bands present on
these new albums: one Guns N'
Roses committed to style, and the
other Guns N' Roses committed to
- Tom Nixon
Tin Machine
Tin Machine IH
Victory Music
When Tin Machine was formed,
my initial reaction was a guilty sort
of angst. After David Bowie's last
feeble attempt at an album (Never
Let Me Down, 1987) my expecta-
tions were at an all-time low. As
usual, the Thin White Duke sur-
prised me. Tin Machine was hard-
hitting, refreshing and, best of all,
seemed to signal a new era in Bo-
"Under The God" and the cover
of John Lennon's "Working Class
Hero" provided brash guitars and
seething lyrics which revitalized
my deflated opinion of Bowie's abi-
lities as an aging artist. The impres-
sive "Pretty Pink Rose" (co-au-
thored with Adrian Belew on Young
Lions, 1990) was another indication
of a Bowie comeback.
Well, it was fun while it lasted.
Tin Machine II is a sophomoric

lyrical and musical strengths of the
The saving grace lies in Bowie's
lyrics. Flourishing lines like,;
"Where the frangipani scents the
air... she mouths a word that breaks
his stare" and "Speak in extremes/
it'll save you time" contrast with
the simplicity of "You can't talk/
You can't see me drowning/ You
can't talk/ I don't see you swim-
ming." These aren't the sorts of
lyrical statements which have
helped Bowie achieve his success in
the past; however, they seem to sig-
nal a progression with the hopes of
delivering a new message. Bowie
seems more concerned with investi-
gating common occurrences - no
longer does he contemplate life on
Mars; instead he reminds us that "It.
doesn't matter I've seen everything
This album clearly possesses a
refreshing deviation in instrumenta-
tion, but as a whole, it lacks the el-
ements which made their first so
impressive. Every single song on the
first album was tight, both lyri-

cally and musically. They encom-
passed the frenzied existence that
the musicians recognized as a real-
ity. The driving force behind the
songs may have been the creative
spark felt at the beginning of the re-
lationship between Bowie, Hunt and
Tony Sales, and Reeves Gabrels.
Each endeavor seemed to be a group
effort and resulted in success.
Tin Machine Ii, however, is not
without its strong points. Bowie's
saxophone reappears coupled with a
heavy bass line in "You Belong In
Rock & Roll" to create one of .the
most-innovative songs of the past
few years, and.is the best song on the
album. Acoustic guitars and a piano
make appearances and clearly en-
hance the presentation. Bowie rec-
ognizes his place in the world of
music; he truly "belong(s) in rock
and roll," whether it be as Ziggy or
as a member of Tin Machine.
-Debra Power
Various Artists --
Guitar Speak III
This disc is a widely varied as-

Tin Machine is: (l-r) Eavid Bowie, Hunt Sales, Tony-Sales and Reeves Gabrels. Ain't they hip?

sortment of -instrumentals by
renowned.guitarists.. The big names-
represented here include Nils.
Lofgren of Springsteen's E. Street.

Band, Mick Taylor. of the Rolling
Stones, Steve Morse, and the name
that I was most excited to see, Bob
.Mould. Unless you are a big fan of

guitar instrumental music, this disc
will bore the hell out of you.
However, if you are a guitarist-or a
See RECORDS, Page 8

r e

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