Re-release of the fourth full-length album by the legendary American Hard Rock/Blues/Glam Metal band.
It was the second of two albums released in conjunction with the Use Your Illusion Tour, the other being "Use Your Illusion I". The two are thus sometimes considered a double album - in fact both were double albums consisting of 2 vinyl records each. This was the last Guns N' Roses album to feature rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin. It also included the last Guns N' Roses song to feature drummer Steven Adler (Civil War).
The essence of Hard Rock-mixed Blues (matching the color of the cover) is amazing and more refined than the previous albums and some ballads that have always been a part of G N' R. Axl's awesome voice in his prime lets you know what this is about, the solos by Slash have their unique signature that give G N' R its soul, Izzy contributes with his songwriting - and backing up Slash, Duff brings deepness to the music. Matt fits perfectly in his debut.
The production is flawless - you can hear every instrument clearly and with the exact volume to appreciate the entire performance.
On the other hand, they may have just taken what Led Zeppelin did 20 years before to another level. Many of the songs have the same basis, and it feels like the piano is the same in every song.
"Use Your Illusion II" is more serious and ambitious than "Use Your Illusion I", but it's also considerably more pretentious. Featuring no less than four songs that run over six minutes, "Use Your Illusion II" is Heavy on epics, whether it's the charging Funk Metal of "Locomotive", the antiwar "Civil War" or the multipart "Estranged." As if an attempt to balance the grandiose epics, the record is loaded with an extraordinary amount of filler. "14 Years" may have a lean, Stonesy rhythm and Duff McKagan's Johnny Thunders homage, "So Fine," may be entertaining, but there's no forgiving the ridiculous "Get in the Ring," where Axl Rose threatens Rock journalists by name because they gave him bad reviews; the misinterpretation of Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"; another version of "Don't Cry"; and the bizarre closer, "My World", which probably captures Rose's instability as effectively as the tortured poetry of his epics. That said, there are numerous strengths to "Use Your Illusion II"; a couple of songs have a nervy energy, and for all their pretensions, the overblown epics are effective, though strangely enough, they reveal notorious homophobe Rose's aspirations of being a cross between Elton John and Freddie Mercury. But the pompous production and poor pacing make the album tiring for anyone who isn't a dedicated listener.
Bolstered by the lead single "You Could Be Mine", "Use Your Illusion II" was the slightly more popular of the two albums,, selling 770000 copies in its first week and debuting at No. 1 on the U.S. charts. Each of the "Use Your Illusion" albums has been certified 7× Platinum by the RIAA. It was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1992. It was also No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart for a single week. The album has recently received critical acclaim again in 2011, being featured on Triple M Radio's Life-Changing Album series in Australia, with the station playing numerous tracks with commentary.
The album as a whole is truly great. This is perfect as a beginning into the world of Metal as an entrance to heavier stuff!
The David Geffen Company/MCA, 1991 (GED 24420 / GEFD 24420 / 424 420-2). Made in Germany.
1. Civil War 7:36
2. 14 Years 4:17
3. Yesterdays 3:13
4. Knockin' On Heaven's Door 5:36
5. Get In The Ring 5:29
6. Shotgun Blues 3:23
7. Breakdown 6:58
8. Pretty Tied Up 4:46
9. Locomotive 8:42
10. So Fine 4:09
11. Estranged 9:20
12. You Could Be Mine 5:48
13. Don't Cry (Alternate Lyrics) 4:42
14. My World 1:22
Total playing time: 75:21