Review Of Use Your Illusion II — 4 years ago
The second half of this pseudo double album is a bit more mellow, but cut from the same cloth as Use Your Illusion I.
The best track is not a Guns N’ Roses composition, but the cover of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”, which blows Dylan and Clapton’s versions away. The arrangement fits the song structure well, and Slash’s guitar absolutely sings in his two solo spots. The only thing detracting from it is the telephone dialing noises used in the breakdown. “Civil War” is similarly marred by the inclusion of samples and speech, but even without them the music is a bit cloying.
“You Could Be Mine” starts with a great instrumental introduction, then chugs into one of the best hard rock songs of the decade. “Get In The Ring”, “Locomotive”, and “Shotgun Blues” also recall the hard and fast ways of Appetite For Destruction, though they are not nearly of the same quality. “Shotgun Blues” comes out of the band like the blast of such a firearm, but the call-outs of various critics and journalists spoils “Get In The Ring”.
“Estranged” is not quite as good as “November Rain”, but it is very good. The long instrumental breaks particularly make it enjoyable. Several other songs also defly combine the band’s traditional sound with prominent piano parts: “14 Years”, “Yesterdays”, “Breakdown”, and “So Fine”.
There is a bit of a disappointment in “Pretty Tied Up”, which is just ok, and “Don’t Cry (altern)”, which offers no improvement over the original. The bizarre “My World” sounds as out of place as it is. (Apparently, the band was not aware of its existence until the album had been pressed.) The album as a whole, however, is quite good. Nothing could ever compare to Appetite For Destruction, but Use Your Illusion makes a much better impression than its sibling.