Thursday, January 27, 2011

Song of the Day: Guns N' Roses - Rocket Queen

Like R.E.M.'s Green, Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction was a game-changer for me. I distinctly remember hearing "Sweet Child O' Mine" at my seventh-grade dance, and pretty much half the album was on Top 40 radio.

But my fondest memory is my dad buying me a copy of the album on cassette at the flea market. When he gave it to me, it was pretty obvious, even to my 12-year-old self, that it was a bootleg copy - the cover art looked like it was copied on a cheap printer, and the tape itself had no labeling on it whatsoever. My dad still jokes about it till this day.

The other thing I remember is my parents listening to the album (without me around) and telling me they didn't approve of it. Thankfully they didn't forbid me from listening to it, but I knew why they didn't like it - what you don't hear on the radio is the cursing, the orgasm sounds...oh, and the references to heroin (no matter they are so oblique I didn't know what "Mr. Brownstone" meant until I was in college).

However, what you do hear throughout the album is one of the best bands of the '80s. The guitar interplay of rhythm and lead rivals anything from the Stones heyday, the rhythm section drives most of the songs, and of course Axl's voice could melt hearts and make parents cringe.

Without a doubt one of my favorite songs on the album is the closer "Rocket Queen." Though I could do without the orgasms, this song starts off with the aforementioned rhythm section killing it and closes with a somewhat uncharacteristically sweet Axl (starting with "I see you standing...").

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