The cover story of the latest Rolling Stone was staring at me on my way out of the apartment a couple days ago, haphazardly stacked among mailers for missing children and strewn coupon rags:
GUNS N’ ROSES: APPETITE TURNS 20
I was on my way to braving the morning commute, and wound up thinking about the fact that Guns n’ Roses really did put out Appetite for Destruction twenty years ago. Wow. Twenty years. I turned 11 that year all the while agreeing wholeheartedly that the riffs on “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” were fucking badass.
That was a pinnacle album. At the time, it was all about huge hair, neon lipstick and metal cheese. The external was the focus as bands partied hard and used their groupies to sell the image. It’s a lot like what’s happening now with rap music as its message has more or less been eviscerated by its masturbatory boasting of material wealth and “ho’s.” The music took a backseat and the crowd was okay with that, so long as there was something glamorous to look at and a superficial hook to sing along with.
Appetite made a bold statement that romanticized the ugly and made it all about the music once again. Raw and unapologetic, Gn’R somehow managed to capitalize on its anti-glamour and started a rift wherein glam metal was thankfully losing steam and the hair was starting to flatten. For me, it was their only good album. It all went downhill once Axl went Elton.
Since Appetite’s reign, there’ve been many breakthrough albums. Twenty years worth of blown minds, revived rebellion, vulgarity, drugged-out delusion, recycled sounds, samples, guitars, drums, turntables…it’s all found its way into your minds and into the minds of your impressionable children, ready to inspire or ruin. I had to wonder, though: Twenty years later, have we had an album like Appetite since? Has there been an album since that’s managed to cross into otherworldly territory and reminded the public how guitars are REALLY supposed to be played?
Letters From A Tapehead