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Music / Appetite for Destruction

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Just an urchin livin' under the street
I'm a hard case that's tough to beat

Click for the original version (NSFW!) 
She's got a smile it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky

Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I'd stare too long, I'd probably break down and cry
"Sweet Child o' Mine"

Appetite for Destruction is the debut studio album recorded by American Hard Rock band Guns N' Roses. It was released through Geffen Records on July 21, 1987.

It entered the Billboard charts at the modest 182nd position upon release. A modest critical success at the time, the album began to creep up the charts thanks to strong word of mouth. Aided by a successful - and still in-demand - appearance on MTV's "Live At The Ritz" series and the release of number-one hit "Sweet Child O' Mine", Appetite reached the number one slot in August 1988 and would remain on the charts for 147 weeks. Contemporary pop culture critics noted that shock value made up much of the Gunners' appeal, cynically exploiting taboo subject matter for more press; this censure presumably only helped matters.

In 2018, a Super Deluxe box set was released to celebrate the album's 30th anniversary. Alongside the standard tracklist, it includes several discs with demos, B-sides and live tracks, in addition to a number of merch.


Side G
  1. "Welcome To The Jungle" (4:31)
  2. "It's So Easy" (3:21)
  3. "Nightrain" (4:26)
  4. "Out Ta Get Me" (4:20)
  5. "Mr. Brownstone" (3:48)
  6. "Paradise City" (6:46)

Side R

  1. "My Michelle" (3:39)
  2. "Think About You" (3:50)
  3. "Sweet Child O' Mine" (5:55)
  4. "You're Crazy" (3:25)
  5. "Anything Goes" (3:25)
  6. "Rocket Queen" (6:13)

Principal Members:

  • Steven Adler - drums
  • Duff McKagen - bass, vocals
  • W. Axl Rose - lead vocals, synthesizer, whistle, percussion
  • Slash - guitar
  • Izzy Stradlin - guitar, vocals, percussion

You know where you are? You're in the trope list, baby! You're gonna die!

  • Album Filler: In an extremely rare case, intended filler track "Sweet Child O' Mine" became the band's single most famous song. The last minute even features Izzy Stradlin repeatedly asking "Where do we go?" - the band hit a brick wall trying to complete the lyrics, and after Axl started questioning "Where do we go? Where do we go now?", the producer suggested that that become the last line. In spite of all that, a signature riff, an emotional vocal and a series of famous solos have made an iconic song out of a bit of "circus music" the band publicly bashed.
  • Alternate Album Cover: The original cover depicts the Robert Williams painting Appetite for Destruction, which showcases a metallic monster bearing down on an oblivious robot rapist who's just finished assaulting a human woman. After retailers objected to the illustration and refused to stock the album, the painting was moved to the inner sleeve, and a new cover was designed featuring an illustration of the band members' skulls decorating a Celtic cross (which was originally included as a temporary tattoo).
  • Badass Boast: "It's So Easy" has the straightforward "See me hit you, you fall down!".
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: "It's So Easy" is a song about the emptiness of getting everything you want and living an easy life.
    Ya get nothin' for nothin' if that's what you do
    Turn around bitch I got a use for you
    Besides, you ain't got nothin' better to do,
    And I'm bored!
  • Big Rock Ending: Most tracks. "Think About You" and "Rocket Queen" stand out for capping out tender songs\parts.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: "Welcome To The Jungle" applies the tropes to Los Angeles rather than the traditional New York City, as explained during the Ritz show.
    Axl: 'Bout five or six years ago, I hitch-hiked here and ended up stuck out in the middle of this place. Climbed up out of the free-way, this little old black man comes up to me and my friend with our backpacks and about ten bucks between us, and he goes, "You know where you are? You in the jungle, baby! You gonna die!" That's a true story, that ain't no lie! So, welcome to the jungle, Ritz!
  • B-Side: Live covers of "Whole Lotta Rosie" and "Knockin On Heaven's Door" made it onto the back of Appetite singles.
  • Crazy Survivalist: "Out ta Get Me" is about a guy who's paranoid of the danger, but believes he can fend off the perils.
  • Creepy Crosses: How else would you call the cross on the album cover, featuring five skulls of the band members?
  • Deconstruction: Of hedonistic Hair Metal subject matter, especially drug addiction and sexual conquest.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The original controversial album cover by Robert Williams. The replacement cover is by Billy White Jr.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Played with. Drugs have negative consequences in these songs— users can't get out of bed, built-up tolerance creates a cycle of abuse, and the comedowns are awful— but the effects are depicted as positive as well. "When you're high, you never, ever wanna come down" indeed.
  • Epic Rocking: "Paradise City" and "Rocket Queen", both surpassing 6 minutes and with some tempo changes (though the former only goes faster aside from a break).
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: LP and cassette releases split the tracklist across a "Side G" and a "Side R", referring to the "GNR" initialism for the band's name.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: For the moans in "Rocket Queen", Axl banged Steven Adler's girlfriend seeking revenge on the studio (leading the liner notes to credit the guy who caught it on tape as "The fuckin' engineer"). Slash notes in his autobiography that she was loud enough during sex that he couldn't sleep.
  • Intercourse with You: "Anything Goes". The opening lyric is even "I've thinking 'bout, thinking 'bout sex".
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Many don't notice how the narrator of "Paradise City" is going through a hard life - thus the suffering verses lead to an uplifting chorus that is basically "I wanna go home!".
  • Mood Whiplash: The most tender songs ("Think About You" and "Sweet Child O'Mine") are between two really loud and brash tracks with content bordering on Anti-Love Song ("My Michelle" and "You're Crazy").
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Nightrain", for alcohol. "Mr. Brownstone" for heroin.
  • One-Woman Song: "My Michelle", "Rocket Queen".
  • Power Ballad: Album closer "Rocket Queen" inverts the typical structure, starting off as a heavy rock song about propositioning an older woman and winding its way down into a sensitive ballad.
  • Precision F-Strike: Many songs.
    • "It's So Easy"
      "I see you standin' there/You think you're so cool/Why don't you just/Fuck off!"
      "It's so easy, so fuckin' easy!"
    • "Out Ta Get Me"
      "I got somethin' I been buildin' up inside for so fuckin' long!"
      "I'm fuckin' innocent!"
    • "Mr. Brownstone"
      "But that old man he's a real motherfucker"
    • "You're Crazy".
      "You're crazy (oh yeah) You're fucking crazy!"
  • Radio Friendliness: The band had a curious relationship with this trope, picking lyrics at times specifically to write "something that would get played on the radio" (particularly "Paradise City") but responded poorly to changes from without, leading to Creator Backlash against "Sweet Child O' Mine", whose single cut lost a solo. This, combined with Axl's sense that the then-emerging classic rock format cheapened songs by overplay, may have had something to do with the rash of radio-unfriendly marathon ballads on the Illusion twins.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "My Michelle" about a friend of the band, a girl named Michelle Young, whose father indeed worked in the pornography industry and whose mother had suffered through a drug addiction and died.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The original album cover featured a painting of a rape robot by Robert Williams. Certain songs glorify alcohol, drugs and sex.
  • Same Content, Different Rating: The "clean" and explicit versions of the album are the same. The "clean" version is simply an unstickered version intended to be sold at Walmart and other locations that refuse to sell stickered content.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: The album's lyrics in a nutshell. Izzy even described "Think About You" as "a quick love song about drugs, sex, Hollywood and money".
  • Shout-Out: "Captain America's been torn apart, now he's a court jester with a broken heart. He said, 'Turn me around and take me back to the start.'"
  • Skull for a Head: The band members on the album cover.
  • Spell My Name with an S: "Nightrain" is a homage to a cheap Californian wine brand named Night Train Express, deliberately spelled wrong in the song's title.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Think About You" and "Sweet Child O'Mine". The last half of "Rocket Queen" too.
  • Take That!: "Sweet Child O' Mine" was the target of a famous Take That! from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on 1989's Mother's Milk, which used the famous riff at the end of "Punk Rock Classic", a song about pay-for-play.
  • You're Insane!: "You're Crazy", where the insanity leads into break-up.