Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Guns N' Roses discography

Guns N’ Roses discography — We rate the albums and singles from the metal band

Posted on

Guns N’ Roses discography

Talk about unprolific: Over the course of five years, Guns N’ Roses have released only 22 songs. But those tracks encompass flat-out rockers, uneasy lullabies, and epochal castles of sound — more stylistic maneuvers than most bands accomplish in a career. A few questions about the band’s ultimate worth remain unanswered: For instance, are Slash’s wah-wah guitar hurricanes innovative or — despite their power — merely a salad-bar smorgasbord of rock guitar clichés? Even so, the Gunners’ abbreviated discography — in all, one album, one lengthy EP, one song on a soundtrack, another on a charity compilation, and a new single — is a force to be reckoned with.

Appetite for Destruction (1987)
”I got somethin’ I been buildin’ up inside,” sings Axl Rose on ”Out ta Get Me,” and over the course of this tour de force debut, he and the band let it out, making hard-rock platitudes — pop star as outlaw, wanton drug references, the fed-up voice of society’s underdog — sound fresh and relevant. You could also credit the album’s success to timing (competition was scarce), marketing, songs that stuck to your gut (”Paradise City,” ”Welcome to the Jungle”), and producer Mike Clink’s sonic-rush production. Just don’t forget the way Slash’s guitar veers from sounding like a soothing violin to imitating a castrated jungle beast in ”Sweet Child O’ Mine.” A

GN’R Lies (1988)
Appetite had been riding the charts for nearly two years, and with no second album even remotely in sight, the band filled in the gap by releasing this eight-song toss-off, which combines their 1986 EP Live?!*@ Like a Suicide (originally released on an independent label) with four new acoustic tracks. On their old cuts, the young club band nearly careens off the stereo with manic energy, if not originality. The new material is more problematic: The mantra-like ”Patience” is one of band’s most delicate moments, but on the notorious ”One in a Million,” Rose, spitting out epithets like ”nigger” and ”faggot,” comes off as inexcusably racist and homophobic. B

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (on the Days of Thunder soundtrack, 1990)
Who else could pull off the umpteenth cover of Bob Dylan’s ode to Billy the Kid’s murder? These guys, of course, who use the song’s resigned, ready-to-meet-my- maker tone to embellish their fast-lane image, while putting their own steamroller stamp on it. B+

Civil War” (on Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal, 1990)
An old-fashioned protest song: Axl railing against ”the world we’re killing” when we ”feed the rich and bury the poor” during wartime. But as seven monolithic minutes build to a tense, moving crunch, there’s nothing retro about it. Hearing this is like taking a long hike up a mountain — when you make it to the top, the view is breathtaking. A

You Could Be Mine” (a cassette single from the soundtrack of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 1991)
The first official tidbit to be released from the long-delayed dual albums Use Your Illusion I and II, this is a return to the band’s bludgeoning metal roots. The melody isn’t one of their most shining, but a ferocious Rose yowl redeems it. B