Great Metal Albums of 1988: Guns ‘N’ Roses- GNR Lies

Much controversy has always surrounded the “GNR Lies” album from Guns ‘N’ Roses. At the time, some said it was a cheap attempt by the band to cash in on the holiday season. In addition, there was controversy over some of the songs, “One in a Million,” in particular. While some of the lyrics of the closer make me cringe, the rest of the album is quite enjoyable.

“GNR Lies” is divided into two halves. The first half consists of songs recorded from the live “Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide” album. “Reckless Life” opens the album very well and definitely sets the mood for the album, at least the first half. This is followed up by a cover of Rose Tattoo’s “Nice Boys.” Guns ‘N’ Roses definitely make this cover their own. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place if it had been on the iconic “Appetite for Destruction” album. Axl’s voice sounds clean and there is cool guitar solo from Slash and just to throw it in, a nice little bass solo from Duff.

For me, the best track on the album is “Move to the City.” There’s a definite swagger to this one and this song makes me regret not seeing the band back in their heyday of the late 1980s. Furthermore, it proves that men are capable of multi-tasking as I have been able to bop along to the song while I am typing this and I’m probably one of the world’s worst typists. Back in high school, I passed typing class only by the skin of my teeth. Ending the live first half, introduced by Axl as a “song about your fuckin’ mother,” is a cover of Aerosmith’s “Mama Kin.” Actually, this is a good cover and it could be a possible Original vs. Cover post in the future. That’s if of course, 2Loud doesn’t want to do it.

The second half of the album consists of all acoustic songs. A nice little ballad called “Patience” leads it off. Axl’s whistling and the intricate strumming on acoustic guitars are definitely ear catching. If only this song had come out a few years earlier, I would have definitely used it as an attempt to get paradise by the dashboard light. It’s one of those ‘we’ll make it whatever’ type of soppy love songs and I do like the acoustic guitar solo on it. Axl stated that his voice sounded rough from touring but he sounded okay here.

“Used to Love Her” is one of those controversial songs. Lyrics like “used to love her but I had to kill her” had some people thinking that the song was talking about murder. It was in fact, written as a joke after Izzy heard a song on the radio about some guy whining over how badly his girlfriend had treated him. Often thought about one of the band member’s ex-girlfriends, it was actually about Axl’s dog. I do like the Elvis era sounding guitar solo. Next, we get a reworking of “You’re Crazy” from the “Appetite for Destruction” album. Whenever I hear a rock song given the acoustic treatment, I often hold my breath before listening to it but in this case, afterwards, I let out a nice breath of relief.

Finally, we get to the most controversial song on the album, closer “One in a Million.” This song has been slammed for being racist and homophobic back then, Imagine if they had put this one out these days. The ‘N’ word is used quite liberally throughout and lyrics pointed to the LBGT community doesn’t help things either. If you can get past the lyrics, the music behind the song is outstanding, shame really. At one point, Axl goes almost Led Zeppelin in his vocals.

Track Listing:

  1. Reckless Life
  2. Nice Boys
  3. Move to the City
  4. Mama Kin
  5. Patience
  6. Used to Love Her
  7. You’re Crazy
  8. One in a Million

Guns ‘N’ Roses

W. Axl Rose- lead vocals, whistling. piano

Slash- lead guitar

Izzy Stradlin- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Duff ‘Rose’ McKagan- bass, backing vocals

Steven Adler- drums

It was said that back in 1988, Guns ‘N’ Roses could have made an album of Baptist hymns and it would have gone platinum. Despite the controversy, “GNR Lies” is a pretty good album. At least it gave the fans something to listen to until the next album came along.

Next post: Magnum- Wings of Heaven

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32 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1988: Guns ‘N’ Roses- GNR Lies”

  1. There were many song lyrics from decades ago that are so cringe worthy. I always shake my head at Ringo Starr’s You’re Sixteen’ and of course ‘Christine Sixteen’… especially with Gene Simmons singing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This was a good release, even if it was a “cash-in” it offered up some quality stuff. One In A Million, yeah that was a bit much. For awhile I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he was doing it as like a character piece, but then slowly over the years it came out that he was just mad at black people and gay people, and that the rest of the band hated the song. Used To Love Her is funny, don’t know why people got worked up over that one.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Axl Rose doesn’t really come across as a sensitive new age guy.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Marmite this lot. Not for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember loving everything this band did when they first came out. Patience for sure. Appreciate your article!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I bet you’re better at typing than I am. My typing is so slow that I only type with one hand for the most part lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like this one. Actually found a CD recently and had to have it. Heck, it was only $.99. Cheap!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It wouldn’t be a GNR album without some controversy.

    Liked by 1 person

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