Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Appetite for Destruction: "Anything Goes"

"Anything Goes" is the second valley on Appetite for Destruction, after "Out ta Get Me." It's no "Mr. Brownstone," yet it's indispensable to the song cycle. I bet that the decision-makers in GNR can make killer mix tapes.

"Anything Goes" was written in 1981, when Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin were both 19, for their band Hollywood Rose.  Here's a demo version:

Would you believe that this is the first available sign of the greatest metal album in history? It sounds almost tossed-off on Appetite, but listen to how much more confident and less derivative it became over the years. The ZZ Top-esque breakdowns are gone, the harmonies are much tighter and aimless shredding has been ditched for punk ferocity. Patience has always been Axl and Izzy's best virtue.

Music critics fetishize Nirvana as the band that put a stake through the collective glam metal heart, but GNR did something much harder. On "Anything Goes," they beat glam on its own turf, with Slash exhibiting talk box solos that sounded more like someone (and at one point, a rooster) being strangled than Peter Frampton. "Anything Goes" even steals glam metal's (well, all of music's) favorite theme and takes away the safety net. There's no assurance that anything goes as long as it works out in the end, or as long as we stay together. Just as long as Axl says it does.

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