Albums on my first listen that were revelations:

  • The Velvet Underground & Nico
  • The Beatles Rubber Soul
  • Public Enemy Fear of a Black Planet
  • Nirvana Nevermind
  • Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here
  • REM Murmur
  • Miles Davis Kind of Blue
  • Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique
  • Joy Division Closer

Not making the cut, but a great listen still, was the gnarly, blistering, cocksure debut album from Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction.

Loud, mean, debauched, honest. It’s thrashing guitar, searing beat, vicious lyrics and piercing vocals demanded you get out of its way, just listen as it devours everything before it.

Guns N’ Roses were quickly rewarded for that sonic mania, with fame, fortune and women, all in 20th century-optimized abundance.

And they were never again the same.

Garden of Eden is the perfect example of their fall from debase.

It’s fast, it’s loud, it’s Axl and Slash, it’s at their peak of power and it’s just not that good. The rawness is gone. Glib, overproduced, preening. The talent is there but the spirit has become fat and flagging. At least they got the lyrics right, even if you could tell they no longer quite meant what they said. Or if they did mean it still, they no longer possessed the rage to make it real.

“Lost in the garden of Eden
Said we’re lost in the garden of Eden
And there’s no one’s gonna believe this
But we’re lost in the garden of Eden
This fire is burnin’
And it’s out of control
It’s not a problem you can stop
It’s rock n’ roll
Suck on that”

It’s rock n’ roll, no doubt, but you can tell even they no longer feel it. The fire isn’t burning, it’s gone dead.

“Most organized religions make
A mockery of humanity
Our governments are dangerous
And out of control
The garden of Eden is just another graveyard
Said if they had someone to buy it
Said I’m sure they’d sell my soul”

Guns N’ Roses didn’t sell their soul, that isn’t possible, but they did bury it under all the stuff they could buy.


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