G N' R Lies

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G N' R Lies
Guns and Roses GNR Lies.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 29, 1988
StudioRumbo Studios, Take One Studio, and Image Recording Studios
Genre
Length33:31
LabelGeffen
Producer
Guns N' Roses chronology
Guns N' Roses (EP)
(1987)
G N' R Lies
(1988)
Use Your Illusion I
(1991)
Guns N' Roses studio album chronology
Appetite for Destruction
(1987)
G N' R Lies
(1988)
Use Your Illusion I
(1991)
Singles from G N' R Lies
  1. "Patience"
    Released: April 1989

G N' R Lies (also known as Lies) is the second studio album by American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, released on November 29, 1988 by Geffen Records. While officially an extended play, it was treated as a studio album when released. According to the RIAA, the album has sold over five million copies in the United States. It was their last album to feature drummer Steven Adler. "Patience" was the only single released from Lies, and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100.[3] The album has sold over 9.9 million copies worldwide as of March 2018.[4]

Background and recording[edit]

Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide[edit]

The first four tracks consist of the previously released EP Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide.

GN'R Lies[edit]

The last four songs were recorded with acoustic guitars. They were written and recorded in only a few studio sessions (with the exception of "You're Crazy," which appeared in an alternate version on Appetite for Destruction), which producer Mike Clink called "one of those magical rock and roll history moments."

In later interviews, Axl Rose stated that while he loved how the band sounded on the last four songs, he hated the sound of his voice. Rose recalled that his voice was husky and scratchy from the band's lengthy touring at the time, and if he could he would have re-recorded his vocal tracks in a separate session.

A significantly faster version of "You're Crazy" with electric guitars had previously been released on the band's debut album, Appetite for Destruction, and was now recorded as originally intended.[5] "Used to Love Her" was written as a joke after Izzy Stradlin disliked a song he heard on the radio featuring "some guy whining about a broad who was treating him bad". Slash stated that "People think it's about one of our old girlfriends, but it's actually about Axl's dog."[6]

Artwork[edit]

The original cover art for the album with the original text appearing in full.

The cover is a humorous parody of tabloid newspapers, as are the liner notes. The album's cover art underwent several minor modifications when the title was released on CD.[7] First, in the bottom left corner reading "LIES LIES LIES" originally read "Wife-beating has been around for 10,000 years." Secondly, instead of "Elephant gives birth to midget", the original headline reads, "Ladies, welcome to the dark ages." Many copies of the original LP release also contained an uncensored picture of a nude model on the inner LP sleeve.[8]

The UK/Euro WX 218 924 198 - 1 release had 2 stickers on the cover; Special Limited Edition containing Sheet of Japanese Peel off Stickers, and Contains language that some people may find offensive 924 198 - 1. The Peel off Stickers are on a 21mm x 30mm sheet.

The cover art bears a resemblance to John Lennon's Some Time in New York City, an album that contains Lennon's controversial "Woman Is the Nigger of the World", a song Axl Rose cited when he defended his use of the word "nigger" in "One in a Million".[9]

Controversy[edit]

In addition to the album cover, two songs from the album caused significant controversy.

The song "One in a Million" raised accusations of racism and homophobia.[10][11][12][13][14] Rose denied that he was a racist and defended his use of the word "nigger", claiming that "it's a word to describe somebody that is basically a pain in your life, a problem. The word nigger doesn't necessarily mean black." He cited the rap group N.W.A. and the John Lennon song "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" as other examples of musicians using the word.[15] Several years later, Rose conceded that he had used the word as an insult towards black people who had tried to rob him, and because the word is a taboo.[16] In response to the allegations of homophobia, Rose stated that he considered himself "pro-heterosexual" and blamed this attitude on "bad experiences" with gay men.[15][17]

The song "Used to Love Her" was perceived as misogynistic by critics.[18][19][20]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[19]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[21]
The Village VoiceE[18]

Rolling Stone, in a 4 out of 5 star review, stated "Given that Guns N’ Roses could probably release an album of Baptist hymns at this point and go platinum, it would be all too easy to dismiss G n’ R Lies as a sneaky attempt by the band to throw together some outtakes and cash in on the busy holiday buying season... The good news is that Lies is a lot more interesting than that... The calm folk-rock melodies of these four acoustic songs reveal yet another welcome facet of Guns n’ Roses. They should also end any further mutterings from the doubting Thomases out there who are still making snide comments about the band’s potential for longevity."[21] Allmusic, in a 3.5 out of 5 review, criticizied some of the songs on the acoustic side, stating "Constructed as a double EP, with the "indie" debut Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide coming first and four new acoustic-based songs following on the second side, G N' R Lies is where the band metamorphosed from genuine threat to joke. Neither recorded live nor released by an indie label, Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide is competent bar band boogie, without the energy or danger of Appetite for Destruction. The new songs are considerably more problematic. "Patience" is Guns N' Roses at their prettiest and their sappiest, the most direct song they recorded to date. Its emotional directness makes the misogyny of "Used to Love Her (But I Had to Kill Her)" and the pitiful slanders of "One in a Million" sound genuine.[19]

In a negative review for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau stated "Axl's voice is a power tool with attachments, Slash's guitar a hype, the groove potent "hard rock," and the songwriting not without its virtues. So figure musical quality at around C plus and take the grade as a call to boycott, a reminder to clean livers who yearn for the wild side that the necessary link between sex-and-drugs and rock-and-roll is a Hollywood fantasy" while condemning "One In a Million" and "Used To Love Her".[18]

In a 2014 review Metal Hammer dissected the controversy around the album, stating "Conceived as a stop-gap release, the second Guns N’ Roses album remains a remarkable one-off – in every sense.[22] Ultimate Classic Rock stated "Ironically, G N’ R Lies' tabloid-style cover art also hinted at the incessant scandals and resulting paranoia that would soon engulf the band, and its singer in particular, sowing the seeds to their eventual dissolution after the twin Use Your Illusion behemoths, and protracted creative silence until 2008’s historically delayed Chinese Democracy opus."[23]

Track listing[edit]

Songwriting credits via ASCAP.

1986 (Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide: Faux-live songs)
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Reckless Life" (Hollywood Rose cover)Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, Chris Weber3:23
2."Nice Boys" (Rose Tattoo cover)Angry Anderson, Mick Cocks, Geordie Leach, Dallas "Digger" Royall, Peter Wells3:01
3."Move to the City"Stradlin, Weber, Del James3:42
4."Mama Kin" (Aerosmith cover)Steven Tyler3:57
1988 (Acoustic songs)
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
5."Patience"Guns N' Roses5:56
6."Used to Love Her"Guns N' Roses3:13
7."You're Crazy"Guns N' Roses4:10
8."One in a Million"Guns N' Roses6:09
Total length:33:41

Personnel[edit]

Guns N' Roses

Additional musicians

References[edit]

  1. ^ MaryAnn Janosik (2006). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History: The video generation, 1981-1990. Greenwood Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-313-32943-2.
  2. ^ Hal Leonard Corp. (1 August 2013). 25 Top Acoustic Songs - Tab. Tone. Technique.: Tab+ Series. Hal Leonard. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-4803-5937-6.
  3. ^ "Allmusic (Guns N Roses charts and awards) Billboard singles".
  4. ^ "CSPC: Guns N' Roses Popularity Analysis". March 1, 2018.
  5. ^ "Song info at GNRSource.com". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
  6. ^ "Song info at GNRSource.com". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
  7. ^ "Gun N' Roses, G N'R Lies - Top 10 Controversial Album Covers - TIME.com". TIME.com. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  8. ^ Guns N' Roses, G N' R Lies. Geffen Records, GHS 24198; 1988.
  9. ^ "Here Today... Gone To Hell! - Articles > The Rolling Stone Interview With Axl Rose". HTGTH; Rolling Stone. August 1989. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  10. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (October 15, 1989). "Behind the Guns N' Roses Racism Furor". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 11, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  11. ^ Williams, Juan (October 15, 1989). "ESSAY FIGHTING WORDS". Archived from the original on August 27, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017 – via www.washingtonpost.com.
  12. ^ Cave, Damien (July 7, 2001). "Axl Rose: American Hellhound". Salon. Archived from the original on June 10, 2001. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  13. ^ "Rock Turns Mean And Ugly". Archived from the original on February 21, 2018. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  14. ^ "There's a New Sound in Pop Music: Bigotry". The New York Times. September 10, 1989. Archived from the original on December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  15. ^ a b James, Del (August 10, 1989). "The Rolling Stone Interview with Axl Rose". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  16. ^ [Neely, Kim (April 2, 1992). "Axl Rose: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 27, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2017. RS:Does it bother you that so many people think you're misogynous, homophobic and racist Rose: "It can bother me. But the racist thing is just bullshit. I used a word that was taboo. And I used that word because it was taboo. I was pissed off about some black people that were trying to rob me. I wanted to insult those particular black people. I didn't want to support racism. When I used the word faggots, I wasn't coming down on gays. I was coming down on an element of gays".
  17. ^ James, Del (September 1992). Lonn Friend, ed. "I, Axl". RIP magazine. Larry Flynt Publications. Archived from the original on March 20, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  18. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (March 14, 1989). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  19. ^ a b c "G N' R Lies". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  20. ^ "Every Guns N' Roses Song, Ranked". February 19, 2016.
  21. ^ a b Neely, Kim (1989-01-26). "G N' R Lies | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  22. ^ "Guns N' Roses: GN'R Lies".
  23. ^ "Guns N' Roses Showed Off Both Sides of Themselves on 'G N' R Lies'". Ultimate Classic Rock.