One Track Mind: Guns n’ Roses, “You’re Crazy” (1990)

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Thinking about Guns n’ Roses in the wake of Axl Rose’s snub of the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies (which given that institution’s history is perhaps well-deserved), I had an urge to write a little something on the music instead of just ranting about the state of the band.

This song seemed very appropriate for some reason.

There are two versions, of course, the original from Appetite for Destruction, a punk- and thrash-influenced hard rocker that’s full of energy and a great song in its own right. But I’ve always been partial to the acoustic version from 1990’s Lies, a record which combined a pre-Appetite live recording with a set of mostly acoustic songs. This, for me, is the strongest track among the whole affair. Most fans will probably consider it inferior to the original, but I love it.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Axl Rose’s refusal to join the rest of the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class brings up the question: Are they still Guns n’ Roses?]

Sure, the song loses some of the rock ‘n’ roll fire and attitude in this version, but I just love the groove of Slash’s acoustic and the over-the-top weirdness of Axl’s vocals on the track. He’s all over the map, from shrieky highs to a strange, flat lower voice, whining and moaning all over the place. Then there’s that extraneous “time,” or at least that’s what I think he’s singing, after the first chorus, that I’ve never been able to figure out. It’s kind of a mess, but pretty cool at the same time.

Then, of course, there’s the irony of Axl Rose calling someone else crazy to think about. The guy that’s caused riots because he didn’t feel like playing that night and been responsible for more canceled tour dates than shows he actually played in recent years.

I joke just a little, but I actually have to give Axl credit for some of the stuff he’s done lately. There’s been very little drama surrounding his current tour, and though he goes on whenever he wants — sometimes as late as 1 or 2 a.m. — I’ve heard that he’s playing high-energy, kick-ass sets that go three or four hours at times. There’s something to be said for that.

It’s still not Guns n’ Roses, though.

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Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Fred Phillips
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