Have any of you heard “November Rain” by Guns’N’Roses lately? Because New York City has the shittiest radio stations on earth (at least when WFUV ain’t coming in), I was stuck on K-Rock 92.3 and “November Rain” came on, and I was mesmerized. Not in a good way, mind you, but the kind of “I can’t believe this song ever existed” sort of way. What a bloated, pretentious, dum-dum piece of shit, and if I recall, the video was just as bad. Something about Stephanie Seymour getting married to Axl Rose, and then Slash leaving the chapel to play a guitar solo during a storm, and then Stephanie Seymour dies, I guess – it all positively reeked of white motherscratchin’ trash.
Yes, I realize I’m of the micro-generation that was about five years too old to take Guns’N’Roses seriously. By the time the “Use Your Illusion” albums came out in 1991, I had already made my left turn onto the Fruity Art Pop Turnpike and found the whole G’n’R aesthetic to be depressingly dirty. Twenty years of listening to guitarists do the riff from “Sweet Child O’ Mine” has only hardened my resolve.
I will admit, however, that the cascading metal of “Welcome to the Jungle” is motherfucking HOT and always will be. It has the undeniable kickassingness of Motley Crue’s “Dr. Feelgood” or “Kickstart My Heart”, even if Axl has one of the worst lines in rock history: “Welcome to the jungle, baby. You’re gonna die!”
“November Rain,” to me, was the logical conclusion of the 1980s. The song gives you a hangover before you even get to the chorus. The strings add a treacly overbearingness to something that wasn’t very fun to begin with – I know they were trying to be Queen a la “Bohemian Rhapsody”, but couldn’t even get close to Paul McCartney’s “Back Seat of My Car” in terms of rock opera. While it was the most requested video of that era, I think time has borne out the truth: you never hear “November Rain” anymore, not even ironically.
So I put it to you: forget about the bloat – what’s your favorite classic balls-out fuckin’ ROCK SONG that makes you want to put your head through some drywall?