Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Retro Video of the Week: "Paradise City" by Guns N' Roses

Apologies for not posting a Tuesday Top Ten yesterday.  I was busy from 7 a.m. to midnight, which is always pleasant.  As an olive branch, I extend to you an article my friend Hess sent me, entitled "Remember That 2004 Episode of 'The O.C.' Where They Go to L.A. and Meet Paris Hilton? We Do."  I do, too, and the article is a fantastic recap of a great episode in what some would call the greatest teen drama ever made.  The layers of meta awareness in that episode are thick and plentiful.

Speaking of L.A., Friday marks an important anniversary -- 30 years since Guns N' Roses released their megahit debut album Appetite for Destruction.  I would argue that Appetite is the greatest debut album in rock history, and apparently consumers agree with me, since it is the best-selling debut album in music history, selling 18 million copies in the U.S. alone and about 30 million worldwide.

Appetite's importance cannot be understated.  It was raw, it was powerful, it was rock and fucking roll.  I remember buying the tape at Phar-Mor.  Somehow, my mom let me buy it, even though it had a "parental advisory" sticker on it and featured five skulls on a cross.  Maybe it was because the cross wasn't upside down.  Either way, it was allowance money well spent.  Hearing "It's So Easy" -- and it's "why don't you just fuck off!" -- for the first time was an eye opener for a prepubescent suburban lad, but I absolutely loved it.  And then, there was the artwork on the inner sleeve, showing what appears to be a flying robot dragon with knives for teeth about to exact revenge on a skeleton with a gun attached to his head who just raped a blindfolded woman.  I still don't quite understand what's going on there.

But I digress.  There is not a bad song on Appetite, and it spawned some of GNR's most beloved and well-known songs:  "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City," and "Nightrain," to name a few, not to mention "Mr. Brownstone," "It's So Easy," "My Michelle," and my personal favorite, "Rocket Queen."  I'm going with "Paradise City" because it's an awesome song and a classic "on the road" video.  The song became the band's third Top Ten hit in a row off of the album, clocking in at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 (following "Welcome to the Jungle" (#7) and "Sweet Child O' Mine" (#1)). And even squares recognize that iconic chorus. If you say "take me down to the Paradise City" and someone doesn't respond "where the grass is green and the girls are pretty," you have my permission to walk away, head to the nearest Sam Goody, purchase a copy of Appetite, and then return to your original location and provide said copy of Appetite to that person, making it imperative on him or her to listen to the album repeatedly until all songs are memorized. That will assure such a shameful occurrence never again happens.

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