If you want to start an argument among rock fans, ask them to name the best debut album of all time. The answers are always going to be subjective, and it could be anything from Hendrix’s Are You Experienced to Patti Smith’s Horses to The Strokes’ Is This It. But the biggest selling debut album to date remains Guns N’ Roses’ masterpiece, Appetite for Destruction, which has exceeded 30 million sales. Whatever you think of the band today, Appetite landed in 1987 and delivered a gut punch to the masses. And the masses loved every moment of it.
Does the music on Appetite for Destruction stand up today? It’s fair to say GNR doesn’t get much airtime on the radio these days. But Appetite is fondly looked back upon by many of us, and it’s still being discovered by new generations. The strength of the album is in its depth of quality. That’s one of the reasons it took two years to top the Billboard charts. Every song is quality, making it incredibly difficult to rank: But we are going to do it anyway. In reverse order, here’s all 12 Appetite for Destruction Songs ranked:
- You’re Crazy
It’s not that You’re Crazy is a bad song – far from it. There are no bad songs on this album. But the heaviest song on the album feels a little bit out of place on Appetite. Slash has the time of his life here on lead guitar, but it’s all a little bit forgettable.
- Out Ta Get Me
Another that might appeal to those who prefer harder GNR to the band’s more melodic output. The lyrics to Out Ta Get Me were written by Rose, referring to a police raid on the singer (who was wrongly accused of rape). The song’s fine, but there’s much better on Appetite.
- My Michelle
Should My Michelle be higher on the list? Perhaps. The verse composition is up there with GNR’s best, and it’s one of the best examples of the band clashing melodies and harder rock to good effect. Despite the meaningful story behind the song, the chorus feels a bit formulaic.
- Anything Goes
Joyous. Anything Goes is one of those tracks where it’s clear that the band was having a good time when recording it. The track goes right back to the band’s early roots when touring with Chris Weber, who is giving a co-writing credit.
Like a lot of Guns N’ Roses tracks, Nightrain is somewhat euphemistic. It’s an ode to Night Train Express, a type of fortified wine (now discontinued) that was popular in the 1980s. As for the track, we are currently in the territory of excellence. It’s fun, catchy and showcases everything good about the band.
- Think About You
It’s a testament to just how good Appetite is when we are only halfway through ranking the tracklisting and arrive at Think About You. It’s almost perfect, with big showpieces for Slash on lead guitar and Steven Adler on drums. The chorus is superb, and we must shout out to Axl for the smart use of synthesisers. Our only criticism is that it’s much too short.
- It’s So Easy
As with Mr Brownstone (see below), this track is a showcase for Rose’s incredible vocal range. Duff McKagan (the song’s writer, along with West Arkeen) and Izzy Stradlin also add a lot with their backing vocals. The song almost feels like a rap in terms of the beat, but it’s vintage GNR.
- Sweet Child O’ Mine
The hardest track to place on this list. For many, it is the album’s standout song. For others, it has been so overplayed in the last 30+ years that it’s rendered impossible to view objectively. Still, it is a glorious track and will forever be considered GNR’s signature song. NetEnt used Sweet Child O’ Mine as the main track on the official Guns N’ Roses slot, which you can find at real money online casino sites like Genesis. But for many of us, it was the ultimate crowd-pleaser in dive bars and rock clubs for decades.
- Mr Brownstone
If you had any doubts about Axl Rose being one of the best rock vocalists in history, go back and listen to Mr Brownstone. Far from his usual distinctive screeching, it’s a deep baritone guiding us through the ups and downs of addiction (Brownstone is slang for heroin). It’s the underrated masterpiece of the album.
- Rocket Queen
Not everyone’s favourite, but it’s the perfect song to end the album. Rocket Queen gives everyone in the band a chance to shine, particularly Steven Adler on drums. The song is split into two parts, with the second act feeling apt for track 12. As Rose finishes up by crooning, “baby, yeah”, you know you have been through something special.
- Paradise City
You can understand why Paradise City would be top of many people’s rankings of the best GNR songs: The opening melody, the drums (Adler again delivering), the vocals and backing vocals, Slash’s intro – everything is joyous. And then the whistle blows, and everything changes. Not for the worse, of course; it just turns the song on its head. And then there’s the third act. This is GNR’s Bohemian Rhapsody – perfect.
- Welcome to the Jungle
Yes, we take the contradiction of placing the overplayed Sweet Child O’ Mine down the list due to being overplayed, whereas the similarly overplayed Welcome to the Jungle is top. However, we were thinking of Adele’s recent comments on the order of an album being crucial (Adele has asked Spotify to remove the shuffle button), and thought about this song opening Appetite. From the moment Slash’s guitar breaks out, you know you are in for something special. For many of us growing up in the 1980s, hearing Welcome to the Jungle changed our lives forever.