Certain Songs #572: Guns N’ Roses – “Pretty Tied Up”

guns pretty tied up Album: Use Your Illusion II
Year: 1991

My favorite Guns N’ Roses song is subtitled “The Perils of Rock ‘n’ Roll Decadence,” but since someone announces the song as “The pearls of rock ‘n’ roll decadence” at the outset, it’s once again Guns N’ Roses trying to have it both ways.

And given it’s written by my man Izzy Stradlin, its no surprise that “Pretty Tied Up” argues a pretty good case for both pearls of rock ‘n’ roll and the perils of decadence.

Opening with the sound of an electric sitar weaving in and out of an circular riff, “Pretty Tied Up” alternates dreamy, psychedelic verses with a cowbell-driven footstomping chorus straight out of the glam-rock playbook.

Speaking of rock ‘n’ roll decadence, Slash adds his own with the first wah-wah solo that actually worked since the back half of Jimi Hendrix’s second solo on “All Along The Watchtower.”

After that solo, the song halts for a second so that Axl can gather himself to top the BDSM imagery that had dominated the first verse with some true decadence:

Once you made that money it costs more now
It might cost a lot more than you’d think
I just found a million dollars
That someone forgot
It’s days like this that push me over the brink
Cool and stressing

“I just found a million dollars that someone forgot.” I’d call it the first humblebrag, but of course, it’s just a straight-up boast, all the more so because I seem to remember reading somewhere that it was actually true.

After the final chorus, all sorts of madness breaks loose, as they repeat the end of the chorus again and again while Slash overdubs about 15 more wah-wah solos until the fade.

“Pretty Tied Up”

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