Certain Songs #575: Haim – “Honey & I”

haim days are gone Album: Days Are Gone
Year: 2013

One of the most critically albums of the the current decade, Haim’s Days Are Gone seemed to epitomize the “toss it all into a blender and see what happens” ethos of the download era.

In other words, after a decade where the actual financial cost of trying any kind of music trended towards zero, musicians have a much wider breadth of influences, and music fans have less of an excuse to stay genre-bound.

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Certain Songs #574: Guns N’ Roses – “You Could Be Mine”

Guns you could be mine Album: Use Your Illusion II
Year: 1991

The summer of 1991 was a weird time for me.

I was in between girlfriends, bands and had finally gotten my life together to the point where I was just a semester away from graduating from college. In addition, I’d unexpectedly started living alone in the Tower District again.

So everything was pretty much in the air at that time.

But there was one thing I knew for sure, so sure that I wrote these exact words in my journal: “Prediction: the next Guns N’ Roses album is going to be very important to me.”

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Certain Songs #573: Guns N’ Roses – “Estranged”

Guns Estranged Album: Use Your Illusion II
Year: 1991

Believe it or not, I didn’t do every song I truly love from Use Your Illusion II.

That means I didn’t write about the perfect classic rockness of “Yesterdays,” or their over-the-top version of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” which featured a gospel choir singing the title over a stop time just because they could, or even “Locomotive (Complicity)” where the chorus has some of the best John Bonham drumming not done John Bonham.

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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.

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Certain Songs #571: Guns N’ Roses – “Breakdown”

Guns Use Your Illusion II Album: Use Your Illusion II
Year: 1991

Out of all of the ridiculous epics that either graced (or ruined, depending on your opinion) the Illusion twins, the piano-driven “Breakdown” is easily my favorite.

For one thing, it’s got one of most sublime musical passages in all of their music. It’s about 1:20 in, and Axl has already sung the first verse, Izzy & Slash have slammed in with some power chords, and the whole song comes to a near halt for a second, before a gorgeous jumble of drums, pianos and guitars weave in and out of each other for just a couple of measures until a Matt Sorum snare slam kicks the song into gear.

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