Kevin Craft on Guns N’ Roses’ softer side. Chuck Klosterman quote I take issue with: “[November Rain is] probably the most unpunk video ever made.”
On the contrary. Taking GNR epic was the most punk rock thing Axl Rose could have done. November Rain is brilliant. And Estranged? Slash emerging from the ocean like Venus? Axl making him do it? Dolphins flying down Sunset Strip? Are you kidding me? Let’s not miss the sheer bravado of it all. Call it sincerity, call it the be more awesome school of postmodern art, but don’t call it unpunk. It’s punk to the core. It’s the antithesis of expectation, it’s the aggrandizement of personal narrative. It’s late 90’s Oasis six years before Be Here Now. Noel Gallagher’s new High Flying Birds is great, but it doesn’t make me want to leap tall buildings in a single bound the way Be Here Now did and does. The way “November Rain” and “Estranged” do. Illusion I and II aren’t Appetite For Destruction. Be Here Now and Don’t Believe the Truth aren’t (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? or High Flying Birds. They shouldn’t be.
Axl had the epic stuff in mind from the start. Noel wrote “All Around the World” before most of the tracks on Definitely Maybe. Like Axl’s Illusion albums, Be Here Now was hotly anticipated, quickly adopted, and eventually scorned. But you wait and see: there’s going to be bare-bones-band-to-epic-arrangement revival. I and will lead it. On Spotify.