August 1999

Guns N' Roses - GN'R Lies
Mobile Fidelity UDCD 748
Released: 1999

by Chuck Moe

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality ***
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

[Reviewed on CD]After Guns N’ Roses' enormously successful multi-platinum album Appetite For Destruction, the band decided to release Lies, a double EP featuring their 1986 self-released EP Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide and four additional acoustic-based numbers. Lies eventually hit #2 on the charts, with Appetite For Destruction still in the top five.

The first four songs are live recordings of good-old bar-band-boogie rock. Throughout the songs, you can hear the influence of punk, metal and hardcore. Attitude prevails, with the common themes of reckless abandon and life in the city. The second half of the CD is comprised of four newly recorded songs. Primarily acoustic, these songs show a kinder, gentler and even humorous side of GN’R. "Patience" is the song that drove this CD to the top of Billboard’s charts, and deservedly so. It's a ballad that has good symmetry between Izzy Stradlin’s and Slash’s acoustic-guitar work. Working well within the strumming melodies, Axl Rose’s vocals impart strong feeling and emotion, sounding better than on the band's previous recording. This is one of those tunes that is hard to get out of your head.

"Used To Love Her" is "a joke, nothing more" according to the liner notes. The song is a simple acoustic tune with a lot of boogie-based rhythm describing how he "used to love her, but I had to kill her…take it for what it is." I’ll allow you to draw your own conclusion, but there is a rumor that the song is refers to...a dog.

"You’re Crazy" was already released on GN’R's Appetite For Destruction, but it was originally written acoustically after Geffen records signed the band. This version preserves the original slower pace and rhythm while retaining an electric guitar. Personally, I enjoy this version much more. Not being the type to avoid controversy, Guns N Roses threw themselves into the flames with the lyrics on the last track, "One In A Million." Everybody from immigrants to gays, African-Americans to cops gets insulted. However, ignoring the lyrics, the song is good musically.

Sonically, the CD is divided into two parts. The first half, a live recording from 1986, ranges from acceptable to average. Mobile Fidelity’s GAIN 2 processing did improve the overall resolution and definition of the bass and kick drum. Unfortunately, there is only so much MoFi can do. The second half of the CD is another story. What was a good recording on the original Geffen release is now much better. The soundstage is more distinct and the instruments more clearly placed. The resolution of the acoustic guitars is also improved, having better edge and attack to the picked strings. Another improvement is the recording of the vocals. Here, Rose’s voice has more depth and realism, and you get a better sense of the studio around him. If you're a GN'R fan, this disc should make you very happy.