David James Brock

playwright, poet, librettist

David James Brock is a Canadian playwright, poet and librettist. Author of poetry collection, Everyone is CO2. Librettist for Scottish pub opera, The Sloans Project. Co-creator of Breath Cycle, an opera for cystic fibrosis.

A thing I like a lot: The Five Greatest Guns n' Roses Songs Ever (part 1)

In 1987, I had a paper route. In 1987, I had money to buy Coke Classics, Dill Pickle Chips, and cassette tapes. The first tape I remember as being “mine” was a Twister Sister’s Stay Hungry that my parents got me as a Christmas present. But the first time I can remember being completely consumed by music that I paid for, it was Guns n’ Roses Appetite for Destruction, and the music and all the associated images (for better or worse) that probably taught me how to be obsessed with a thing.

This week, on July 16, I will see Guns n’ Roses (sort of reunited) play in Toronto for the first and likely only time and I’m fairly confident that they’ll show up. As self-preparation, I’m going to countdown my five favourite Gn'R songs. I doubt they'll play any of these songs live, but these are five songs I want to think about and talk about this week. These are five not-your-grandpa's Guns n' Roses tracks...no "hits” here, folks—yes yes, Welcome to the Jungle is transcendent, yes yes, Don’t Cry reminds us of the junior high break up with the person you swore you were gonna marry…

So here we go.

The fifth greatest Guns n' Roses song ever is...Dead Horse from Use Your Illusion I (1991)

I’ve never put an album together, but it seems like putting this track at 15 of 16 on a "double album" in 1991 meant you weren’t totally sold on it as being one of the better ones. It leads into possibly my favourite Gn'R song (spoiler alert), and some of the lyrics are soooo Axl, as though Axl showed up one day in the studio reading gems from his diary like...

Then when she said she was gonna like wreck my car...I didn't know what to do.
Nobody understands, quite why we're here…We're searchin' for answers that never appear.
The Librettist.

The Librettist.

Favourite Lyric that doesn't quite go with anything else in the song: I met an old cowboy...I saw the look in his eye...Somethin' tells me he's been here before...Cause experience makes you wise...

Most Axl’y Line/AKA "Huh?": Sick of this life...Not that you’d care...I’m not the only one...With whom these feelings I share...

Slash Factor: A wicked 30 second solo at 2:50 where Slash's guitar sounds a lot like Axl's voice.

Why this song is better than Sweet Child O'Mine: At exactly one minute in, the song goes from somewhat contemplative-country-music Axl to roaring-metal-vocal Axl and it always sounds like a surprise, as though he's finally realized a frustration with himself, with his lover, with how he's lived his entire friggin' life up to this very friggin' moment.

A Living Horse

A Living Horse

Tomorrow....the fourth greatest Guns n' Roses Ever....