Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Appetite for Destruction

Guns N' Roses


A dark, unflinching classic that brought real danger back to rock.

It isn’t just that Guns N’ Roses’ epochal 1987 debut is dark, it’s that the album never flinches from its full impact, no matter how ugly. The drug songs aren’t about getting high, they’re about blacking out (“Mr. Brownstone,” “Nightrain”). The sex songs don’t relish the physical act so much as the power that comes with it (“Anything Goes”). When they give you an anthem, it’s against a backdrop of filth and misery (“Paradise City”). And when they give you a ballad, it’s with the paranoid sense that nothing so pure could actually be real (“Sweet Child o’ Mine”).

At the time, the band was considered an antidote to the slickness of pop-metal dominating the charts and airwaves—something like The Rolling Stones in relation to the poppier bands of the early ’60s. Yet Appetite not only matched those bands commercially, it essentially supplanted them, making a lane for a grittier aesthetic and, to some degree, paving the way for grunge’s death blow a few years later. Some bands make playing loose sound liberating; Guns N’ Roses made it sound menacing.

“This album immediately existed outside of [hair metal]. I felt like all the other bands were trying to do this album.”

Pete Wentz