This notorious saga continues its dragging through the mud-strewn back alleys of public attention with the release of this pathetic collection aimed at cashing in on whatever is left of a long gone cornerstone. And it is not entirely the fault of Geffen, they’ve been waiting for more than a decade on a promise that “new Guns N’ Roses material will soon see the light of day.” Without doubt, there is the need to point the proverbial “fuck you” in more than one direction: Geffen for putting such dismal effort in a release it actually got Axl, Slash and Duff to collaborate on a lawsuit (hey, at least they’re working together on SOMETHING) and of course, Mr. Rose himself for comically hashing on with a project with such pitiful results.
Anyone who managed to catch their so-called return at the MTV Music Awards saw an overweight, less-than-enthused Axl Rose laughably overshadowed by an imbecile with a bucket on his head. Not exactly the lasting image for one of last century’s most potently combustible mammoths of rock music. Then there was that disastrous comeback tour which was promptly cancelled due to Axl being Axl and not enough people caring that he was still getting up to old tricks. So now it comes to this, their Greatest Hits collection hastily thrown together with the shambolic incompetence of a drunken baboon.
With an apparent desire to portray the band’s “greatest” songs with nearly as many cover songs as originals, it clearly steps off into all sorts of wrong directions. The given hits are present; “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City” (one of the top 10 greatest stripper songs of all time) but there is little in way of interest or intrigue; any fan or enthusiast of the group (or quality rock music in general) will already own these tracks in one shape or form; and simply lumping a few together and labeling it the “greatest” collection just isn’t worth the time. Perhaps the one redeeming quality of this sham is that Geffen bothered to include a few songs from their much under-ballyhooed, and very sound Lies; “Patience” and “Live and Let Die” make their appearance, but it would have been a far interesting turn if they had included say “Mama Kin” and the hefty “One in a Million” instead.
Moreover, the backend of the release – The Stones’ “Sympathy for Devil” (in one word: dreadful) and the inclusion of a pair of tracks from The Spaghetti Incident (“Ain’t It Fun” and “Since I Don’t Have You”) means this collection is rife with the poorly contrived spectrum of their adaptations, severely dampening those they did with extreme competence. And it is a wonder why, with such a deep discography of worthy original tunes, they so hastily include tripe from The Spaghetti Incident while overlooking the band’s so-called “secondary” songs (What? No “Mr. Brownstone”, “My Michelle” or even the potshot-happy, profanity-laced “Get in the Ring”?) For shame!
As expected, there is nothing new, unreleased or rare amongst the bunch (severely reducing any logical reason for purchase) – and the exclusion of some of their less noted songs means this wholly haphazard release is so ridiculously obvious, it leaves little but a taste so very sour. The parties responsible for this catastrophe deserve to be lynched; but one is left to wonder, perhaps Greatest Hits is what happens when the appetite for destruction becomes nothing more than the longest, over-delayed project punch line in recent rock history.