December 6, 2008

Song Sketches: Guns N' Roses

Welcome to the Jungle

This is how a life begins: Screams and blood and a miracle, supposedly.

As if the pain will go away, as if our dreams aren’t fictional.

This is how a nightmare sounds.

This is how it feels to live.

This is not a music review.

Don’t Cry

She tells him goodbye. He hangs up the phone. He closes the door to his room.

He’s alone.

He replays the call, and the sweetest month before it. Clumsy kisses, furtive hands, the meteoric crash of his heart to the floor. Over and over and over... It’s over. Thirty days in fourteen years. A lifetime left to mourn the loss.

Find the tape. Rewind it. Listen.

Rewind it. Listen.

Rewind it. Sing.

He sits, he remembers, he cries to himself, like no one else has ever cried. No one else can understand, since no one else has ever loved. No one else has ever lost. No one else? It’s what he wants.

He doesn’t understand himself.

Forgive, forget, move on? He’ll try. First, this song, these chords, that voice: “I still love you.” Ha! A lie. “There’s a heaven above you.” Doubt it. “Don’t you cry-y-y tonight.” Too late.

Over and over and over, he listens.

Lifetimes later, notes stay held.

Someone, maybe, understands.

Someone, somewhere, loves him. Maybe.

November Rain

Rainy-day metaphors, calendar rhymes, the sugary sweetness of wedding-cake frosting.

Orchestral bombast. Choir-girl pomp. Not one solo, but two, both epic.

High-school poetry set to music. The single most grandiose rock single ever.

Walking riders. Changing hearts.

Holding a candle in spite of the rain.

Everybody needs some time alone.

Everybody needs... just everybody needs.

The wedding won’t happen, but this is the song.

That’s how much it means to me.

It’s something like faith: Unprovable. Ineffable.

Something to avoid if you see me with a pamphlet.


Expecting a singer to understand is dumber than the singer.

Waiting for him for seventeen years is something close to lunacy.

I’d whistle along, if I knew how to do it.

This is how the music feels.

Rocket Queen

This is how an album should end: not with a bang, but the whimper of a woman, singing a duet of ecstacy, depravity.

As soft and loud, as pretty and ugly, as frank and totally full of shit as every human being.

Give it a spin, and see if you hear it.

Or listen to those songs of yours that move you to aphasia.