SONG REVIEW November rain By Samin Sakib


In US history, 1991 wasn’t exactly a wondrous year. It marked the beginning of the Gulf War, which is still wreaking political havoc. The Soviet Union went kaput. Basketball great Magic Johnson announced, he contracted HIV. And, of course, there was that ever-humiliating (and endlessly mockable) Pee-Wee Herman incident.
But there was one great thing, a lone soldier, in the form of a song, to come out of that year: ‘November Rain’.

This mighty number is the creation of one of the most famous American rock bands of all time and often considered the very best rock band to come out of the eighties, Guns N’ Roses. You can say what you want about Guns N’ Roses and its negative-press-yielding front-man Axl Rose, but ‘November Rain’ is an amazing song, complemented by an unforgettably morbid video. The fact that such a mesmerizing rock ballad was delivered by the band who brought us the headbang-worthy ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and ‘Paradise City’ makes it all the more noteworthy.
‘November Rain’, which premiered on Use Your Illusion Vol. 1, clocks in at nearly nine minutes and is the definition of an epic tune, a sort of rock opera. It would fit nicely on a play list with such sweeping opuses as Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’.

The track is not a hard rock and roll song in the narrowest, most closed minded, sense of judgemental genre classification. There is a soothing introduction, clever little locks of poetry throughout, and an appropriate narrative that intensifies in both theme and volume as time goes on. Around the seven minute mark the drums pick up and a new and faster rhythm begins and almost a completely different song comes forward, a hard song, a rock song. Like a well-deserved climax after a mellow moment of relaxation, or like dessert after dinner if you really want a metaphor, ‘November Rain’ suddenly becomes the sort of song that befits Guns N’ Roses in that it is now has moments of both hard and soft, it is both ballad and rock song. It is a great song, and so perfectly captures both moods.
The great thing about the song is that it constantly reinvents itself as it goes, never heading in a direction that you can pinpoint. Axl doesn’t even begin crooning until the 1:15 mark, there are several unbelievable guitar solos by Slash and an ear-pleasing choir that pops up in the background. It’s a song that demands your attention and never makes you regret volunteering it.
I don’t just think ‘November Rain’ is one of the best GNR songs — I think it’s one of the best of the past few decades, especially on an instrumental level. When Axl sings ‘Nothin’ lasts forever,’ he clearly wasn’t taking into account the sure fire longevity of this classic song.


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