Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Greatest Rock Video Ever? Plus, Week 13 NFL Picks

A little over 20 years ago Guns N' Roses released the Use Your Illusion albums. There were a lot of good songs contained on those two records, and several atrocious ones (hello, My World), but  one of my personal favorites is "Estranged." This is mainly because it spawned one of the most over-the-top, ridiculous music videos of all time. It's a video that involves Axl Rose jumping off of an aircraft carrier, Slash soloing in front of an ocean full of dolphins and a plot more intricate than "Trapped in the Closet."

This was the video where the boys from GNR said, "we are on top of the world, let's burn this mother down." Frankly, I think it deserves further exploration and dissection with a Deep Dish video breakdown. We did this last year with Soundgarden's awful "Black Hole Sun" to great acclaim. So put on your flannel and come back with me to the year 1993...

00-0:30: This first thirty seconds of the video really sets the tone for what we're about to receive. First, a definition of the word "illusion." Thank you, it's about damn time someone explained it. Consider the stage officially set! Next, hey a tire swing and a swingset....but no one is on it. Innocence has clearly been lost. But who's? Everyone's, that's who.

0:30-1:25: Have you ever seen a SWAT team that also doubles as an EMT unit? Well, you have now, thanks to Rock! By the way, the production value here is just top notch. It's like a Michael Bay movie, or an episode of CSI, everything's all blue and green and flashlights abound. That dinosaur's shadow also had me scared for a second there. What a sneaky metal band they were. Hey, there's Axl curled up in the fetal position, he's not in good shape. Again. We may have to get the straight jacket and go all "Welcome to the Jungle" on him again.

The models are not impressed.
1:25-2:20: We interrrupt this police raid for standard concert footage. Have to admit, even though it's cliche, watching a stadium fill up with people thru time-lapse photography gets me everytime. It's like PEOPLE HAVE ARRIVED, RAISE YOUR GOBLET TO ROCK.

2:20-2:55: The plot thickens, one of Axl's illegitimate children make an appearance. And of course models watch the concert and nod condescendingly, comfortably aloof from the proceedings. The strobe lights are not appreciated and may send me into a coma at any moment.

"No one understands my rock problems."
2:56-3:55: The band finishes the concert, but they appear tired, because the road is a bitch, you know? And here we go, Axl has left his sleeping body behind and is drifting like a spirit. Because really, who needs this business? It's supposed to be ABOUT THE MUSIC. He returns to the fetal position in the shower, and then a girl who may or may not represent a young Slash slides down a pole for no apparent reason. Say what you will about this video, but these Slash solos are still epic.

3:56:-5:20: Ah yes, Axl's mansion in the hills. The perils of rock and roll decadence on full display. Is it a mansion though, or the world's most expensive daycare/insane asylum? Lots of kids trotting about and people that look like nurses. We then get a much needed definition of Estranged with a bonus meaning! I think Webster's got a kickback on this video. And everything is white - white outfits, white limos, white walls, white dogs, but then... a black elephant. Oh, what does it all mean? Other than the obvious conclusion that Axl is pretty much racist. But that's too easy.

5:20-5:30 Don't you hate it when a dolphin emerges from the tour plane? This is what happens when you hire Jacques Cousteau as your stagehand because you're kajillionaires. Mo aquatic special effects, mo problems. This song still has over 4 minutes left, don't go anywhere.

These are ideal conditions for electric guitar.
5:31-7:00: Now we're on the Sunset Strip, after an apparent flood. The crowd of people outside the Rainbow sure seem ambivalent about Slash rocking out a solo on the freaking sidewalk like a boss. C'mon people, it's Slash, not C.C. DeVille. Slash could've thrown his hat down and made at least $50 bucks here. Opportunity missed. I think that's Matt Dillon from "Singles" smoking a cigarette at the 6:43 mark.

7:01-8:30: Here's the part of the song where we jump off of ships! Luckily, a random bandmate is aboard swabbing the deck and throws Axl a lifeline. Is that Izzy, Gilby or Dizzy? Or Daffy? It doesn't matter, Mr. Rose has no need for your flotation devices today, good sir. He has his dolphin friends to help him, and they ask nothing in return. Slash rises from the depths to take his 8th face-melting solo on a 9-minute song. It's not overdoing it though, because this one is a sunset solo and includes dolphin noises, so it's way different than the others.

8:31-9:00: Duff McKagan makes a cameo appearance and is all "hey, remember me? I'm still in this band, too, wait don't go, I'm more than a bassist, remember the first chords of 'It's So Easy'? All my idea...noooo!"

9:01-9:30: The real star of this video is that Charles Manson shirt. What a great Christmas gift idea..."I saw that shirt and I thought of you, honey! Let's listen to the White album." There's no way that shirt smells good. If you can't find a shirt that says "I'm drunk on fame and going insane," I guess you buy that Manson shirt instead.

This dolphin sadly died 12 seconds later.
9:30-9:51: We wrap it up with a final definition of "disillusion." I'm super prepared for those SATs now. Axl's Converse drifts to the ocean bottom and we finish with him sitting on a couch with a dolphin, smirking like, "yup, can you believe you just saw that?" And the dolphin is wearing a flannel shirt, because why not. Rock masterpiece complete. Fin (Word play!)  

Week 13 NFL Picks 
Atlanta -3.5 over N. Orleans
Chicago -3.5 over Seattle
Minny +9 over Green Bay
San Fran -7 over St. Louis
Arizona +4.5 over Jets
Carolina -2.5 over KC
Indy +4.5 over Detroit
Buff -6 over Jacksonville
Miami +7.5 over N. England
Cincy -1.5 over San Diego
Houston -5.5 over Tenn
Tampa +7 over Denver
Dallas -10 over Philly
Washington +2.5 over Giants
Balt. -5 over Pitt
Cleve +2 over Oak

Week 11 Record: 9-4 (week 12 was my bye week)
Overall record: 65-65-2 (Back to .500!)

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