Guns N' Roses

Welcome to the Jungle

Song Review by

By 1987, mainstream rock had been watered down to buffoonish party bands like Poison, and innovative hard rock groups like Metallica were still largely shunned by most rock radio stations. So when "Welcome to the Jungle" hit MTV that fall, the song was instantly noticed; its gritty, swirling, angry sound was a huge contrast to the cartoonish pop-metal prevalent on most pop/rock radio stations. The guitar work on "Welcome to the Jungle" was unapologetically loud, wailing, and unpolished -- so much so that it's surprising the song was ever selected for radio in the first place. Depicting (and warning of) the ugly underbelly of the streets of L.A. -- a stark contrast to the city's bright and shiny image, which was already being broken down in hip-hop music -- "Welcome to the Jungle" evoked feelings of dread, frustration, and fear that only come from experience. Axl Rose's abrasive, screeching voice had a sneering, well-worn quality to it as well, which perfectly complemented the song and lyrics like "If you want it you're gonna bleed but it's the price you pay." It's hard to doubt Rose's raw honesty, and that helped make "Welcome to the Jungle" (and Appetite for Destruction) a major hard rock breakthrough.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Appetite for Destruction 1987 Geffen 4:32
Greatest Hits 2004 Geffen / Polydor 4:34