There are good reasons why this is my favourite GNR song. It has nothing to do with contraryism or awkwardness. I’m not trying to appear cooler than thou or deliberately obscure. But this song is an overlooked gem and I’m championing it’s cause.
Hard as it is to describe a track from the most important rock record of the last 40 years as obscure I’ll try a little to justify that claim. Appetite For Destruction is the Heavy Metal new testament. There has not been an album as important to the genre as a whole since. Every track is known inside out by every metal head from 80’s sleaze rockers, to thrash fans, to grunge kids, to the younglings who put GNR, NIN, Deep Purple, Nirvana and Foo Fighters all in the same box and call it classic rock.
The big guns of Welcome To The Jungle, Sweet Child O’ Mine, Paradise City and It’s So Easy clearly (justifiably) form the top tier. The second floor of Out Ta Get Me, Mr Brownstone, Night Train and Rocket Queen still form the guts of any Guns show to this day. On the ground floor My Michelle, Anything Goes and You’re Crazy do the heavy lifting required to make AFD the classic it is. Then there’s our song in question. Think About You is the least controversial and confrontational track on the album. There’s no rebellious edge to it. It never gets played live and Slash even wrote in his autobiography how little he liked the track as he considered it filler.
Filler? This song is filler? No Way. There is some great stuff going on in Think About You. It starts off with Cowbell (frikkin’ cowbell) and a frenetic lead guitar. Axl is bouncing along on a characteristic breakneck melody but he’s singing a love song. No twist to it. Not I Think About You (& I Want To Murder) or I Think About You (& It Makes Me Sick) No. The lyric is ‘I think about you and all the time my heart says yes’. No sinister over tone just a great ode to young love.
On a dime it all stops, Adler counts off the cowbell and we dive into the second verse. Here’s the best bit. Izzy is now shadowing Slash’s lead on a semi acoustic. The band barrel along twisting through solos and breaks and Axl ups the histronics and growling in that most Axl of ways. But still lyrically the songs intent is pure as the driven snow. ‘Honey now you’re my best friend I wanna stay together to the very end’.
Without Think About You, Appetite For Destruction could easily be parodied. It’d all be shock swearing and oogie boogie posturing or tales of drugs and excess partying. With this as track 8 nestled between cautionary tale My Michelle and mega selling hit single Sweet Child O’ Mine there’s a bridge. A clear path between the metal heads song they can play at weddings and what happens to bad girls who take their credit card to the liquor store.
That’s the song in context of the album. As a stand alone track Think About You has dynamite guitar work from both of the true stars in the band, Slash and the under appreciated Izzy Stradlin. It has a powerhouse performance from Steven Adler. Axl shows off his vocal range better than anywhere else on the record and this is filler? No this is gold. Any other band of their era (or since) would have released this as a lead single.