Guns N’ Roses & Axl Rose Mentioned in New Billboard Article About Criticism Of Musical Lyrics

Axl Rose

Billboard Publishes Article About Morality In the Criticism of Music and Mentions ‘One in a Million’ By Guns N’ Roses

Bilboard recently published an article discussing the pace of Morality in the Criticism of Music and brought up the controversy that followed the Guns N’ Roses song ‘One in a Million’. You can read the full article here. The snippets of Guns N’ Roses from the article are as follows:

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But even de-platforming isn’t a novel approach. Conservative politicians from both parties worked in vain to force Time Warner to stop distribution of artists like Snoop Dogg and 2Pac in the mid-’90s. Guns N’ Roses were supposed to perform at an benefit hosted by the Men’s Health Crisis in June 1989. In response to the bigoted,  lyrics of “One in a Million,” released in late 1988, the Men’s Health Crisis dumped the band.

Thirty years after Pareles took Guns N’ Roses to task for the prejudice in Axl Rose’s lyrics on “One in a Million,” we’re still wandering a pop culture landscape unsure of how to apply that moral lens, how to convince others that what they’re clinging to isn’t worth the mental and ethical strain. Then, of course, there’s the historical record, which feels more fungible than ever in the streaming era. At the time of the song’s release, the four-star Rolling Stone review of the EP it came from heard “something that sounds oddly like compassion” amidst the bigotry in the “beautiful ballad that attacks nearly every minority group in existence.” Pareles called on listeners “to disabuse bigots of any claim to the mainstream” — a stance exemplified by a positive review in the music magazine of record. Seven months after the review ran, Axl Rose appeared on Rolling Stone’s cover, and in his interview he defended his lyrics:

I used words like police and n—–s because you’re not allowed to use the word n—-r. Why can black people go up to each other and say, “N—-r,” but when a white guy does it all of a sudden it’s a big putdown? I don’t like boundaries of any kind. I don’t like being told what I can and what I can’t say. I used the word n—-r because it’s a word to describe somebody that is basically a pain in your life, a problem.

Earlier this year, Axl Rose (who has of late been an outspoken critic of Trump and other Republicans) and his bandmates decided to not include “One in a Million” on a sprawling reissue of Appetite for Destruction. You can still stream it, though.