Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Song Meaning, Analysis & Facts: Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N' Roses

Artist: Guns N Roses | Album: Appetite for Destruction | Released: 1987
If there's one song that perfectly sums up G N' R perfectly, and captures the essence of rock n' roll, it's "Welcome to the Jungle". The song is the definition of sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

Filled with animated lyrics, "Welcome to the Jungle" portrays the underground Los Angeles, though there's no direct reference to it. Lead guitarist Slash claims that Axl wrote the song when they were on their way to Seattle. "Axl wrote the words while visiting his long-time friend Tori in Kingston, Washington, a town outside of Seattle. It's a big city, but at the same time it's still a small city compared to Los Angeles and the things that you're gonna learn. It seemed a lot more rural up there. Axl just wrote how it looked to him. If someone comes to town and they want to find something, they can find whatever they want." Slash has later said "it was the first real Guns song. You can almost hear where everybody had their input in."

It's well known that band was formed in L.A., but even before Axl came to the town, Steven Adler and Slash used to hang around in the Hollywood Boulevard ...doing drugs and whatnot. All Guns' members were very familiar with the 'underground' L.A. They knew where to look for if they needed the "high" stuff. The music video for the song shows Axl getting off a bus at the beginning, and immediately offered drugs by Izzy Stradlin. This is a very accurate representation of the early days of Axl Rose' new L.A. life ( for those who don't know, Axl was born in Indiana and hitchhiked his way to L.A. ). Occasionally before playing the song live, Axl Rose makes a reference to his trip. He talks about a black guy who gave him the ride, and others that gave him drugs.

"Welcome to the Jungle" was the lead single of G N' R's classic Appetite for Destruction. The single played it part in putting the album, and the band, in the mainstream rock radio; it reached #7 on Billboard Hot 100. The music video was in regular-rotation on MTV. Shortly after its debut, it was the most requested song. Due to it enormous crossover popularity,  "Jungle" is credited with bringing hard rock back to mainstream when glam metal was the popular genre of rock n' roll. The song is still very popular today. You can hear it being played in sports arenas throughout the world.
Analysis of lyrics:

Welcome to the jungle1 - "jungle" means underground L.A. It's not a normal city like Toronto with tall buildings and subways. It's place that facilitates the heavy use of drugs and alcohols.

We got everything you want3 - as I said earlier, Guns N' Roses were very familiar the underground and they knew where to look for if a stranger happened to come around looking for "stuff."

We are the people that can find / Whatever you may need5,6 - this possesses a similar meaning to the previous

If you got the money, honey7 - well, everything has a price tag attached to it

We got your disease8 - "disease" means Guns N' Roses are pretty much in the same boat as others who like to get high on drugs. In other words, the band is saying they are no different others with the drug "disease."

I wanna watch you bleed - a reference to heroin, which is described in detail later on in the lyrics

If you want it you're gonna bleed / But it's the price you pay18, 19 - this means injecting heroin; "it" here means heroin. It's not as easy as, say, doing cocaine. And That's the "price", or the downside of it. If you want to be familiar with heroin, there's a scene in Pulp Fiction where Vincent injects some of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPd4ZpzIFtk 

And you're a very sexy girl / That's very hard to please20,21 - direct reference to prostitutes. This is can also be seen in the music video of the song, where, towards the very beginning, Axl flirts a lady. 

You can taste the bright lights / But you won't get them for free22,23 - reference to band's bottom line. They didn't have much money in the early days; in fact Axl and Slash participated in a science experiment by UCLA where they were paid to smoke. "Bright lights" refers to all the "fun" stuff in L.A., which pretty much coincides with the drugs, sex and rock n' roll theme of the song.

Feel my, my, my serpentine26 - this refers to Axl's privates part in a very roundabout way

I wanna hear you scream27 - sex

If you got a hunger for what you see / You'll take it eventually33,34 - this means if you are like doing drugs, you will do them and keep on doing it

But you better not take it from me36 - very selfish thing to say, but drugs are scarce and expensive, so it's understandable

And when you're high /You never wanna come down44,45 - getting high is a good feeling so you want to stay as such as long as possible

#52 to #54 - these are filler lines, meaning they don't add any real meaning to song, but acts as a placeholder for music.
That's what I think of the song. I used to extensively listen to this song, so much so, that I've even gotten bored. Let me know what you think of the song and my analysis in the comments below.

  1. Welcome to the jungle
  2. We've got fun 'n' games
  3. We got everything you want
  4. Honey, we know the names
  5. We are the people that can find
  6. Whatever you may need
  7. If you got the money, honey
  8. We got your disease

  9. In the jungle
  10. Welcome to the jungle
  11. Watch it bring you to your
  12. knees, knees
  13. I wanna watch you bleed

  14. Welcome to the jungle
  15. We take it day by day
  16. If you want it you're gonna bleed
  17. But it's the price you pay
  18. And you're a very sexy girl
  19. That's very hard to please
  20. You can taste the bright lights
  21. But you won't get them for free
  22. In the jungle
  23. Welcome to the jungle
  24. Feel my, my, my serpentine
  25. I, I wanna hear you scream

  26. Welcome to the jungle
  27. It gets worse here everyday
  28. Ya learn ta live like an animal
  29. In the jungle where we play
  30. If you got a hunger for what you see
  31. You'll take it eventually
  32. You can have anything you want
  33. But you better not take it from me

  34. In the jungle
  35. Welcome to the jungle
  36. Watch it bring you to your
  37. knees, knees
  38. I wanna watch you bleed

  39. And when you're high
  40. You never wanna come down,
  41. So down
  42. So down
  43. So down


  45. You know where you are
  46. You're in the jungle baby
  47. You're gonna die

  48. In the jungle
  49. Welcome to the jungle
  50. Watch it bring you to your
  51. knees, knees
  52. In the jungle
  53. Welcome to the jungle
  54. Feel my, my, my serpentine
  55. In the jungle
  56. Welcome to the jungle
  57. Watch it bring you to your
  58. knees, knees
  59. In the jungle
  60. Welcome to the jungle
  61. Watch it bring you to your
  62. It' gonna bring you down-HA!

Lyrics from : http://www.lyrics007.com/Guns%20N%27%20Roses%20Lyrics/Welcome%20To%20The%20Jungle%20Lyrics.html

1 comment:

  1. So farn the most complete interpretation, Keep the good work :)


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