Saturday, June 22, 2013

Song Meaning: Paradise City by Guns N Roses

ARTIST: GUNS N ROSES | ALBUM: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION | RELEASED: 1987
Song Meaning: Paradise City by Guns N Roses
"Paradise City" is a highpoint of Appetite for Destruction
"Paradise City" is a typical early-Guns N' Roses song consists of themes like sex, drugs, and having fun. Once the song was released as a single, it facilitated in propelling Appetite for Destruction to top charts around world.

The song is about leaving home in search of outgoing adventures, namely girls, drugs and other "cool" stuff. Lyrics were loosely written, and open for your own interpretation. Slash and Axl Rose came up with the lyrics when they were still a club-band. Extending close to seven minutes in length, the song follows a verse-chorus form, explaining the band's adventure in detail. In fact, almost every line of the song attempts to convey a descriptive meaning.

As I said earlier, underlying themes, like as drugs and sex, were so commonplace for Guns N' Roses, that lyrics pertaining to such came to them very naturally. That's part of the reason why this song, and other off of Appetite like "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Mr Brownstone" is so vivid - both lyrically and musically. Other reason is, of course, slash's riffs and solos, and Axl's distorted, high-pitched vocals. What's not to be overlooked is Steven Adler's drumming; it was perfect throughout the album.


Analysis of interesting lines:

Take me down to the paradise city1 - paradise city is a paradise of goods, unlike home

grass is green and the girls are pretty2 - some perks in paradise city

lines #8 to #12 - G'N'R lacking money to buy stuff( drugs presumably ) and pay for prostitutes so they had to go back to the "end of the line"

lines #14 to #18 - while living on the edge while on road, far away from home,you'd have to occasionally push your luck to find "fortune and fame." Since G'N'R was seen as lower-class before they made to the top, they were the victim of slanted laws in favor of the rich. So "Everybody's doin' the time" refers to the fact the rich and powerful get away with simple crimes, while if those happened to committed by the poor, it was seen as a "capital crime."

Strapped in the chair of the city's gas chamber27 - "gas chamber" symbolizes pot or marijuana

Surgeon general says it's hazardous to breathe29 - absolutely brilliant line! "Surgeon General" obviously refers to the US federal government, and guess who was in charge back in the 80s. It was Reagan, followed by George H. W. Bush. This era marked the begging of the war on drugs. So what GNR is saying in this line is "big brother" is watching what you are taking into your own body, while, at the same time, talk highly on individual freedoms.

Lines #45 to #49 - Americans have a problem of viewing drugs as bad, and willing to punish anyone who possesses them. These five lines have to analyzed further to fully understand what Axl is saying, so I'm leaving that up to you. 
That's what I think of the song. Let me know in the comments sections if you can come up with better analysis.

  1. Take me down to the paradise city
  2. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  3. Take me home (oh won't you please take me home)
  4. Take me down to the paradise city
  5. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  6. Take me home (oh won't you please take me home)

  7. Just a urchin livin' under the street
  8. I'm a hard case that's tough to beat
  9. I'm your charity case so buy me something to eat
  10. I'll pay you at another time
  11. Take it to the end of the line

  12. Rags to riches or so they say
  13. Ya gotta keep pushin' for the fortune and fame
  14. You know it's all a gamble when it's just a game
  15. Ya treat it like a capital crime
  16. Everybody's doin' the time

  17. Take me down to the paradise city
  18. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  19. Oh won't you please take me home
  20. Take me down to the paradise city
  21. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  22. Take me home, yeah yeah

  23. Strapped in the chair of the city's gas chamber
  24. Why I'm here I can't quite remember
  25. The surgeon general says it's hazardous to breathe
  26. I'd have another cigarette but I can't see
  27. Tell me who you're gonna believe

  28. Take me down to the paradise city
  29. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  30. Take me home, yeah yeah
  31. Take me down to the paradise city
  32. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  33. Oh won't you please take me home

  34. So far away
  35. So far away
  36. So far away
  37. So far away

  38. Captain America's been torn apart
  39. Now he's a court jester with a broken heart
  40. He said "turn me around and take me back to the start"
  41. I must be losing my mind "are you blind?"
  42. I've seen it all a million times

  43. Take me down to the paradise city
  44. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  45. Take me home, yeah yeah
  46. Take me down to the paradise city
  47. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  48. Oh won't you please take me home
  49. Take me down to the paradise city
  50. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  51. Take me home, yeah yeah
  52. Take me down to the paradise city
  53. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  54. Oh won't you please take me home

  55. I wanna go, I wanna go
  56. Oh won't you please take me home
  57. I wanna see how good it can be
  58. Oh won't you please take me home
  59. Take me down to the paradise city
  60. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  61. Take me home
  62. Take me down to the paradise city
  63. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  64. Oh won't you please take me home
  65. Take me down, lead me 'round
  66. Oh won't you please take me home

  67. I wanna see, what a woman can be
  68. I want to take you home
  69. Take me down to the paradise city
  70. Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
  71. Oh won't you please take me home
  72. I wanna go, I wanna know
  73. Oh won't you please take me home

1 comment:

  1. Just my two cents: lines 45 - 49 >> The members of the band and presumably their fan base, grew up after the Baby Boomers, whose main cultural influence was the 1960's and Viet Nam. Prior to that, when THEIR parents were growing up, the USA was seen more benevolently than following the Viet Nam War. Hence the line 'Captain America's been Torn Apart...Now he's a court jester with a broken heart..."

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