Originally released in 2004, Guns N’ Roses’ Greatest Hits was a brazen attempt to top up the coffers drained by Axl Rose’s mad opus Chinese Democracy, still three years away from completion. And it worked.
Greatest Hits sold by the truckload, and reminded people that GN’R used to be more than just one man’s insanely expensive vanity project.
Optimists might view this vinyl reissue as a financial bump for the new album the reunited GN’R may or may not currently be working on. There’s certainly enough bait here to snag even mildly obsessive fans: gold and red splatter discs, updated artwork, and the addition of 1986’s Shadow Of Your Love, formerly a lost treasure until it was properly exhumed for the Locked And Loaded box set a couple of years ago. But in other respects it feels like a missed opportunity to properly update the album.
If the current, semi-classic line-up can incorporate songs from Chinese Democracy into their live set, then surely there’s space here for a song or two from that flawed behemoth: the title track or the bat-shit-brilliant Madagascar.
It’s impossible to argue with what’s already here, but you can’t help wishing there was more. Much like Guns N’ Roses’ entire career.