Sunday, February 7, 2010

Guns 'n' Roses -- "Welcome to the Jungle"

Quick fun fact before we get started: The "Guns" part of Guns 'n' Roses comes from L.A. Guns lead singer Tracii Guns, who was the band's lead guitarist (briefly) before being replaced by Slash. I have no idea where the "Roses" part comes from, though. Probably they just thought it sounded good.

Hey, remember L.A. Guns?

So Rose is really Axl Rose's last name, although his full name is actually William Bruce Rose.

"Guns" is, unsurprisingly, not really Tracii Guns' last name. Her first name is in fact Tracy, but spelled with a "y."

Also, the jungle in this song is not actually a jungle, although I may pretend that it is. And China is not really a democracy, although it has opened up significantly.

And, I'm not actually drunk right now!

Welcome to the jungle / We got fun and games

Sounds fun!

We got everything you want / Honey we know the names

Everything I want? Good! And I'm glad you know the names too! Nice touch. That means when I tell you what I want, you can give it to me without the need for a lot of awkward pointing and/or charades.

We are the people that can find / Whatever you may need

This is like a late night TV ad for Crazy Bob's Safari Supply Shed or something. COME ON DOWN to CRAZY Bob's! We got your hats, scythes, binocs, rhino repellent, everything you want! And what's more, WE KNOW THE NAMES!! We can find whatever you may need for your jungle outing! Because we're CRAZY! At Crazy Bob's! Safari! Supply! SHED!!!! That's right, we operate out of a shed! Don't like it? Go back to civilization!

This is getting better and better! I love the jungle.

If you got the money, honey / We got your disease

Yes! I'll take .... wait, what? Disease? Is it malaria? I hope it's not malaria.

In the jungle / Welcome to the jungle / Watch it bring you to your sha na na na na na na na na knees, knees / I wanna watch you bleed

In all seriousness, now, who is the narrator supposed to be in this song? At first I thought drug dealer but ... why would he want to watch her bleed? Like they say, it's hard to say in business when all your clients keep dying. They being like DARE officers or something, I don't know.

Sadistic pimp? Maybe. But it seems like there are a bunch of drug references scattered around.

Ooh, Satan? I think he's Satan. OK, case closed.

Or, wait, a tiger! It makes sense because they're in the jungle.

Welcome to the jungle / We take it day by day

Although this is a very sensible philosophy, this line is completely pointless and far less menacing than the rest of the lyrics. I guess that's the price you pay, though, for finding a line that rhymes with "price you pay."

If you want it you're gonna bleed / But it's the price you pay

She already paid you a price in money. Remember? Unless, oh OK, I guess he's saying she got the money by selling her blood.

By the way, I think "The Sadistic Pimps" would be a good band name. But only if two of the band members were named "Johnny Sadistic" and "Pimps McGee," of course.

And you're a very sexy girl / Who's very hard to please
/ You can taste the bright lights / But you won't get them for free

I don't get this song at all. What is she after? Drugs? Fame? Cars? A unicycle? And what does she have to do to get it? Sleep around? Sell her blood? Sell her diamonds? Sell her blood diamonds?

And, tasting the bright lights, probably a bad idea, even if you're getting them for free.

In the jungle / Welcome to the jungle / Feel my, my, my, my serpentine / I, I wanna hear you scream

Eww eww eww eww eww.

(orgasmic noises)


Welcome to the jungle / It gets worse here every day

British guy: I say, Martha, this safari has been quite a disappointment! We were promised fun and games, but it just gets worse here every day.
Martha (in screechy voice): Tally ho!
British guy: Err, yes. Well, I still think it was a bloody mistake to listen to that Crazy Bob fellow. Quite a sticky wicket we've got here now, I say!
Martha (still screechy): Tea and crumpets!
British guy: What's all this, then? A rustling in the bushes?
Tiger: (goes on mauling spree)

I hope you read that in a British accent, otherwise it isn't very funny. OK, fine, it's not funny either way. Except for the part with the tiger.

You learn to live like an animal / In the jungle where we play

Just like Mowgli!

If you got a hunger for what you see / You'll take it eventually
/ You can have anything you want / But you better not take it from me

See? He's Satan, right?

Or maybe Willy Wonka. I dunno.

In the jungle / Welcome to the jungle / Watch it bring you to your sha na na na na na na na na knees, knees / I'm gonna watch you bleed

I have to tell you I spent like five minutes trying to figure out the right number of "na"s to include in this line, because I'm a copy editor and I'm anal retentive like that. I'm still not even sure I got it right, either. It's surprisingly hard to count them. Try it yourself! I'll wait right here.

And when you're high you never ever want to come down, suck down, suck down, suck down YEAH!

I'm not entirely sure he says "suck down" here, but it sounds about right, I guess.

And, eww.

And, break it down, William Bruce!

You know where you are? / You're in the jungle, baby / You gonna die

Worst safari ever.


  1. I'm pretty sure the narrator is supposed to be some kind of personification of L.A. in the abstract (or, perhaps even more abstractly, "the big city"), explaining with relish how the terrible big city lifestyle will seize on your desires for fame and fun and destroy you. This is vague enough to make the whole thing make some kind of sense, though it neither fully explains the lame "take it day by day" bit nor justifies Axl's gratuitous reference to his "serpentine."

    By the way, I know you're BLB rather than BVB (baffling video blogger), but I would enjoy your take on the baffling "Don't Cry" video.

  2. The part about the "serpentine" is what made me think he was Satan ... you know, because of how Satan manifests himself as a serpent in the garden.

    Also, Wikipedia said something about how the song was supposed to be about Seattle ... to which I say, what?

  3. Yeah, that seems pretty far off. It's hard to find a band more LA than Guns 'n' Roses -- there's just no way that song's about Seattle. That'd be like Bruce Springsteen writing a ballad about, I don't know, Minneapolis. IT WOULD NOT HAPPEN.

  4. Sha na na na na na na na na na knees, knees

  5. OK I agree with jfruh that the narrator is supposed to be some kind of personification of L.A. I think the "day by day" lyric means that the city can't promise you anything not even that you'll make it one more day there, and just for fun, let me interpret the serpentine line. Assuming that it is L.A. speaking here, "feel my serpentine" could mean.....well, you know what a serpentine chain is? Beautifully smooth but it looks like a snake, (deceptive) hence the name serpentine. A beautiful curving line made of deceptively different parts that go in different directions than what the illusion is.... You are fooled by its beauty and you want to touch, but then you scream! L.A. wants your soul! Sort of like the dark side of fame, drugs, whatever, that you find in the bowels of L.A. That was just for fun, folks. Great song in my opinion.

  6. Omg! You must be bonkers if you can't decipher (and make sense of) these lyrics. I'll give you "serpentine" is that all about. No matter...still an awesomely awesome song!!

  7. The "serpentine" he's talking about might be, you know, that "dance" he usually does, where he moves a bit like a snake. It's one of his "signatures" I'd say.
    Or he might be talking about his penis.
    The guy was pretty attached to sex and stuff. I mean, take a look at the lyrics in "Anything Goes"... LOL

  8. The song is about new York, if it matters.

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