When “Patience” was released as a single in the spring of 1989, I remember more than a few people snickering about how Guns n’ Roses were jumping on the metal ballad bandwagon with “a little something for the ladies.” And I remember being really pissed off at that assumption. Yes, “Patience” is in many ways a departure from the onslaught of “Appetite for Destruction” and it is a lovely ballad. But the song always struck me as really, really dark. Not so much for the lyrics, but for the stark way in which the song is recorded. The acoustic guitars slash (no pun intended) and sting at times and the echoey production sounds like it was recorded in a prison cell. Coupled with the very public knowledge about lead singer Axl Rose’s often troubled relationships with women, the song becomes less a reassurance to an insecure lover and more about the singer reassuring himself that everything will be OK, to ride out the fears and insecurity he is facing with someone he loves. Though I should point out the fallacy in making this assumption, since the song was composed by band guitarist Izzy Stradlin. Still, In my opinion, the song is the best thing the band ever did.
Brilliantly used in Martin Scorsese’s 1991 remake of “Cape Fear,” during a heated domestic argument between Nick Nolte’s and Jessica Lange’s characters that is straight out of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”