Mini-Album Review: Guns N’ Roses, Chinese Democracy

Posted by matt on November 24, 2008

chinese-democracy.jpgArtist: Guns N’ Roses
Album: Chinese Democracy
Wikipedia Genre(s): Hard rock
Matt’s Fav Tracks: Chinese Democracy, Shackler’s Revenge
# times listened: Not many (< 10 times)
Matt’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Buy CD: Amazon

Over 15 years ago, I remember watching the 9-minute video for November Rain with Nemolian.  After the video, they interviewed Axl in the back of a limo while he was trying to remember if the video cost $1.6 or $2 million…

Fast-forward to today and not much has happened with Guns, but a lot has happened to the music industry.  Entire music genres launched and already fizzled (i.e. Ska, nu-metal), music is delivered completely differently, and this type of music is not supposed to be popular anymore unless you are seeing it performed by <insert washed-up hair-band> at your local county fair.  During this time, Axl Rose was busy kicking people in and out of his band while working on the banned in China, Chinese Democracy.

Being 15 years in the making, there is no way this album (or any album) could possibly live up to hype and pressure similar to the last Indiana Jones movie or Duke Nuke ’em Forever, but this album really surprised me.

The title track opens with a growley scream that you’d expect if Axl had been cooped up spending tons of time and over $15 million in cash (about a million a year I guess).  Though Slash is not present, the guitar parts are brilliant (I’m assuming they are mostly the Buckethead ones) and the heavily layered tracks have a nice groove.  The songs do vary quite a bit and the tone has an epic feel–almost like Zepplin, mixed with Floyd, mixed with Steve Vai’s solo stuff.  There are a few clunkers on here, but at over 70 minutes, you get your money’s worth.  I currently dig the title track most of all so far, but some of the later tracks are growing on me.dr-pepper-logo-2.jpg

If you hurry, the free Dr. Pepper to everyone is still available to everyone in the United States, (EXCEPT Slash) until 6PM EST on 11/24/08!  I tried to get mine, but the website is still getting killed.  Check the story if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

Posted under music, reviews
  1. John A. Vieth Said,

    I couldn’t agree more! I was nervous before listening to this album the first time, and I was so relieved when it didn’t suck. So I had pretty low expectations. But this is a solid album! The only criticism I can offer if people insist on criticism is that it sounds a little overly produced at times, as in overly produced to fix and tweak vocals (bad), as opposed to overly produced to add/layer/compliment (not necessarily bad). But Axl’s vocals are fine, so I don’t think it’s a big issue. He’s changed his vocals since Appetite and Lies (which was necessary if he wanted to keep his voice, I’ve heard), but it’s still the same old Axl for the most part. It’s mostly all good. Best album ever? Please. But solid? Yes. To anyone who doesn’t like it, I say don’t listen to it, but don’t say it’s not good or worthwhile, because it is, and it sounds like you agree. In fact, after 5 listenings, it is starting to grow on me a *LOT*. And if I recall, that was also true for Appetite for Destruction and Lies, too. After the first listen to those albums, I was underwhelmed, but in no time I was addicted, and I still love those albums. So to Axl Rose, I say congratulations! This is his SMiLE (Brian Wilson reference).