Chinese Democracy cd cover

Guns N' Roses

Chinese Democracy

  1. Chinese Democracy
  2. Shackler's Revenge
  3. Better
  4. Street of Dreams
  5. If the World
  6. There Was a Time
  7. Catcher in the Rye
  8. Scraped
  9. Riad N' the Bedouins
  10. Sorry
  11. I.R.S.
  12. Madagascar
  13. This I Love
  14. Prostitute

I had a unique vantage point on this cd before I heard it -- I simply didn't care what it sounded like. I was never one of those GNR disciples. I wasn't clamoring for a repeat of Appetite for Destruction or anything else. In fact it was mostly just curiosity of what could have taken so long to record that interested me. In some ways, it is what I was expecting and in others, I was really surprised. In the title track, (and first single) there was an obvious attempt to re-connect to the sound that made them famous. He would be stupid not to, and I don't think he is stupid. Track two is where I believe he really wanted to go a decade ago. (I bet he's got a dozen or more songs recorded in this style) The NIN industrial sound that was so fresh in the early 90s doesn't sound ground breaking anymore, but he proved he could have competed in that arena, he just didn't make it to the party on time. Ironically, given his status in the music community, I don't think he could have been successful releasing an album like this this ten years ago. It wouldn't have been accepted. Not from him and not by his fans. Even five years ago it would have just seemed behind the times. Now it's almost retro. But I digress. Clearly Axl had to change gears more than once during the recording due to the changes in the musical climate. It's impossible to create something current when you work on it for that long, so your only choice is to rise above trends. If you can't be with the times you have to be timeless. I'm not saying this is a timeless recording (time will tell) but I couldn't help but admire his willingness to try so many different things. My detachment from the artist affords me that luxury. I recognize my own hypocrisy enough to know I wouldn't be so liberal if a band I loved had recorded this, but since I didn't love what Axl did before, I wasn't angry when he didn't repeat it. My favorite track is what I would consider the most out of place one, If the World. I just love that song. There are some others I don't like on here and I'm not even sure if overall this could be considered a metal album, but I think he wrote some fantastic vocal melodies and I must admit I was amazed at how he has maintained his vocal range. He really sounds better than ever. So will GNR fans like it? There is no Welcome to the Jungle. No Paradise City. No Sweet Child O Mine. Not even a Mr. Brownstone. It's not what they wanted. Some will force themselves to like it, some will learn to appreciate it, and some will hate it. I enjoyed it as a change of pace cd. In the right mood, I like it. I don't know how often I will be in that mood, but it definitely deserves more than one listen. --Scott


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