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Old 11-24-2008, 12:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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pontifications on guns n' roses - chinese democracy

so i've had one complete run through the 14 year juggernaut and here's my take...

pro's

- i'm a particular fan of vocals, and i'm throughly impressed with how axl rose has grown as a vocalist. he still uses his signature gravelly soprano, but he's clearly taken pages from guys like danny elfman, maynard, and mike patton and chris cornell and dellivered in the alchemy, range, and expressive departments, which to me define vox. he's still a fully effective charismatic and enigmatic frontman even with this daunting hiatus of time.

-in spite of how produced it is, the album still achieves moments of the late 80's pure rock n' roll attitude that brought you back to gnr after all this time. i predict there'll be arguments about whether it's a sip or a satisfying glass of it. personally, i'm pleased with the degree of experimentation that didn't forget where it came from.

-considering the fact that it's 14 songs, it delivers as a complete album and goes beyond a few singles and an assload of filler. it's a great candidate for putting on for something like a road trip or an afternoon of cleaning your pad. That statement alone distinguishes it from the vast majority of what mass media spoon-feeds us nowadays.but...

The Cons

-first and foremost, it's just a shame that this took so long. once you get to where g n'r did, you gotta focus on quantity, not quality. the first obstacle of enjoying this album is forgetting that and not asking whether it was worth it, because that's impossible.

-no matter how produced and shiny you made it, you can't hide the fact that this music is completely stripped of any channeling the music as a band or spontinaeity. In that way, it's no different than a nine inch nails or timbaland collaboration record. It's all extremely "in the box" and you can hear strategy in every note. In a perfect world it'd be an "Axl rose" record, not a g n' r one. That doesn't make it inherently bad... i think chris cornell's solo records are better than audioslaves... but it's philosophically similar to calling it a new soundgarden record. and it's another pitfall to pre-judge it.


Overall, i think that if you can single it out and personally get past the daunting task of expecting too much from the past or backstory of it, it stands alone as a solid and legititimate album that can be chalked up to the good guys for the evolution of music.

what about you?
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Old 11-24-2008, 09:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
 
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I'm still tickled pink that the Chinese government has ironically banned Chinese Democracy.

As for the album, 80s rock, to my mind, died out long ago. It's strange to get a brand new album now. It would be like Elvis releasing a new album in his famous original style in 2008. It's very interesting, but it feels out of time. That said, I like several of the songs.
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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pros - its finally out.

cons - i cant make jokes about "Chinese Democracy will be out before such and such happens."

I cant wait to hear it.
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The radio station here is playing a song an hour. I have heard about half a dozen so far. My opinion; sounds dated like it should have been released 14 years ago. So over produced it put Celine Dion to shame.

I don't know. Unless it grows on me I may tolerate it. As it is now with what I have heard I would give it 3 out of 10.

I loved Appetite and both Illusions but I think any hardcore fan will be disappointed.
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I was a huge GnR fan.....when I was 15. Now I'm 33 and this just isn't doing it for me
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Terrible. Dated. Immemorable.

Shackler's revenge sounds like it's straight from the soundtrack of a racing video game.

It's a shame how many copies this album will sell.
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Wife has been listening to the leaks for months and months... maybe even years now. She's going to pick it up tonight on the way home, becuase we didn't leave the apartment yesterday.

She's a GnR fan... so it's all good for her.

Me.... I don't care.

Now I just have to wait for Duke Nukem: Forever maybe that will come out too.
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Old 11-24-2008, 04:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
Getting it.
 
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Never was a fan so I doubt I will be listening to this unless it's hearing it while someone else plays it.
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
Here
 
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It sucks.


Just like I thought it would.
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Why is this being proclaimed as a "Guns n' Roses" album, when it's actually an "Axl Rose" album?

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Old 12-01-2008, 09:22 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Was a real dissapointment to me, I used to love the old G'NR records but it was years ago I listened to them, heard the album today and it just didn't do it for me. It was very uneven, some songs came close to the old splendor but somehow managed to miss it while others didn't feel right.. But I must say I'm impressed with Axl Rose's development as a singer...
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:03 PM   #12 (permalink)
Just here for the beer.
 
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Well, I didn't much care for it. Just didn't do anything for me. And I was a pretty big fan of the original group. At least I am getting a free Dr. Pepper out of it! (Dr Pepper said they would give a free soda to every American adult if the cd actually dropped before the end of '08. So I signed up for my coupon. Too late to sign up now, though. Window was pretty tight. I'll toast Axl when I mix my free Dr Pepper with some Jack. )
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:13 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I listened to the MySpace stream and wasn't impressed. Then I read some reviews that raved about the solos (especially Shackler's Revenge) so I thought I'd check it out and see if I missed anything.

I don't see what the reviewer heard in the Shackler's Revenge solo. My only idea is that the reviewers don't listen to very much really heavy stuff because the guitar work is nothing special compared to other metal guitarists out there.
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:26 AM   #14 (permalink)
is awesome!
 
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As the only person actually standing as Guns n' Roses, I gotta say Axl's vocals are pretty amazing. There are really no other contemporary male vocalists capable of or attempting his level of vocal acrobatics. There are some really really good songs, "Street of Dreams" is better than anything on Illusion 1 or 2. Without a doubt this album is miles above what passes as "hard rock" radio programming. I'll take any song on Chinese Democracy over the combined careers of Nickelback, Staind, Linkin Park, Audioslave, Evanescence, and Creed (holy shit they're awful).

Even though he was fired years ago, there's a lot of Buckethead on guitar. A few of the guitar solos are too clean, sound like they could be done on a keyboard. The bass is solid, but doesn't have the presence it did on Appetite. What's really missing is the dangerousness of the early GnR. I can remember buying "Lies" on cassette, putting it in my walkman, and having it scare the shit out of me on the first listen. No one is going to have an experience like that with Chinese Democracy. The bar for "shocking" is so high now, GnR can't really compare. To his credit, Axl isn't trying to out do anyone with expletives or whatever.

I like that it's earnestly trying to be a great hard rock/metal album and nothing else. It's not trying to be rap-metal, grindy, or hiding behind a prophylactic shield of irony (the Darkness). Chinese Democracy is a treat for the ears that will reward repeat listenings. It's too bad that no one really listens to albums like that anymore. I'd love to be proven wrong but I don't see it getting much play on the radio. It doesn't have the simplistic packaged choruses or gimmicks that get stuck in your head. People just want one or two catchy hits for their mp3 player to grind into their brain until a song loses all its potency (I'm definitely guilty of this, not trying to be on a high horse here). Its great when a White Stripes chorus bubbles up from my subconscious, but fuck, half the time it's a commercial jingle or something worse:
all the single ladies
all the single ladies
all the single ladies
all the single ladies
if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it
if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it
if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it
if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it
ad nausea

By being incapable of digesting a solid 14 song album it's the listeners that have let GnR down, not the other way around. In that sense I think it's a cool and quixotic thing that Mr. Rose has done with Chinese Democracy. Supposedly there are two more albums in production. I hope they get released before my or Axl's death.
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:42 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locobot View Post
By being incapable of digesting a solid 14 song album it's the listeners that have let GnR down, not the other way around. In that sense I think it's a cool and quixotic thing that Mr. Rose has done with Chinese Democracy. Supposedly there are two more albums in production. I hope they get released before my or Axl's death.
Please, rock/metal listeners have no problems digesting long albums. The problem with Chinese Democracy is that it sucks.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:04 PM   #16 (permalink)
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i really dislike buckethead but i thought he did good on this album. a lot of people hate it but i think its a pretty good album
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:14 AM   #17 (permalink)
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ok, finally heard it. its not bad, its not great, it is good. its just not memorable, nothing catchy that makes me want to sing along or blast it loud. a bit overproduced, but i dont mind that, it sounded.....sterile. pleasant background noise.
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Old 12-14-2008, 05:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I actually really like the track "Chinese Democracy". However, the rest of the album is garbage except for the occasional riff here and there.

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Old 12-20-2008, 10:23 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kutulu View Post
the guitar work is nothing special compared to other metal guitarists out there.
Care to name a few? Oh never mind, don't bother, they suck.

Quote:
Please, rock/metal listeners have no problems digesting long albums. The problem with Chinese Democracy is that it sucks.
Hmm yeah, this from the guy who checked out a few tracks on myspace...seriously.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:33 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locobot View Post
Care to name a few? Oh never mind, don't bother, they suck.
I never said Buckethead sucks, just that what was on that album was nothing great or even that interesting to me. He's a great guitarist and a great avant garde musician but he doesn't do rock very well. There is a difference between writing a song and playing solos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Locobot View Post
Hmm yeah, this from the guy who checked out a few tracks on myspace...seriously.
I didn't just 'check out a few tracks' I listened to the whole album. Then I read some really positive reviews and I went back to listen to the whole thing again. If you love it, great, but I don't see anything that matches up with the other three albums. I have hundreds of albums in my collection and when I listen to something I usually listen to the whole thing from start to finish.

Last edited by kutulu; 12-24-2008 at 12:37 AM..
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:56 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kutulu View Post
I never said Buckethead sucks, just that what was on that album was nothing great or even that interesting to me. He's a great guitarist and a great avant garde musician but he doesn't do rock very well. There is a difference between writing a song and playing solos.



I didn't just 'check out a few tracks' I listened to the whole album. Then I read some really positive reviews and I went back to listen to the whole thing again. If you love it, great, but I don't see anything that matches up with the other three albums. I have hundreds of albums in my collection and when I listen to something I usually listen to the whole thing from start to finish.
I totally agree regarding the reviews, although I haven't seen any gushing positive reviews, there are clearly reviewers who listen to hard rock/metal and those who don't. I thought the New Yorker review was particularly inept. Chuck Klosterman had some decent insights that I didn't think about before I read his review.

It's not really surprising to me that the guitar on an album that features Buckethead, Dave Navarro, and Brian May doesn't live up to expectations (how could it?). You gotta admit though that for all the reports about Axl being deluded and out of touch, his vocals are pretty remarkable.

Re: myspace, my point still stands. You didn't listen to an even halfway decent copy of the music. A myspace feed isn't exactly the 'highest possible fidelity.' Most people don't have the best speakers or headphones hooked up to their computers either.
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