November 27th, 2008


Chinese Democracy

Guns N Roses new album, Chinese Democracy, opens with Axel Rose comparing his obsession with music to what, I can only imagine, is his view of communism in China. Or something like that. I mean, maybe he's making some kind of important politically motivated opinion on the country, but it's kind of hard to tell when he keeps referencing himself, masturbation, and his fascination. Also, Iron Fists are mentioned. Truthfully, it's all a bit on the vague side.

Look, there's some nice guitar work.

I guess.

I mean, the song sounds a little over produced, with nothing raw or loose or crunchy in it, and you can kind of feel thirteen years worth of polishing in it, even if thirteen years weren't actually spent on this one track, but there really are guitars there. Somewhere.

I don't know truly what I expected to find when I tried this new album, but with the majority of the band that made Appetite for Destruction gone, I figured it wasn't going to be anything like that. Of course, I also figured it wasn't going to be the unapproachable mess that was their cover album, The Spaghetti Incident, or the sprawling and occasionally cool mess of the Use Your Illusion albums. And you know, it's not like any of those albums. This new incarnation of the band, and this album, is less a cohesive whole of Guns N Roses, and is instead a vehicle in which Axel Rose can explore his relationship with his public life, his ex-band mates, and do it in a self absorbed, egotistical, stadium rock kind of way. Occasionally, there are some cool guitar rifts, a couple of rock ballads and, though you may think I'm making this up, references to easy High School Literature such JD Salinger and Martin Luther King. Oh, and that quote from Cool Hand Luke that was used in the front of 'Civil War' returns, this time spliced in with the good doctor King. Someone might have an obsession with that film.

It's not a bad album, really. There are some nice moments in it, but you'll either dig, or you won't, depending if you've adjusted to the over produced feel that hovers round the album. To be honest it took me a couple of spins to find things I liked--but I kept at it because I was trying to find a feel for the album, hate or love. Truth is, I think I'm coming down on the 'eh', where I don't feel much of anything, and think I'll just quietly forget about it after a few weeks, and move on.

May not even take me a couple of weeks, really.