Axl Rose's Creative Masterpiece
"Chinese Democracy" is a hard rock postmodern pastiche of sorts.
What Axl is doing with music is not dissimilar to what Quentin Tarantino is doing with movies. He's taking all of his musical influences and life experiences and weaving a patchwork tapestry that accounts for a musical journey through his life. Similar to Herr Tarantino, Axl possesses an appreciation for hip-hop and a near encyclopedic knowledge of his craft and it shows in their collective works.
There are three amazing songs on the album: "Better", "There Was A Time", and "Prostitute", three good songs: "Madagascar", "Street of Dreams", and "IRS".
The rest of the songs are more or less a wash but they're also never boring and have their own appeal. If you enjoy a wide variety of music, then you're going to love this record. Axl and band are channeling classic Guns N' Roses sound of punk fused with blues rock (although of course it's not Guns N' Roses) through influences like Nirvana, The Scorpions, Nine Inch Nails, Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Beatles, Bootsy Collins, Pink Floyd, Alice in Chain, Manic Street Preachers, and the list goes on. If that sounds crazy, it's because it is, and it's glorious.
If you're looking for a direct, cohesive, no bulls*** hard rock album, you're going to hate "Chinese Democracy". It's an self-indulgent movie soundtrack complete with strings and synth orchestration, harps, chimes, french horns, and the works. Axl's new vision for GN'R is less blues rock/speed metal of the days of yore and more electrofunk, industrial, and symphonic pop. If you want to couch it to a certain time period, it's a look at 2002 through the looking glass of 1977.
While I enjoy the record, even if it is overdone, I'd be remiss if I failed to mention the questionable mix and abstract lyricism. To the former, the mix works best on a hi-fi system but eschewing a traditional rock mix for a wide range orchestra mix didn't help the material.
Throughout several listens of the album I wanted both Axl and the drums higher in the mix so I could really dig in. To the latter, Axl's lyrical style shows growth, it's less lucid than Use Your Illusion and far more developed than the juvenile Appetite For Destruction, but it's arguably incomprensible at times and makes you wonder what the album is cohesively supposed to be about.
In the end, there are a lot of reasons to dislike Axl Rose but this album itself isn’t one of them. After all, he took an absurd amount of money from a corporation and used to to make his personal art project. If that’s not the real-life great rock n’ roll swindle, I don’t know what is. While other artists were slinging rehashes of their golden years and s***ty plastic headphones, Axl was doing something new and putting it all on the line.
Anyone with a cursory understanding of psychological priming could have easily forecast that “Chinese Democracy” was bound to be a commercial failure. The mythic expectations foisted upon it were an indelible blow. The monumentally poor marketing, public relations, and management both preceding and succeeding it’s release prepared it an early grave.
But for all of it’s opulence and flaws is still a piece of art that deserves enduring attention.
By Eco pest
Saul Hudson rocks😎
Not a true G&R album, but its not that bad
Originally, I hated this album. Anyone who says Slash was overrated doesn't have a clue how diverse of a player he is. That being said, you can tell hes missing from this album. Some songs like the title track, I.R.S. and a few others are pretty solid. But that is the problem with this album, half is entertaining...but the other half is god awful.
Biggest Guns fan over anyone!
By Roth Baby!
First of all your not a fan if u can't spell axl's name right... This album is great and I would put it in third place. Appetite is obviously first, illusions II is second then Chinese. Great album Musical masterpiece
By Rylin h
Guns N Roses is my favorite band of all time. But this particular album is not my favorite. This album was released after when Guns N Roses broke up, and it’s not the same. It doesn’t sound the same. And it doesn’t sound like Axl singing. I mean, I understand he’s older and his voice sounds different, but it’s really not the same. Some of the songs are pretty good though, like This I Love. Oh well, it’s Guns N Roses, I’m still buying it.
Pretty much an Axl solo album...
This pretty much is an Axl Rose solo album but it's still not the worst album I have ever heard. As long as you understand this is not a real GNR album you may appreciate it more. Yes it's extremely produced, but that's just Axl Rose and plus I would have been extremely surprised if it hadn't been considered how long it took for this to be released. The problem is this has the GNR name on it...the only way for it to sound like GNR is with some of the other guys that created that sound. Here's to hoping now that Slash and Duff are back in the band we get a new album. Undoubtedly that would sound more like Guns than this.
Where's the reviews?
Why aren't the iTunes "reviews" showing?
Very good album
First I'd say about half a star rating of people's votes towards this is due to the fact that people will allow a band name alone define what an album can be. Forget the name of the band for a moment and listen to the actual music. This album is great if you can do that. If you feel the name Guns N' Roses shouldn't be associated with this album and give it a lower rating because of that alone than you are missing on a album that has many good songs. Better, street of dreams, there was a time, IRS, this I love.. heck I like it all. But musically speaking once again I highly recommend it. Give it a chance. For me it got better over the years.
By GG AllY2
I listened to the album once and love it! It's a nice change of pace in my opinion and the songs are a little different from the ones he's done before, good job G n R!