|All Artists: Guns N' Roses|
Title: Chinese Democracy
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 3
Label: Geffen Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/2009
Re-Release Date: 3/3/2010
Genres: Pop, Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
|Guns N' Roses|
Genres: Pop, Rock
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Yes, it's a real Guns n' Roses album
Justin Gaines | Northern Virginia | 04/09/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It may not bear any resemblance to Appetite for Destruction, and I seriously doubt any album is worth a 14-year wait, but Chinese Democracy is without a doubt a real Guns n' Roses album. I'm fully aware that it's just Axl and a rotating cast of musicians at this point, but there's no doubt that the Guns n' Roses sound and spirit from the ambitious Use Your Illusion albums is alive and well on this album. So much so that it feels like it was supposed to be released in 1995.
I was skeptical going into this album, and after the title track and "Shackler's Revenge" I had a bad taste in my mouth, but then "Better" and "Street of Dreams" rekindled my interest. Yeah, this is the Guns n' Roses I remember. Maybe not the "urchin livin' under the street" GNR, but certainly the creative, ambitious, "Axl doing his best Freddy Mercury/Elton John impression" GNR from the "November Rain" video. There are some vaguely electronic/industrial elements, and some dirty rockin' moments, but the majority of Chinese Democracy feels like a bloated, self-indulgent, proggy glam rock album, and I mean that in the best possible way. No one does self-indulgent like Axl Rose, and when he goes all out, like he does on songs like "There Was a Time", "Riad n' the Bedoiuns" and "Catcher in the Rye" it's a thing of beauty.
I'm surprised to say I really like this album, and I get more out of it every time I listen to it. I'd say 75% of the songs on Chinese Democracy are at least as good as 50% of the Use Your Illusion material (and 0% of what's on Appetite, but come on, that album is untouchable).
I think it's probably impossible to listen to this album with an open mind, but your enjoyment of this album is going to have a lot to do with your expectations going in. If you're yearning for a return to the Appetite for Destruction glory days, you're going to be thoroughly disappointed by Chinese Democracy. If you liked the more daring and experimental stuff from the Use Your Illusion albums though, you should find a lot to like about Chinese Democracy."
"Axl Really Surprised Me With This"
Tommy Morais | New Brunswick, Canada | 03/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's still hard to believe that Axl Rose has finally released the long awaited "Chinese Democracy" album. After more than 13 years it was finally released in November of 2008, fans were wondering if the album really did exist or if it would ever be released. The album had been on the "coming soon" list for quite some time. It took too long to arrive but the result is definitely interesting. It does not match the classic "Appetite for Destruction" and I don't think Axl will ever be able to do better because the individuals who were in Guns n'Roses at that time each brought something to the table and they were a band. Today Guns is Axl Rose solo with some other guys performing under the Guns n' Roses name, not the classic G N'R lineup everyone remembers.
Don't get me wrong I'm not bashing, Axl still has a good vision of what he wants the band to sound like and what he wants to do. "Chinese Democracy" has a really different sound than the other G N'R albums, of course it does because the time between those albums. It also has more of a current sound. This one has more pianos, more acoustic guitars, even a Spanish guitar at the beginning of "Street Of Dreams". Everything sounds so epic and bigger than life but it still has a lot of rock n'roll in it too! Every fan find at least something they can like on it, I understand that not everyone will like it but it should be given a chance.
The songs here are really good; "Chinese Democracy" is a good opener and makes you wonder what's coming next. "Shackler's Revenge" was the first song to be heard of the album as it was in the Rock Band 2 video game. The song is full of energy, I heard some say this is their least favorite song on the album, I really like it however. "Better" is probably my favorite song on the album. "Streets Of Dreams" is really heartfelt and Axl gives a great performance."There Was A Time" is reflective and a passionate song. And those are only the first few songs; there are others like "Prostitute" and "Sorry" that are really worth hearing. The album sounds so great, epic and sounds like there was a long time spent working on it. The music, no matter who plays it, sounds great and Axl's voice sounds as good as ever. It's just unfortunate it wasn't released a few years before it have worked much more.
In the end it probably won't looked at as a classic in the future but it will remain a good album. Axl has said that there will be three parts to Chinese Democracy, is it true? Will they really happen? That remains to be seen. The album credits everyone (and believe me there's a very long list!) who played on the album so that you know who played on what songs. That's a great thing as so many different people played on the album, yet even if they were recorded with different people at different times the songs sounds like they all are on the same album. Chinese Democracy is no Appetite but in its best moments the album reminds us of the "Use Your Illusion" albums. If you give it a chance and stop complaining about what you want it to be and actually listen to the thing then you might really appreciate this album. Chinese Democracy has some great moments on it and is much worth listening to."
Matthew David Ritchey | Hollywood, CA USA | 07/20/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If this album had been labeled CHINESE DEMOCRACY by AXL ROSE, I probably would have given this an extra star. But it isn't and I won't.
It's not bad. It's interesting. It's obviously the closest thing we've heard to the kind of music Axl really wants to make. But man, GUNS N' ROSES is a blues-rock based heavy metal band with serious glam leanings. And if you look at the liner notes, the music was mostly credited to Izzy. Now, nobody has a voice like Axl's and he uses it to full advantage on CHINESE DEMOCRACY, but the music is something totally different than GN'R. In much the same way that if Keith Richards left the Rolling Stones it wouldn't be the Rolling Stones, Guns N' Roses with no Slash (um, or anybody else from the original line-up) is.... Axl.
That being said, I like about half of the album. The title track, Shackler's Revenge, Street of Dreams, IRS, If The World and (everything but the chorus of) Better are great and terrifically varied in style. It was mentioned by a reviewer a while back that it sounds like Axl is trying to make every song on here have aspects of the best Guns N Roses material from the past: almost everything has a fast part, a slow part, sound effects, symphonic sections, multiple overdubs, etc. and I agree. There's some pretty impressive guitar solos from Buckethead and (I think) Robin Finck and the whole things sounds like Axl wanted Trent Reznor to produce the album (there's a reason Josh Freese and Robin Finck are on here).
But on the whole, it's pretty forgettable music. Sure, it's a unique and sometimes catchy musical tour, but there's absolutely nothing classic on here. I'm not looking for anything classic and my hopes weren't super-high for this, but tracks from the two Velvet Revolver albums were more memorable and heaven knows there's nothing on here that comes close to old Axl songs like Civil War, November Rain and Estranged. Honestly, if this had been released in the late 90's or early 2000's like it was planned to be, it would have sounded more refreshing, different and groundbreaking. But instead, time ticked on and I've heard production quality like this a lot, so all that's left to impress me are performances and songwriting. The performances are decent, though it mostly sounds like Axl hired a group of sessions musicians and not a band, and the songwriting is just okay.
So, bottom line: it's a pretty good Axl Rose album. It's a bad Guns N' Roses album. And the biggest problem is that it took to long to release it, it's lost all the originality that it could have had."