Written by The Nice Asshole
I almost didn’t want this album to be released. For one, it’s a great punch line. (I once told an ex-girlfriend that we couldn’t get married until Chinese Democracy was released. It was a good cover.) But also, there is SUCH a pop-culture vortex surrounding it. In a Rolling Stone piece written in April of 2000, they were unsure way back then of the album’s existence.
On November 23rd, the 13-year wait was over….Chinese Democracy by Guns N’ Roses (MySpace) will be released exclusively through Best Buy stores. Entire genres have come and gone during the CD’s production. Remember swing, techno, garage-rock, punk?
I’ve listened to ‘Democracy, and I’ll tell you one thing: This album is not 13 years in-the-making good. Is it fun and full of talented music? Oh HELL yes. Axl Rose sings some of the highest ear-piecing and throat-scratching screams he has ever eked out. The album is graced with the talents of an encyclopedia of musicians and producers, which ad to its multi-layered feel.
The talent behind C.D. almost remains faceless though. Lets face it….this album is essentially a comeback album, solo disk, and experimental venture all in one. Rose has managed to write, record and produce around one track per-year. Does that qualify as talent, or possibly hint at a bigger problem just below the surface?
The album starts off with familiar territory — its title track and first single. This song, like many other C.D. songs, is very produced, with every note, syllable and solo placed exactly and methodically in a perfect place. Axl screams, Cause it would take a lot more hate than you, to end the fascination. Even with an iron fist, all they got to rule the nation, when all I’ve got is precious time. The guitar feels crisp and plastic-wrapped, while solos and electronics layer the song to perfection.
One noticeable aspect of the album is its aged feel. Many songs have been worked and re-worked so many times it hardly doesn’t matter when they were initially written. Take “Shackler’s Revenge”. This song feels like it was written in the late ’90’s or early ’00’s, almost like it could fit in the “nu-metal” genre. It’s a fun song, and again, is very produced.
Chalk-full of variation, seeing Rose explore the depths of his capabilities on C.D. “If The World” begins with an R&B intro and Rose’s high-pitched and feminine voice. Eventually, the “Gun’s” part of the band kicks in with heavy guitar, but for a moment is just Axl’s screams over clean R&B. I point this out, because it’s unique unto the band. It’s also annoying, but still unique to hear Axl all on his own.
This album’s biggest flaw is how out of place Rose sounds on some of the tracks. His vocal-abilities shine brightly on this album, but also sound inorganic. This is proven once again on “Revenge”. Axel’s voice doesn’t match.