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Yes, Virginia, there is a Chinese Democracy
November 21, 2008 8:00 PM   Subscribe

Chinese Democracy, the sixth studio album by Guns N’ Roses, is being released this Sunday, after over a decade of delays. Chuck Klosterman liked it. John Pareles from the New York Times did not. You can decide for yourself by listening to it here. Or you can pick it up this Sunday at Best Buy. But make sure you collect your free Dr Pepper. posted by emd3737 (122 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
For what it's worth, I've listened to the whole album a couple of time now and I think that the title track was good and the rest of it was pretty mediocre. The only possible exception to this is 'Street of Dreams', if you don't mind Axl taking the great memory of November Rain and regurgitating it for his own, dark purposes.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:07 PM on November 21, 2008


Im very turned off by this. This is as much GNR as The Final Cut was Pink Floyd. I wish solo musicians with IP rights to the band's name would simply release under their own name. I cant imagine spending money on this overproduced mish-mash of styles, sounds, and musicians. Whatever strange authenticity rock music tends to have is very lacking from this. It sounds more like a sampler or demo than an actual album.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:08 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Err...it's a good thing this is here. What with the meagre 1.7 million plays on the Guns N Roses myspace today, Axl needs all the publicity help he can get. Ho ho!
posted by nosila at 8:11 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't stand Dr. Pepper.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:15 PM on November 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


I didn't like G&R the first time around. Now if RATT releases a disc....

Seriously though, wonder how many free Dr. Peppers I can get. Also wonder how much money this promo will cost.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:16 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yucky corn syrup.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:20 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Effigy2000: I've listened to "Street of Dreams"; judging from the vocal treatment on the first verse, I say no way this has any impact. Those vocals are laughable.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 8:26 PM on November 21, 2008


When a man wears a KFC bucket on his head and plays guitar in a chicken coop, then godammit you better show your respect.
posted by chinston at 8:29 PM on November 21, 2008 [8 favorites]


Shit, now I have to come up with another phrase for never going to happen.
posted by khaibit at 8:39 PM on November 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Poor Tommy Stinson.
posted by padraigin at 8:39 PM on November 21, 2008 [9 favorites]


I know they aren't for everyone, and Axl is a major asshat, but I fucking loved Guns N Roses when I was a thirteen year old misfit with braces and a mullet. My musical tastes have evolved; nevertheless, I will be picking up the album on Sunday and look forward to listening to it in its entirety.

Oh, and I thought the Klosterman review was great: "Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It's more like reviewing a unicorn."
posted by emd3737 at 8:40 PM on November 21, 2008 [7 favorites]


THE DREAM HAS FINALLY ARRIVED !!

DR. PEPPER !!
posted by grobstein at 8:44 PM on November 21, 2008


cjorgensen: Seriously though, wonder how many free Dr. Peppers I can get

Hmm yeah, you print out a coupon from their website on Sunday? How could I possibly stop at one?

(Maybe they'll have some surprise arrangement with EA where I have to install a rootkit to print out my coupon.)
posted by Bokononist at 8:50 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, Street of Dreams is Super Meat Loafy.
And that would be a fantastic compliment if Meat Loaf didn't suck like the vacuum of space.
posted by isopraxis at 8:51 PM on November 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


My taste for GNR has declined over the past 20 years, but my distaste for Dr Pepper remains just as strong as ever. So this is pretty much a non-event for yours truly.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:54 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just so we're all clear, the Dr. Pepper made today in the original bottling plant in Dublin, Texas is made with pure cane sugar, and it is the nectar of the gods. Well...second only to distilled maple sap. If you ever get a chance to drink some of that, for the love of all that's holy, take it.

Seriously, if you like Dr. Pepper at all, you should order some. Betcha they would even send you a free one if you tell them you think Axl Rose is a filthy heathen.
posted by nosila at 8:54 PM on November 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ike_Arumba: "Effigy2000: I've listened to "Street of Dreams"; judging from the vocal treatment on the first verse, I say no way this has any impact. Those vocals are laughable."

I should clarify and say that while I think Street of Dreams is the only other listenable song on the album besides the title track, it's no November Rain. I only compared it to November Rain because Axl is clearly trying to evoke its memory with Street of Dreams.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:05 PM on November 21, 2008


"Shit, now I have to come up with another phrase for never going to happen."

Here's just a few:

Honest political campaigning.
Fair and balanced Fox News reporting.
Jessica Simpson, Nobel Laureate
Duke Nukem Forever.
Proof of the existence of God.
OJ catching that murderer.
posted by oddman at 9:08 PM on November 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


I like Dr Pepper more than I like GnR. (Worse for my health, though.)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:08 PM on November 21, 2008


By all accounts, soulless, overproduced, overthought like a plate of beans after a years-long hiatus in seclusion. Reminds me of something else.

On the other hand, I still love much of Appetite for Destruction, so maybe I'll be checking out the Best Buy sometime soon.

Nahh.
posted by bigbigdog at 9:14 PM on November 21, 2008


Sugar water.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:34 PM on November 21, 2008


And, you know, I always preferred Fish and Roses.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:36 PM on November 21, 2008


"Shit, now I have to come up with another phrase for never going to happen."

PowerBook G5
posted by mazola at 9:38 PM on November 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


So maybe I need to lose my snark card, but I kind of dig it so far.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:45 PM on November 21, 2008


But, hey, how 'bout that new Radiohead video?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:45 PM on November 21, 2008 [6 favorites]


Proof of the existence of God

This exists. It's in my bedroom.
posted by Manhasset at 9:46 PM on November 21, 2008


I don't believe it. Chinese Democracy will come out when a Black guy is voted President of the United States.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:52 PM on November 21, 2008 [17 favorites]


Of course a Chuck Klosterman review of a GNR record has, well, a photo of Chuck Klosterman. And the title, of course, is "Chuck Klosterman reviews...."

I mean really.
posted by xmutex at 10:08 PM on November 21, 2008 [9 favorites]


I fucking loved Guns N Roses when I was a thirteen year old misfit...

So did I. (Still do.) But this isn't that.

If this were a bunch of B-sides recorded circa 1987–92, then I'd be first in line. But from what I've read, and definitely based on what I've heard, this record has no claim to that legacy. This is the rock equivalent of William Shatner's Iron Chef.

If you've got Appetite, Lies, and Use Your Illusion, then you've got the discography.
posted by cribcage at 10:16 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I haven't heard it but I know that great records are made by kids with the fire; not hollywood socialites with a few million dollars. Yes, in the age of hair metal taptastic idiocy Slash was a welcome change but this can't possibly be the second coming.
posted by well_balanced at 10:28 PM on November 21, 2008


I know that this is Metafilter, and we all have to be good little snarkzombies and hate on anything that may possibly have the taint of mass appeal, but .... you know what? Fuck it. I actually kinda like Chinese Democracy.

Granted, I never really thought of GNR as being a particularly "deep" band. To my mind, they largely stand out for being one of the only bands from the hair metal era to retain any credibility at all - possibly because they never really were hair metal to begin with. GNR made good, loud, fast songs, and a few of other songs that lay somewhere between ballad and epic rocker; all very much their own style, and all generally pretty good.

Chinese Democracy is an enjoyable album, and I actually feel like Axl is bringing something new to the table. My greatest fear was that it would just sound like a bunch of GNR retreads, and if that were the case, I'd be all like, WTF, it took you this long to make something that sounds like it could have been made 15 years ago? But I actually feel like this marks an evolution in the music of GNR. I'd like to hear what else Axl has in store, but lets face it, by the time he makes another album, I'll probably need it piped directly to my hearing aid.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:34 PM on November 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't know if I really like the songs all that much, but I think it's fascinating as hell and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's genius.
posted by dhammond at 11:15 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's sort of like.. no, it is, the punchline to a really long shaggy dog story.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:45 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let me start by saying that I loved GnR. I flew to Germany once just to see them play. (To be fair, I was in Amsterdam...it's not like I hopped the pond for GnR tix...but still.)

Is this album Guns and Roses, circa Stadium Band Years? No...but frankly, none of us are as hardcore as we were then. That said, this shouldn't have been called a GnR release.

Street of Dreams sounds *does* sound like MeatLoaf. How far has the Kilted One fallen. Therein lies a cautionary tale for us all.

As to the sucky lyrics: They've never been Marillion. I have an understanding with GnR (and simulacra thereof). I won't criticize them for not being Keats, and in return, they'll play REAL. FUCKING. LOUD.

This is an agreement that has worked for a number of albums. This one though? Meh...it's mostly tolerable at about 4. I wouldn't turn it up to 11 though.
posted by dejah420 at 11:49 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Didn't care for it. What's the best (surprisingly good) album by an over the hill rock band this year? I'd have to go with Oasis.
posted by bobo123 at 12:00 AM on November 22, 2008


I was on the fence about whether or not I wanted to listen to this until I read the negative review posted above. You had me at "closes with five power ballads".
posted by Kiablokirk at 12:03 AM on November 22, 2008


What's an Oasis?
posted by shockingbluamp at 12:14 AM on November 22, 2008


I'm not big on GnR or Dr. Pepper by themselves, but mixed with some Maker's Mark, both tip the scales from nauseating towards tolerably intoxicating.

I'll be drinking the latter when i listen to the former, this Sunday. Thanks Dr. Pepper!
posted by phylum sinter at 12:22 AM on November 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


They've never been Marillion.

Oh thank fucking god.
posted by sourwookie at 12:50 AM on November 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


So is this album being released in China? And what will they call it there?
posted by randomination at 12:51 AM on November 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


This is as much GNR as The Final Cut was Pink Floyd.

I know you're saying this in reference to the use of a band name by people who probably have no moral right to...but The Final Cut was decent, man.
posted by Jimbob at 12:54 AM on November 22, 2008


I'm really looking forward to the new record from Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. I'm curious to see if they recapture the magic of those old Rolling Stones albums I like so much.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:49 AM on November 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of anticipating a flop, and a general feeling of disinterest all round. A lot of radio and tv pander to the whims of people who are, well, young. I don't think people born after 1990 are really going to care very much about this band (unless they play guitar), and I don't think it will get as much airplay as a more recent big band would. Axl should have released this album while his fans were still growing their hair long.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 1:58 AM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It's more like reviewing a unicorn."

As entirely unpopular and difficult as it is to say you like something on Metafilter.... im going for it.

I liked the album. QQ
posted by Addiction at 2:25 AM on November 22, 2008


So is this album being released in China? And what will they call it there?

They seem to be calling it "Chinese Democracy."

However, the release is not going smoothly:
The new album from the famous American rock n' roll band Guns n' Roses was supposed to be advertised on Hong Kong broadcast TV channel TVB tomorrow. However, due to the sensitive sujbect, TVB rejected the advertisement because it violated Hong Kong law. The record company was forced to excise certain sections in order to pass. Hong Kong Legislative Councilor James To denounced TVB for indulging in self-censorship. But TVB explained that it was concerned about copyright violations. The video clip contained the image of ex-chairman Mao Zedong and the five-starred national flag, which TVB believes is not allowed under Hong Kong law. James To said: "Hong Kong laws have nothing about banning the exhibition of the national flag or Mao Zedong. If that were the case, they could not be showing the flag-raising ceremony."
via
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:38 AM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


My objection to the album is primarily that it's released under the name "Guns and Roses," when it's clearly Something Else (and Roses). I haven't heard the whole album, so I'm not qualified to call the whole thing shit, but "Shackler's Revenge" on Rock Band is intolerably bad.

All the same, this band, without Slash, and to a lesser degree Duff McKagan, is no more GnR than Wings is the Beatles.
posted by explosion at 3:57 AM on November 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I had it playing in headphones this morning with my mind on some other stuff and actually did have one HOLY SHIT THIS IS AWESOME, WHICH SONG IS THIS moment. Then I realized it'd switched over to playing Stuck Inside from Angel Down.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:15 AM on November 22, 2008


Indiana, please move to Shitistan.
posted by bardic at 4:55 AM on November 22, 2008


I know that this is Metafilter, and we all have to be good little snarkzombies and hate on anything that may possibly have the taint of mass appeal

As entirely unpopular and difficult as it is to say you like something on Metafilter



Grow the fuck up, both of you.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:10 AM on November 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Shit Sandwich"
posted by dbiedny at 5:23 AM on November 22, 2008


I was sad to learn that the free Dr. Pepper offer did not extend beyond the U.S. I don't even like Dr. Pepper, but I wanted to be able to put the can up on my mantlepiece and tell people "That's my Chinese Democracy Dr. Pepper."
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:06 AM on November 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hey, guys, you are Metafilter. Well, you and me and everyone else. But you as much as anyone. Metafilter is whatever you write, whatever you post. So there's no rule like "people on Metafilter can't admit to liking something popular." You're Metafilter and you just did. If you think the site tilts in one particular direction that you don't like, then just make your contributions in the other direction. Strategy-wise, though, you'll probably get further by just being a fan of something right in the middle of the dance floor with the rest of us than by putting up a sign that says "Unpopular Beleagured Positive People Gather Here" and then hanging out by the janitor's closet.

Metafilter is what you make it, if you do it right.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:09 AM on November 22, 2008 [7 favorites]


flapjax: sugar water

"Let's give away free sugar water in celebration of sugar water. Yaaaaay!!!!"
posted by nosila at 6:25 AM on November 22, 2008


I don't think people born after 1990 are really going to care very much about this band...

Want to bet most of the people to buy this album will have been born after 1990? Marketing will focus on them anyway, since older people either liked them enough to know this isn't GNR, or they don't care anyway.
posted by ghost of a past number at 6:31 AM on November 22, 2008


I think people born after 1990 are better equipped to enjoy whatever the thing has to offer 'cause they aren't hearing it through ears that expect it to sound like Appetite did when they were teenagers.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:34 AM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm going in for my third listen of C.D. It's not all that great, but it do feel it is intriguing and I also have no idea what the hell Axl Rose was thinking with that MLK sound clip.
posted by josher71 at 6:43 AM on November 22, 2008


I judge albums by the first 20-30 seconds of each track. I listen to those first seconds and then go back to each track.

I actually listened Chinese Democracy from top to bottom just out of curiosity. It was okayish ---a bit emo at the beginning but got better.

I actually like Shackler's Revenge. If am gonna head bang, I want it to be loud and clear. Love the hooks on that song. I like the vocals in IRS. I actually got hooked on Better.

But then I hear shit like "Madagascar", "Riad and the Bedouins" and the horrible lyirics of "This I love" and I just want to punch him in the nuts. And fuck, if you you're gonna have a song like "Catcher in the Rye", if you can't emulate the style of the book, SHUT THE FUCK DOWN.

This album reminded me why I've always considered Axl Rose the best hard rock vocalist this country has produced. Yet this is not a Gun 'N Roses album. You just can't have that without Slash's guitar mojo and that's why this album fails. Axl should have released "Chinese Democracy" under his own name.
posted by liza at 6:43 AM on November 22, 2008


I haven't really listened to GnR since I bought Lies as a teen (and my dad ended up stealing my tape of Appetite..., probably in retribution for the Black Sabbath and T. Rex tapes I'd taken from him), but after listening, I really don't hear a difference between the stuff I know from Use Your Illusion and this. Maybe it's a bit more "electronic" or something. Maybe it's because I like Elton John. Maybe it's because I'm not blinded by fandom, but it's a fine record decently put together. Not my taste, but I don't get the hub, bub.
posted by sleepy pete at 7:36 AM on November 22, 2008


I know that this is Metafilter, and we all have to be good little snarkzombies and hate on anything that may possibly have the taint of mass appeal

Buncha crap. Plenty of stuff with "mass appeal" gets plenty of love here.

As entirely unpopular and difficult as it is to say you like something on Metafilter

Buncha crap. I talk about what I like (and post about what I like) all the time on Metafilter. Sometimes it's stuff with mass appeal. Sometimes it's pretty obscure. No big deal either way.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:39 AM on November 22, 2008


...hate on anything that may possibly have the taint of mass appeal

Mass appeal nothing, I hate it for the taint of Axl Rose. GnR had a few moments, but those were a long time ago. I never understood how they got the momentum to become the larger than life brand they becasme, because all along the way there seemed to be a lot more reasons for them to be hated than loved.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:49 AM on November 22, 2008


I can't imagine anyone actually wanting to buy this.

Now, if they offered a free Mr. Pibb with it, well okay then.
posted by fungible at 7:51 AM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


My objection to the album is primarily that it's released under the name "Guns and Roses," when it's clearly Something Else (and Roses).

The Guns part was gone long before Appetite.
posted by 445supermag at 7:53 AM on November 22, 2008


Sound to me like Axl said fuck it and just bought some tracks out of Dokken's vault.
posted by spicynuts at 8:08 AM on November 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


What if I think it's crap for reasons completely unrelated to its mass appeal? Am I still a snarkzombie?
posted by greenie2600 at 8:19 AM on November 22, 2008


liza wrote: I judge albums by the first 20-30 seconds of each track. I listen to those first seconds and then go back to each track.

Call me old fashioned, but I judge albums using the tried and tested 'actually listening to the album' strategy.
posted by jack_mo at 8:28 AM on November 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


I like it. It's like a cross between "Use Your Illusion" and "Enter The Chicken". I think that without the Buckethead influence this disc would have been a outdated rehashing of old glories but Bucket's fingerprints are all over this, and it's to Rose's gain. Some songs I really like (Chinese Democracy, Madagascar) some I don't (Shackler's Revenge, Riad n' the Bedouins) and the rest are actually pretty good. The key to this album is to try and not compare it directly to previous GNR releases. There's a lot going on with this disc so it lends itself to fun games like "Spot the Buckethead Riff". Rose credits @ least four guitarists on every track so I was expecting some uber-confused sonic nightmare. I was wrong. It's good.
posted by MikeMc at 8:31 AM on November 22, 2008


Good? It's completely derivative of shit that was bad in 1987. It's derivative of the shit that I had hoped Appetite put to the grave long ago. Sad.
posted by spicynuts at 9:02 AM on November 22, 2008


It sounds like the albums where the Cult sucks (i.e. Ceremony, Sonic Temple). The Cult was my favorite band in the universe until they started sounding like that. I'm not surprised that Axl Rose's vision of awesomeness sounds just like the worst Cult albums. It's like he is hoping that, now that grunge is long gone, he can get back in the game by releasing what would have been the future of heavy rock if Nirvana had never existed. It's not a great idea. And I'm disappointed that Josh Freese would lower himself to it.
posted by The World Famous at 9:05 AM on November 22, 2008


I'm halfway through it right now (can't abandon my Tommy, you know), and I'm actually really surprised at how much I'm enjoying it. My immediate reaction is that I want to be driving around in my car with the top down and this playing.

Maybe I just need more coffee.
posted by padraigin at 9:23 AM on November 22, 2008


This album is everything that these comments have said, but the main thing for me is that it still sounds so damn dated.

Spicynuts is right - it is derivative, but like nearly 25 years old derivative.

Axl drives me up a wall - that skull crushing vocal ability and he churns out the most sophomoric, bloated crap. There isn't a song on this entire album that threatens you, makes you do anything.

Chinese Democracy
is like staying up too late with a bunch of tweakers when you're sober and just need the ride back to town.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 9:23 AM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's like Axl lives in a world where music stayed in 1985 forever— with the exception of a single 1995-era Radiohead track, which is ripped off halfway through Shackler's Revenge. Wham, bam, there y'go, Chinese Democracy!
posted by shakespeherian at 9:59 AM on November 22, 2008


If you've got Appetite, Lies, and Use Your Illusion, then you've got the discography.

And if you really need more stuff that sounds like Guns, you can buy Velvet Revolver albums!

but The Final Cut was decent, man.

Please. There was a reason everyone except Roger Waters wanted the tracks on that album to stay on the studio floor.
posted by rodgerd at 10:03 AM on November 22, 2008


The best line of the OnionAV review:
What finally made him decide, "You know, I've weighed all my options and all their potential consequences, and I'm going with the Mexican vampire accent. This is the vision I will embrace. But only on that one line! The rest of it will just be sung like a non-dead human."
posted by echolalia67 at 10:31 AM on November 22, 2008


Does this have anything to do with that meteor in Canada?
posted by The Whelk at 10:31 AM on November 22, 2008


i'm through the second song - so far, chinese democracy is ok, but in a half-hour i'm going to want to vote for something else
posted by pyramid termite at 10:31 AM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's actually not as bad as I thought it would be. It's definitely no "Appetite" and I doubt I'll be buying it though.

When you get your DP voucher, travel to Dublin, Texas for a REAL Dr. Pepper!
posted by mrducts at 10:37 AM on November 22, 2008


with the exception of a single 1995-era Radiohead track

Which one?
posted by Windigo at 10:46 AM on November 22, 2008


My objection to the album is primarily that it's released under the name "Guns and Roses," when it's clearly Something Else (and Roses).
The "Guns" of "Guns N' Roses" is Tracii Guns.

Tracii Guns had left Guns N' Roses before GNR ever even played a gig.

Or, arguably, "Guns" refers to "L.A. Guns", which was Tracii Guns' band which merged with Rose's band "Hollywood Rose" to form "Guns N' Roses".

All members of L.A. Guns had left Guns N' Roses before GNR ever even cut a record.

So I assume that you also have this same objection to, say, Appetite for Destruction.

(I'm not sure why I know this)
posted by Flunkie at 10:50 AM on November 22, 2008


It's not bad. Half good, half average. If this were a debut (or sophomore) album by a younger band, it would be even more interesting. It's certainly not Rose's Smile; it's just a solid, old-fashioned rock album, except much bigger and with an epic, semi-comic history behind it. The above comparisons to The Cult don't seem out-of-place.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:50 AM on November 22, 2008


liza wrote: I judge albums by the first 20-30 seconds of each track. I listen to those first seconds and then go back to each track.

Call me old fashioned, but I judge albums using the tried and tested 'actually listening to the album' strategy.


If you're doing it on your hi-fi, then I will definitely call you old fashioned.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:35 AM on November 22, 2008


I haven't heard it but I know that great records are made by kids with the fire

I disagree. One of the best "comeback" (he never went away) albums of all time is John Lee Hooker's The Healer. He was 72 when it was released. Willie Nelson continues to blow me away in his 70s, and his music has dimension and depth to it that wasn't there when he was first truly successful in his 40s. But, if you're going to try to pull off a testosterone-soaked outlaw-type rock and roll band, you can do it when you're older, like Aerosmith or The Stones, although it's also possible to create music that doesn't depend so much on being young and reckless to appreciate. It's hard to strut around like you're 24 when you're 48, however a few have managed to do it and not look too stupid. It's a tricky path, and Axl isn't too bright.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:44 AM on November 22, 2008


I know that great records are made by kids with the fire; not hollywood socialites with a few million dollars.

There's a lot of truth to that. As a blanket statement, it requires a lot of qualifications, probably the most glaring being that the rock albums we consider "groundbreaking" did have significant input by record-industry insiders and especially producers. But there's definitely a difference between the effect of that influence on a 25-year-old band's first record, versus that same band's fourth album, 6 years later. There are a lot of factors and it's a complicated discussion—but I agree with you, and there's a certain extent to which rock music reminds me of something Michael Crichton wrote about physics:
"You're forty," Norman said. "I wouldn't exactly call that over the hill."

"For physics, it is," Ted said. "Biologists can sometimes do important work late in life. Darwin was fifty when he published the Origin of Species. And chemists sometimes do good work when they're older. But in physics, if you haven't done it by thirty-five, the chances are, you never will."
posted by cribcage at 12:17 PM on November 22, 2008


After listening to it, it's everything I expected, which is to say: OK. It's certainly not a Daikatana level of fail and it's definitely listenable.

It's definitely an Axl Rose solo project though and the whole thing reeks of Pro Tools. There's none of the flow that a good rock album should have. There's none of the feeling that 5 guys got together in a room, sat there for a month, drank gallons of Jack Daniels and did piles of blow off the mixing board.

It sounds exactly like a record recorded over a decade, using dozens of musicians in countless sessions, reflecting 10 years of popular music should sound. It's been sampled, processed, quantized and regurgitated within an inch of its life, which is fine, because that's all anyone was expecting at this point. It'll be heavily promoted, go gold, maybe low platinum, it might even break even after all the money spent on it, but in the end it'll be forgotten, not only because it's not Guns N' Roses, but because all bands are remembered in their initial context and even the original Guns N' Roses couldn't produce anything with the staying power of Paradise City or November Rain at this point in their career.
posted by mikesch at 1:02 PM on November 22, 2008


In the early 90s, when Guns n Roses were huge, they played a "secret" gig at a club in San Francisco. It must have been just before the release of one of their albums. My meth-head landlord, who had a tattoo of the Zeppelin angel on his arm and clearly considered Axl Rose the second coming of Robert Plant, swore that I'd always regret it if I didn't go, so I went. I wasn't a fan, but the glamor of having free tickets to a secret gig by the Second Coming wasn't lost on me. It was a very odd gig. The crowd wanted to love them, but couldn't sustain the enthusiasm - people would yell and cheer for a minute after each song, then go quiet. The band was tight and rehearsed, but they were so obviously not a club band. They must have been at one point, right? But they needed the adulation of a stadium crowd. Between songs, they just looked lost.

I did get to see Bill Graham pick up a kid and toss him bodily from the front of the club to the back for some infraction. That guy was badass.
posted by goofyfoot at 1:08 PM on November 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, holy flaming shitcrepes.

Guns and Roses was old and outdated back when they began. It was the final nail in the coffin of rock, a living parody so grotesque and convoluted even the band themselves forgot they were the parody to rock and roll's shambling, decaying corpse being animated by puppet masters and greedy task masters that wouldn't let it die.

This... this is just a sick travesty. It's like watching a bunch of semi-balding longhaireds unenergetically rape the putrid liquefied remains of a corpse in neon tights and shredded denim.

Rather than flinging a big, final fuck you to death stalking and flaming out properly, they've faded away ever so gently to become death itself.

ROCK DIED YEARS AGO. ROCK IS DEAD. THE BEAT GOES ON, BUT ROCK IS DEAD. STOP MOLESTING THE CORPSE. ROCKS IS DEAD.
posted by loquacious at 1:16 PM on November 22, 2008 [6 favorites]


ROCK DIED YEARS AGO. ROCK IS DEAD. THE BEAT GOES ON, BUT ROCK IS DEAD. STOP MOLESTING THE CORPSE. ROCKS IS DEAD.

So, just out of curiosity, what are you listening to?
posted by MikeMc at 1:42 PM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


> ROCKS IS DEAD.

Rock may or may not be dead, but rocks will never die.
posted by you just lost the game at 1:50 PM on November 22, 2008


I have an uncle who will echo loquacious at dinner next Thursday. In spirit (his topic will be opera rather than rock).
posted by goofyfoot at 1:54 PM on November 22, 2008


with the exception of a single 1995-era Radiohead track

Which one?


The only thing I can come up with is the "the headshrinkers, they want everything" bit from My Iron Lung. And if you'll excuse me, I now need to clean my ears out. (My opinion on Chinese Democracy is going to be uninformed, though, as I've never liked GnR, except for the sheer teenage boy mayhem and velocity of Welcome to the Jungle and Paradise City.)
posted by jokeefe at 2:18 PM on November 22, 2008


jack_mo : dude! you didn't read the part where i say i then go back and listen to the whole thing again. to which, i have to say, my "blink" impression is almost never wrong.
posted by liza at 4:27 PM on November 22, 2008


ROCK DIED YEARS AGO. ROCK IS DEAD. THE BEAT GOES ON, BUT ROCK IS DEAD. STOP MOLESTING THE CORPSE. ROCKS IS DEAD.

loquacious, you truly honor your name.
posted by liza at 4:34 PM on November 22, 2008


I'm not comfortable declaring Rock dead, but I very comfortable declaring 80's hard rock dead. This the most anodyne, pedestrian compilation of overindulgent ESPN-highlight reel backing tracks I have ever heard. And I used to love this band.

Who cares about this music? This isn't even the Final Cut, because a least the final cut required Roger Waters's effort to create. This album is all easy choices and safe bets. Not even worthy of keeping the torrent.
posted by Pastabagel at 4:37 PM on November 22, 2008


I'm still waiting on finding out what loquacious listens to now.
posted by tehloki at 4:40 PM on November 22, 2008


Also, I love how everyone brings up November Rain as an example of how great this band once was.

November Rain sucked. I had a ratty demo of November Rain that was Axl accompanied only by and acoustic guitar. That was brilliant. When I hear the cut on Use Your Illusion, all I could utter was "no."

Remember Mr. Brownstone, Rocket Queen, Paradise City? Exactly.
posted by Pastabagel at 4:41 PM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Guns and Roses was old and outdated back when they began. It was the final nail in the coffin of rock,

You are obviously unfamiliar with Enuff Z'nuff or Tora Tora or Bullet Boys or Little Caesar or Britny Fox or Sleeze Beez or...
posted by MikeMc at 4:57 PM on November 22, 2008


Street of Dreams sounds *does* sound like MeatLoaf.

I love me some epic Meatloaf ballads of lost & jaded love. One of my faves. And you are right- it is Meatloaf, only without the voice to pull off that kind of sound causing my ears to bleed. I can see the November Rain connection, but it's just not the same.
posted by jmd82 at 6:36 PM on November 22, 2008


All I know is that if jonmc doesn't show up in this thread at some point, then I know that the new GNR is and will always be known as a complete flop.

It is the MeFi litmus test for rawk.
posted by isopraxis at 6:40 PM on November 22, 2008


So, just out of curiosity, what are you listening to?

I'm still waiting on finding out what loquacious listens to now.


In the meantime, y'all could head over to a certain subsite and hear some of the music that loquacious has been making.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:44 PM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


At the risk of being pedantic, I would like to remind everyone that it is Meat (space) Loaf
as the top line of the wikipedia article indicates . . .
'This article is about the singer. For the meat dish, see meatloaf.'

One of my friends once gave me hell for calling him Meatloaf in communications where I was complaining about Meat Loaf's inclusion on a mixtape. God, I can't stand Meat Loaf. It ruined the whole mix. But meatloaf - the meat dish - can be pretty damn good if its done right.

Now back to the irregularly scheduled GNR two minutes of hate.
posted by isopraxis at 6:51 PM on November 22, 2008


Also, I love how everyone brings up November Rain as an example of how great this band once was.


Agreed about most of it, except for the monster riffing from Slash on the coda. Or I'm just partial to Slash, maybe.
posted by raysmj at 6:51 PM on November 22, 2008


In the meantime, y'all could head over to a certain subsite and hear some of the music that loquacious has been making.

Um...yeah...about that...um...music, am I missing something? It kinda reminds me of goofing around with my cousin's sound effects box or a Casio keyboard circa 1985. Not trying to be an ass or anything but I keep waiting for something to happen but it never does. Maybe I just don't "get" the DJ stuff. I'm trying to like MIX HELL because I'm a fan of the Cavalera brothers but beyond that...
posted by MikeMc at 8:23 PM on November 22, 2008


Agreed about most of it, except for the monster riffing from Slash on the coda. Or I'm just partial to Slash, maybe.

Overwrought and overproduced the only thing November Rain had going for it was Slash's guitar work.
posted by MikeMc at 8:32 PM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I saw this woman in a wheelchair today in a store. She had a hard time maneuvering in the aisles as she seemed kind of weak and tired from whatever illness she was fighting. She talked softly on her cell phone with what seemed like demanding relatives, as she strove to buy them Xmas presents (I gathered). But you know what? She could STILL kick Axl's ass.
posted by telstar at 8:45 PM on November 22, 2008


I hear My Bloody Valentine is writing the music for Duke Nukem.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 9:05 PM on November 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't think people born after 1990 are really going to care very much about this band

Favorited for the shock, realization, sadness, and acceptance.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:32 PM on November 22, 2008


You know what? Yes, Slash can play guitar like a mean motherfucker, but Izzy Stradlin is the one that wrote all of the good songs.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:57 PM on November 22, 2008


Izzy Stradlin is the one that wrote all of the good songs.

Izzy's solo album from the early-mid 90s is terrific, and well worth seeking out. Not hard rock at all, more reggae-influenced and very much in the vein of Keith Richards' solo work. It definitely stresses what a great songwriter he is.
posted by padraigin at 10:20 PM on November 22, 2008


Izzy's solo album from the early-mid 90s is terrific, and well worth seeking out.

I always associate Izzy Stradlin & the Ju Ju Hounds with my wedding day. I was killing time betwixt getting my proto-mullet trimmed and getting married and I stopped at a record store (do they still have those?) and picked up a copy. Very Keith Richards like (in a good way).
posted by MikeMc at 10:54 PM on November 22, 2008


I always associate Izzy Stradlin & the Ju Ju Hounds with my wedding day. I was killing time betwixt getting my proto-mullet trimmed and getting married and I stopped at a record store (do they still have those?) and picked up a copy. Very Keith Richards like (in a good way).

Yeah, I'm sure I'll trip the jonmc signal for sure by saying so, but his cover of "Pressure Drop" is seriously the best version ever.
posted by padraigin at 11:15 PM on November 22, 2008


It sounds rushed.
posted by mazola at 11:59 PM on November 22, 2008 [6 favorites]


In the meantime, y'all could head over to a certain subsite and hear some of the music that loquacious has been making.

Sorry to continue this particular derail, but mr. loquacious makes music for robots AND hates RnR and wishes to dance on its corpse? OH THE SURPRISE IT IS OVERWHELMING
posted by thedaniel at 2:35 AM on November 23, 2008


p.s. final cut was great
posted by thedaniel at 2:36 AM on November 23, 2008


p.p.s. "music for robots" is not intended as derogatory - i like that kind of music, my mom's half robot actually
posted by thedaniel at 2:36 AM on November 23, 2008


What's better, Slash's Snakepit, Velvet Revolver or Chinese Democracy?
posted by porn in the woods at 10:08 AM on November 23, 2008


Having a really hard time claiming my free Dr Pepper this morning, the Dr's web server is slashdotted G&R'd. Any mirrors of this coupon? Peer-to-peer?

FREE.20.OZ.DRPEPPER.COUPON.CHINESE.DEMOCRACY.EDITION.300PPI.READNFO.torrent
posted by porn in the woods at 10:13 AM on November 23, 2008


yeah, It took me awhile to get to the site, and even then, it is taking some time to submit, not sure if it will work, or timeout. I find it funny that there isn't anything on the DP site about why they are giving away the free dr pepper.
posted by brent_h at 10:26 AM on November 23, 2008


It sounds rushed.

That just made me burst out laughing. Nicely played, mazola, nicely played.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:01 AM on November 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I couldn't care less about the album, but I want my Free Dr Pepper, damn it!
posted by grouse at 2:21 PM on November 23, 2008


Err, sorry. I was away from this thread. Music I like?

A lot of nearly everything. Fats Waller, Doreen Shaffer,The Skatalites. Killing Joke. Cornelius Cardew. Brian Eno. Coil. Nurse With Wound. Milk Cult. Ambient Temple of Imagination's Mystery School is a favorite. Experimental Audio Research. Bach. Kevin Blechdom. Crystal Castles is fun. Nullsleep. Marufuru Fufunjiru. Exillon. Old ghetto bass. I like dance music, I like pretty, I like complicated and unusual, I like soulful and winsome and blue, I like shiny - and I like music for jazz robots, because music and funk is math.

What I don't do is listen to very much angry or aggressive music. I don't really do epic tales or ballads. I've never really liked heavy rock. Heavy metal is pretty much the exact opposite of anything I want to listen to. Metallica? Meh. Van Halen? Nigga, please. Rush? Ok, but don't tell me how good the drumming is and how complicated the arrangements are for the millionth time. I can listen to Pink Floyd's Meddle, or Saucerful of Secrets. I could listen to old Grateful Dead or Allman Brothers. Hippy shit. Led Zepplin, ok, greatest cover band ever. Cool.

What I don't like is excessive anger, testosterone and aggression in my music. I used to listen to a lot of punk and industrial, including capital-I Industrial like Throbbing Gristle, Einsturzende Neubauten. NIN, Ministry, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy. Dead Kennedys, GBH, DI, Exploited, lots of other punk.

But I don't really listen to anything like it anymore. I'm not entirely sure why - but it might have a lot to do with the fact that I don't watch TV at all, I don't follow any series or shows, I'm not into crime dramas. I don't go to the movies. I don't play "violent" video games, either. I'm actually trying to recall when I last saw a simulated murder or fight in any form of media, and I can't really remember. I'm extremely aware of aggression and anger, and I have very little of it in my life outside of real interpersonal conflicts, which seems to make me much calmer and more effective with dealing with such conflict - and much less likely to be satisfied with or tolerant of such emotions in my art and entertainment.

So, yeah, I'm biased. I can objectively appreciate the skill and talent, but aesthetically metal and most rock drives me crazy. It's a harsh, grating and uninteresting noise to me. And a common defense I hear for a lot of this particular vein of rock is that it's "complicated" or "nuanced" and "I just don't get it."

I do get it. That's exactly why I listen to certain kinds of electronic/experimental and dance music, and a lot of people don't get that at all, either. There are arrangements so complicated and nuanced that it's not physically possible to be played by a human on acoustic instruments. Drum patterns that don't exist without programming and precision control. Audio and music experiments that don't exist without new juxtapositions and uses of technology. Entire galaxies of sound that only exist through circuitry and software, sounds that go far outside of the predominate diatonic and pentatonic scales.

And when you're doing it right it's every bit as expressive, organic, satisfying and beautiful as acoustic music - if not more so, IMHO. Which is why I'm drawn to it like glue. 50, 100 years ago people decried electric guitars, called jazz the devil's music, called rock the devil's music, called punk the devil's music. People said it wasn't music. People said hip-hop wasn't music.

Music is music. Usually. As long as it's pure - music for the sake of music. As long as it isn't posing or posturing. As long as it isn't technical virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity alone. As long as it isn't just a spectacle or a stage show or a passing fad, or a marketable rebellion - music is music.



Newer, shinier stuff I'm liking right now:

cdatakill : valentine - watch out for the rest of cdatakill's albums, as they're much more frenetic and loud. Valentine is something else. A dub tapestry album worthy of placing near Massive Attack. Check out "You Are Mine" and "Yesterdays" at the myspace link.

anon day - This guy is going to be huge. Huge energy and presence, amazing new arrangements and live PA w/ vocals.

exillon - It's Ok to Dance - It took three or four months of playing this album non-stop to finally burn myself out on it. (Yeah, I liked it so much I remixed one of the tracks 'cause I wished it was longer.)
posted by loquacious at 4:38 PM on November 23, 2008 [6 favorites]



MikeMc: "So, just out of curiosity, what are you listening to?"

Victor Jara and the Asylum Street Spankers, why do you ask?
posted by notsnot at 4:44 PM on November 23, 2008


The Peoples Republic has been waiting years to be offended by this.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on November 24, 2008


Axl only put this out so he could afford a better plastic surgeon to fix the hot ghetto mess that is his face/hairline
posted by dasheekeejones at 10:45 AM on November 25, 2008


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