17 years. A long long time to write, record and edit an album. A very long time. Axl Rose, as we now know, has finally finished his magnum opus, Chinese Democracy. Many a Dr. Pepper was drank and many people would listen to the album. I attempted to listen to it several times, but alas, it is just too.... terrible to even sit through it one time. Here are my thoughts on the album.
My best comparison to Guns N Roses' long awaited record is to that of an old friend.
Remember that kid you were friends with 17 years ago? You hung out and played Mortal Kombat in the basement. He was always Scorpion, you were always Sub-Zero. You were both really immature and knew what you liked. You liked things epic in size. You liked songs that were anthems for your youthful rebellion. You liked those Hostess Orange Cupcakes and Double Gulps from 711. You liked things bombastic and outlandish. Your favorite pro-wrestler was Ric Flair. Things were fine and dandy. That kid moved away to another school and you always wanted to keep in touch, but you were young and there was no way of really keeping ties tight. You slowly forgot about this kid, but you knew somewhere deep inside, you wish you knew how he was doing. 17 years have passed and he contacts you via Facebook. You have utterly nothing in common with him, yet your excitement for rehashin nostalgia with your old friend is so strong that you have to meet up with him. You meet up at a bar and he's bloated in size from what you last remember. He's still a bit frantic, probably hoped up on pills. He seems razor sharp in style from the crease in his pants to the slick of his hair. Everything is neatly put in its place, yet nothing seems to jive about his personality. He's not the kid you remember, but this strange adult sized version trying to be something he isn't. It's arrogant and obnoxious and you just can't get over the fact that someone has changed so drastically. What were you to expect after 17 years of life? That's longer than you have both been alive?
And that, my friends, is what Chinese Democracy is to me. Guns N Roses was an awesome cock-rock, Sunset Strip decadence laden musical bridge between hair metal and grunge. Appetite for Destruction is a fantastic record filled with raw power and emotion. A blend of Iggy Pop swagger and bluesy-metal guitar fury, Guns N Roses showed a shift from the pop laden hair metal of Poison or Twisted Sister to what would come next via bands like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. Remember how awesome that was? Even the more bombastic Use Your Illusion double album has the same flair that Appetite had. Now comes Chinese Democracy, the most unnecessary album of the year, filled with strangely alien songs. The problem is there is about 6 different LEAD guitar players. Mix those egos with that of Axl Rose and everyone is fighting for your attention. The production is so manufactured and processed that it's about as fun to listen to as a Katy Perry track. In fact, Katy Perry tracks are more enjoyable than Chinese Democracy. To break it down track by track would end in futility as I can't even begin to say how hard it is to hear these songs without laughing or dry heaving.
Needless to say, Chinese Democracy is a big let down. Hanging out with the Guns N Roses of today is very awkward. You are best reliving your best moments of the past than trying to make new contact. It leads to nothing but disappointment.