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Smackdown: Chinese Democracy

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Seventeen years. Thirteen million dollars. One Axl Rose. This week, the once-mythical Guns 'n' Roses album "Chinese Democracy" finally sees the light of day. But was it worth the wait? In another Soundcheck Smackdown, Lizzy Goodman of Blender magazine and rock writer Sean Manning ("Rock and Roll Cage Match") square off on what might be the album of the decade. Or not.

Criticsourcing: Our listeners review "Chinese Democracy"

Tell us: What do you think of 'Chinese Democracy.' Was it worth the wait?


Lizzy Goodman and Sean Manning

Comments [15]

UWS from NYC

Sharilyn gets it!

Nov. 25 2008 05:47 PM
sharilyn from williamsburg (brooklyn)

I think whether or not one likes this album is about how one feels about camp. I like the comparison on your show to Queen because Chinese Democracy feels very Queen-y to me - it's too much all at once. It wears its heart on its sleeve and it's kind of silly and awkward at times (vocal samples from MLK) and sort of tearjerkingly profound (Axl's still-incredible voice) at other times. I'd be willing to bet that 10 years from now it will be cited as a huge inspiration by musicians. The haters who are dissing it now are purists who can't let in the campy and the unfamiliar. Rock has always been about camp and excess - I think Chinese Democracy has both in spades.

Nov. 25 2008 02:46 PM
Peter from Sunset Park

Big Stu:

That first Guns n Roses album was better then most of the punk rock cannon - better then iggy, most bowie, and lessers like the damned.

If Guns dressed the part, indie kids would be treating them as every bit as seminal as Big Star.

Nov. 25 2008 02:44 PM
stu in nyc

last comment (#11) should have read:

But I do agree that Johnny Marr is/was good, and the driving force behind the Smiths (sorry Morrissey)

Nov. 25 2008 02:38 PM
stu in nyc

In response to Peter # 3:

Guns n Roses are no longer relevant (if they ever were).

But I do agree that Johnny Marris/was good, and the driving force behind the Smiths (sorry Morrissey)

Nov. 25 2008 02:36 PM
Joe B from East Village, NYC

Should have been called "Bloated"

Nov. 25 2008 02:35 PM
russ from brooklyn

Lizzy has this now all to common subtle whine to her voice, I couldn't finish listening to this segment but may give GnR or chance.

Nov. 25 2008 02:33 PM
Jared from waaaay downtown

Should have called C.D. Use Your Illusion 3

Nov. 25 2008 02:29 PM
Zak from Morningside Heights

This is the Waterworld of music: too big, too overbudget: too much sizzle, not enough steak. To compare this to Queen is to demean glam rock and to spit on Freddy Mercury's grave.

Nov. 25 2008 02:27 PM
Joe from NYC

Want GnR? Listen to Slash's Snakepit or Velvet Revolver.

Nov. 25 2008 02:27 PM
birder1 from brooklyn

oh yeah. the term shredding should be left to describe bands like slayer not crap blues rip offs

Nov. 25 2008 02:26 PM
birder1 from brooklyn

i never liked them in the first place and this ain't helping there cause. the dude lost it along time ago. it's like he just waited this long so he could rip off everything good on the way.

Nov. 25 2008 02:25 PM
Peter from Sunset Park


Guns n Roses are relevant because they are much better then many bands we are "supposed to like." The Stooges, MC5 - they are supposed to be the cool bands that rock. But Guns n Roses wrote good songs, good parts, could really play, and get this, weren't even cheesy if you closed your eyes so block out the biker shorts and hairspray.

Find a better guitar player then Slash - maybe Johnny Marr?

Nov. 25 2008 12:28 PM
stu in nyc

this is public radio - we're not supposed to care about Guns n Roses. Maybe it would have been better to call it an Axl solo record.

This is why the Beatles never got back together to make another record (under the name "The Beatles") - they believed that anything they released would be a disapointment.

this is why Abba is not reforming to make records or tour.

you know it doesn't matter when the Chinese media reports that their government is against it, since they're against everything.

Nov. 25 2008 10:13 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

This is similar to when the Stone Roses released that awesome record and then did bubkis for 10 years. When that follow up finally came, it was just boring.

Chinese Democracy has been available online for a least a year and is utterly boring. No energy, poor songwriting and the production is unremarkable. Isn't rock and roll suppose to have hooks and be catchy?

Bottom line - Guns and Roses went from releasing seminal hard rock to releasing run of the mill rock. Not Air Supply bad, but bad.

Nov. 25 2008 09:15 AM

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