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Review "Chinese Democracy" for Soundcheck

Thursday, November 20, 2008 - 02:35 PM

Chinese DemocracyFifteen years. Thirteen million dollars. One Axl Rose. This Sunday, the once-mythical Guns ‘n’ Roses album “Chinese Democracy” will finally see the light of day. (Well, the official version. It leaked like an antique dinghy.)

But was it worth the wait? YOU TELL US!

As of this morning, the full album is streaming for free on the Guns 'n' Roses MySpace page. We want a select handful of Soundcheck listeners to listen to the album and tell us what they think.

Don't just give us a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. We want to know why you feel the way you do . You should also 1) single out specific songs and 2) tell us what you think of the 'new' Guns 'n' Roses.

You've heard of crowdsourcing? We're calling this 'criticsourcing.'

Send your reviews to soundcheck @ (delete the spaces). Please include contact information, like an email address or phone number.

We'll use some reviews on our show during our Soundcheck Smackdown on Tuesday, Nov. 25, when 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.

THE FINE PRINT: By submitting your review, you are a) granting Soundcheck permission to use your comments on air and b) asserting that it is your original work. Your review remains your intellectual property.


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Comments [4]


It took him 15 years to make the album but it sounds more like all the music that has come into popular play in the past 5 years or so. The production, the "wall of sound" that I always hear now, and the effects on his voice all make the songs sound like they should be on the soundtrack to The Hills. He's still got his pipes to be sure, but it's hard to know if that's just all production. On a couple songs it sounds like they are trying to hark back to some old G'n'R or Motley Crue ballady stuff, but then the song takes a turn for the cheesy side. I won't buy it, as much as I loved the old Axl. Sorry dude.

Nov. 21 2008 01:37 PM
SJ Holmlund

I'd give it 8/10.

Every song is awesome except Shackler's Revenge and Catcher in the Rye. Shackler's Revenge has a bit too much of an industrial and nu-metal influence and it really bugs me. Catcher in the Rye looks promising from the name but ends up being a really boring ballad.

Now onto the good songs. The title track opens with the sound of a chinese people speaking (maybe alluding to the rumours or "chinese whispers" spoken about Rose throughout the years) until the guitar crunch kicks in. The riff is heavy and has that powerful stop-start thing until everything else kicks in. Definantly a stand out track.

Better is definantly one of the better tracks on the album (excuse the pun). It starts off with a catchy melody on guitar with Axl singing on top of it. The versus sound like a heavy ballad until the chourus which sounds like a great epic song. The first guitar solo and the bridge are really heavy while the second guitar solo is a slow and soulful one. Over all, this song is the best track on the album.

If The World is another great track. It's really different from anything I've heard before. It starts off with this spanish guitar over a funk/pop beat. It's a great ballad with a great melody.

Sorry is a haunting ballad which sticks in your head. Great lyrics and a great melody make the song brilliant and another stand out track.

I.R.S. is the second best track on the album and remind me alot of The Guarden from Use Your Illusion I. It has alot of really laid back bits along with angst-filled heavy parts. A stella track to a brilliant album.

I've loved Madagascar since hearing it in that medley Gunners did for the 2001 MTV Awards (Although Axl's vocals were terrible in that medley). It's the most epic song they've ever done and is awesome. I would've like a bit more shred in the solo, but maybe it wouldn't have suited it, so I don't know. Once again, I have to say this is one epic song that is an instant GNR classic.

The other good tracks of the album are: Street of Dreams, There Was a Time, Scraped, Riad N' the Bedouins, This I Love and Prostitute. Sadly, Scraped and Riad N' the Bedouins are the only heavy tracks as the rest are all ballads. Great album, but when you have 9/14 tracks as ballads, it takes away from the brilliance of the record.

One thing to note is the irony that the album took 14 years to make and there's a song on their last studio album or original material called 14 Years. It certainly has been 14 years that have gone forever and Axl will never have again.

Nov. 21 2008 04:38 AM


It's not as terrible as I thought it would be. Axl sounds fantastic. "Better" is probably his best vocal work ever (even though it's heavily edited). "IRS" has very impressive falsetto work. "Chinese Democracy" rocks hard, though simplistically, and has a gutteral scream which totally gets you hyped to hear the album. The three songs mentioned above are... interesting! They're different. But they're good. they rock. They're not (that) overdone.

"Shackler's Revenge" is good too. It's the most metal I've ever heard GNR. IT has a strong industrial vibe, and even though it was probably over-written (too many starts and stops) it's still pretty good. Especially the guitar solo.

Those are the highlights. However, there's a LOT of suckage. Madagascar is crap. It's a pathetic attempt to relive November rain, it has a lame audio sample sequence in the middle of Martin Luther King and Cool Hand Luke, it sounds out of place, cut and spliced.

So much of this album is a 1970's Queen impression. Street of Dreams and Catcher in the Rye are attempts at big production value. But they don't work.

But even though there's a lot of crap songs, this album made me happy. It's GNR. And in this politically correct world of pathetic-ness, at least there's an album that reminds me of a band that was ONCE totally badass.

Nov. 21 2008 12:31 AM
Joel Meyer

When you visit GNR's MySpace page, be sure to scroll down past the gigantic Best Buy ad to find the music player.

Nov. 20 2008 03:03 PM

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