guns n' roses are finally releasing chinese democracy on sunday.
your assessment of the album will likely hinge on the response to that statement. if the many years have been suffused w/ countless tears, if you found yourself getting he-motional over it--disillusionment may be in the cards. on the other hand, if you're like me and were just deeply curious then you'll find some things on it to enjoy.
i have to admit to being much more curious than i had imagined: i opted to listen to chinese democracy before circus.
after listening to the first six tracks, i really thought that axl had done it, that he had managed the inconceivable, releasing a really great record.
--at this point, i should mention that the 15 years involved in making the record did nothing, i think so at least, to color my reception of the record. indeed, it only came to mind twice
01 "enjoy" was such an odd word for me to employ above, b/c listening to c.d. one realizes that the last 15 years have not been a lot of fun for axl.
02 it seemed to take 15 years to move from track seven to track ten. while listening to "sorry," it occurred to me that the track had been on for three minutes--and that there were three more minutes still to go. it was at that point i switched to circus.
"there was a time" justifies its length; "prostitute" is great, epic unhappy axl (as opposed to the flat-out sad axl of "sorry" and "this i love"; "street of dreams" is basically a radio edit of "november rain" w/ axl at the piano & full-on guitar heroics; "shackler's revenge" is an ideal song for rock band 2, sounding as if it was actually written w/ the game in mind.
speaking of rock bands, one thing that limits my enjoyment of the album is my inability to visualize guns n' roses in 2008. or, rather, that my vision of guns n' roses is dreadlocked, stocky axl in a hockey jersey. forget about writing songs for rock band: guns n' roses *was* rock band, from their muppet-like appearance to the way each instrument established its unique part of the whole (recall the openings to "paradise city" and "sweet child o' mine"). there's a great solo in "street of dreams," but in 2008 we know there will be no equivalent of the crane shot of slash playing outside the church.
the album is good, there's nothing to be ashamed of. part of me feels, though, that it either needed to be greatest album ever or complete failure; being neither, i can imagine most people shrugging their shoulders and going about their business, far fewer holding their breath for the alleged trilogy of albums on the way.