Let me take a time out from focusing on the negatives of things and instead focus on the positives of something deemed negative. Axl Rose is the only original remaining Guns N’ Roses member and because of that most people would prefer the band go away. Instead we have the release of Chinese Democracy after 14 years of production. Trashing the album began way before it was ever on store shelves. I have friends who still rag on it despite never having listened to most of the songs. For whatever reason there is no radioplay push for it. And any proper pitchfork media reading music snob is practically required to hate this album on principle alone. But if you are open to judging Chinese Democracy less on its circumstances and more on, well, its music, you might have a new album in the heavy rotation.
Nostalgia is a funny thing and people don’t want their memories ruined. More to the point, people don’t want their impossible standards brought down to reality. No matter how good an album is, the perfect memory of Guns N’ Roses people have in their head can not be matched.
I’ve heard a litany of complaints. The album is overproduced. Have you not heard Use Your Illusion? While Appetite may have been edgy and raw, the double album that most people love had a huge production value. It took 14 years to make. That is a long time and even I never thought it would come out but I enjoy the final product regardless. The songs are not epic enough. Really? 7 minute songs are back in full force. It sounds like a techno album. Shut up you old man. I just imagine some old out of shape biker dude with long hair complaining about how ‘good old fashioned’ GNR has been poisoned by electronic influences. Nevermind the fact that the drum beats aren’t overdone or used excessively. Axl’s voice still sounds great but… Ya, his voice does still sound great! So what’s the problem?
You want some Guns N’ Roses? I can’t think of any modern musicians who still place so much emphasis on guitar solos and pull it off. Muse and Audioslave come to mind but the guitar in their songs is usually a catchy hook or unique pattern (still good, to be sure). With Chinese Democracy you get full fledged verses of classic strings in what can only be described as the return of the guitar solo.
Fans needs to get past the bad blood between Axl and Slash and just accept where the original members are now. It might be cool for the music media to hold a grudge against Axl – they never had a civilized friendship to begin with. You and me? Let’s forget the politics and just focus on the music. Give Chinese Democracy a try.