Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy
This record won't change the world!
This record won't be a future classic like "Appetite for Destruction" and "Use your Illusion I & II".
The mystique is gone since the most hyped record ever is released. Most critics have been harsh, but c'mon! This record has been 14 years in the making. It needs time to grow and most critics already made up their mind after having the record in only 2 days. People already made up their mind without even listening to the album, so "Chinese Democracy" is bound to fail.
The album has been spinning non-stop for 14 days and "Chinese Democracy" is a good record from Axl and his hired guns. Like most things, there are both downsides and upsides. Ultimately it is so good to hear Axl's voice again.
"Chinese Democracy" is a mid-tempo record, which lacks some real rockers like Out Ta Get Me or Its so Easy. Contrary the album's weakest songs are the up-tempo rockers Scraped and Riad N' Bedouins. The only really strong up-tempo track is the title track. The mellow and lighter tracks are the cornerstones of the album.
14 years since we last heard from Guns N' Roses so it's obvious that despite lots of members changes (Axl and Dizzy Reed are the only remaining members) that this would be a different record. Velvet Revolver also made a different record compared to Guns N' Roses.
The tune that got me hooked immediately was Better. Buckethead shreds a lot on the album, but a nice warm thick Les Paul sound suits Guns N' Roses best. Robin Finck is responsible for the outro solo. Finck's style is fewer selected notes instead on a million notes a second. When Axl choose to keep the Guns N' Roses name you'll always compare to the past. If the original Guns N' Roses had continued Street of Dreams easily could have been included on a future album. Street of Dreams is typical Axl Rose tune written on piano with lots of great guitar pieces to break the song - right up the alley of Breakdown and Estranged.
Better and Street of Dreams kick off a string of mellower mid-tempo tunes. If the World is a modern ballad with drum loops, synthesizer orchestra and flamenco guitar. Buckethead's great guitar solo breaks the monotone rhythm and you cannot help being dragged to the emotion of this song.
There was a Time is an epic mid tempo ballad, which clocks in 6:40 minutes. The song changes between synth orchestra, piano and excellent guitar pieces. The long outro solo is stunning.
The record looses pace after the many mid-tempo tunes. Both Cather in the Rye and the power ballad Sorry are okay tunes, but you certainly expect more from Axl Rose. Guns N' Roses misses the song writing of Izzy, whose bluesy style certainly would have suited the album,.  
The album finish on a high note with the emotional I.R.S. - Axl has worked with so many guitarists on the album and he has gotten the best outta them, which I.R.S. is a great example of.
Axl is alone at the piano doing his best take on a Queen inspired song for This I Love - a simple but yet beautiful melancholy ballad. Robin Finck once again proves he is best suited for Guns N' Roses with a great warm solo.
This is not a letdown like Metallica's "St. Anger". Try and abstract a bit from the Guns N' Roses name and let the record sink.
"Chinese Democracy" is NOT the savoir of Hard Rock but the return of a great band. Bassist Tommy Stinson and Dizzy Reed are the most stabile players on the record. Axl needs a big rock star as opponent in the songwriting, because not everything on "Chinese Democracy" works.
I proudly announce that Axl is back.. FINALLY!

Written by Michael
Monday, December 8, 2008
Show all reviews by Michael


Michael: 7/10

Members: 5.75/10 - Average of 2 ratings.

Member ratings

Profile picturenotrap

Rating: 8/10
Repeating Michael: "This record won't change the world... The mystique is gone" It's a... · Read more ·
Profile pictureTommy

Rating: 3.5/10
Messy, disconnected, irritating and without aim, soul or purpose. This is not how I want t... · Read more ·

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Comment by VeX (Member) - Tuesday, December 16, 2008
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Comments: 81
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This is not a horrible album but you can tell the songs are written with too many different people and there is no really distinct direction of this album. But Axl's vocals are really strong. My personal favorite song is "If The World" which really doesn't fit the album but I really like this tune and I love the guitar playing and Axl's vocals are chilling in the song they are so good. Michael you did a really good review on this album. 7/10 for me also

Posted by VeX
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Review by Tommy (Member) - Friday, February 20, 2009
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Comments: 74
Ratings: 31
Messy, disconnected, irritating and without aim, soul or purpose. This is not how I want to remember Guns N' Roses, shame Axl had to wrap the band name around himself before planning a dive head first into the mud.
I gave this more chances than was good for my health and not a single song will have me coming back; It sounds artificial and the songs are filled with so many alternative, unfitting elements making things even more incoherent than they all ready are. Apart from a few uplifting elements there is not much positive I can say, 14 songs and not a single one close to a winner...embarrassing.

Rating: 3.5/10

Posted by Tommy
Friday, February 20, 2009

Review by notrap (Member) - Wednesday, October 28, 2009
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Comments: 55
Ratings: 66
Repeating Michael:
"This record won't change the world... The mystique is gone"

It's all true, but anyone can please tell me one Heavy Metal record of the last 10 years that changed the world?
Probably Muse's Origin of Symmetry..but this band is definitely not Metal.

In my opinion Chinese Democracy was a good surprise with really good songs.
Give it a change!

Rating: 8/10

Posted by notrap
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review by Michael

Released by
Geffen Records/Universal - 2008

1. Chinese Democracy
2. Shackler's Revenge
3. Better
4. Street Of Dreams
5. If The World
6. There Was A Time
7. Catcher N' The Rye
8. Scraped
9. Riad N' The Bedouins
10. Sorry
11. I.R.S.
12. Madagascar
13. This I Love
14. Prostitute

Whatever goes on in the mind of Axl

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