Thursday, November 20, 2008


“Axl, your breath smells like, well… everything. Did you eat a vodka-soaked hooker made out of heroin and cigarettes?”

After 15 years, $14 million, and 12 guitarists, Chinese Democracy has finally arrived. The album leaked this week, so the label put a streaming version of it on myspace today.

There was a time when I would have crossed state lines, broken into a record store, and stolen this album, but then again I can say the same about a pair of Jams clamdiggers.

At times Axl’s wails sound like vintage G’n’R, and at other times he sounds like someone resurrected Sam Kinison and ran his foot through a meat grinder while forcing him to look at his old wedding photos. The guitar work is great, but when you have 15 years, 12 guitarists, and $14 million, that kind of stuff seems to take care of itself. Below is my track by track reaction after one listen.

“Chinese Democracy” It takes 90 seconds for this song to kick in. That would be one thing if we hadn’t already waited 15 years this song, and if it didn’t suck.

“Shackler’s Revenge” Perfect pump up song to listen to on your way to a school shooting.

“Better” The best song on the album, yet we can only definitively call it “better.”

“Street of Dreams” sounds like “November Rain” didn’t wear a rubber.

“If the World” ponders the end of the world to the tune of a blacksploitation sex scene overlaid with Spanish style classical guitar. If your boyfriend puts this song on while you’re having sex, you should breakup with him, but realistically it’s probably too late, and you will have a string of failed relationships for the rest of your life.

“There Was a Time” Yes, there was Axl, but that time has passed.

“Catcher in the Rye” Wherever JD Salinger is, I’m sure he’s pissed.

“Scraped” It’s like someone made a Broadway musical about the voices in Axl’s head, and they’re all competing for one hit of crack. 

“Sorry” Really Axl? I get the feeling you’re not.

“Riad N’ The Bedouins” This will be a huuuge hit in Germany.

“I.R.S.” Did Axl just make the I.R.S. even more annoying?

“Madagascar” Axl samples portions of MLK’s “I have a Dream” speech and them follows them with samples of Gene Hackman. Really, asshole? You had 15 years to think this over and you still went ahead with it?

This I Love” Axl wonders why a woman left him with out saying goodbye. Seriously? I’m not saying artists should read all their reviews, watch every interview, or analyze every performance over the past 10 years, but some self-awareness might be beneficial.

“Prostitute” Axl sings “I won’t ask of you what I would not do” those aren’t really comforting words for a prostitute coming from Axl Rose. In fact, it’s kind of a Catch-22 paradox of fucked-up-ness: which is worse, something Axl would do or something he would ask a hooker to do to him?

Of course this is just my initial reaction after one listen-- maybe the album grows on you after 15 years.

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