#1
Hi. So I often think only to myself but this time (and it might be a grave mistake) I decided to share some of my thoughts to the UG community. It might be worthy to note that I am not trying to criticise, offend or antagonize people with this thread. I'm just trying to share my opinion and hear others. I'm new to this thread-making business, so if you feel this post doesn't belong here, I apologise!

First of all, this isn't *just* about Chinese Democracy in particular, but rather it serves as an example to other issues that have been going through my mind.
So, getting right down to business, when Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy came out circa 2008 it gave birth to a huge mix of praise and criticism. There have been times where criticism seemed to overpower the praise, and, in those times, I always felt sort of inadequate because I actually enjoyed the album. Other times the praise was higher than its counterpart.
After several years of occasionally listening to it again, I've realised I actually really like it. It always seemed to me like a "I feel guilty I actually like this" kind of album, but that feeling has been gradually disappearing over time - like St. Anger, for some people, but I really don't want to get into THAT discussion.
I am not an expert in music making, far from it, but, regarding Chinese Democracy, it seems to me that the songs have great dynamic, the lyrics, even though a lot fall on the "I left her/she left me" category are actually pretty well thought out, and the mixing is good (no matter how ignorant you are in mixing music, when you throw a couple of million dollars into producing an album, the sound has very little chance of not sounding decent). Also, maybe I'm a little biased because I love the work of Buckethead, but I think musically it's a well written album.

But then I felt this weird, small, stab-like sensation in my side. I can't help but notice the album is under the name of "Guns N' Roses". It's not something that bothers me that much, but I can't help noticing it. Kind of like that feeling you get when you feel like someone is staring at you and, even though it doesn't really bother you, you can't help but feel a little bit self-conscious.
You see, no matter how I look at the album, it doesn't feel like a Guns N' Roses album. More of an Axl Rose solo effort - and a good one, sure, in my opinion. I never was a huge Guns N' Roses fan, and I pretty much only know what everyone knows of them but I listened to a couple of albums and Chinese Democracy doesn't really fit in with the rest. I'd feel awkward, following a question like "Do you have any Guns N' Roses albums?", answering "Yeah. Chinese Democracy".
Now, for the fans of the album, before you call me elitist or close minded, I'd like to remind you that I really like Chinese Democracy, so the fact that, to me, it doesn't feel like an album of the original line-up of the band, does not, in any way, influence my enjoying of the album.
But this got me thinking.
I guess that's what people don't like in Chinese Democracy (and many other albums from other bands who maintained their names, even though their line-ups changed radically). They don't like that it says "Guns N' Roses".
In some bands where only one person (for instance, the main vocalist) is the center of attention, I guess it doesn't have that much of an impact when the line-up changes but the name stays, provided that the main element is still there (thinking of Megadeth, for instance, where Dave Mustaine is essentially the band and his bandmates are ever-changing) - but even in these cases it's debatable. But in the case of Guns N' Roses, I assume because Slash was also a huge part of the structure of the band, it made people dislike anything else under the original name of the band after they mostly disbanded.

So, concluding my thoughts, for some people, changes in "their" bands, the bands they grew up with, hinder their ability to enjoy things for what they are, and instead they feel like it's some sort of an offence that they kept putting out more material under the same name - and I'm not criticising people who think like this, in some ways it's a valid point (maybe Axl thought his album wouldn't sell as much if he hadn't labeled it as a Guns N' Roses album, which is sort of "unethical" (this isn't really the word I'm looking for, but it's close enough) and therefore people reacted negatively).

Did this text make remotely any sense? Do you feel the same way I feel about Chinese Democracy regarding other albums? Do you like Chinese Democracy?

See you, guys!
#2
I agree with you almost entirely except about really being embarrassed about liking the album. Axl is an incredible musician and it's shown throughout his entire life's work. I'm probably the biggest GN'R fan in Indiana and I know basically every damn thing about the entire band's original line-up's history so I come from a very unintentionally biased stand-point and I love Chinese Democracy. There are a few songs that are too slow for me but overall I fucking love the damn album and have listened to it hundreds of times. I don't feel like Axl made a bad decision keeping it under the name "Guns N' Roses" financially but from a common sense and fan stand-point, it should be "Axl N' Friends". Other than that, your opinion is like the most popular opinion about this album and I feel like anyone who doesn't like it simply doesn't like this type of music. By the way, I'm like the biggest Buckethead fan in Indiana, too, probably. I love his work on the album. Chinese really does feel like a continuation of evolution after UYI 1 and 2 to me so it works. It's an 8/10 in my book.
#3
It's the only album I like from their discography. It feels to me like the album equivalent of a classic American literature book. The industrial + blues rock sound captures the image of economic and industrial decay of much of the Midwest. It's definitely better than anything Slash has done by himself thus far, including Velvet Revolver. Although he spent way too fucking much money making this album.
Who are you? The prince of darkness? Don't you have any friends?