Chinese Democracy review by Guns N' Roses

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  • Released: Nov 23, 2008
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.2 (847 votes)
Guns N' Roses: Chinese Democracy
2

Sound — 9
I didn't quite know what to expect from this album - 17 years since the last original material from Mr W. Axl Rose and the Guns N' Roses that I had grown up adoring. We'd all heard the leaked tracks, but who knew what Chinese Democracy was really going to sound like? Even the members of the new Guns N' Roses probably didn't know how Axl would put everything together from the past 14 years. So then came release day - I eagerly went into HMV and bought the album I never thought would see the light of day. Sadly I had to work all day before I could go home and listen to it, but it was the first thing I did when I got home. It took a few listens to get used to it, because quite simply it is not the same Guns N' Roses that I knew, but it is growing on me... 01.Chinese Democracy: the long-winded intro builds the suspense and keeps us all waiting just that little bit longer (well we waited since 1993 so what difference does another minute make?! ). Axl's thunderous scream kicks off proceedings and this is when you realise that although Slash, Duff and co may not be around anymore, this band still features the main man. Axl's voice sounds reminiscent of the Use Your Illusion days. A great song to start the album with - full of kick-ass attitude. Let's just hope the rest of the album doesn't disappoint... - 9 out of 10 for this song 02.Shackler's Revenge: I really can't decide whether I like this song or not. The music just doesn't sound like what you would expect The Most Dangerous Band In The World to sound like. I like the arrangement, but at the same time I don't! Very difficult to say realy - still I give this song 7 out of 10 03.Better: one of the "Better" songs on this album (sorry I couldn't resist). It's different to what I'm used to from Axl, but still it has a cool, rocky feel to it. Some cool guitar playing in there too. Overall, I give this one 8 out of 10. 04.Street of Dreams: this is one of my favourite songs on Chinese Democracy. It's got Elton John written all over it, but at the same time it is a typical Axl song. It wouldn't have sounded out of place on Use Your Illusion II with the likes of Estranged and Breakdown. Street of Dreams has a happy feel to it, and Axl's voice sounds as good as it ever did. 10 out of 10 without a doubt. 05.If The World: hmmmmm. Drum loops? Axl, Axl, Axl! Why did you follow the brilliant Street of Dreams with drum loops?! Notwithstanding that, the song itself is quite catchy. I hated it from start to finish when I first heard it, but now I find myself sitting at work hearing it over and over in my head. The synth sounds pretty cool. 7 out of 10. 06.There Was A Time: I've read some reviews where people think this is the worst song on the album, but I think it's pretty cool to be honest. OK, so musically it's fairly straight-forward, but I enjoyed the solo and I think Axl's voice compliments the song well. 7 out of 10. 07.Catcher In The Rye: another happy, catchy tune. It's a shame Brian May's guitar parts were cut out, but to be honest the song still sounds great. Not much more I can say really, I just like this song! 8 out of 10. 08.Scraped: one of the less memorable songs on the album. It's pretty heavy from the word go, but I just don't think it has anything special about it. 6 out of 10. 09.Riad N' The Bedouins: another cool rock song, but again I don't see anything that makes it stand out as one of the best on the album. So far, so good for the album as a whole, though. 6 out of 10. 10.Sorry: this is where the album starts to pick up again and begins to earn it's epic status. Whether this song is a dig at people like Slash or whether it's just a song about an ex-girlfriend, I guess only Axl knows. Still, if it is about Slash, maybe it rules out Sebastian Bach being the next singer of Velvet Revolver, seeing as he provides backing vocals! The chorus takes a much heavier turn than the verse, and I think it suits the song perfectly. Great track. 9 out of 10. 11.IRS: a decent song, but I can't really work out whether I like it or not. It's a pretty cool track, but everytime I listen to this song I just find myself trying to understand what Axl is on about! 7 out of 10. 12.Madagascar: some people touted this as Axl's big song for the album. The more I heard about this song, the more excited I got about actually getting to listen to it. It's a slick track, with interesting yet cool bits from Cool Hand Luke and a Martin Luther King speech. For me, this song gave a subtle reminder that this is still Guns N' Roses, despite the numerous member changes - the "what..we've got here, is, failure..to communicate" helped to cast my mind back to Civil War. I loved Madagascar from start to finish. This will be a classic Guns song for years to come. 10 out of 10. 13.This I Love: the best song on Chinese Democracy... by a long, long way. A ballad that is on a par with November Rain, dare I say it maybe even better than November Rain, This I Love really shows what is in Axl's heart. This is the one song on the album that I can imagine took 14 years to write - Axl must have played around with this for years. A beautiful song. 10 out of 10. 14.Prostitute: a good song to close the album, but it has almost a pop-rock feel to it. It still sounds great though, and by the end of it I was just hoping that it doesn't take another 14 years for the next album... or maybe a reunion? 8 out of 10.

Lyrics — 10
Axl has always been one of the great lyricists in rock, and his work on Chinese Democracy is no different. This I Love is the stand out highlight of his lyrical work on the album, you can really tell that it is from the heart. Street of Dreams is another great song with great lyrics - typical GNR. Overall, Chinese Democracy is a perfect example that no matter how long it is since Axl released any material, he still knows how to write some classic rock lyrics.

Overall Impression — 10
Was Chinese Democracy worth waiting so many years for? No, it wasn't. Is this Guns N' Roses? In the truest meaning of the name, no, it isn't. But what this is is a great album, made by one of the greatest frontmen of all time and a group of very talented musicians. If it had been released 2 or 3 years after the Spaghetti Incident, then I certainly feel more people would have warmed to the album. If it had Slash, Duff and Izzy on it, more people would buy it. The people who call themselves true GN'R fans just because they think Guns N' Roses has to be Axl, Slash, Duff, Izzy and Steve really need to change the record. OK, I really wish that the original five did reunite and conquer the world again, but the chances of that happening are slim. But what we still have is Axl Rose, and whether people view this album as a Guns N' Roses album or an Axl Rose solo album, it is still great and is definitely worth listening to. True GN'R fans will go out and buy Chinese Democracy, because after all, Guns N' Roses did originally contain a Mr W. Axl Rose as well as the rest of 'em.

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    DownNdirtyRockG
    Richycinsideme wrote: DownNdirtyRockG wrote: not_dead_enough wrote: Chimpy101 wrote: I think this album is really damn good. I'd rather listen to this than to Appetite For Destruction (although maybe that's just because it is new material), and it is certainly a stronger album than UYI 1 and 2 Definatly worth the wait. Just goes to show that Axl doesn't need and has never needed Slash or the others Agreed 100% Erm sorry to disappoint you guy, but this is NO WHERE NEAR the standard of either of the illusion albums!!!! yes it is
    Cant believe you people are actually saying these words!!! This album doesnt even come close to the illusion albums, it makes me sad that people are actually comparing this!!!!!
    kennethdave
    seekmetal wrote: People who were expecting it to sound like Guns are just stupid. They all lef him long ago so now its just Axl.
    Thats why he should just dump the band name Guns n roses and just call it "Axl the great Bastard"...
    mrbuckethead
    Part of me likes this album, but part of me hates Axl Rose (both the singing and personality). I like the concept of the album. But the music is just not doing it for me.
    LeeA1991
    I just listened to this album... Guns 'n' Roses used to be one of my favorite bands but i just cant consider this to be a guns n roses album, for one...its shit, lol, axel just cant sing anymore I thinki i'll stick with the earlier stuff tbh massive disapointment
    Onza_jk
    I think this album is a master piece. Truly a good piece of sonic art. For the band, with the loss of their historic line up. I dont think anyone else(Apart from them) could of done any better.
    powerstroke
    This I love is a horrible song and I don't see how anyone could like it. I've heard it over a dozen times and axle's vocals sound like shit. It is worse than uninspiring and I can't believe the amount of people that consider this to be good music. If you want powerful music, listen to something with actual depth (I turn to Radiohead or Muse but that's just my preference there are other bands in the metal, jazz, and rock genres that fit that description), however, Axle lacks depth. He is a piece of crap. That is my opinion and it won't change. If you don't like it, get over it.
    Jrsnyder881
    At first I didn't really take to this album to well but on a couple closer listens I honestly don't think it's anywhere near as bad as half the people on here say it is There Was a Time is by far my favorite song on the CD and it seems like it's getting bashed to hell and back for the most part :/
    jfsj123
    my favourites on the album are chinese democracy better irs this i love 2nd half of shacklers revenge havent givin the others that much of a listen but madagascar is also good. tbh this isnt what i expected and i lrv gnr from the start so good album overall.
    darksauce
    I'm quite enjoying this album. It grew on me. I'm a die hard gunners fan, and clearly this isn't oldschool guns n roses, its the axl rose experience, but it's still quite enjoyable. I like most of the songs, but some sound a bit bland
    Phoenix117UK
    This album isn't actually that bad , if you think of it as more of a GnR inspired album rather than an actual GnR album there isn't a lot you can fault it with.
    Confetti
    By the way i havent ever actually liked GnR's music that much but this album is really, really good. Thats a suprise for me. I tought it wouldn't matter when it is relised that its going to suck anyway but with the 5 first lissens the album is one of the best of 2008.
    DownNdirtyRockG
    Gallagher666 wrote: If it wasn't Gn'R you be thinking 'this is a good album' but no, people hate it, with I completely CLOSED mind. You're not music lovers, your just people that want an excuse to moan! GET OVER IT!
    No, if it wasnt a GNR album i would still say that it was absolutely terrible.
    Confetti
    It tells me something that all the reviews are either 10 or 5 average. Get your heads out of your asses and review the album the way as any other album. GOD DAMN IT!
    Zwack09
    the first time i ever heard this album i freaked cause it just wasn't the same at first...but over time i got used to it, but i just don't get the same feel like when i listened to appetite for destruction, but its alright overall i'll give it a 7
    mr_anal
    slashprodigy : this album is better than metallica - death magnet (is crap)! ac dc black ice is the ebst new album form old school bands
    how wrong !!! death magnetic is way better than this black ice is good tho refor, the original GNR now that velvet revolver have stoppped and release a good album
    MoshPitRock
    i only liked the first three tracks. the rest seemed like guns n roses for the elderly..very soft, mild stuff. this album has nothing on appetite for destruction or use your illusions 1&2. nothing.
    JackWhiteIsButts
    From what I've heard I think it's a pretty good album. I think a big part of this is because I didn't listen to it expecting for it to be UYI 3. It's not very reminiscent of old GNR but it's certainly not bad. I prefer Slash and Izzy's more raw tones' (sounds very digital in some tracks here) in their previous albums but it's good for what it is.
    Jimi_D
    GNR are good, but Chinese Democracy could of been better, Axl still sounds the same, but with out the rest of one org. line-up, they lost their sound, without slash playing his killer leadys and izzy play his guitar, the to made a combo, that was hard to break, and now with out them, it seems the band lost it's fire, but, it was ok with buckethead, meh, i give the album 7.5/10
    Richycinsideme
    not_dead_enough wrote: stage4saiyan wrote: Slash ought to be happy that Velvet Revolver is better than GNR v.2 No it isn't
    revolver r shite
    Restlesscow
    I never have been a huge GNR fan, so wasnt sure bout this album...but damn its good. They dont need Slash, prob better off without him
    not_dead_enough
    DownNdirtyRockG wrote: Richycinsideme wrote: DownNdirtyRockG wrote: not_dead_enough wrote: Chimpy101 wrote: I think this album is really damn good. I'd rather listen to this than to Appetite For Destruction (although maybe that's just because it is new material), and it is certainly a stronger album than UYI 1 and 2 Definatly worth the wait. Just goes to show that Axl doesn't need and has never needed Slash or the others Agreed 100% Erm sorry to disappoint you guy, but this is NO WHERE NEAR the standard of either of the illusion albums!!!! yes it is Cant believe you people are actually saying these words!!! This album doesnt even come close to the illusion albums, it makes me sad that people are actually comparing this!!!!!
    It makes me sad that Slash is as famous and overrated as he is.
    Richycinsideme
    DownNdirtyRockG wrote: Richycinsideme wrote: DownNdirtyRockG wrote: not_dead_enough wrote: Chimpy101 wrote: I think this album is really damn good. I'd rather listen to this than to Appetite For Destruction (although maybe that's just because it is new material), and it is certainly a stronger album than UYI 1 and 2 Definatly worth the wait. Just goes to show that Axl doesn't need and has never needed Slash or the others Agreed 100% Erm sorry to disappoint you guy, but this is NO WHERE NEAR the standard of either of the illusion albums!!!! yes it is Cant believe you people are actually saying these words!!! This album doesnt even come close to the illusion albums, it makes me sad that people are actually comparing this!!!!!
    m8 listen to it again then compare you obviously ain't heard the album
    DG_XXX
    its good to see guns n roses back good cd to come back on, but i hate that people give em shit.. be happy that you got a new album and if your gonna hate on it cos slash is gone, go buy velvet revolver slash was a good part of that band but shit happens and changes are made so get over it. if you dont liek the idea of broadening your horizons and listening to a new sound **** off and listen to old stuff dont complain about the new shit and how ****ed it is.