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.