Sound — 7
I'll make this a quick review. I really wasn't sure what to expect out of this album. Part of me was hoping that it would sound horrible so I would have more reason to not want to listen to the newer Guns N' Roses and part of me was hoping for a rebirth. With this in mind I tried to be as open as humanly possible. So without any bias remarks towards Slash or Axl, here I go. The sound is new, period. Nothing that really stands out as classic Guns N' Roses so with this in mind I judged it purely on this album. I'm not a fan of chugging out power chords as much as they did in this album but it does fit their new style. For more of the overall band sound, it's catch if you listen to it a couple of times. I know when I listened to it the first time, I was repulsed. But after a few, well more like a dozen more times, I started to find me self getting riffs stuck in my head. Overall the sounds is new, but it can either be a good new if you aren't looking for the classic Guns sound or it can be the absolute worst thing Gun's have produce if you're looking for classic Guns N' Roses. Overall, it's Guns N' Roses meets 21st Century. I give this a 7.
Lyrics — 8
This is the short category. The lyrics were an up and down roller coaster. Some of the lyrics Axl came up with were absolutely brilliant and others I wasn't a fan for. I get more in-depth in the next section. Overall i give it a 8. The best lyrics in the song comes from This I Love: "So if she's somewhere near me I hope to God she hears me There's no one else Could ever make me feel I'm so alive I hoped she'd never leave me Please God you must believe me I've searched the universe And found myself Within her eyes"
Overall Impression — 7
Going into the songs in some detail: 01.Chinese Democracy: the intro built up the suspense for me but as soon as the distorted guitar kicked in, I lost my initial interest. I knew that this wasn't going to be the same GNR that we all fell inlove with. With this in mind, I push past the NIN guitar sound and listened to the rest of the song. The solo fills were a nice touch and overall it was a good song to introduce listeners to the new Guns N' Roses. Rating: 8 02.Shackler's Revenge: it seems more and more with people that you either love this song, or hate it. For me, I love parts of it, and hate most of it. The intro was probably the worst part of the song. The verses got old in a hurry for me. The only good part of the song that appealed for me was the chorus. I love the chord progression and the lead guitar on wah (I think? ). Axl's vocals complement the chorus really well too. If it wasn't for the the rest of the song and just the chorus I'd give it a 9. But in reality, I give it a 5 03.Better: "Better" was a relief after the last song mostly because of the flip around. Still the intro was a little annoying, with the high guitar and poppy drum beat along with axl's poppy vocals, but once the verse started, I enjoyed it a lot more. For the chorus, it seemed to lack something but I could handle it more. The solo's was an upside to the song adding what lacked in the chorus, mainly because the last song for the solo it didn't really seem to fit. The breakdown was okay but overall I give this song an 8. P.S. great sweeps. 04.Street of Dreams: first song in the album that grabbed all of my attention. Piano was great, vocals were great, and the guitars/soloing was great. Overall the song was put together nicely and everything seemed to flow. Intro reminds me of November Rain a little bit but not as good. First song to get higher than an 8. I give this a 9. 05.If The World: huge huge downfall from the past couple songs. Everything about this song seems wrong. Way to poppy for me. Drums, the bass, the strings, the guitar, and Axl's voice was a big bringer downer. Not much to say about this song other than one of the weakest songs on the album. I give it a 3. 06.There Was A Time: along with "If The World" another weaker song for the album. Although it was better than the previous with the chord progressions in the verse it wasn't enough to save itself. The chorus was just plan boring and didn't fit the rest of the song. Really disappointing for a decent verses. Break down and solo brought the song back up from a bad chorus. I think since they rebuilt up from the breakdown and faded out I'm able to learn to love it. Song salvages itself after the chorus' are down so it deserves a 6. 07.Catcher In The Rye: just when I started to lose all hope of GNR having a great album for a century break, they come back with this song. Good mixture of piano and guitar that I've missed for so long. Amazing lyrics and guitar licks. Awesome mixture and useage of all the instruments that Axl brought in. The solo actually fits the song too!!! I was fairly excited by this event. Brings the excitement back into the album. This is the song that saves Chinese Democracy's middle lineup. I give it a 9. 08.Scraped: I'd have to scrap this song. First off the beginning with Axl and the other voices, doesn't go well with me. The guitar riffs I can admire but overall the vocals don't do justice for Axl Rose. Once again, I get the NIN feeling in this song. Doesn't flow well so I give it a 5. 09.Riad N' The Bedouins: interesting intro which builds suspense. Not a fantastic song but a decent song for Chinese Democracy. The big thing was that I didn't get a great feeling that verse leading into the chorus wasn't really made for eachother. It just happened. Also the chorus wasn't anything fantastic either. The guitars play two main chords which coming out of kick ass verses it's hard to believe. Not a great song but not an aweful song. Overall, 7 worthy. 10.Sorry: "Sorry" is another song that sets itself apart from classic Guns and helps put a new image. I love the heavy chorus and great lyrics. Not a great fan of the verses but unlike most of the songs on here, it fits the rest of the song. Another thing that fits the song are the solo's! Yay!!! I give it an 8 11.I.R.S.: I don't like the intro with the drums and Axl's voice but other than that, this isn't that bad of a song. Awesome guitar riffs and lead parts, including the solo. Catchy rhythm and words. I caught myself singing the chorus. This song signifies the beginning of the end and I unlike most other believe this is a great song. I give it an 8 over all though because of the intro and the little breakdown at 2:20 that didn't fit the song as well as it could have. 12.Madagascar: I like it but I don't know what to think of it or write about it. Not much to write about it. I will agree though that sound bytes takes away from the guitar solo but I do like the choices in what was put in it. Really the only song that I actually believed that the drum sound was alright for. Great guitar riffs once again and solo's. I give it an 8. 13.This I Love: this is my favorite song on the CD, and really the only reason why I listened to it for the second time, which gave me a chance to like other songs and save the album from my dusty shelves. Great melody with the vocals and piano. Best lyrics out of any song on the CD. Brings back older GNR. The chorus I fell in love with almost right away. Axl really puts himself back up to the place he should be with this song. For some reason I can't help think that he had parts of this back long ago around Use Your Illusion. I'll admit that the guitar solo is pretty sweet but I'd like to see what Slash would have done with this. I wouldn't have mind it if it was over 7 minutes long. Overall my favorite song and the only song to get a 10. 14.Prostitute: not much to say for this song. It was above mediocre but nothing that stands out. Bits and pieces of this song sounded awesome but there seems to be too much going on during the whole song. It could've came up with a better song to close with but did a decent job with this song. I'll give it a 7.5. The whole album was a roller coaster. The only thing that did well was grabbing my attention when I almost lost it. Few songs on this album actually make me want to pick up the guitar and play along. If I lost it, I'd probably go on iTunes and buy select songs from it. Decent album, but I was expecting much more from a CD that took over a decade to make.