Sound — 7
The sound of Chinese Democracy is clearly over-processed, crunchy guitars (Chinese Democracy, Shackler's Revenge), random little things thrown in, such as spanish-sounding licks (If The World), strange noises that could or could not be guitars or even musical instruments (Better), and pianos. (Street of Dreams, This I Love) You can tell that Axl Rose really has put A lot into this album, so many unheard things that make the sound so much richer, and fuller, the album is put together very carefully. Although in theory, this could make it perfect, it doesn't all fit together, Axl doesn't seem to have a specific direction he wants to go in.
Lyrics — 6
Chinese Democracy. Bold statement eh? Nay. One song dedicated to that ideal, the first track, seems to insult China (it was banned there, of course), although he barely touches on this subject, my theory is he ended up wanting to abandon the idea of Chinese Democracy, and couldn't, because he was so deep in the media, and all that. Chinese Democracy (song) is for the common man, the one who isn't an avid fan of Guns N' Roses, this merely says "Here it is, Chinese Democracy", but after that song, he delves deeper. What exactly is he getting at? It's hard to say, he has heartfelt slow songs, rockers. In the end, the lyrics have no central theme, although no one said it was a concept album, all great albums' songs seem have some undefineable quality that links them together. He wrote this over such a long period of time, he obviously tried many song ideas, and picked the ones he liked best, so obviously the songs don't exactly fit together. Perhaps we'll see what he goes into the next album. (In 2026 possibly.)
Overall Impression — 8
Compared to other Guns albums, this shouldn't be compared. It should not be called Guns N' Roses, it's Axl Rose. Sure, he's got his slew of random guitarists with no particulraly great skills, but it's him. Some of the best songs include: Chinese Democracy, Better, Street of Dreams, This I Love. What I love about the album is hard to say, it's got undeniable charm, his songwriting has not dulled. What I hate, is the songs sound all different, and the album is long. It's almost impossible to listen to in one sitting. If you love Guns, pick it up. If not, it's worth a look.