The sky is not falling, and the world did not end, but Axl Rose finally released Chinese Democracy this weekend. China is none too pleased.
The linked story is worth a read, for humor’s sake. China believes that the title of the album is an attack on the state. Apparently they’re worried that Axl and his five guitarists not named Slash will come over the Great Wall and turn their country upside down.
I was able to get a copy of the record over the weekend to listen to and I’ve got to say, it’s mediocre at best. First of all, nothing that takes 17-years to complete is every going to live up to the hype. I wasn’t blown away by the Cicadas and I’m not blown away by Chinese Democracy. It’s okay, nothing more.
First of all, it just sounds way too over-produced. I didn’t even listen to all 14 tracks. I got a little bored by it and figured I’d finish the rest later. But a good friend had a good point. I believe it was Money Matt that said the lead single, “better,” is a mediocre song that would have just been on Use Your Illusion or Appetite For Destruction. It sort of sounds like GNR, but it isn’t an attack on your senses like “Paradise City” or “Welcome To The Jungle.”
I’m happy that Axl Rose finally got around to letting the world listen to the tracks, though anyone that really wanted to could have found most of them on the internet years ago. I had heard several of these songs, in one form or another, about five years ago. The sad thing is that it took 17 years to come up with 14 songs that he really liked enough to put on a CD. Really? It takes him 15 months per song. I remember a story from Pearl Jam’s last tour where Eddie Vedder wrote the song “Gone” in his hotel room the night before the Borgota show in Atlantic City, and then performed it at the show. There’s another song, “Driftin,” that was written in a half-hour on a plane ride. But it took Axl that long to put a single note on the paper, and then he broke out the eraser and decided it wasn’t good enough.
And there lies the problem. He may have seen this as his passion project — and I understand, the man is downright loony tunes — but how good is something that takes that long to complete? And I guess the bigger question is will we have to wait until 2025 to hear more new GNR?
Whether the wait is that long or not, one thing is for certain, they won’t be listening to it in Beijing.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.