Quick Review: Chinese Democracy
Finally acquired this album. Let’s get to the meat of it shall we. As a GnR album this SUCKS!!!! Let’s face it, GnR was one part Axl and one part Slash/Duff. Its like having the Roses without the Guns. The Pie without the Crust. So minus Slash’s super talented playing, you get mediocre techno-y, NIN, type crap. Yes there is the occasional good guitar riff and some really cool solos. But as a GnR album I was disappointed. I expected that.
Now let’s review this as something other than a GnR album. Its actually quite good. This would probably have been better received by metal heads such as myself if it was labeled something like Axl Rose’s Solo Project. Then digesting the NIN-ish techno crap is a little easier.
Let’s face it, this review is of Axl, not the band that is now GnR. There are a few complaints I have in general barring any GnR-ish type argument. Firstly I think Axl overdid the whiney bitch bit a tad much. “Scraped” is a perfect example of this. Its as if in the last 15 years he needs to assert himself as a dominant singer again. So rather than fire off hard hitting lyrics and a great attitude (ala Welcome to the Jungle or Coma), he actually tries to be a little too melodic and too thematic (more along the lines of November Rain, uuggg). What happens is you get alot of whiney passages where he is TRYING to sing something against a backdrop of music not in his vocabulary. It clashes and rubs me the wrong way. Next is Axl trying to do something nobody with a great high range should do: sing low. Axl has the “you could be mine” low tone that does good so long as its for the most part monotone. But stick to 3 or 4 notes. Don’t try to actually sing dude. It doesn’t work. Upon first hearing Streets of Dreams I had to start ask if this was a joke. Was he serious? Indeed he was. Not his best work. He ends up sounding more like a drunk country singer trying to sing to high. Of course the classic Axl voice is there and it works.
Ok let’s tackle the music now. If you are expecting a pure rock/metal album, expect to be disappointed. There are quite a few too-hip-for-you-hop type songs where they have tried to blend styles from elements of hip hop (drums mostly), casino pop (not sure how to describe this genre, just imagine a bunch of British Grifters or go watch Hustle) and some other crap that is just that: A big mix of crap.
Don’t bother buying this one folks. Save your good hard earned cash and buy something more relevant than 15 years too late Axl Rose. Borrow a friend’s CD if you gotta have it.