Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy - Discussion

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Uly Gynns, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. Uly Gynns

    Uly Gynns Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brooklyn, New York
    Guns N' Roses is often times--on and off--within my Top 5 favorite bands. I view the original lineups of the band as the next logical succesors to the torch carried by The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith. Appetite for Destruction is a great rock album, if overrated; Lies is a fun little stop gap; The Use Your Illusions as flawed masterpieces, The Spaghetti Incident is downright fun, a great time. I love their cover of Sympathy for the Devil.

    Having followed the history of Chinese Democracy's creation for years, we were led to believe Axl was crafting something truly epic in those years locked away in the studio.

    Insiders described the album as a mix of the Wall and Physical Graffiti in sound, remixed by Trent Reznor and produced by Beck....As such I came to expect sonic masterpieces, pieces that brought the epic back to rock. Pieces similar to Achille's Last Stand, Queen, and the best of the Wall--an album of epics that would electrify the rock world--An experimental album, a perfect marriage of the clasic Hard Rock sound of the original Guns N' Roses and all the best sounds of the '90s--Grunge, industrial and so on. Ten minute long magnum opuses similar to Estranged and Coma in their complexity.

    Instead, we got 14 fairly straight forward songs. For all the hype by the media and Axl himself about the album's complexity, it's a fairly straight forward album made artificially complex by adding hundreds of layers upon simple songs. It's a decent album but not at all what I expected.

    What about you? What do you feel about it?
     
  2. botley

    botley Forum Resident

    I don't think Trent Reznor was ever involved, although Rose tried to get everyone he associated with including Robin Finck, Billy Howerdel and Sean Beaven into the studio to give the album some of that NIN flavour. Robin actually turned out to be one of the best guitarists they've ever had. His leads on Chinese Democracy are some of the most memorable solos on a rock album since those early days of Appetite.

    The album compares unfavourably to, say, The Fragile, which is far more successful at what it attempts. But I still like it.
     
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  3. Szeppelin75

    Szeppelin75 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Panama
    It's not a bad álbum, it has some great songs, some good songs and some okish songs. Problem is when you take 14 years and 17 million bucks making an álbum the expectations are too high. Being written in the span of several years it also lacks cohesion forn an álbum, the styles are all over the place. it sounds overproduced too, too many layers upon layers all done with Pro Tools.

    'Am glad Axl put it out, but i don't think it has hold on very well.
     
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  4. JamieLang

    JamieLang Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Terrible. If he'd done it in 6 months with no hype it would be terrible. Points for not crushing the master aside...what is there to like? Axl is no more "guns and roses" than calling Double Fantasy "that Beatles album from 1983".

    Velvet Revolver, is by number of components "more GnR than GnR"...but, lacks three key components.

    Adler was sorely missed on Illusions, but a band can survive a single non writing replacement at a time...but, Izzy leaving when the album was in the can meant GnR would never be the same. They needed his Stones/Faces type influence to temper Slash's more modern over the top playing and give it a looser feel despite Sorum's metronomic precision.

    I think this incarnation is Axl wanting to be surrounded by yes men. So, effectively was an Axl solo project. Taken as such, it simply has no grooves that make me move....no melodies that stick in my head...no signature solo hooks Dlash brought-replaced by lots of notes in a row without theme...and involving all the digital editing and sonic imprints simply is objectionable to me when done well--and this isn't convincingly done well--see NIN and Garbage and PanicattheDisco for that done better in a rock context.

    Slash's last with MilesK came closer to capturing the essence of what was great about GNR than this or Slash or Izzy's attempt in the past, IMO.
     
  5. motionoftheocean

    motionoftheocean Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    terrible, terrible album from Axl Rose and a cover band

    personally, I never bought into the myth that Axl was capable of anything without Slash, Duff and Izzy but one had to listen to this steaming turd anyway
     
    Old Rusty likes this.
  6. marcel

    marcel Alea Iacta Est

    Location:
    Italy
  7. Leigh Burne

    Leigh Burne Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London, UK
    I've been to-and-fro about getting Chinese Democracy ever since it came out. I love Guns n' Roses, but to be honest they've only done one true masterpiece - their debut. Lies was what it was - a stop-gap to fill the space between proper albums - while the Use Your Illusion albums had some amazing songs but suffered from way too much filler - if it had been a single disc it could've been great. As for "The Spaghetti Incident?", it was pretty weak to go out on a covers album, and it certainly wasn't helped by the fact I can't stand punk. But they at least recaptured some of the raw energy of Appetite.

    I've heard decidedly mixed things about Democracy. I just can't seem to bring myself to buy it. Like others have said, Velvet Revolver had more claim to being G n' R than Axl does with the new group (and Contraband was a pretty good listen).
     
    Rodz42 likes this.
  8. mace

    mace Well-Known Member

    Location:
    T-Town
    It's a OK album, but I don't look at it as being a GnR album.
    I've never put them in the same league as the Stones or Aerosmith.
     
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  9. RelayerNJ

    RelayerNJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Whippany, NJ
    It's easy to hate the album for many reasons, esp. after AFD and all that, but on it's own, I think it's a terrific record. There's good songwriting, solid performances, good melodies. If it wasn't a GNR-named album, it would get more praise.
     
  10. readr

    readr Forum Resident

    I like it a lot as an Axl solo album....which is what it is, only not in name. If he put it out as The Axl Rose Project, people would have responded much more favorably. I like a lot of the tracks. It makes for a very good 10 song album. I can't imagine his need to hold onto the GNR name. His name has enough recognition to generate an audience. He should, however, start releasing material fast, his voice and appearance are starting to leave him.
     
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  11. Hagstrom

    Hagstrom Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    I'm a Guns fan. Chinese Democracy is not a good album. There's not one memorable song, hook, riff or lyric. You don't hear it on terrestrial or satellite radio. It's instantly forgettable.
     
  12. Baba Oh Really

    Baba Oh Really Certified "Forum Favorite"

    Location:
    mid west, USA
    It's "Use your Illusion 3", basically, isn't it? Not saying that is a bad thing...
     
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  13. Baba Oh Really

    Baba Oh Really Certified "Forum Favorite"

    Location:
    mid west, USA
    Wow, I don't agree with any of this.
     
  14. Baba Oh Really

    Baba Oh Really Certified "Forum Favorite"

    Location:
    mid west, USA
    Intriguing... very intriguing indeed... only you mean that Beatles album from 1980... right?
     
  15. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo

    Location:
    California
    I can't imagine you and others' need to keep harping on and on ad infinitum about the name. Get over it.
     
    BluesOvertookMe likes this.
  16. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Southwest
    It is a very good album on the merits. The anti-Axl propaganda, the focus on the cost and time it took to make it, the focus on individual musicians, etc. are all relevant points of general discussion; but if one can separate the album from those issues and focus solely on the music, I believe the album is very strong. It is strong regardless, but the point is all the other topics of discussion typically associated with a GNR discussion often derail the focus on the music. Just because Izzy didn't write material and just because Slash isn't playing lead guitar doesn't mean music associated with a contemporary incarnation of GNR lacks greatness. Axl employed and collaborated with some extremely talented musicians on this album. The album is loaded with melody and precision execution by all involved. Prostitute may be one of the top five pieces of music ever associated with the GNR name regardless of who played on it. Even if the original line-up regrouped, there would never be another Appetite of Destruction; those sorts of albums rarely are replicated. A new album by the original band would certainly be different, and maybe as good, or maybe underwhelming (particularly if one uses Velvet Revolver as any sort of barometer) -- but that concept is pure speculation. The reality is the Axl has proceeded ahead with new collaborators and their playing is what should be analyzed.
     
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  17. coniferouspine

    coniferouspine Forum Resident

    I admit it: I gleefully slowed down on the freeway and craned my neck, to watch the drama....I anticipated its release with skepticism, I wanted to hate it, couldn't wait to get on the internet and gloat and have a laugh about it, and you know what? I listened to it, and I actually really really like it. Although it's admittedly kind of a secret thing, or guilty pleasure. And here's why:

    It's the sound of one million $$ per song. One million. I mean, come on, that will never happen again!

    To elaborate on what another poster said, it is The Sound Of Pro Tools. It sounds plastic and fake, sculpted and brittle, and is accreted from literally thousands and thousands of layers and tiny edits and short snippets, recorded in bursts. Yet with real (and very expensive) orchestra and strings! It's not SUPPOSED to be coherent or make any sense.

    If you listen to the album and imagine a taxi meter running, at $3,200 per second, it's a quite amazing piece of music. Wasteful, gluttonous, atrociously stupid? Of course! It's like one of those flawed, over-the-top, big budget old Hollywood epic movies. Yes, just like you, I look at the speakers and shake my head... That's a $133,000 guitar solo. A $14,000 drum break. $60,000 for a verse of vocals.

    Listen to the album with your eyes closed -- it sounds both massively huge and robust, AND impossibly shrill/ridiculously small, all at the same time. How is that even possible?

    Focus on the drums -- are they live drums in a room, are they drum machines, samples and triggers, cut up and edits, backwards samples, all of the above -- I mean what are they, really? On fills they go Flappa flappa flappa flappa....and the kick drum for most of it is actually a tiny little, tip tip tip sound....I mean what is THAT? The drums are just blobs of indeterminate sound, perfectly scooped in EQ to not step on anything else in the mix.

    Take "Better" for example... there's a killer guitar solo on there, by the way -- great tone, very subtle. And the part where Axl gets to the finale rap at the end, the big breakup speech, his parting words to the girl, bringing it home -- and the background vocals start singing "Blah blah blah blah" behind him. You can't tell me that's not genius!
     
  18. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I dig it. No one will ever get to make an album that sounds like that again, and for that alone, it is worth a listen or two. I think if it had come out under Axl's own name, it would've been received better.

    Also, the fact that Gn'R fans had been listening to over half the album for years leading up to its release didn't help. I was happy to see it come out, but there were really only 4 or 5 songs that were entirely new to any Gn'R fan who'd spent any of 2002-2007 on the internet. Had this stuff come out years earlier and been an entirely new record, I think it would've done well.
     
  19. Szeppelin75

    Szeppelin75 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Panama
    had
    it come out in 2001-2002 it would have done much better like you said.
     
  20. HotelYorba101

    HotelYorba101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    Alright album, a bit too much production and unneccesary overdubs and the singwriting could have been a little stronger

    It isn't truly GNR, everyone knows that. With only one dude left from the lineup that made AFD one would think that Chinese Democracy should have been labeled an Axl solo project or something entirely different. Because it is
     
  21. econalan

    econalan Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Completely agree. Some really strong songwriting on the album, w/ the biggest weakness the "overproduced" sound.
     
  22. RelayerNJ

    RelayerNJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Whippany, NJ
    True, but you know Axl---everything in excess :)
     
  23. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo

    Location:
    California
    You need to get over your obsession with the circa 1987 lineup too. Prior to that time, the band existed without the members that you want us to worship. Why isn't the very first lineup of Guns 'n Roses from a couple years prior to Appetite For Destruction the only non Axl solo project? Wouldn't the first lineup be the only true Guns 'n Roses lineup? Why are you basing true GNR membership based upon one album lineup?

    Axl has always been the core member of the band. That has never changed.
     
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  24. HotelYorba101

    HotelYorba101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    Well the Appetite lineup was the first lineup and combination of guys that really got noticed by the public. Any incarnation before that by all accounts in public eye is irrelevant - especially when the band with Tracci Guns pretty much did nothing real noteworthy and created little that related to what GNR did once Slash and company joined except a couple of ideas that the AFD lineup made into something not average. The Illusion lineups still had enough of that core group that were the reason why GNR has become more than a club band. Chinese Denocracy and the lineups surrounding it has no relevance to that core group of guys who made the band what it was musically - therefore a different name would be apt. A different lineup preceding the lineups that mattered is a different situation than lineups proceeding them. Simple as that man


    Plus you are putting words in my mouth, I never said anything about wanting to "worship" or whatever you are going on about. It is simply just seeing the common sense that this isn't the same band that was around back in the day. Better or worse it doesn't matter, it just isn't the same band. Same name, but the public knows what is really going on
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  25. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Yeah. I mean, it would've been entirely new stuff with lots of interest simply from the "what the hell is this going to sound like?" factor.

    But by 2008, we knew what it was going to sound like, and had had several years to digest releasable-quality versions of "Madagascar," "There Was a Time," "Better," etc. There wasn't any mystery to it, even if 4 or 5 of the songs were 'new.'

    Sorry, but when you sit on your ass for so many years, it's your own fault when that stuff leaks to the internet.
     

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