Chinese Democracy – Guns N’ Roses

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I hadn’t planned to review the new Guns N’ Roses album for the simple reason that it never mattered whether Chinese Democracy would be good or not, because it was always about the experience, the hype, and the free Dr. Pepper. The decision was something to be put off and I was just going to pretend it was awesome until the shock wore off, because what if it wasn’t?

To help everyone who hasn’t spent the last week adjusting to a changed world, I present The Five Stages of Chinese Democracy.

01 Denial

17 years and $13 million later, there’s a new Guns N’ Roses album? I’ll believe it when I hear it for the hundreth time on the radio.

02 Anger

17 years and $13 million and we get this!? Come on!

03 Bargaining

Ok, at least bring Bucket Head back. I mean who the fuck is Bumblefoot anyway?

04 Depression

What happened to the 80s? (It never really comes back unless Axl Rose brings it back.)

05 Acceptance

The album doesn’t suck. Even though I never would have bought it if it wasn’t GNR, I’ll got as far to say its not bad, and it does free up time obsessing over its release for eagerly awaiting the next big Guns N’ Roses moment, most likely whenever Axl dies and we get to hear what he’s got in the archives (over a decades worth of under-produced, good, old fashion rock and roll, right?!).

Of course, the album has its moments, some of which are even reminiscent of Guns N’ Roses Past, like Axl’s trademark piano and wails. Still, taken as a whole, the album is a sad departure from their classic past. It sounds as one would expect an album that took over a decade and a ridiculous sum of money to create would, over produced and an occasionally not so seamless mix of subgenres. The Guns N’ Roses that made Chinese Democracy isn’t the Guns N’ Roses we know and love and there wont be any riots when Axl & Co. go on tour.

As Jerry, “Slash” from the GNR tribute band November Rain, put it, “Guns N Roses died before their time and when they died it kind of left a vacuum and even though Axl is touring with other bands that aren’t Guns N’ Roses original members, they can play anywhere and basically sell out the place because they’re basically ganna go hear the catalogue and go see Axl sing.” So thank the early death of GNR for the growing popularity of tribute bands like November Rain.

guns n roses cover band, november rain

November Rain has played a wide range of venues, from bars to corporate events to selling out The Hard Rock Cafe in Santo Domingo (which they proudly state ran out of Vodka mid-set) and throug it all they’ve played the same GNR songs. I had the pleasure of hanging out with NR (since a sesh with GNR died with that fateful dive in St. Louis.

I’d suggest you take a break from listening to the new tracks (or crying about the money you lost in whatever, “Chinese Democracy will never come out,” bet you made) because this might be a little more familiar