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S. Hyden about the hidden influence of Chinese Democracy

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S. Hyden about the hidden influence of Chinese Democracy Empty S. Hyden about the hidden influence of Chinese Democracy

Post by Uli on Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:14 am

Some excerpts, partly very funny...:

Chinese Democracy turns five this November, though Guns N' Roses' sixth studio album actually feels much, much older than that. In some ways, it is much older than that — while it's arguably the most talked-about record of the last 10 years, Chinese Democracy is remembered mainly for the 14 years (and more than $13 million) it took to make. It is, unofficially, the costliest piece of music ever recorded, and the most famously belabored. It was reportedly almost finished in 2000, a relatively scant seven years after GNR's previous record, The Spaghetti Incident? Then Axl Rose hired Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker to help shepherd the album to completion. Only Baker did the opposite — he talked Axl into rerecording all of the songs, in spite of the monumental expense. Axl was always fearless like that when it came to defying time, but time eventually caught up with Chinese Democracy and exacted its merciless revenge. For years, it was widely assumed Chinese Democracy would never come out; in retrospect, the delay is all anybody cares about.
After it came out, Chinese Democracy was instantly cast off from the rest of GNR's work. The personnel around Axl were different, what a new Guns N' Roses record represented to the public was different, and the audience's expectations were different, to a near-oppressive degree. But when I recently revisited Chinese Democracy, I was surprised by how not different it was from GNR's other albums. It might not trawl the same syringe-spiked Dumpsters where Appetite for Destruction lives, but it's not far off from the hammiest sections of the Use Your Illusion albums. My two favorite songs on Chinese Democracy, "Street of Dreams" and "There Was a Time," sound like offspring of the Axl-communes-with-dolphins epic "Estranged" off of UYI II. The album's catchiest track, "Better," is the poppiest song in the GNR catalogue next to "Don't Cry," if you can get past the poor man's Trent Reznor industrial-rock coating. Kelly Clarkson should've covered it. She still could, really.

I just mustered a mild defense of Chinese Democracy's musical merits. But even I wouldn't argue that revisiting this album is as much fun as revisiting articles about this album.

When people could finally hear Chinese Democracy, the reaction wasn't excitement or curiosity — it was resentment, especially in the media, as writers quickly discovered that they enjoyed talking about the album far more than listening to it. "With Chinese Democracy now an honest-to-goodness Actual Thing … the cottage industry of writing about it in the abstract is, like so many other industries right now, being shuttered, its personnel scuttled and forced to find real work," wrote Spin's Steve Kandell. "The only way the record could have lived up to its legend would have been to never come out at all; that it is instead merely, ultimately, a fair-to-middling rock album is nothing to get mad at."

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S. Hyden about the hidden influence of Chinese Democracy Empty Re: S. Hyden about the hidden influence of Chinese Democracy

Post by puddledumpling on Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:42 pm

Agreed, Uli. I read the whole article. I enjoyed the intelligence of his perspective.
Having written about the album Chinese Democracy, I wouldn't mind a reading of this writer's impression of what the collective members of this lineup of GNR are making of the entity that is GNR in 2013.

Who says they are not making new music? OK, so they happen to be all side projects.
And no one is stopping them. Hay 

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