Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chinese Democracy Unleashed!

Chuck Klosterman reviews the long, long, long awaited Guns 'N' Roses/Axl Rose album Chinese Democracy at The Onion's AV Club. I'll give two excerpts. First, the intro:
Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It's more like reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am I supposed to compare it to conventional horses? To a rhinoceros? Does its pre-existing mythology impact its actual value, or must it be examined inside a cultural vacuum, as if this creature is no more (or less) special than the remainder of the animal kingdom? I've been thinking about this record for 15 years; during that span, I've thought about this record more than I've thought about China, and maybe as much as I've thought about the principles of democracy. This is a little like when that grizzly bear finally ate Timothy Treadwell: Intellectually, he always knew it was coming. He had to. His very existence was built around that conclusion. But you still can't psychologically prepare for the bear who eats you alive, particularly if the bear wears cornrows.
Then from the conclusion:
Still, I find myself impressed by how close Chinese Democracy comes to fulfilling the absurdly impossible expectation it self-generated, and I not-so-secretly wish this had actually been a triple album. I've maintained a decent living by making easy jokes about Axl Rose for the past 10 years, but what's the final truth? The final truth is this: He makes the best songs. They sound the way I want songs to sound. A few of them seem idiotic at the beginning, but I love the way they end. Axl Rose put so much time and effort into proving that he was super-talented that the rest of humanity forgot he always had been. And that will hurt him. This record may tank commercially. Some people will slaughter Chinese Democracy, and for all the reasons you expect. But he did a good thing here.
He gives the album an A-, but I bet the reviews are all over the charts. And while the album is supposedly available, it is nowhere to be found on Amazon. So maybe this is all part of an elaborate ongoing farce.


montana urban legend said...

It'll be available in 2 days. In the meantime, you can catch it here. And the first single's been available for purchase on iTunes, with subsequent releases to come if they haven't already.

dcat said...

MUL --
Thanks. I also did not know that it is Best Buy only. I'm going to get a copy today, though the reviews really have been quite mixed. I'm reminded a bit of Brian Wilson's decades-long delay on Smile or Prince's on the Black Album. There is really no way it can match the mythos surrounding it.