Let me preface this by saying that I am entirely unqualified to write critically abut music. Other than the very limited ability to string together a couple of chords and cough out "Smoke on the Water" on the guitar, I have no redeemable music intelligence or the acumen necessary to talk intelligently about music. However, in listening time as an adolescent alone, I feel like I can chime in with something that resembles a reasonable thought when it comes to Guns N' Roses. From the ages of 14-17, most of my free time was spent listening to G N' R and banging my forehead against the nearest solid object.
Plus, I'm not afraid to talk out my ass, which makes this job a helluva lot easier.
Like most people, I was skeptical about Chinese Democracy. I mean, we're talking about Axl Rose here, who is the ultimate variable. But I decided one night, while being sucked into the vortex which is the iTune Store (ninety-nine cents seems so cheap for music, until you realize you bought 178 songs), and I was feeling a little randy, so hell, I downloaded the CD.
Now, I shit you not, I think Chinese Democracy kicks ass. The first three tracks---the title song, "Shackler's Revenge," and, perhaps the best cut on the album, "Better"---rival Appetite and Use Your Illusion II for the kickoff to a G N' R album. Yes, I said it. "IRS" and "Prostitute" are exceptional "let-me-find-a-solid-object-and-bang-my-head-against at 33 years-old" tunes as well. On the whole, it's a good, solid album--lyrically and musically.
No, it's not your classic get wasted and drop the f-bomb at The Grammy's Guns N' Roses. This is far more produced than their earlier garage days, ripping songs a new ass. But it works. I guess that's the most articulate my dumb-ass can get. It works.
Kudos, Signor Rose. I'm sure my endorsement means a great deal to you. But seriously, dude, don't ever braid your hair in corn rows again. White people look like tools with corn rows, and you, Axl, are no exception.
Also, I have a new poem on the e-zine Gnome for anyone who might be interested. There's some really decent work on it. I was impressed.