Hooray!!!! Guns N’ Roses is finally out with the new album Chinese Democracy!!! The album was bittersweet for me, though my review is far more forgiving than the other critics I have read. Here’s a song by song review 1: Chinese Democracy 4:43 The song has some silences in the start, I don’t know why Axl put that part. Then comes the killer riff. That really captures the moment of the song. Then you hear Axl on double vocals, one gruff, new voice and the other old scream of yesteryears. I love the song for its rough, rawness and for Axl’s voice. Definitely one of the best on the album. Lovely solo to go with it. Enjoyed the song very much. Verdict: 9 ½ /10 2: Shackler’s Revenge 3:36 Scary man! The song starts so uncannily. It has some kind of a dirty death metal sound to it that progresses into a mash up of dance music and rock n’ roll. Weird song in the album. I liked the chorus lines though. Then I don’t know what hit me like a rod in the face. Some kind of avant-garde metal I suppose. The sound is unbelievably alien, like a new genre in itself. It kinda shook me up though. Verdict: 7/10 3: Better 4:58 This is so-not-GnR. This sounded like boy band music at first. Then some of the hard-rocking came a few seconds later to calm me down a bit. Axl’s voice is nice on this track. The solo is again avant-garde Bumblefoot/Buckethead work. Axl is screaming a LOT on this song as it moves on. The pattern of the song is vivid and little hard to follow. Lots of riffs in between. Second solo at 3m 48s is more melodic work. Okay song, I like it enough. Verdict: 8/10 4: Street Of Dreams 4:46 Wow. This sounds JUST like the melodies of the 80’s. Axl’s second baritone voice is a feature of this song coupled with his trademark scowls and screams. The song is very much solid in form and not vague as Shackler’s Revenge was. The vocals are simply beautiful. The solo looks like it’s taken from some other band itself. Extremely diverse in its music. Lovely orchestral music goes on in the background. The song is like a happy memory, a flashback into the times the band was at its peak. Atleast that’s what it reminds me of. Verdict: 9/10 5: If The World 4:54 Huh?!? The music sounded like an Arabic song. Then comes a wah-wah lick in the background with another of Axl’s good vocals. Man, this guy has experimented with things like crazy. The song has very good lyrics. Heard this comes in the credits of Body Of Lies. My next priority. I liked the song quite a lot. Verdict: 9/10 6: There Was A Time 6:41 You can hear a flurry of noises in the music as it starts, courtesy our passionate frontman! The song has a charm to it, and then the chorus sounded a bit flat. The verses sound better with some sort of narrative lyrics and the Illusion-era style pianos. Maybe it was all this experimental work that scared away the rest of the band members away along with his erratic behaviour. The solo is good, which is very consistently being churned out. But the problem with the song is in its repetitiveness. Okey-dokey, not very good for me. Sounds a bit borrowed from November Rain and a tad too long for it cannot hold your attention for much time. Verdict: 8/10 7: Catcher In The Rye 5:53 This sounded so much like the Carpenters’ music!! It has a dose of Bon Jovi style to it. I don’t know why, but since the songs don’t have a classic GnR style, I keep referencing other people’s music. Only as a guideline to the sound style, not that it’s a rip-off. The song is nice and there is some wacky piano when he’s singing that sounds like a cat is running on the keys. Has more momentum than There Was A Time. I don’t know why but Axl is sounding good on every track, even if the instrumentals go to hell. Very selfish of him. But who cares, he’s doing a good job as of now. Verdict: 8 ½ /10 8: Scraped 3:30 WTF? Axl starts singing by screaming. Somewhat punk and radical. Now this song is sounding like Red Hot Chili Peppers. What the hell man, too many cooks can spoil the broth. Again, a good solo with heavy use of effects. The song isn’t up to the mark for me really. It’s just overprocessed bullshit and the weakest track. Verdict: 7/10 9: Riad N' The Bedouins 4:10 Another of the experimentals. I think Axl has a hangover from Scraped with the tune he’s screaming to. What rubbish man, there’s absolutely no sense or order in the song. HAPHAZARD!!! I had to forward the song a little to escape the aaahs and aaahs. Damn, major letdown. All I heard was noise. Verdict: 7 ½ /10 10: Sorry 6:14 I expect a lot from the song. This turns out to be very indulgent. All deep inside Axl. He sounds nice, okay, but where are the hardcore riffs??? Sebastian Bach is supposed to have contributed on this song, but is nowhere to be found due to Axl’s edits. Then the heavy stuff comes at 2 minutes like a kind of trumpet-guitar mashup monster sound. The song is sounding okay to me, a B grade soul-crooning track. But some experimentalism should stop and give way for straight headed hard rock GnR is famous for. They’ll lose their already reduced fan base if they don’t deliver. Verdict: 8/10 11: I.R.S. 4:28 This song has the true hardcore roots of GnR. Thank god. But Axl is dropping into his indulgent self once in while here too. The guitars are overpowered by his voice. There aren’t much catchy lines, music or riffs for that matter. If his crowds can’t chant the song along with him, or cover bands can’t play the stuff, the song is forgotten. That shouldn’t happen with this track. It has a very well made guitar solo and riff in its end. Verdict: 8 ½ /10 12: Madagascar 5:38 This song has a very nice feel to it. I liked it very much. Something about it caught my attention, it was the epic scale on which it has been executed. The song is very much impressive in my view. I liked the song as everyone’s part is prominently featured in it. No overpowering vocals or loud riffs. The synth, the drums (almost forgotten) all get a chance. Then there is a bit where he has put in clips of Martin Luther King and the sample from Civil War “what we have here is failure to communicate.” Verdict: 9/10. This deserves it. 13: This I Love 5:34 Axl is soul crooning yet again. I don’t know what to say, the pianos are great. But I’m tired of just listening to Axl. We need equal importance to be given to the guitars, drums and BASS! I just can’t hear their general Tommy Stinson as yet!! The solo is good here, by the way, genuine, authentic. Drums are much better defined here than most other songs. But what is this song all about? That remains an unsolved mystery, maybe something like a Novermber Rain II. Verdict: 8/10 14: Prostitute 6:15 This song sounds good in parts. More than that, I want the pianos dead. Enough of your pianos, Axl. Get a solid rhythm guitarist and a talented drummer, that’s what this album needs. The songs have complex synth, pianos, solos and a bass and rhythm somehwhere that is lost. Rest all is missing to Axl’s voice. Verdict: 8/10 OVERALL ALBUM FARES:……………… 8/10 Bottomline is: Axl is so darn good and dedicated and focused on the album everybody else faded away from the listener’s ear. The songs are very nice, by the way, if it is taken as an Axl Rose solo album. That’s exactly what it sounds like, an Axl solo album, like the way Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden made his own. There is no personality that shows promising parts on the album, save some Buckethead/Finck/Fortrus/Bumblefoot, that you can’t make out which is which anyways. But most solos are impressive, more memorable than the songs themselves. The arrangements have been overdone on the pianos and vocals, the two things Axl himself performs. He maybe thinks he is a new Robert Plant, with the screaming and the experimentalism that is oh-so Led Zeppelin, the second band I respect the most. The songs are good as a solo artist, not as a band. I expected some team-work here but all we have is some unknowns playing to Axl’s favourite tunes and ideas. No wonder people walk out of such projects. But you have to give Axl credit for achieving so much without any real team or much support. And all the bad luck and mistakes he’s been through, I feel he has done a brilliant job. This album is yours and yours only dude. He is back with a great, versatile album that spans many genres, showcasing his flexibility to sing in any kind of song. And that’s all. Those who were thinking a neo-Appetite was to rule the world, you’re wrong. This is for Axl’s fans strictly speaking; and for those who don’t mind rock n’ roll love songs and can neglect the fact that many of the songs lack hardcore music. Cut the name Guns N’ Roses, this is W. Axl Rose: Chinese Democracy.