Top positive review
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A realistic and honest review - I hope!
on 27 November 2008
Right first off I'm going to put aside all the stuff about the nonsense and millions that went into making this album as it serves no purpose and detracts from the music - yes it happened - yes Axl Rose is a bit mental and has gone OTT, but what's new? If we put such a high mantle on our artists and musician then mental is what you get, people. If I had to like every man behind every piece of music before I could enjoy their respective tunes I would have a very small CD collection indeed, so onwards and upwards.
Now then, here is my, hopefully, not overly long, down and dirty, review of Chinese Democracy in a cheeky little list format that I hope won't take up too much of your time with pretentious musings. (Please note I am not reviewing for NME who seem to think every piece of indie tosh that heads their way is a `masterpiece' and `totally astonishing` - I am assuming everyone who reads this will be from camp realism.)
- The vocals are top notch and harken back to the days of yore when I used to launch myself around my bedroom as a rebellious teen shouting the lyrics to get in the ring (when my parents where well out of earshot of course - rebellious, yeah - starting a rebellion, not so much.) There are even some points here where I think the vocals definately surpass what has passed. Bonus.
- The riffage and solos on offer within are some of the finest I've taken in in a good long while - sure Slash is a brilliant guitarist but there are other equally brilliant guitarists out there, and I'd say quite a few of them have racked up points on this album.
- There are a vast range of styles and ideas from track to track and as the album moves on you are constantly passed from pillar to post in terms of what you're hearing. A tune for every occasion.Nice and challenging and a definate continuation of where use your illusion was headed me thinks.
- The production is obviously high and although some will see this as yet more proof of the excess that went into creating the album lets get real and remember the days of 'November rain'. What it really adds up to is a clear definition of all the elements in every track. Everything is big, bold and in it's proper place - If I wanted anything else I would go and listen to the grisly, lo-fi, sounds of some early Mayhem. It's a big rock album that wanders into the epic at times; as have it's predecessors.
- This album made me dig out all my other GnR stuff and I've realised just how good they really are - I mean I always knew they where good but I had a feeling that all the swearing (something which is kept to a minimum here) and attitude may have buffed them up in my teenage mind and left me with grander impressions than what was really on offer. However, this is not the case - they are very good albums so they'll be spinning in my player for a few months to come along with this new welcome addition.
- Why did this have to be a GnR album? I mean the band could have gone under any other name and just pushed the `Featuring Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses' element - e.g. Velvet Revolver. Maybe it's just nit picking but I can't help but feel that if he'd have just started a new band and wiped the slate clean we wouldn't be getting the hardcore fan boys (you know those guys who have GnR tattoo's and can't get over it - oh dear) whining about how it's not enough like Appetite for Destruction - let's face it nothing will be like that, it's a top album and very hard to beat.
- The back of the booklet features the most hefty thanks and musicians list I've ever laid my eyes on, and although I'm trying to dodge the whole back story to the creation of this monster 6 pages at the back of the booklet kind of rams it down your throat. All that's just more nit picking though, which is fortunately the only kind of thing I can add to my cons list, huzzah!
A top rock album - one of the best I've heard for a long time and expect to hear for a long time to come. Don't think of the time it's been lined up for, don't compare it to anything else, just take it, as you should with all things, as it comes and for what it is - an album with some familiar and unfamiliar sounds by some familiar and unfamiliar people, and if you do that I think you'll find it's pretty sweet.
P.S. I didn't give it five stars because five star things are few and far between in life - so, no, it's not five star perfection but it's pretty close. Also my review was overly long, sorry.