Autore Topic: Chinese Democracy: RECENSIONI della STAMPA  (Letto 51261 volte)

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simoirs90

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Re: Chinese Democracy: RECENSIONI della STAMPA
« Risposta #40 il: 16 Novembre 2008, 19:19:pm »
EDIT: Per favore postate anche la review non solo il link.

http://www.mojo4music.com/blog/2008/11/first_listen_guns_nroses.html

MOJO

THE STATISTICS SPEAK for themselves. 14 years, 14 studios, a minimum of five producers, at least the same amount of guitarists, a revolving door of session players and mind-boggling sums of money. But ultimately, Chinese Democracy, the first new album of original songs to appear under the Guns N' Roses banner since 1991, is the story of one man. Axl Rose, the wayward kid from Indiana turned razorblade-voiced global rock icon and one of the last decade's most mysterious recluses, has finally put his tools down. The saga is over.

Phil Alexander, MOJO's Editor-In-Chief, will be bringing you the full MOJO analysis very soon, but since we've just heard the thing, we thought it only fair to give you our immediate impressions of the record most thought had been assigned to the archive of legendary might-have-beens – along with The Beach Boys’ Smile and that Johnny Marr/Ian McCulloch record they left in the back of a cab.

First impressions are of an overwhelming avalanche of activity (ideas, sounds, stuff) – as much as might conceivably be stuffed into a 14-track rock album – and a surprisingly up-to-date sound.

1. Chinese Democracy
A sprinkling of background voices and the sound of street-side rattle begin a song ignited by the sort of propellant, processed guitar incisions that saturate all of the album's full-tilt offerings. Here is the mechanised underbelly of Rose's 21st Century debut. "All I've got is precious time," he sings.

2. Shackler's Revenge
Axl harmonises with himself as a furious wall of pitch-shifting guitars bite into a Foo Fighters-esque rumble that is so jammed-packed full of overdubs, it's a wonder he manages to maintain any structure whatsoever. Released with the new instalment of the mega-selling Rock Band video game, could this also be a dig at his old sparring partner Slash? "Don't ever try to tell me, how much you care for me / Don't ever try to tell me, how you were there for me," he growls.

3. Better
"This melody inside of me still searches for solution". The verse is a pop-rock groove that evokes Pacific nights and sunset drives. The chorus on the other hand is a pulverising minor-key rant augmented by more trilling axe-work and a final guitar solo surely ear-marked for one-time Chinese Democracy contributor Brian May. (Queen's guitarist ruminates on Axl' s latest halfway down the page).

4. Street Of Dreams
Played live during Guns N'Roses most recent outings and led by Axl’s long-serving piano man Dizzy Reed, this gargantuan, Jim Steinman-flavoured ballad was originally called The Blues. November Rain fans should be queuing around the block.

5. If the World
A break-beat intro; a sparse melody punctuated by a clutch of power chord shimmies and a Spanish flavoured acoustic guitar flourish that immediately reminded your correspondent of Use Your Illusion I’s Double Talkin' Jive.

6. There Was A Time
Almost 7 minutes long, this is one of Chinese Democracy's defining moments. "It was a bargain for the summer,” rues Axl, “And I thought I had it all". Phalanxes of guitars engage in panoramic battle with a gloriously histrionic vocal – he’s lost none of his power, or he hadn’t at whatever point in the last 14 years he recorded this – before it signs off with a burst of an unnecessarily digitised choir.

7. Catcher N' The Rye
Axl's nod to J.D Salinger's outsider opus is split into sections that could quite happily soundtrack the credit sequence to a frat-boy rom-com. Fans of Guns’ most melodic offerings should find solace here. Unsurprising to see Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker’s name on the credits.

8. Scraped
An impenetrable, gothic head-mess of damaged distortion and chordal-riff guitars, this is one of the album's most brutal tracks.

9. Riad N' Bedouins
In my notes I wrote the word “defibrillator”. A wired and awakening sound (the army of guitars, the piercing high notes) that's followed by Axl Rose screaming defiant epithets such as: “I don't give a fuck about this ’cos I’m crazy!”

10. Sorry
Electro-pulsing, Pink Floyd-esque ballad that throws up this chorus-opening: “I'm sorry for you / Not sorry for me”, before opening out into a Gilmouresque guitar solo.

11. I.R.S.
Axl: “Gonna call the president / Gonna call a private eye / Gonna get the IRS / Gonna need the FBI”. The man's paranoia is made explicit through another wall of dense guitars and scattershot solos.

12. Madagascar
A processional anthem replete with excerpts from Martin Luther King's I Had A Dream speech, this is a track that's been battered around since the late '90s (see the band's MTV performance here . Once again we find Axl betrayed, imploring, "Forgive them that teared (sic) down my soul / Bless them that they might grow old / And free them so that they may know / That it's never too late". Did he pen these lyrics as he saw Guns fall apart in the mid-‘90s? It’s all a bit biblical.

13. This I Love
Axl Rose the record-head. Witness the melancholic, Elton John-style piano and the soaring verses. It’s a heraldic drama straight from the fantasyland of Queen II and quite possibly the most heartfelt song on the record. Everything he's been striving for since Use Your Illusion II's Estranged. Andrew Lloyd-Webber wouldn't balk at this.

14. Prostitute
Chinese Democracy ends as it begins in grand, posturing style. “I’ve got a message for you,” sings the man that for so long has refused to say a word. Those tinny, break-beat drums appear again, as do layer upon layer of furiously overdriven guitars. One final ambient wash of organ and then, just like that, he’s gone.

So there it is. A brash, unashamedly super-sized cacophony of songs that are overdubbed to hell, but occasionally hint at the monolithic power Axl has been chasing all these years. If his voice – that vitriolic screeeeeech – often sounds like it's making its way back from a time when the original line-up of the band ruled the world, perhaps that was inevitable.

By Ross Bennett


« Ultima modifica: 16 Novembre 2008, 19:35:pm da Nadia »

Offline _xevon

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Re: Chinese Democracy: RECENSIONI della STAMPA
« Risposta #41 il: 17 Novembre 2008, 17:39:pm »
della cosa fighter - irs se n'è era giò parlato in precedenza, no nchiedetemi quando e dove  #sfigato#

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Re: Chinese Democracy: RECENSIONI della STAMPA
« Risposta #42 il: 17 Novembre 2008, 22:32:pm »
http://www.spin.com/reviews/guns-n-roses-chinese-democracy-geffen

Guns N' Roses, 'Chinese Democracy' (Geffen)
Finally, the balls-out going-away party Dubya deserves.

BY MIKAEL WOOD

Guns N' Roses codependents are rejoicing over Chinese Democracy's long-awaited release, perhaps the most-delayed album in rock history.
But think, for a second, about our fragile economy: According to a 2005 New York Times story, Axl Rose spent more than $13 million recording this thing; if left unsatisfied, his appetite for construction might keep the West Hollywood service industry afloat for another decade. Is now really the best time for this gravy train to pull into the station?
You bet.
An outrageously overblown pop-metal extravaganza, Chinese Democracy feels like a perfect epitaph for all the absurdity and nonsense of the George W. Bush era -- one final blowout before Principal Obama takes our idiocy away.
The music toggles between two primary modes: grinding industrial rock and keys-and-strings balladry. (Imagine Rammstein covering Wings, basically.) Yet to that blueprint Rose and his battalion of musicians (including no fewer than five guitarists) append every trick new money can buy: hip-hop beats, Middle Eastern–influenced riffs, space-cowboy atmospherics, and, of course, Rose's still-astounding vocals, often multitracked into a paranoid boys chorus.
Singling out highlights seems antithetical to Rose's double-widescreen vision, but with their memorable melodies, "Better," "This I Love," and "Riad N' the Bedouins" (say what?) rise above the aural onslaught.
Blast ’em at top volume as you wave good-bye to our yellow brick road.
PLUS: Read Chuck Klosterman's fake review of Chinese Democracy, which appeared in our April 2006 issue as an April Fools joke, as well as SPIN editor Steve Kandell's review of the real album's first single here.

simoirs90

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Re: Chinese Democracy: RECENSIONI della STAMPA
« Risposta #43 il: 18 Novembre 2008, 20:51:pm »
4.5/5 gente #13

http://www.addictivethoughts.com/

It would be far too easy to dismiss Chinese Democracy, the first album of new material from Guns N’ Roses in seventeen years, based solely on its laughable gestation period; or on the erratic behavior of its mastermind, Axl Rose; or even for its distance from original bandmembers Slash, Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan, all of whom have been out of the group for more than a decade. It would be too simple to mock the obvious - and doing so would be missing the point, anyway. This is a great rock n’ roll record - it’s not heavy-handed outdated metal, nor is it the intimidating “industrial rock” Nine Inch Nails clone that the media falsely described it as being many years ago, right after its production was first announced.

No, this is just a solid rock album - full of infectious anthems (Better, Shackler’s Revenge), crunchy riffs (Chinese Democracy), sexy grooves (If the World), out-of-this-world guitar playing (There Was a Time), surprisingly emotive pop (Catcher in the Rye), and wonderful balladry (This I Love). It isn’t the album Guns N’ Roses fans feared, nor is it the disaster that cynical music critics were hoping for.

Things start off with the titular track, which is very good but doesn’t have much of a chorus. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing - it just makes the song a bit more challenging than one might expect from a lead single. Next up is Shackler’s Revenge, a song drastically improved by its final mix. This is probably the worst song on the album, partly because of its DOA solo, but it is a definite “grower” - and has a banshee-wail disco-metal chorus that will be sure to offer aspiring DJs and Danger Mouse wannabes room for remixes and mash-ups.

The album hits a definite stride with Better, the most catchy and easily accessible song on the album, which is sure to be a radio hit thanks to its edgy and schizophrenic riff. Street of Dreams, previously titled The Blues when played live, is one of the first songs on the album to introduce Axl’s curious decision to literally use his voice as an extra instrument — moaning and “oh oh oh”‘ing along with the guitars after the choruses and during the outro. Critics who compare this piano ballad to Elton John are serving it short. There are certainly some traditional elements at work here, and it may be more “pop-friendly” than the original 2002 version (which had more electric guitars and less sap), but you can tell the years of tinkering on this song caused Axl to start exploring new ideas to hold it up with, and they work well. If those screams at the end don’t send shivers down your spine, you might be paralyzed.

If the World, first heard over the end credits of Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies by all three people who went to see the film, crosses over into Buckethead territory with what can only be described as a flamenco-industrial porn song. It’s groovy and infectious and those vocals knock it out of the ballpark. As heard on the previous track, Axl is once again using his voice as a parallel to the instruments (rather than just screeching and screaming), which may confuse those expecting his trademark growl, but it’s hard to listen to this and not have it stuck in your head right away.
Frontman Axl Rose, reclaiming his rock status at long last?

Frontman Axl Rose, reclaiming his rock status at long last?

There Was a Time still features one of the best guitar solos of all time (no hyperbole here - honest), thanks to both Robin Finck and Buckethead. The intro sounds way better than the demos, but still isn’t that impressive; it’s the three-and-a-half-minute mark and onwards where it really just excels on every level. Catcher in the Rye suffers from a lost Brian May guitar solo, but the additions to the outro make it an overwhelming experience; it’s like Axl Rose’s version of Phil Spector’s wall-of-sound (which may be appropriate given that the song is written about the death of John Lennon, who worked with Spector more than a handful of times), featuring Buckethead shredding over top of pianos, synths, and some really lovely vocals. I’m confused by the number of critics who have written this off as one of the lesser songs on the record, but I imagine part of the reason may be its decidedly odd tone, especially for a GN’R track. It may require a few listens.

Scraped is a nice headbanger with those newfound Axl Rose harmonic vocals over the beginning; at this point into the album I’m starting to wonder if Axl’s parallels with Brian Wilson exist beyond the obvious SMiLE comparions, because the chorus of Axl’s over the first few seconds sounds like a hard rock update of Pet Sounds. Some people will laugh at it, but it’s hard to keep laughing once the song kicks into high gear and kicks your ass. It’s a refreshingly short, tight, and direct song - this is what those heavy rockers on the Use Your Illusion albums would have sounded like if they’d dropped the overkill production values and bloated run times and just rocked out.

Riad N’ the Bedouins is another heavy song, showcasing Axl’s Robert Plant imitation. It’s clearly a Buckethead and Brain track (the Praxis influence is all over it), which is why it’s so puzzling that Axl removed Bucket’s solo and replaced it with a tacked-on and, frankly, rather underwhelming solo by Ron Thal. It comes out of nowhere and has no melody or connection to the rest of the tune. Riad remains a very good hard rock track, but that solo in the middle almost kills the flow.

Sorry slows things down on the album with what Sebastian Bach described as a “grinding doom metal” riff. I think he might be deaf. Bach supposedly contributed vocals to this tune, but Axl was wise enough to turn the volume knobs way down on the Savage Animal’s mix; you can only really hear him about five minutes into the song for a few fleeting seconds. Anyway, I’m pretty sure this song is about Slash - lots of bitter barbs like this gem: “You talk too much / You say I do / Difference is nobody cares about you.” Harsh. This song took a few listens, but it’s another definite grower on the record. The only bad thing about this song is Axl’s decision to imitate Count Chocula in the beginning as he whines, “You’d like to have me jump and be good / But I don’t vant to do eet.” Probably the worst lyrics on the whole album, but luckily the rest of the song more than compensates.

I.R.S. still suffers from weak lyrics in the chorus, but the minor additions to this track - especially the escalating guitars at the end, presumably courtesy of Ron Thal - push it over the edge. This is epic hard rock, probably the defining song of this album (stylistically, at least) and kind of a sequel to You Could Be Mine. What if that spoiled sexist rock star grew up, the cocaine got to him and he became a paranoid, heartbroken mess when his girl abandoned him on his way out the front door of relevancy? I.R.S. contains the answers.

The album once again changes pace with its next song, Madagascar, a staple of live shows since 2002 which, on the final cut, boasts Axl doing his best Tom Waits impression, aided by his version of a big band - something like five guitar players, a bunch of drums, a bunch of synth effects, and “quote metal” - audio samples from Se7en, Braveheart, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Michael J. Fox - all clipped together epically across a Buckethead/Paul Tobias solo, which sounds a lot funnier than it actually is. It’s actually pretty awesome and unlike anything I’ve ever heard.
Buckethead

Guitarist Buckethead, absent from the band since 2004 but whose parts remain Chinese Democracy

This I Love is a track that’s been around since at least 1994 but has never been heard by fans until now. First impressions: it sounds like Meatloaf. Second impressions: wow, this is pretty awesome. It took a few repeat listens to grow on me, but I’m almost positive now that I’ve fallen for it. It’s the most stripped-down song on the whole album, with Axl at a piano and a subdued but very moving Robin Finck solo in the middle of the song that just proves again that great guitar playing isn’t about speed or technical prowess, but feeling the music. This is Finck’s album highlight. Tender, revealing stuff - it’ll either make you cringe or weep. Possibly both. I love it, although I’m not sure I’d play it very loud at a red light.

Prostitute finishes off the album with some more epic dramatics — before cascading into an outro that sounds like something Moby may have come up with when he was producing the album a few years back, with its waves-against-the-shore repetition (think God Moving Over the Face of Waters). What comes prior to this simplistic outro, however, is a wildly veering mixof Estranged-style balladry and Coma-esque thundering hard rock. It goes back and forth - no song better reveals Axl’s alleged mood swings better than this track, and no song on this album better defines the epic production of its ballads, either. This has everything - orchestral samples, layers of guitars, crushing drums, and Chris Pitman’s masterful synths. It’s pretty impressive, to be honest. And the drastic shift in tone around 3:45 into the song is some of the best stuff this band’s ever done.

All in all, Chinese Democracy certainly isn’t the “best album ever” - but it’s assuredly better than many people had feared it might be. In a year of rock acts resurrecting themselves by returning to their roots (AC/DC, Metallica), Axl Rose has daringly surged forward - providing an album of music totally unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. Guns N’ Roses has always had a habit of progressing their style from album to album (Appetite’s sleaze, Lies‘ acoustics, UYI’s excesses, Spaghetti Incident’s punk covers), and Chinese Democracy essentially takes the best from all prior albums and throws them in a blender and processes them as something altogether fresh and exciting.

This is grand, bombastic rock n’ roll with a wide range of influences, lots of differing styles, and tons of fun - all packaged into one disc. When Axl Rose returned from his hibernation in 2006, he said, “I’m trying to do something different. Some people are going to say, ‘It doesn’t sound like Axl Rose, it doesn’t sound like Guns n’ Roses.’ But you’ll like at least a few songs on there.” In retrospect, nothing ever said about this album has been truer. It’s admittedly hard to look at this album without a cynical eye and reinterpret the name on the front cover as Axl Rose rather than Guns N’ Roses, considering he’s the last man standing from the original lineup, but if you can put this aside and listen to Chinese Democracy with an open mind, you may be surprised at what it has to offer.

4.5/5





Garth_Farmer

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Re: Chinese Democracy: RECENSIONI della STAMPA
« Risposta #44 il: 18 Novembre 2008, 22:15:pm »
fonte: rockol.it
autore: Franco Bacoccoli
data di rilascio: 18 novembre

Guns N’Roses “Chinese democracy” Qualcuno dice tredici. Altri quindici. C’è chi dice sedici. Ininfluente. Anche se fossero sette, gli anni di distanza che separano “Chinese democracy” dal precedente disco di studio, quell’”Use your illusion I” e “Use your illusion II” usciti contemporaneamente nel settembre 1991, sarebbero tanti. Nel 1991 negli USA il presidente era Bush. Però padre e non figlio. Nel 1991, in Italia, Marietto Chiesa non era ancora un mariuolo e la politica era quella pre-Mani Pulite: Craxi, Andreotti, De Mita e via dicendo. Dal 1991 ad oggi sono accaduti fatti epocali, e in tutto questo tempo Axl Rose ha partorito solamente quattordici brani. Meno di uno all’anno. I Beatles, ma anche altri, negli anni Sessanta erano capaci di registrare un intero album in cinque giorni. E’ quindi normale, logico che su “Chinese democracy” si siano appuntate aspettative non grandi. Ma enormi. Anche perché, appena arriverà nelle rivendite, il disco si venderà come il pane. Negli USA il nuovo parto dei GNR –o, meglio, di Axl Rose con una selva di altri musicisti- potrebbe arrivare a quota 1 milione di copie nella prima settimana. Quote da tempi belli della discografia, quando anche l’ultima schifezza vendeva 100.000 copie per il solo fatto di esistere. Axl Rose, per soddisfare le aspettative, avrebbe dovuto confezionare un capolavoro. Come si giustificano altrimenti tutti questi anni? “Chinese democracy”, per quanto si possa capire dopo il solo ascolto concesso a Rockol di una copia di servizio, è solamente un buon disco. Ottimo, a tratti. Ma non è stratosferico e non è un capolavoro. I suoni familiari della saga GNR ci sono tutti; ci sono, specialmente, le canzoni che iniziano come ballate e poi si trasformano in cannoneggiamenti hard. Ci sono chitarre taglienti. C’è il coraggio di una persona che vuol fare di testa sua, e che gli altri si fottano. Però, anche se tante cose sono cambiate, “Chinese democracy” sembra anche un “Use your illusion III”. Sembra un album da 1998. Il che non è necessariamente un male, anzi. Il tribolatissimo parto di Rose inizia bene, si chiude bene e in mezzo ci sono un po’ di intoppi. Quando dai blocchi di partenza scatta la title-track, per chi li ha amati, per chi ha vissuto su “Civil war”, “Welcome to the jungle”, “Paradise city”, “Don’t cry”, “Sweet child o’ mine”, “November rain” e “You could be mine”, è come se i Guns non fossero mai andati via. Il pezzo è fragoroso e sembra veramente voler riaccendere la fiamma che si era spenta dopo i due “Use your illusion”. “Shackler’s revenge” inizia quasi alla Sisters Of Mercy, poi prosegue su territori ben conosciuti con chitarre secche, ritmi incalzanti e strutture melodiche. “Better” è una ballatona tirata e tumultuosa, con Axl che nel testo pare lamentarsi di una fidanzata che se ne è andata ed era mezza matta. In stile di ballata, tormentata ma meno urgente della precedente, è anche “Street of dreams”. Il pezzo ha i numeri per poter diventare un classico da stadio, di quelli con l’accendino (o il telefonino) acceso. Un solo ascolto in più e, di questo pezzo, avremmo potuto innamorarci. “If the world” è una composizione bizzarra, quasi atmosferica, suonata mostruosamente bene ma più che un killer sembra un filler. “There was a time”: quasi come sopra. Molto bello l’assolo di seicorde, ma sembra una normalissima canzone incattivita solo perché questi sono i GNR e mica gli Stereophonics. C’è da rimanere un po’ interdetti. Così così anche “Catcher in the rye”, che si potrebbe definire “un rock a media potenza”. “Scraped”: voce a parte, potrebbe anche essere un qualsiasi pezzo hard da inizio anni Ottanta. Passa per la mente “Fire of unknown origin” dei Blue Oyster Cult, anno 1981. “Riad n’ the bedouins” scorre, per “Sorry” si torna alla tipica struttura da “Use your illusion”; ballad avviluppante che lentamente diventa una composizione fragorosa. In mezzo un assolo che neanche Gilmour. “IRS” è il classico rockaccio gunsiano, bello sparato, che riporta il disco sui giusti binari. Il tono di “Madagascar”, pezzo peraltro noto da anni, è malinconico; il cuore del brano offre frasi singole con campionamenti da Martin Luther King. “This I love”: Axl canta come una tigre appena messa in gabbia. Una composizione che solo Il Compianto, il vocalist più compianto di tutti, Freddie, potrebbe cantare meglio. Possibile che la gemma che non t’aspetti sia celata nel pezzo più atipico del disco? Forse sì, forse sì. E, se siete tristi, caricate il volume a dieci: questa canzone potrebbe sembrarvi magica, immensa. E sarebbe stato ottimo finire così. Invece Axl ci ha infilato la fetecchia: “Chinese democracy” si conclude con “Prostitute”, polpettoncino lardellato con tutte –ma proprio tutte- le spezie dei GNR, una canzone così piena di suggerimenti che non va da nessuna parte. Complessivamente un buon disco, ma punto.

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Offline paolo.13

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Re: Chinese Democracy: RECENSIONI della STAMPA
« Risposta #46 il: 19 Novembre 2008, 09:46:am »
ciao ragazzi, su La Stampa di oggi c'è una recensione del disco, ne parla come il ritorno di Axl e che non è affatto male, dicendo che il 1 singolo C D è in definitiva la piu brutta dell'album! Se riuscite a leggerlo...

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Re: Chinese Democracy: RECENSIONI della STAMPA
« Risposta #47 il: 19 Novembre 2008, 11:16:am »
http://www.avclub.com/content/feature/chuck_klosterman_reviews

Chuck Klosterman reviews Chinese Democracy
 
By Chuck Klosterman
November 19th, 2008


Guest reviewer Chuck Klosterman is the author of five books, including Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey In Rural North Dakota and the new novel Downtown Owl. There is no one in the world more qualified to review the exhaustingly anticipated new Guns N' Roses album than he is.

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.

Here are the simple things about Chinese Democracy: Three of the songs are astonishing. Four or five others are very good. The vocals are brilliantly recorded, and the guitar playing is (generally) more interesting than the guitar playing on the Use Your Illusion albums. Axl Rose made some curious (and absolutely unnecessary) decisions throughout the assembly of this project, but that works to his advantage as often as it detracts from the larger experience. So: Chinese Democracy is good. Under any halfway normal circumstance, I would give it an A.

But nothing about these circumstances is normal.

For one thing, Chinese Democracy is (pretty much) the last Old Media album we'll ever contemplate in this context—it's the last album that will be marketed as a collection of autonomous-but-connected songs, the last album that will be absorbed as a static manifestation of who the band supposedly is, and the last album that will matter more as a physical object than as an Internet sound file. This is the end of that. But the more meaningful reason Chinese Democracy is abnormal is because of a) the motives of its maker, and b) how those motives embargoed what the definitive product eventually became. The explanation as to why Chinese Democracy took so long to complete is not simply because Axl Rose is an insecure perfectionist; it's because Axl Rose self-identifies as a serious, unnatural artist. He can't stop himself from anticipating every possible reaction and interpretation of his work. I suspect he cares less about the degree to which people like his music, and more about how it is taken, regardless of the listener's ultimate judgment. This is why he was so paralyzed by the construction of Chinese Democracy—he can't write or record anything without obsessing over how it will be received, both by a) the people who think he's an unadulterated genius, and b) the people who think he's little more than a richer, red-haired Stephen Pearcy. All of those disparate opinions have identical value to him. So I will take Chinese Democracy as seriously as Axl Rose would hope, and that makes it significantly less simple. At this juncture in history, rocking is not enough.

The weirdest (yet more predictable) aspect of Chinese Democracy is the way 60 percent of the lyrics seem to actively comment on the process of making the album itself. The rest of the vocal material tends to suggest some kind of abstract regret over an undefined romantic relationship punctuated by betrayal, but that might just be the way all hard-rock songs seem when the singer plays a lot of piano and only uses pronouns. The craziest track, "Sorry," resembles spooky Pink Floyd and is probably directed toward former GNR drummer Steven Adler, although I suppose it might be about Slash or Stephanie Seymour or David Geffen. It could even be about Jon Pareles, for all I fucking know—Axl's enemy list is pretty Nixonian at this point. The most uplifting songs are "Street Of Dreams" (a leaked song previously titled "The Blues") and the exceptionally satisfying "Catcher In The Rye" (a softer, more sophisticated re-working of "Yesterdays" that occupies a conceptual self-awareness in the vein of Elton John or mid-period Queen). The fragile ballad "This I Love" is sad, melodramatic, and pleasurably traditional. There are many moments where it's impossible to tell who Axl is talking to, so it feels like he's talking to himself (and inevitably about himself). There's not much cogent storytelling, but it's linear and compelling. The best description of the overall literary quality of the lyrics would probably be "effectively narcissistic."

As for the music—well, that's actually much better than anticipated. It doesn't sound dated or faux-industrial, and the guitar shredding that made the final version (which I'm assuming is still predominantly Buckethead) is alien and perverse. A song like "Shackler's Revenge" is initially average, until you get to the solo—then it becomes the sonic equivalent of a Russian robot wrestling a reticulating python. Whenever people lament the dissolution of the original Guns N' Roses, the person they always focus on is Slash, and that makes sense. (His unrushed blues metal was the group's musical vortex.) But it's actually better that Slash is not on this album. What's cool about Chinese Democracy is that it truly does sound like a new enterprise, and I can't imagine that being the case if Slash were dictating the sonic feel of every riff. The GNR members Rose misses more are Izzy Stradlin (who effortlessly wrote or co-wrote many of the band's most memorable tunes) and Duff McKagan, the underappreciated bassist who made Appetite For Destruction so devastating. Because McKagan worked in numerous Seattle-based bands before joining Guns N' Roses, he became the de facto arranger for many of those pre-Appetite tracks, and his philosophy was always to take the path of least resistance. He pushed the songs in whatever direction felt most organic. But Rose is the complete opposite. He takes the path of most resistance. Sometimes it seems like Axl believes every single Guns N' Roses song needs to employ every single thing that Guns N' Roses has the capacity to do—there needs to be a soft part, a hard part, a falsetto stretch, some piano plinking, some R&B bullshit, a little Judas Priest, subhuman sound effects, a few Robert Plant yowls, dolphin squeaks, wind, overt sentimentality, and a caustic modernization of the blues. When he's able to temporarily balance those qualities (which happens on the title track and on "I.R.S.," the album's two strongest rock cuts), it's sprawling and entertaining and profoundly impressive. The soaring vocals crush everything. But sometimes Chinese Democracy suffers from the same inescapable problem that paralyzed proto-epics like "Estranged" and "November Rain": It's as if Axl is desperately trying to get some unmakeable dream song from inside his skull onto the CD, and the result is an overstuffed maelstrom that makes all the punk dolts scoff. His ambition is noble, yet wildly unrealistic. It's like if Jeff Lynne tried to make Out Of The Blue sound more like Fun House, except with jazz drumming and a girl singer from Motown.

Throughout Chinese Democracy, the most compelling question is never, "What was Axl doing here?" but "What did Axl think he was doing here?" The tune "If The World" sounds like it should be the theme to a Roger Moore-era James Bond movie, all the way down to the title. On "Scraped," there's a vocal bridge that sounds strikingly similar to a vocal bridge from the 1990 Extreme song "Get The Funk Out." On the aforementioned "Sorry," Rose suddenly sings an otherwise innocuous line ("But I don't want to do it") in some bizarre, quasi-Transylvanian accent, and I cannot begin to speculate as to why. I mean, one has to assume Axl thought about all of these individual choices a minimum of a thousand times over the past 15 years. Somewhere in Los Angles, there's gotta be 400 hours of DAT tape with nothing on it except multiple versions of the "Sorry" vocal. So why is this the one we finally hear? What finally made him decide, "You know, I've weighed all my options and all their potential consequences, and I'm going with the Mexican vampire accent. This is the vision I will embrace. But only on that one line! The rest of it will just be sung like a non-dead human."†Often, I don't even care if his choices work or if they fail. I just want to know what Rose hoped they would do.

On "Madagascar," he samples MLK (possible restitution for "One In A Million"?) and (for the second time in his career) the movie Cool Hand Luke. Considering that the only people who will care about Rose's preoccupation with Cool Hand Luke are those already obsessed with his iconography, the doomed messianic message of that film must deeply (and predictably) resonate with his very being. But how does that contribute to "Madagascar," a meteorological metaphor about all those unnamed people who wanted to stop him from making Chinese Democracy in the insane manner he saw fit? Sometimes listening to this album feels like watching the final five minutes of the Sopranos finale. There's no acceptable answer to these types of hypotheticals.

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.

Grade: A-

^DaNi85^

  • Visitatore
Re: Chinese Democracy: RECENSIONI della STAMPA
« Risposta #48 il: 19 Novembre 2008, 14:18:pm »
da "Il Giornale" di questa mattina (dedicata un'intera pagina sulla nuova band)

by Paolo Giordano

Ruvido e barocco, ma è superiore alle aspettative
Chinese Democracy toglie il fiato. e' ridondante, ossessivo, maniacalmente perfetto. Sin da quando una tastiera barocca introduce la chitarra stile Scorpions del primo brano, "Chinese Democracy", si capisce che questo è il disco pensato da una mente sola, quella di Axl Rose, ed eseguito da comprimari.  Però è anche vero che, a parte "There Was A Time" e la conclusiva "Prostitue" tutti i brani hanno una costruzione complessa e vincente, spesso frastagliata (in "Better") o addirittura sconvolta dall'intreccio di tastiere e riff di chitarre (in "Catcher In The Rye" come il titolo originale del "Giovane Holden" di Salinger) Insomma , scordatevi l'immediatezza quasi punk di "Appetite for Destruction". e in Chinese Democracy non ci sobno neppure le fregole giovanilistiche di "Use Your Illusion I e II". Stavolta Axl Rose riassume il rock in quattordici canzoni, quello duro di "Scraped" e "Shackler's Revenge" (quest'ultimo già nel videogame Rock Band 2), quello un pò funky della splendida "If The World", quello complesso di " Madagascar", epica come "Civil War" da "use your illusion" (e ci sono anche le stesse voci di sottofondo). E poi cè la voce di Axl, mixata clamorosamente in primo piano. Ha perso la brillantezza chirurgica dei vent'anni. Ma è ancora stellare, molto personale, quesi irraggiungibile in "Street Of Dreams" ma penalizzata dalle liriche troppo contorte di "Rhiad N' The Bedouins". Alla fine un disco clamorosamente, bello, da ascoltare tanto perchè è stratificato, fascinoso, molto superiore alle aspettative di tutti (anche dei fans piu' irriducibili).

Offline Rob

  • Gunner
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  • "move, move... there's a fuckin' car" 5/6/2006
    • Axl
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Re: Chinese Democracy: RECENSIONI della STAMPA
« Risposta #49 il: 19 Novembre 2008, 15:04:pm »
da "Il Giornale" di questa mattina (dedicata un'intera pagina sulla nuova band)

by Paolo Giordano

Ruvido e barocco, ma è superiore alle aspettative
Chinese Democracy toglie il fiato. e' ridondante, ossessivo, maniacalmente perfetto. Sin da quando una tastiera barocca introduce la chitarra stile Scorpions del primo brano, "Chinese Democracy", si capisce che questo è il disco pensato da una mente sola, quella di Axl Rose, ed eseguito da comprimari.  Però è anche vero che, a parte "There Was A Time" e la conclusiva "Prostitue" tutti i brani hanno una costruzione complessa e vincente, spesso frastagliata (in "Better") o addirittura sconvolta dall'intreccio di tastiere e riff di chitarre (in "Catcher In The Rye" come il titolo originale del "Giovane Holden" di Salinger) Insomma , scordatevi l'immediatezza quasi punk di "Appetite for Destruction". e in Chinese Democracy non ci sobno neppure le fregole giovanilistiche di "Use Your Illusion I e II". Stavolta Axl Rose riassume il rock in quattordici canzoni, quello duro di "Scraped" e "Shackler's Revenge" (quest'ultimo già nel videogame Rock Band 2), quello un pò funky della splendida "If The World", quello complesso di " Madagascar", epica come "Civil War" da "use your illusion" (e ci sono anche le stesse voci di sottofondo). E poi cè la voce di Axl, mixata clamorosamente in primo piano. Ha perso la brillantezza chirurgica dei vent'anni. Ma è ancora stellare, molto personale, quesi irraggiungibile in "Street Of Dreams" ma penalizzata dalle liriche troppo contorte di "Rhiad N' The Bedouins". Alla fine un disco clamorosamente, bello, da ascoltare tanto perchè è stratificato, fascinoso, molto superiore alle aspettative di tutti (anche dei fans piu' irriducibili).

me cojoni...
 #13