This response, posted on a very active Guns N’ Roses message board, was in reference to the official release this morning of GNR’s “Chinese Democracy,” the group’s first official single since “Oh My God” in 1999, and the title track of their first album of original material since Use Your Illusion I and II in 1991. Yes, we do use the word “group” loosely for what has essentially been a decade-and-a-half–in-the-making Axl Rose solo project, but why parse language at a climactic time like this?
Except, for some of us, the track is more of an anticlimax (not that even the greatest GNR song ever conceived could possibly be worth so sustained a buildup). You can hear the track here and judge for yourself and share your verdict in the comments section below. Our first impression? (Well, not really first, if you count the time we spent listening to leaked versions months ago.) It’s a pretty terrific blueprint for a hard-rock song in search of a chorus that never actually arrives.
Chris Willman reviews the track, after the jump.
The first minute of the 4:40 running time consists ofget-the-juices-flowing sound effects; finally, a minute and a half in,we get an abridged version of that patented Axl scream, and then whatfeels like the buildup to a great refrain,but turns out to really bethe refrain, which is moderately memorable at best. Some niceSlash-Who? soloing kicks in at just past the three-minute point, butit’s not nearly the catharsis the song seems (or needs) to be buildingtoward.
The track isn’t yet available for official download, though it’s been released to radio—where,we’re hearing, the reaction among morning jocks and their listenersthis morning has been very mixed. What’s yours? Does this whet yourappetite for the album any more or less than “Shackler’s Revenge,” another teaser track that came out a few weeks back as part of the Rock Band 2 game (and which has even less in the way of a hook, but a lot more gonzo guitar)? Share your finally realized hopes for Democracyor still-thwarted GNR dreams below. And if you have the slightest ideawhat the cryptic, vaguely-but-not-really-political lyrics mean—we’repretty sure it’s the first time the Falun Gong and masturbation havecome up in the same song—do share.