'Chinese Democracy': What the critics say

Chinesedemocracyguns_lAnd they said this day would never come. Axl Rose’s magnum opus will be on Best Buy shelves across the nation this Sunday, all right, doubters be damned — and MySpace is doing us one better by streaming the whole thing for free as of right now. (MySpace is also streaming Paul McCartney’s new project, which I personally just might be comparably psyched for.) And? Midway through my first listen, Chinese Democracy is sounding pretty cool, but I’m nowhere near close to being able to form a conclusive opinion on such a weighty matter. So I’ll turn it over to those critics who’ve had a little more time to ponder the first original Guns N’ Roses album in 17 years. Head over to GNR’s MySpace to check out the album if you haven’t heard it yet, and speak up: Do you think any of the reviews excerpted after the jump get Chinese Democracy right?

Verdict: Mixed (B–)
"This is unapologetically huge music, not fit for tiny iPod earbuds. Attimes it’s possible to hear the world-changing CD that Rose — whosebanshee howl remains gloriously intact — must have had in his tightlybraided skull all these years…. But too often quantity gets in the way of quality: No rock cliché fromthe last decade goes unrepresented (hip-hop loops, nü-metal skronk),and did ‘Madagascar’ really need a horn section and Martin Luther King Jr. samples?" —Andy Greenwald

Verdict: Positive (4/5 stars)
"Let’s get right to it: The first Guns n’ Rosesalbum of new, original songs since the first Bush administration is agreat, audacious, unhinged and uncompromising hard-rock record… If this is the Guns N’ Roses that Rose kepthearing in his head all this time, it is obvious why two guitars, bassand drums were never going to be enough." —David Fricke

Verdict: Positive (3.5/5 stars)
"An outrageously overblown pop-metal extravaganza, Chinese Democracyfeels like a perfect epitaph for all the absurdity and nonsense of theGeorge W. Bush era — one final blowout before Principal Obama takesour idiocy away." —Mikael Wood

Verdict: Positive (A–)
"Still, I find myselfimpressed by how close Chinese Democracy comes to fulfilling the absurdlyimpossible expectation it self-generated, and I not-so-secretly wish this hadactually been a triple album. I’ve maintained a decent living by making easyjokes about Axl Rose for the past 10 years, but what’s the final truth? Thefinal truth is this: He makes the best songs. They sound the way I want songsto sound. A few of them seem idiotic at the beginning, but I love the way theyend." —Chuck Klosterman

Verdict: Mixed
"Howcan it ever live up to the legend, or justify its ludicrous gestationperiod? Needless to say, it can’t, but it is a remarkable and oftenexhilarating album…. Rose sings in many voices — sneering, raging,crowing, opening his battered heart. Yet his presence, beyond question,is phenomenal, unrivalled in contemporary rock." —Andrew Perry

Verdict: Mixed
"You can’t say it’s a bad record — you just can’t do it…. The production values had to be probably at thehighest level of anything, and you can hear that immediately. There is not a lot of magic going on, in terms of making s— fromnothing. These are real players, and this is the greatest karaoke bandever assembled."

More on Guns N’ Roses:
Clark Collis took a close look this fall at the road to Chinese Democracy
…including a photo timeline of all the stops along the way
GN’R wound up on EW’s cover back when Use Your Illusion was their eagerly-anticipated upcoming record
EW reviewed Use Your Illusion I and II when it finally came out in September 1991

Comments (11 total) Add your comment
  • Chaddogg

    I’m listening now….and it’s rocking my face off.
    I think, though, it’s somewhat unfair to continually bring up the 17 year long drought that finally delivered this — I mean, if Guns N’ Roses had just broken up and reunited 17 years later for an album, would people be judging this as harshly? Take it as a new album….and it purely rocks.
    Glad to have Axl’s voice back in my life…release another album soon, buddy.

  • Los

    Although its very hard for any artist to live up to the hype this album received over many years, I can safely say it is a damn good, solid rock record. There are a couple moments where you wonder ‘ok… what was he thinking there?’ but the finished product is very enjoyable. I can see why some GNR purists might hate the record (‘Not without Slash, Duff & Izzy! Blahblahrebelrebel!!’), but looking at it through a general standpoint, it holds up nicely.

  • Derek

    I dont know how…but I actually really enjoy this album. Partly because the songs are good and many bring me back to thos good old GNR cds, but also because of the appreciation I now have for Axl for sticking with it and releasing this, through all the criticism.

  • Korey

    I saw GNR open up for The Cult in 1985/6 and this is @*&# compared to what that band once was. Too much time takes the edge out of this pile of dog crap! But I guess that happens when you have to be the boss!

  • Ali

    The Telegraph review was NOT mixed!! It was positive:
    “it is a remarkable and often exhilarating album. ”
    How is that not positive?

  • Shamrock

    Is EW finally listening to it’s readers because I don’t see one ‘Twilight’ headline in PopWatch, or is it because it hasn’t gotten great reviews?

  • Chris Defosse

    I think It’s a Great Albumn! Many many diferent voices from Axl, nice guitars. Its nice to have one more albumn from my favorite band.

  • yiwcx hrldt

    tywoeu tiedzcv txekmaqc vouslgdb dyceqkxrt aiuj jsclzvwk

  • fleyvnxa sovjibf

    vncxesz kwsofaxr jzmsdwv qrclduzfe cyjzlmxsr hmpzcwjus knysbjdp

  • Alex

    Yeah, it was Listen 2 This. I liked those, but then they started not being exclusively about music, (they started to include video games & comic books too) http://hardwood-floor.emenace.com/brucehar62/12.html garage flooring undefined

  • luxury watch

    It’s good! rolex watch?
    luxury watch?

Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos


From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP