Listening Booth: Guns n’ Roses, “Chinese Democracy”

Written by Listening Booth, Music, Popdose

cdemoThey said it would never be done. I said it would never be done. Geffen/Interscope/ Universal prayed that it might, but Axl Rose kept them at bay for more than a decade (much more!). This morning, however, a miracle happened.

Following in the footsteps of Saints Yorke and Reznor, Rose released Chinese Democracy to an unsuspecting public. Rumored tracks have been leaking onto the torrent sites for well over five years, and several are found on the album (available only as a download for the time being); “Better,” “I.R.S.,” and “There Was a Time” are the most notable, as all have made their way into GNR concerts since 2002. These songs as well as “You Didn’t Hear From Me,” an epic ten-minute track feeling very much like “November Rain, Part 2,” are strangely well produced. I say strangely because, in what may be the boldest move of all, the sonic detail even in MP3 form is stunning. Rejecting the loud and hot model of the most recent hard-rock releases, Rose and his phalanx of producers over the past 13 years have made something that even the most hardened of loud-rock haters will begrudgingly admire. The mix is just that spectacular.

Of course, Rose has never been known as the most altruistic fellow, so don’t expect this to cost $5 or less or even “whatever you want to pay” like Radiohead did with In Rainbows last fall. It’s $9 for the basic version and $14 for a version with an art PDF, but trust me, you’re actually getting your money’s worth this time, if only to hear some punchy, raucous rock the way it used to be, with glistening highs, thunderous lows, and every note in between.

Geffen is proposing shutting down Guns n’ Roses’ official download portal because first-release rights were contracted to them, so grab it fast before it’s too late, or worse, Rose decides to yank it himself and put it on hold for another ten years. The official Chinese Democracy download portal can be found here.