The Excesses of Chinese Democracy

Say you’re a spoiled rock star who has spent $13 million on recording and producing a record that took over a decade to release.  Say you’ve finally released the album, and, by and large, it sucks.  You may sit around and sulk, pout, throw things, and scream at the wall saying no one understands your genius. Or maybe you just assemble a band, go out on tour, and presume you’re going to make oodles of money — and to hell with your critics.  

If you’re Axl Rose, you do both.  But what is it about Chinese Democracy that’s so hard to stomach — beside the fact that that songs aren’t any good.  In Friday’s NY Times (I know … Friday, that’s an eternity in Internet time), they had this to say about the album:


The craziness on “Chinese Democracy” isn’t the wild, brawling arrogance that the young Mr. Rose and his rowdy ’80s band mates gave the fledgling Guns N’ Roses. It’s the maniacal attention to detail that’s possible in the era of Pro Tools: the infinitude of tiny tweaks available for every instant of a track, the chance to reshape every sound and reshuffle every setting, to test every guitar solo ever played on a song — or all of them at once — and then throw on a string arrangement for good measure. That microscopic focus is obvious throughout “Chinese Democracy”; every note sounds honed, polished, aimed — and then crammed into a song that’s already brimming with other virtuosity. At points where the mix goes truly haywire, like the end of “Catcher in the Rye,” a Meat Loaf song title sums things up: “Everything Louder Than Everything Else.”

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