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Chuck Klosterman reviews Chinese Democracy

 
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tdcheetah



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 487
Location: The Cheetah's Lair (aka Clarendon VA)

PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:51 pm    Post subject: Chuck Klosterman reviews Chinese Democracy Reply with quote

Chuck Klosterman wrote _Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey In Rural North Dakota_, which is my favorite heavy metal music history and criticism book of all time.

I know, that is like saying someone is the smartest *and* cutest person in _name of small town of under 400 people_. However, Klosterman is not only a funny and knowledgeable critic, but he understands too what it's like to love a oft-depised form of entertainment, or subculture, while not being able to turn the brain off quite enough to merely enjoy it. ;)

So of course he was asked to review the new Guns'n'Roses album.

http://www.avclub.com/content/feature/chuck_klosterman_reviews

Quote:
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.
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eron



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The very best part of the review is him talking about "Sorry" and how Axl tries to sound like a vampire. I laugh now everytime I hear it.

It's a pretty damn good singles album, since it really doesn't flow but has a few strong songs. Two songs are seriously growing on me in "Sorry" and "If the World" but my favourites are still "Prostitute" and "Better". "Street of Dreams" will sell this album months down the road if it gets a good music video.
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