Why Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy Deserves Another Chance

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With the feedback I received from fans when I asked them about Chinese Democracy at Guns N’ Roses’ two MetLife Stadium shows, I am going to do a follow up on my thoughts of the experience.

I happen to really like Chinese Democracy. I was extremely excited when the album came out. I think the best part about it was that it didn’t sound how I expected it to. Many artists who make albums decades after their prime years tend to stick with their usual sound. This album had a unique and modern twist to it. Axl has always been big on experimenting with new technology, as heard on the Use Your Illusion albums.

While I like the majority of the album, I am going to discuss the songs that stand out most to me.

I always liked “Better,” so it was definitely exciting hearing it live at every one of their shows. I also really enjoyed the way they changed the intro when they perform it. “There Was A Time” is another track on the album I really like, almost sounding like it could’ve been on one of the Illusion albums.

“Madagascar” is one of the most powerful songs of the bunch. Axl’s assertive lyrics served as a message for everyone to back off of him and stop criticizing his decisions regarding the future of the band and the album. The use of the quote from Cool Hand Luke mixed between the Martin Luther King Jr. speech gave me feelings of nostalgia as this quote is most closely associated with “Civil War.”

“This I Love” is Axl’s time to shine on the album. He showed his listeners he is still capable of reaching the very top of his range as well as the rasp that we all know and love. Hearing this tune live has been a pleasure as well. Considering it is such a quiet song, it again gives Axl a chance to show the stadiums what he’s made of. “Prostitute” is one of my other favorites as well.

After asking several people outside of the stadium over the two days what their take on the album was, I was slightly disappointed at the amount of people who not only had never listened to it, but never knew it ever existed. It did take a long time for it to be put out, but it is surprising that anyone can say they love Axl that hadn’t been following along with what he was doing. When the one man featured at the end of the video said he loved it, I was shocked because I was happy someone finally had something to say about it.

I approached a group of people to interview them, and they (like most other people) wanted nothing to do with it. But one of the men in the group asked me if he could talk to me without being filmed. He claimed he had been a friend of Axl’s for 25 years and said, “I can guarantee you 90% of people here won’t even know it exists. I’ve hardly even heard much about it. It’s a shame right? All that work he put into it…but he still made millions off of it so he didn’t lose anything.”

In another Alternative Nation article, it was noted that Howard Stern made some comments about the tour. He wanted to see it, but did not want to hear any songs off of Chinese Democracy. My only comment on that statement is that I can’t really imagine Guns N’ Roses cares at all what Stern or anyone else wants to hear…they know all of those people are paying to see them and want to hear the classics. But they don’t only have classics, diversity keeps things interesting and I actually think it’s awesome that Slash and Duff are playing the songs at all.

In conclusion, I was baffled that so many people had not even given the album a chance. I only hope that after seeing the show and hearing some of the new songs that they will pick up a copy of it.