Why I would choose
To prostitute myself
To live with fortune and shame
In the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the actual Chinese Democracy
movement played a central role, but declined in the '90s to the
point where it no longer posed a threat to the Chinese government.
Similarly, Guns N' Roses may no longer be as relevant as it once
was, but Axl and his hired hands have returned with an unapologetic,
career-defining record, even if it's not the overwhelming masterpiece
that most of us secretly wanted it to be. An original concept album
(as the title almost suggests) would have made it more epic and
climactic, but the truth is that with this kind of wait, there's
really no way a Guns N' Roses album - however good - could exceed
its already lofty ambitions. There are just too many natural limitations,
be it Rose's voice, narcissism, or the lack of an organic recording
But despite the colossal undertaking, even Rose admitted to fans
in 2006 that "In the end, it's just an album." And really,
Chinese Democracy isn't so much about its music as it is its
maker. Rose didn't spend 13 years reinventing the wheel - just obsessively
laboring over the next batch of Guns N' Roses songs. But he took the
time to make the album he wanted to make at his own freedom and expense,
and has finally put some phantoms to rest.
In the end, Chinese Democracy does what any good, respectable
rock album does: kicks ass and begs to be heard more. And for that,
it's a success. Because when the smoke settles, Rose doesn't change
the world with Chinese Democracy, but he walks away triumphantly
nonetheless, middle finger raised behind him.
Download: "Better", "Street Of Dreams",
"There Was A Time", "Madagascar", "Prostitute"
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