Chinese Democracy Leaks, Underwhelms

Yesterday we heard Chinese Democracy had leaked. Now we’ve actually heard Chinese Democracy. Or most of it. It wasn’t just an urban legend — Axl really was working on something (but “overworking something” is more accurate). It’s good to hear Rose’s signature yowl, but the attempt at compositional and “modern” eclecticism via added electronics and the like sink it. Guns ‘N Roses were good at being epic — hello, “November Rain” — but they kept it wisely within the rock ‘n’ roll idiom (even the more pompous side of said idiom). Here, when tracks like “Better” tap into “trip-hop” it feels like some bad ’90s alterna-fluff outtake, not something that hasn’t even officially come out yet. On the other hand, when Axl sings that main vocal line in the same track? It’s hard to deny the power or catchiness of that voice. Not the bad funky part or when the song goes on for way too long, but otherwise. Unfortunately, it gets more and more difficult to say nice things as the album progresses. That guitar solo in the title track? Oy. Judge for yourself.

“Chinese Democracy”

“This I Love”

This is what the leaked tracklist looks like:

01 “Better”
02 “Chinese Democracy”
03 “IRS”
04 “Madagascar”
05 “Riyadh & The Bedouins”
06 “This I Love”
07 “If The World (Would End Today)”
08 “The Blues”
09 “There Was A Time”

Where’s my Dr. Pepper?