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The Divisive Legacy & Surprising Future of Guns N' Roses' 'Chinese Democracy

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This is the way I see Chinese Democracy:

Overall the final product isn't a very good album but for the good songs it has, it's acceptable. It has 5 really good songs (Better, TWAT, Street of Dreams, Chinese Democracy, Catcher in the Rye), 5 average songs (This I Love, Madagascar, Riad & The Bedouins, IRS, Sorry), and it has 4 awful songs (If The World, Shackler's Revenge, Scraped and Prostitute).

One common thing about all of these songs is that the songs that actually leaked, sounded better than the finished product.

The heaviest song on the album (Chinese Democracy) suffered a dramatic mix change that affected the track and the whole album as well...

Catcher in the Rye has some click piano sounds coming up on the main track, that should have been buried in the backing track, or shouldn't have been there in the first place.

There Was a Time was a very melodic song, with melodic guitar solos and parts, and somehow they have tried to make that song a rocker with Bumblefoot guitar parts and Axl's backing voices. Also, that Church intro is horrible - Big Mistake!

I could go on and on. In essence there's a lot of songs that I wished it had been replaced by better songs, and the great songs on the albums, they should have sticked with the leaked versions of the songs (Skwerl leaks), as they have fucked up the final mix and buried what was interesting in those songs.

I grade Chinese Democracy as a whole at 3.5 / 5 .

Edited by Propaganda

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38 minutes ago, Propaganda said:

This is the way I see Chinese Democracy:

Overall the final product isn't a very good album but for the good songs it has, it's acceptable. It has 5 really good songs (Better, TWAT, Street of Dreams, Chinese Democracy, Catcher in the Rye), 5 average songs (This I Love, Madagascar, Riad & The Bedouins, IRS, Sorry), and it has 4 awful songs (If The World, Shackler's Revenge, Scraped and Prostitute).

One common thing about all of these songs is that the songs that actually leaked, sounded better than the finished product.

The heaviest song on the album (Chinese Democracy) suffered a dramatic mix change that affected the track and the whole album as well...

Catcher in the Rye has some click piano sounds coming up on the main track, that should have been buried in the backing track, or shouldn't have been there in the first place.

There Was a Time was a very melodic song, with melodic guitar solos and parts, and somehow they have tried to make that song a rocker with Bumblefoot guitar parts and Axl's backing voices. Also, that Church intro is horrible - Big Mistake!

I could go on and on. In essence there's a lot of songs that I wished it had been replaced by better songs, and the great songs on the albums, they should have sticked with the leaked versions of the songs (Skwerl leaks), as they have fucked up the final mix and buried what was interesting in those songs.

I grade Chinese Democracy as a whole at 3.5 / 5 .

But that's the thing about that album...everyone here probably has different songs in those three tiers. I know mine are drastically different than yours.

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14 minutes ago, Bailey15 said:

But that's the thing about that album...everyone here probably has different songs in those three tiers. I know mine are drastically different than yours.

I'm not listing favorites here. I'm listing what I think are the stronger and weaker songs.

Axl once said in 2006, that is favorite songs were Better, There Was a Time and I think Street of Dreams. So I think he would agree that those are the stronger songs on the album. Even though there might be fan favorites that are not expected.

Edited by Propaganda

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This read really made me think about Chinese Democracy and its history.

Where it started and how it ended.

I'm sure its been said before, but imagine if the album came out in 99'

Mainstream and radio airplay would've been key to the album. I feel like some of the tracks would have received a lot of radio play. 

Think about I.R.S. being played on the radio in 1999. I.R.S. was way ahead of its "time" as nothing on rock radio sounded like it. 

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5 minutes ago, Propaganda said:

I'm not listing favorites here. I'm listing what I think are the stronger and weaker songs.

Axl once said in 2006, that is favorite songs were Better, There Was a Time and I think Street of Dreams. So I think he would agree that those are the stronger songs on the album. Even though there might be fan favorites that are not expected.

I definitely agree on those 3 as belonging in the first tier. We differ on some of the others which is great because the album stirs up opinions and discussions.

 

I also always felt that Better should have been the first single

 

Edited by Bailey15

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3 minutes ago, Bailey15 said:

I definitely agree on those 3 as belonging in the first tier. We differ on some of the others which is great because the album stirs up opinions and discussions.

 

I also always felt that Better should have been the first single

 

Well you know, music is about taste anyways... Some like apples, some like oranges, and some like both.

Better is definitely my first single as well, but it would be a close one had Chinese Democracy (the song) not had been changed, and had stick with the version that leaked before. It was heaviest song on the album (the leaked version)... it didn't need the mix to be messed with, or the bass to be buried, or the drum parts to be changed, or what Bumblefoot did with it. It lost the industrial feel to it, and it definitely lost that Nirvana element on the drums, since they are powerless in the final mix...

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1 hour ago, Propaganda said:

This is the way I see Chinese Democracy:

Overall the final product isn't a very good album but for the good songs it has, it's acceptable. It has 5 really good songs (Better, TWAT, Street of Dreams, Chinese Democracy, Catcher in the Rye), 5 average songs (This I Love, Madagascar, Riad & The Bedouins, IRS, Sorry), and it has 4 awful songs (If The World, Shackler's Revenge, Scraped and Prostitute).

One common thing about all of these songs is that the songs that actually leaked, sounded better than the finished product.

The heaviest song on the album (Chinese Democracy) suffered a dramatic mix change that affected the track and the whole album as well...

Catcher in the Rye has some click piano sounds coming up on the main track, that should have been buried in the backing track, or shouldn't have been there in the first place.

There Was a Time was a very melodic song, with melodic guitar solos and parts, and somehow they have tried to make that song a rocker with Bumblefoot guitar parts and Axl's backing voices. Also, that Church intro is horrible - Big Mistake!

I could go on and on. In essence there's a lot of songs that I wished it had been replaced by better songs, and the great songs on the albums, they should have sticked with the leaked versions of the songs (Skwerl leaks), as they have fucked up the final mix and buried what was interesting in those songs.

I grade Chinese Democracy as a whole at 3.5 / 5 .

Im not a fan of cd mainly because it sounds like a mish mash of material which sounds like it was pasted from pro-tools like metallicas st anger. I dont know why axl compromised with the record company maybe, or not releasing the songs as they were intended to be released.  

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2012 was an interesting time. Axl and Izzy on the one side, Slash and Duff on the other side. 

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1 hour ago, Sosso said:

2012 was an interesting time. Axl and Izzy on the one side, Slash and Duff on the other side. 

By 2012 I wouldn't even say it was Slash and Duff on the other side, as Duff was sort of 'neutral' by then (having played with the band in 2010 and 2011, opening two shows in 2011). Even though he did the Hall of Fame show with Slash/Sorum/etc I assume he and Axl had some sort of 'understanding' or friendship by that point.

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2 minutes ago, Gordon Comstock said:

By 2012 I wouldn't even say it was Slash and Duff on the other side, as Duff was sort of 'neutral' by then (having played with the band in 2010 and 2011, opening two shows in 2011). Even though he did the Hall of Fame show with Slash/Sorum/etc I assume he and Axl had some sort of 'understanding' or friendship by that point.

Yeah, you're probably right about Axl and Duff. I still thought about Duff as the natural ally of Slash. 

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On 22/12/2018 at 6:08 PM, RussTCB said:

Most interesting part of the article for me was that Chinese streams have increased from 8 million to 24 million since the start of the NITL tour. 

for me it was the last sentence:

(...) Izzy (...) was the leash on Axl's mad genius, the voice who would keep him from losing himself in an abyss that's absent of limitation -- which is what makes Chinese Democracy such a fascinating study of an auteur losing control while trying so desperately to assert it.

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What Tommy says is the most interesting about CD not meant to be 1 disc. With Zutaut saying it was going to be a trilogy. Then there’s 3 different covers. Makes me wonder what is comig. Feels like there’s going to be somekind of link between CD and what comes next. Scraped has lyrics from Atlas Shrugged. 

The masterstroke would be to reintroduce Slash and Duff on The Red Hand. Then on Grenade they would feature fully. So CD would be Axl’s isolation album then the next two are the comeback. 

Edited by wasted
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Man, those were weird and frustrating days, but I miss them. Reading that article made me super nostalgic for when GNR was my end all, be all band and I spent time here searching for every leak and bit of news possible. I still think CD is a good, if flawed record, and I'll always wish that Axl had ran things like a normal band and released more of that experimental music under the GNR name. Seeing Slash and Axl play together on stage last year was awesome, bucket list worthy, but I always wanted more of the artistic growth Axl showed with his very limited amount of CD-era material.

Edited by chevelle
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If CD was the AFD of latter day GNR, I really want to hear the UYI of the CD era. 

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Pretty good article, although I don't know why people think Eddie Trunk is some kind of an authority on anything. Also, as Axl heavily plays material from the album, he's hardly disowned it. Fantastic album, imho, and sounds only better over time.

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17 hours ago, Propaganda said:

This is the way I see Chinese Democracy:

Overall the final product isn't a very good album but for the good songs it has, it's acceptable. It has 5 really good songs (Better, TWAT, Street of Dreams, Chinese Democracy, Catcher in the Rye), 5 average songs (This I Love, Madagascar, Riad & The Bedouins, IRS, Sorry), and it has 4 awful songs (If The World, Shackler's Revenge, Scraped and Prostitute).

One common thing about all of these songs is that the songs that actually leaked, sounded better than the finished product.

The heaviest song on the album (Chinese Democracy) suffered a dramatic mix change that affected the track and the whole album as well...

Catcher in the Rye has some click piano sounds coming up on the main track, that should have been buried in the backing track, or shouldn't have been there in the first place.

There Was a Time was a very melodic song, with melodic guitar solos and parts, and somehow they have tried to make that song a rocker with Bumblefoot guitar parts and Axl's backing voices. Also, that Church intro is horrible - Big Mistake!

I could go on and on. In essence there's a lot of songs that I wished it had been replaced by better songs, and the great songs on the albums, they should have sticked with the leaked versions of the songs (Skwerl leaks), as they have fucked up the final mix and buried what was interesting in those songs.

I grade Chinese Democracy as a whole at 3.5 / 5 .

Your post kind of lost credibility when you said prostitute is a terrible song. Prostitute is one of the best songs Axl has ever written. The lyrics are absolutely amazing. Powerful song and perfect closer for Chinese democracy.

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1 minute ago, YourMother'sDruthers said:

Your post kind of lost credibility when you said prostitute is a terrible song. Prostitute is one of the best songs Axl has ever written. The lyrics are absolutely amazing. Powerful song and perfect closer for Chinese democracy.

I'm iffy on the lyrics but I couldn't agree more about it being the perfect closer to the album musically. I actually spoke about that on @Gambit83's podcast recently. IMO, it's the perfect way to end the album. In many ways it reminds me of the way Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts VI - IX ends Wish You Were Here. 

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18 hours ago, Propaganda said:

This is the way I see Chinese Democracy:

Overall the final product isn't a very good album but for the good songs it has, it's acceptable. It has 5 really good songs (Better, TWAT, Street of Dreams, Chinese Democracy, Catcher in the Rye), 5 average songs (This I Love, Madagascar, Riad & The Bedouins, IRS, Sorry), and it has 4 awful songs (If The World, Shackler's Revenge, Scraped and Prostitute).

One common thing about all of these songs is that the songs that actually leaked, sounded better than the finished product.

The heaviest song on the album (Chinese Democracy) suffered a dramatic mix change that affected the track and the whole album as well...

Catcher in the Rye has some click piano sounds coming up on the main track, that should have been buried in the backing track, or shouldn't have been there in the first place.

There Was a Time was a very melodic song, with melodic guitar solos and parts, and somehow they have tried to make that song a rocker with Bumblefoot guitar parts and Axl's backing voices. Also, that Church intro is horrible - Big Mistake!

I could go on and on. In essence there's a lot of songs that I wished it had been replaced by better songs, and the great songs on the albums, they should have sticked with the leaked versions of the songs (Skwerl leaks), as they have fucked up the final mix and buried what was interesting in those songs.

I grade Chinese Democracy as a whole at 3.5 / 5 .

This is what I like to call, “Opinions Stated as Facts.”

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25 minutes ago, Its Tino said:

This is what I like to call, “Opinions Stated as Facts.”

How is this started as fact? It starts with "the way I see it..." 

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19 hours ago, Propaganda said:

This is the way I see Chinese Democracy:

Overall the final product isn't a very good album but for the good songs it has, it's acceptable. It has 5 really good songs (Better, TWAT, Street of Dreams, Chinese Democracy, Catcher in the Rye), 5 average songs (This I Love, Madagascar, Riad & The Bedouins, IRS, Sorry), and it has 4 awful songs (If The World, Shackler's Revenge, Scraped and Prostitute).

Remove ''Chinese Democracy'' and that would be my list also. Although no masterpiece, I'd probably sneak in ''IRS'' also.

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My list of favourite songs from Chinese Democracy 

1. Madagascar

2. There Was A Time 

3. Prostitute 

4. This I Love

5. Street of Dreams

6. Catcher in the Rye 

7. If the World 

8. Chinese Democracy 

9. Better

10. I.R.S.

11. Sorry 

12. Shackler's Revenge 

13. Riad N' the Bedouins

14. Scraped

 

Edited by Sosso
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IMO

GREAT songs:

Better

TWAT

Sorry (people give it crap, but I think it's one of the strongest songs on the album)

GOOD songs:

Catcher (although I dislike BBF solo)

Street (average NR type song)

Maddy (I really like this one, but SO many songs in the same vain/tempo bring it down imo)

 Prostitute (sounds like an Axl solo song, not gnr, but interesting none the less)

CD (fine song)

This I Love (had a lot of potential, but doesnt "rock" out enough compared to Dont Cry or NR).

Decent songs:

Shacklers (doesnt sound like gnr, but I actually really like it. Oh My God was better though).

 IRS (sound like a below average gnr song)

 If the world (doesnt sound like gnr, D'yer Mak'er wanna be song).

Garbage:

Riad and Scraped (both just crap)

Overall I give the album a solid 7.5/10. I go back in fourth between CD and TSI on which I like better. Overall I like the songs on CD better than the songs on TSI. But Axl and Slash sound better than they EVER sounded on TSI. So it's kinda a draw for me. 

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Well I have just had the misfortune that my old Sony HiFi gave the up the ghost after 27 years loyal service.

I went out yesterday and spanked £1500 on a Yamaha amp CD player and pair of Kef speakers to replace my old friend. 

Have played CD today from start to finish, using the pure direct function. WOW is all I can say, I have been able to hear so many more layers and intricacies in each of the tracks.

The album is even more of a masterpiece after this new listen. It still doesn't get the credit it truly deserves. Love all tracks on the album with some rotating in appeal to me over the years. My mainstays are TWAT, Maddy, TIL and Prostitute. 

In terms of where the band go next who knows. Hearing how they adapted the intro on Better at the start of the NITL tour leaves you salivating for how they may take forward what is/might be in the Vault or for brand new material.

Nothing but potential for the future.

 

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I think three albums was just a pipe dream and something they had loosely discussed. I believe the album we got was due to the fact these were the only tracks submitted to be mastered prerelease- that is, the leaks we had were from the completed tracks sent to be finalized. There were no other completed tracks submitted to the label, so ChiDem is what we got.

The three covers to my understanding were to be like the Smashing Pumpkins' Zeitgeist record where are the different packages contain different features ie bonus tracks, documentaries, music videos  etc., but because there was nothing else ready to go, the concept was dropped. Ron mentioned doing a solo for Atlas, MSL leaked a mix of Going Down and the various Brain remixes, and we have that short clip of Checkmate. Silkworms was not seriously considered for CD, and neither was Oh My God, though the recently leaked mixes show reworking to some extent.

I look forward to future releases, but I have no idea what they may consist of.

 

 

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