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

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I’m really surprised at the lack of support for Riad!!! It’s one of my favourite tunes off the album and would put it in the top three for sure. Clearly in the minority however! 😂

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I always liked scraped, it was my favourite off CD when it came out, but sadly ruined by the “eyyos” and “don’t you try and stop us now” lyrics

bring forward the backing vocals in the mix and eliminate that and you have a pretty cool rocker.

Edited by megaguns1982

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21 hours ago, DTJ80 said:

I’m really surprised at the lack of support for Riad!!! It’s one of my favourite tunes off the album and would put it in the top three for sure. Clearly in the minority however! 😂

I enjoyed the live Hob 2001 version!

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20 minutes ago, IncitingChaos said:

I enjoyed the live Hob 2001 version!

I think I have only seen it the once. Bizarrely underrated IMO!

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It shouldn't be divisive anymore. It's 10 years old, a good number of the songs have been played for nearly 20 years, Slash and Duff have played the majority of the album live. Either you're into it or you're not at this point.

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Fantastic article. The descriptions of the album were perfect, the writer definitely "gets" it.

On 22/12/2018 at 9:42 PM, gunsguy said:

And without the record company pushing it on commercial radio, I cant remember the last time i heard any CD on radio, I dont listen often but

I hear There Was A Time on rock stations and pub jukeboxes with suprising regularity.

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On 23/12/2018 at 10:55 AM, ToonGuns said:

"All of the material that hadn't been released was coming out in 2016, then, the reunion happened," says one source.

I'm sure I'll get lynched for this... But I can't help but think I would have preferred that material to come out, rather than what we've got at the moment.

My thoughts exactly. I really don't understand how someone would prefer the phone-in that NITL became over new music.

Edited by Azifwekare

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And to everyone who's listing Scraped as the weakest song on the album, you're all wrong.

Scraped is the best song on the album and that is objective fact.

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On 12/25/2018 at 1:03 PM, Gackt said:

It's strange to me, I've loved If The World since the album was released but it's apparently one of the most divisive songs on the album.  If I had to rank the songs right now:

  1. Better
  2. There Was a Time
  3. Street of Dreams
  4. Shackler's Revenge
  5. If The World
  6. Madagascar
  7. Prostitute
  8. Chinese Democracy
  9. I.R.S.
  10. This I Love
  11. Riad N' The Bedouins
  12. Sorry
  13. Catcher in the Rye
  14. Scraped

Some are hard to place because they're equally essential when picking out individual tracks to listen to from the album, but the latter half are songs that I typically don't care to listen to on their own.  I wanted to place TWAT higher, but I honestly find Better to be more enjoyable throughout the entire song than waiting for it to really pick up.  Without the guitar solos, TWAT would likely fall into the lower half of the list.

Just for fun.  If I had to rank my favorites

 

1) Sorry

2) Better

3) There Was A Time

4) Madagascar 

5) This I Love

6) IRS

7) Chinese Democracy 

8) Prostitue

9)  Shackler's Revenge

10)  Scraped

11)  Street of Dreams

12)  If The World

13) Riad

14) Catcher In the Rye

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On 26/12/2018 at 1:23 AM, Wagszilla said:

It is my professional opinion that people who don’t like “I.R.S.” or “If The World”  hate fun.

 

I really don't like If The World!

But you're exactly right - I'm a miserable bastard! 

:lol:

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15 hours ago, DTJ80 said:

I think I have only seen it the once. Bizarrely underrated IMO!

IMO parts of it are decent.

It loses it's listeners with the embarrassingly cringe opening

"Riad & the Bedouins, had a plan and thought they'd win, but I don't give a fuck about them, cause I am crazy".

For me, when a songs first verse contains such a juvenile line, it's hard to keep listening objectively.

Edited by Pele

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On 12/26/2018 at 11:41 AM, megaguns1982 said:

I always liked scraped, it was my favourite off CD when it came out, but sadly ruined by the “eyyos” and “don’t you try and stop us now” lyrics

bring forward the backing vocals in the mix and eliminate that and you have a pretty cool rocker.

I think Scraped would likely be the worst song on the last N-Sync album, let alone a GNR release.  

It's staggering that that made the cut, which is why I've always questioned the quality of Oklahoma, Atlas and the others....

Edited by Pele

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My ranking of Chinese Democracy:

1) Madagascar  

2) There Was A Time 

3) Prostitute

4) Sorry

5) Chinese Democracy

6) This I Love

7) Street of Dreams

8) Better

9)  IRS 

10)  Catcher In the Rye

11)  If The World

12) Shackler's Revenge

13) Scraped

14) Riad N' the Bedouins

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3 hours ago, Pele said:

I think Scraped would likely be the worst song on the last N-Sync album, let alone a GNR release.  

It's staggering that that made the cut, which is why I've always questioned the quality of Oklahoma, Atlas and the others....

The general consensus was that Axl was saving certain songs for the follow-up album(s).

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5 hours ago, Pele said:

IMO parts of it are decent.

It loses it's listeners with the embarrassingly cringe opening

"Riad & the Bedouins, had a plan and thought they'd win, but I don't give a fuck about them, cause I am crazy".

For me, when a songs first verse contains such a juvenile line, it's hard to keep listening objectively.

And in which verse should juvenile lines fit best? 2nd? 3rd? Lol

In seriousness, I do disagree with your argument. Let’s just be clear that there are “juvenile” lines on every GNR release. Although I do see where you’re coming from totally. Not Axl’s best song by far. 

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On 12/23/2018 at 3:04 PM, 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 .

I respect your opinion, but that's all it is. The things you say you don't like, I actually love. So everyone obviously has different views. TWAT church intro, for example. Or the reworked title track. I like it better than the grungier way it used to be performed. And a song you said is awful: "Prostitute" is a standout track for me. I absolutely adore it, though I didn't at first. I don't think t here's a truly bad song on the album. "There was a Time," which you said was really good, I think stands among the very best of GNR.

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21 hours ago, IncitingChaos said:

I enjoyed the live Hob 2001 version!

The song was also great during the 2002 shows. Not sure what it is about the studio recording that makes me not like the song. 

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3 hours ago, surforia said:

The general consensus was that Axl was saving certain songs for the follow-up album(s).

No doubt - although it's baffling that he would include 'Scraped' on an album people had waited all these years for.

Makes you wonder the quality of some of the material held back.

56 minutes ago, Its Tino said:

And in which verse should juvenile lines fit best? 2nd? 3rd? Lol

In seriousness, I do disagree with your argument. Let’s just be clear that there are “juvenile” lines on every GNR release. Although I do see where you’re coming from totally. Not Axl’s best song by far. 

Haha, good point - although it wouldn't have been quite so laughable buried later in the song.

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58 minutes ago, GnR Chris said:

I respect your opinion, but that's all it is. The things you say you don't like, I actually love. So everyone obviously has different views. TWAT church intro, for example. Or the reworked title track. I like it better than the grungier way it used to be performed. And a song you said is awful: "Prostitute" is a standout track for me. I absolutely adore it, though I didn't at first. I don't think t here's a truly bad song on the album. "There was a Time," which you said was really good, I think stands among the very best of GNR.

Yes. It is my opinion only. I don't like the grungier version of TWAT either. I like that 2001 Roy Thomas Baker version. I think the Roy Thomas Baker mixes sounded much better than the album versions, of what we've heard anyways. (Street of Dreams, Madagascar, TWAT) I like the earlier version of Chinese Democracy much better than the album version as well. I also liked the Skwerl leaked versions better than the album versions, except maybe for Riad, because I absolutely hate Buckethead's solo on the Riad. Bumblefoot's solo on that song is a little bit better but still crappy, and TWAT because of the church intro and the grungier guitars.

I hate Prostitute because I hate when Axl doesn't sing with his signature voice. I think even for clean vocals, the vocals on Prostitute are kind of embarrassing for Axl's standards. Even If The World has a better vocal track! I don't like the main solo either. So to me the album always ended with This I Love. The last minute of Prostitute is very cool though. The song ends in a beautiful way with that melody.

Edited by Propaganda

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8 hours ago, Pele said:

I think Scraped would likely be the worst song on the last N-Sync album, let alone a GNR release.  

It's staggering that that made the cut, which is why I've always questioned the quality of Oklahoma, Atlas and the others....

I reckon it was about trying to balance the album out.

There were so many ballads and scraped is more of a rock song.

I'm hoping that's the case anyway! Then we can hold out hope that the general and Atlas shrugged etc are top quality. 

At least Slash and Duff are back to take care of the rock songs in any future album!

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12 hours ago, Bitchisback said:

I like scraped ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It's not a bad song, but also pretty weak compared to the epics like Maddy or TWAT.

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I feel like the hate Riad gets is undue. The “salvation” part is as big and catchy as anything Axl has ever written. The other parts I can see being iffy on, but it is the biggest remnant of that super weird 99-02 band/sound. 

 

It doesn’t meet my standard of “if I want to show someone CD isn’t so bad, would I play this song?” but really only 3 songs do. This record just isn’t for everyone. I enjoy it, I’m the only person I know who does, and I’m fine with it.

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