Monday, April 10, 2006

Guns N’ Roses – Three Tracks from Chinese Democracy


Preview

Guns N’ Roses – Three Tracks from Chinese Democracy

Better
Catcher In The Rye
There Was A Time


After Appetite for Destruction “hit” you couldn’t turn around with out hearing Guns N’ Roses. They were everywhere. You either loved them or hated them, but they were everywhere. Their influence was palpable and their excess legendary. They delivered Lies and the Use Your Illusion albums and then seemingly imploded from the pressures of being Guns N’ Roses. Lawsuits, last minute canceled shows, crowd riots, Axl tantrums, no Izzy, no Slash, no Duff…then oblivion. You had solo albums from Izzy, Duff, Gilby, Matt & Slash’s Snakepit and then there was Velvet Revolver…but no Axl and no Guns N’ Roses. Rumors and greatest hits albums seemed to be all that was left of the once mighty band.

Well, it’s 2006 and the latest rumor is that the first Guns N’ Roses album in FIFTEEN years will be released this year. More lip service? Signs are pointing to no. Axl has publicly said that we will hear new Guns N’ Roses this year and there have been an increasing number of tracks leaked to the public via the internet. So what can we expect?

I managed to find three of these tracks online and wanted to share my opinions of them with you.

The first track is “Better.” This is the one song out of the three that really sounds different than the old Guns N’ Roses. It’s a very guitar laden track, but it’s a different kind of guitar than we’ve heard before. There are parts with a very heavy modern sound to them and others where there are almost progressive leads. You can tell that Axl was going for something more contemporary sounding when the song was written.

Track number two is “Catcher In The Rye.” This one sounds like it could have come off of one of the Use Your Illusion discs. It at times reminds me of parts of November Rain with that laid back heaviness that they managed to pull off so well. It’s definitely one of those songs you can picture Slash playing the lead on and it kind of suffers because of the comparison. It’s a pretty close approximation of how he would play though, but you get the impression that if Axl had been the only person responsible for Guns N’ Rose’s previous albums, this is what it would have sounded like. It’s not a bad tune by any stretch, but it sounds like an outtake from the Illusion sessions as opposed to something that took fifteen years to complete.

That leaves us with track number three, “There Was A Time.” If “Better” reflects a more modern version of Guns N’ Roses and “Catcher In The Rye” is a throwback to what came before, “There Was A Time” falls somewhere in between. The sound is another attempt to modernize what the Guns N’ Roses sound was, but it still has the grandiose aspirations of the Don’t Cry-November Rain-Estranged cycle from the Use Your Illusion Albums. It sounds heavy and dark which is great, but you still have the orchestral arrangements fading in under the radar that end up as a pretty big part of the overall track.

As far as vocals go, Axl Rose is in very good form. He’s still singing in his trademark voice and hitting his mark. He’s the thing that makes these songs Guns N’ Roses songs. By listening to these tracks you can tell just how much Axl Rose was responsible for with regard to the Guns N’ Roses “sound” that we are all familiar with. I say that, as much as I dislike the fact that it’s true, because Guns N’ Roses will always be the original lineup in my mind.

So…is this an Axl Rose solo album or a Guns N’ Roses album? Considering, he’s the only one of the original members still involved in recording music under the Guns N’ Roses name, I’d tend to lean towards a solo album. However, he does own the rights to the name and it’s not the first time that a band has continued with out all of the original members under the original name…Yes comes to mind as one instance.

So now you’ve heard about the songs. Either way you look at it, if these three songs are representative of the rest of whatever will end up being the fabled “Chinese Democracy” album, I think that Axl will have a monster on his hands. The songs are good, actually they’re really good…but fifteen years good? That I don’t know about.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Upon first hearing that Axl was at "it" again, my first reaction is "oh great" (insert sarcasm here). But after reading your review,my interest is peaked and I am actually looking forward to hearing this disc. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Guns N' Roses back after fifteen years? You gotta be kidding me! They should be playing at some small, insignificant bar you never heard of just like those other washed up bands like Quiet Riot or Warrant! Then you can laugh when you see them listed in your local alternative newspaper! But then again this is the "Effed Up Dubya" Years, so anything can happen! Anything screwed up that is.

As far as the songs are concerned, I don't even need to listen to them to tell you that they probably suck, plain and simple! With Axl Rose's screeching banshee voice and the typical over-the-top anthem rock with a little orchestral garnish thrown in, what do you expect? Great rock music? I don't think so. And so you ask, why are they so damn popular? For the same reason that these GNR dolts are fascinated by Paris Hilton - because they're stupid and naive about entertainment. Based on the song titles alone you can tell that a lot of drug induced hallucinations spawned these pretentious pieces of crap! Maybe instead of "Better" they should have called it "Worse Than Before". Maybe they're trying to impress us that they read the title of "Catcher in the Rye". I bet JD Salinger will come out of seclusion and denounce this heresy! Maybe "There Was A Time" started out as a song about how they used to be rock gods but now they're washed up degenerates looking to cash in on the GNR suckers that will pay $100 a seat to watch them in concert, as they smoke cigarettes and try to play but really can't because of the twitching and shaking in their hands from all the heroin and coke! The track "Better" has "almost progressive leads"? GNR and progressive - I don't think so. Regressive maybe. Now Marillion, there's a progressive rock band that knows how to rock!

pseudojoe said...

Just a thought, but maybe you should try and find the tracks and listen to them first rather than rush to judgement.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are absolutely correct. I should have listened to the tracks and then made an honest effort to rate them based on the songs themselves. Instead, I used my own screwed up judgement based on the band's past behavior and my own bias towards them. For this, I apologize to anyone that read my inept, sarcastic, and rude comments about a true American rock band. I also humbly accept that Marillion is really an unknown, stupid, uninteresting, and muscically inferior rock band that will never gain as much success as even Hootie & The Blowfish let alone the rock legends, GNR.

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