'It's Been 14 Years...'

‘Of silence, its been 14 years of pain, It's been 14 years that are gone forever, And I'll never have again…’

The lyrics above are taken from the Guns N’ Roses track ‘14 Years’ and sum up quite aptly what die-hard GNR fans have experienced waiting for Axl Rose to unleash his oft-delayed album, Chinese Democracy.

Well the wait is almost over.

$13 million (according to the New York Times), 14 years, countless expended band members and hours of studio time later, Chinese Democracy is ready. November 24th is the day to mark in your rock diaries as the release date of the music industries longest running joke. As the years went by and the promises became broken, the album took on the status of an urban legend.

The first single from the album is the title track, ‘Chinese Democracy’. The song premiered on radio stations across the world on Wednesday, and initial reactions have been mixed so far. After 15 years it was to be inevitable that expectations were high. But in reality, any album that has been in production for 15 years and suffered more delays than the M25 during rush hour was bound to be a bit of anti-climax. It sounds surreal enough actually hearing new material from the band on the radio.

However, die-hard fans have been listening to leaked versions of some songs for almost a year. They reveal that Rose hasn’t lost his touch.

Chinese Democracy mixes the grandiosity of the Use Your Illusions albums with an industrial, heavy rock that seems quite unlike anything out there at the moment. Tracks like ‘There Was a Time’, ‘Madagascar’ and ‘Street of Dreams’ (widely believed to the ‘The Blues’ one of the earlier leaks) are November Rain-esque and show that Rose hasn’t ditched his penchant for grand instrumental arrangements and emotional ballads.

Songs such as ‘I.R.S.’, ‘Better‘, ‘Shackler’s Revenge’ are much heavier and contain some catchy lyrics alongside the wailing guitar solos that the now departed Slash nailed so perfectly back in the original line-up‘s glory days.

Quite what the mainstream will make of the record is anybody’s guess. A lot has changed since The Spaghetti Incident, both musically and socially. Then again, Axl Rose never really cared about pleasing people. Erratic? Definitely. Temperamental? You bet. Mr. W. Axl Rose is about to step out of the shadows. Welcome back to the Jungle.

Comments

Good article Alan, I enjoyed reading it. Much more concise than mine and despite me basing my article on the music reviews written by Q Magazine, yours was probably more concise and to the point. Nice work!

Anyway, I'm glad that November Rain gets a mention as a classic Guns N Roses song - has to be my favourite Guns N Roses song. I will listen to it again very soon, thanks for reminding me of its invaluable legend! I'm also glad that they have replicated, but perhaps bettered their previous work (depending on what the entirety of the new album sounds like) and stuck to ballads, which I think Axl suits perfectly.

Use Your Illusion I & II in my opinion are far better than The Spaghetti Incident, but that isn't to say the new album won't be good. Have to say I love the track Estranged too, that has to be my second favourite.

One thing I'd like to see is whether this new album will help enforce a sustained period of recording for Guns N Roses and also how the sound, as you say, will be received by listeners? Metallica and Queen (with Paul Rodgers) have so far tried to adapt to the market, with perhaps more subtlelty than the "glam metal" lot of the 80s of which their sound eminated, but at the same time still have tried to be rock-based, but a bit too indie for my liking. Well, everyone sounds indie at the moment don't they really? But, at least not like Morrissey!

Anyway, that brings me to another point. Sorry I keep waxing lyrical about Van Halen, but do you prefer their power ballad stuff (and power ballads generally), ie Love Walks In, Dreams, Why Can't This Be Love, I'll Wait, When It's Love etc than their other tracks? Although saying that I can't say stuff like Panama, Jump, 5150, Me Wise Magic, Running With The Devil etc is inferior, because it isn't.

I think my next blog will have to be about power ballads...maybe. Anyway, good article Alan and nice to see you're reverting from your "usual" Chelsea articles. I knew you weren't a one trick pony, like some people think haha :).

 

By stuartwilson

November Rain is just a masterpiece, brilliant song. Estranged is also one of the best GNR songs I think.

I don't think the new album will be as good as UYI I and II but there are a few tracks that sound great. The first single (Chinese Democracy) isn't the best song off the album in my opinion.

I just hope that now CD is going to be released that Axl and co. release some more new material. Sebastain Bach (of Skid Row, apparently appears on one of the songs) has said that Axl has 3 albums worth of material recorded and that Chinese Democracy might be a trilogy.

By AlanMcGuinness

It is quality I agree. The fact it's ONLY eight minutes fifty seconds or so long, is NOT enough haha. Better than Purple Rain by good ole' Symbol, by a mile! Yeah I agree too that Estranged is excellent, just a shame again that it couldn't be longer haha, only nine minutes?!

I suppose the thing is with some of the tracks any group uses for an album, they tend to put a filler on there so it can just increase the number of tracks for the album, despite it being crap.

A trilogy? Wow, would this be spanning over a certain number of years? Or would it be pretty soon after release of the "first" Chinese Democracy?

By stuartwilson

November Rain better than Purple Rain? Mr Wilson, first you say you dislike Angus Young and now this? What!?!? >:(

By robhayes

Haha Rob, the thing is I honestly LOVE Purple Rain and quite like Prince to be honest, but I prefer November Rain. I take it you like Prince (The Symbol) then? I'm guessing you're going to give me a slap on Monday haha :(.

By stuartwilson

Prince is good, I like Purple Rain more than I like him if that makes any sense. I also like the song he wrote for Sinead O'Connor 'Nothing Compares To You'. Great song writer but he's a bit weird... and very little.

Maybe I should start talking about Keane?

By robhayes

Mr Hayes, you have a way with words! I could not agree more and yes that does make sense. I mean when you look at some of his songs, as you say, like him, what are they about? I mean does the sound of doves crying sound like a synthesizer melody? haha. I seriously doubt it, unless they're electronic doves.

Yeah that is a good song and as you say (and I think a lot of people would agree), he writes songs for other people better than he did for himself. I mean this is going to sound cringey, but he did write The Bangles' - Eternal Flame and that despite being cheesy, was a well-written song.

You're right, Prince does look surprisingly "dwarf"-like to say the least, even though he isn't (or doesn't look to be) an actual "dwarf". Too right he's weird too, anyone calling themselves Symbol is a lunatic. But, a funny one at that. He did do a great song called Gold, which got very little attention. My parents have it in their CD collection.

Haha, don't worry about Keane. I'd rather talk about Sash's re-release of Encore Une Fois to be honest. What a tune! :).

By stuartwilson

Stu, i bet you love Bon Jovi dont you? haha

 

By robhayes

Rob, I like him, but not LOVE - that's too strong haha. To be honest, his early stuff in the 80s (which may be classed as cheesy) was the best (i.e. You Give Love A Bad Name, Livin' On A Prayer), but afterwards I thought he got tedious and repetitive. Then again, people may have thought that about him in the eighties? haha.

What about you? Good, bad, or just plain ugly? I meant Bon Jovi by the way! :).

By stuartwilson

I'm not and never have been what you would consider a real fan, I love his songs at parties and for having a laugh to, Dead or Alive has been bugging me lately. I think power ballads in general are just fun, I can never take them seriously. Ever!

By robhayes

True, they're great to do an air guitar too and thrash about too, I know exactly what you mean - as I've done so myself many a time. Dead Or Alive eh? I guess you would consider Midnight In Chelsea (actually Jon rather than the whole group) blasphemous? haha.

Yeah, power ballads are fun you're right, and singing them is a right laugh. Although I admittedly own the album, The Very Best of Power Ballads haha.

Sad or not? Take your pick? Guess it's because I just love to sing :).  

By stuartwilson

I'm going to shamelessly admit that I saw Bon Jovi in concert this year. I wasn't a major fan before, but I was by the time I left. I'd definitely rate it as one of my all time favourite gigs. I suppose an audience can "make or break" live music and when you're in Manchester City stadium (boo!) you know the atmosphere is going to be electric. And for once there weren't any 12 year old emos pressing their disgustingly sweaty bodies against me/pretending to mosh. My night was then made complete when I got back and had a bowl of Lucky Charms. 

Stuart, I think for our next 5 O'Clock newsroom sing-a-long session we should put on some Bon Jovi... 

By Rebecca Hughes

Thats the same reaction I had with Muse about the live show thing-bob.

And about the annoying emo people... i went to see Iron Maiden at Twickenham during the summer (thats right, full on metal gig) and there were these delusional emo girls that pushed their way to the front proclaiming "we're only here to see avenged sevenfold" the support act. Minutes before the set ended they came marching back one crying, the other saying 'bastards' over and over again. Everyday is a school day and I don't expect they'll be doing much more of that. 

Other the that, I had fun watching Avenged Sevenfold, the guitarist, tart that he is, swore at me and my friend for shaking our thumbs at him everytime he looked in our direction.

By robhayes

I do often feel sorry for them when they queue up for hours to get to the front and then, because they can't cope with being crushed, have to leave. You didn't say if Iron Maiden were any good - or does it not need to be said?

 Oh-er! I've never been sworn at by a band before.

This is really drifting off topic now, but what other gigs have you got lined up for this year? It breaks my heart to say that I have none at the moment. Urgh. 

By Rebecca Hughes

Iron Maiden were epic, as per, i saw them at download too. And I also love Bruce Dickinson, when he does his little bits between songs, but I understand that off stage he's a bit of a pain in the arse. 

This year I have 1 more lined up, Stereophonics at the O2 on the 20th Dec. But I have AC/DC penciled in for April and Oasis at Wembley Stadium in July. Im a bit of a gig whore really. 

By robhayes

Before people start stating that Fall Out Boy are very much an Emo band and the presence of screaming girls in skinny jeans with "i love pete" written on their cheeks in eyeliner is to be expected I thought I'd get it in first...

Like Becci said with Bon Jovi (Fall Out Boy are nowhere near the same league though!!) I wasnt a big fan before I went and saw them last week but their stage presence is immense and their singing and playing was faultless.

The only problem I did have with the gig was Pete Wentz's apparent love for the sound of his own voice. The guy just wouldn't shut up between songs! I hate the way Patrick Stump gets very little acknowlegement for his talent as the frontman of the band!

Back to the point of this seemingly pointless rant of mine, the little emo children were screaming for the soundmen, the lights, HELL, if somebody as little as breathed on stage the kids started screaming!!
I live for the day that music is recognised purely for music not because pre-pubescent teens have dreams of bedding the best looking member of the band even though their under-educated minds cant possibly begin to comprehend what that means!

=) Totally off topic but hey. what you gunna do!? =)

 

By rebekahfloyd

I know what you mean. It seems to be a scene at any gig now. "Oh My God!! Someone literally just walked across the stage!! Did you see that!?"

 

By robhayes

Just thought I'd also mention, that I LOVE power ballads! haha.

Oh and that Sweet Child O' Mine makes my top three of Guns N Roses songs.

By stuartwilson

One of the best guitar riffs ever.

If only Slash was still in GNR...

*sigh*

By AlanMcGuinness

Have to say it is one of the most unforgettable. Do you know where I first heard that track too? Chelsea 4-0 Blackburn Rovers in the pre-match build-up in October 2004, Arjen Robben's debut. Although he'd have preferred Europe's Final Countdown as his welcoming theme, I was bloody impressed by the sound and have since loved it. There were many in the stadium rocking out to it, in amongst the Girls Aloud and Usher numbers.

True, it is a shame when someone as talented leaves a group. But then look at "Van Hagar", they did alright considering Diamond Dave left. Although I guess that was because Sammy could play a bit and gave Eddie a bit less work to do.

That reminds me, what is the best riff of all time? Perhaps that one in Sweet Child O' Mine is?

Best hook however for me is Van Halen - Jump...the gorgeous synth-line. Only the best use an Oberheim...sorry that was too technical and geeky :).

I'll have to think of more great riffs and hooks.

By stuartwilson

A year ago, I think it was FHM or Playboy (one of those male magazines), did a list of soon-to-come and definitely-need-to-buy albums. It ranged from Justin Timberlake to Oasis to Metallica. There were expected or confirmed release dates 'attached'
to the articles. The list also included the Chinese Democracy. What made me laugh, that the "release date" said "aprox. 2058". This mirrors the jokes that this huge waiting time has created.

But good that its finally out. No matter if the album hits huge heights or not, if you're a GNR fan, you must either have the album or have listened to it from beginning to end several times. If the cds appear, I'll be sure to buy one, even if just as a memoir.

By jaakpardi