Happy Birthday W. Axl Rose! You're Amazing, and Chinese Democracy Gets a Bad Rap
Therein lies some of the fun with Guns N Roses; Alt rock squares and indie sophisticates either don't get it or associate GnFnR with some sort of guilty, ironic pleasure. The latest fads in middle-class, college-educated indie rock come and go. But what never goes out of style is balls out, dope-and-booze-fueled rock and roll made by hardcore degenerates who just don't give a fuck what the record industry or rock critics think.
Axl Rose is my Jim Morrison, my Marilyn Manson and my Kurt Cobain all rolled into one. So while Chinese Democracy might be a little silly at moments (I've referred to it more than once as "Axl gets his G.E.D." due to song titles like "Catcher in the Rye," "Madagascar" and "Riad 'N the Bedouins"), it's got way more life than anything you'll see at Coachella this year.
The album isn't the great Guns N Roses record, of course. It's not even a good GnR record. It is, however, a collection of ten years of Axl Rose's personal musical proclivities, dalliances and passing infatuations. What you hear when you listen to Chinese Democracy is less a cohesive statement than Axl's diary. It's the LiveJournal of
Guns N Roses Axl Rose solo albums.
And that's what makes it so compelling. In a world where pop music is now made either by computer program or committee, Axl Rose was able to single-handedly shepherd his dream to fruition. Who's going to tell him that he couldn't? He's got too much money for that. If Guns N Roses were the last band that believed in sex, drugs and rock and roll, Chinese Democracy was the last great bloated dinosaur record.
Now go get yourself some Night Train. And bottoms up.