Guns N’ Roses
Chinese Democracy “is the Titanic of rock ’n’ roll albums,” said Jon Pareles in The New York Times. “It’s outsize, lavish, obsessive, technologically advanced,” and a complete disaster. Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose spent more than 15 years—and more than $13 million—perfecting this “monumental studio production.” He also churned through dozens of bandmates, said Allison Stewart in The Washington Post. “It’s like some modern-day, heavy-metal WPA project.” The resulting musical concoction includes many moments of “genuine, back-on-your-heels wonderment,” but overall the album feels “like it was made by someone who doesn’t get out much.” Lyrics pour scorn on Rose’s romantic exes or professional doubters, but don’t mention 9/11 or the five presidential elections that transpired during the album’s gestation. You guys aren’t GN’R fans, are you? said Chuck Klosterman in The Onion. Rose has always been a maximalist: The sonic barrage here includes not just squalling guitar solos but “dolphin squeaks,” industrial noises, and clips from MLK speeches. But the man can still rock. Rose could never have fulfilled fans’ inflated expectations for this album. “What’s cool” is how he manages to defy them.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- In defense of Obama's golfing
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
- How Hillary Clinton's 'smart power' turned Libya into a dumpster fire
Subscribe to the Week