Love 'em or hate 'em, or you're just plain tired of hearing about it, but we are all interested to hear what the 15 year wait (AND FUSS) is all about. Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy is the most anticipated album of all time. It's hard to imagine waiting this long for an "active" band's follow up to three of the biggest rock albums in the last twenty years of popular music- a wait that is almost three times longer than the original members were in the band together. It's even harder to believe that the world has been waiting on this album for nearly a third of the time that rock and roll has existed (think about that for a minute).
If you haven't heard the leaked tracks, or the various versions of Chinese Democracy that have been floating around since China actually regained control of its territories from the UK back in the mid-late '90s, you can (be one of the last to) preview the album tonight starting at midnight EST on GNR's myspace.
Of course, there is no way in the world that this album can be as good as it has been hyped up to be. How could it be? With the breakthrough success of Appetite, and it's double barrel blast of a follow up with the Illusions, then a half-assed covers album that really isn't considered to be a part of the GNR legacy as it shouldn't be. Chinese Democracy since its many "first" conceptions, has been destined for greatness, and failure...mostly failure, and let down. And here's why: a brief history- a somewhat fairly accurate timeline between 1993 and 2008 all from my memory, because let's be honest, it really doesn't matter now in what order it's listed in- every stage and step of the album happened a couple of times as Axl pined over, slaved on, and beat his Democracy into submission with his dictating iron fist, and lungs.
Democracy was recorded, hyped up, set-to-be-released, delayed, re-recorded, members thrown out, new members brought in, recorded some more, a single released on a movie sound track, set-to-be-released again, delayed again, recorded some more, re-arranged, leaked to the internet, more band dismissals, more band hirings, lawsuit, MTV Music Awards, a failed tour attempt, a subsequent revolving door installed in the multiple studios to make it easier on the cast of this colossal record to come and go (but mostly go), recorded some more, leaked some more, tweaked some more, remixed some, lawsuit, set-to-be-released, delayed, set-to-be-released, now. Again, I'll believe it when I see, err, hear it.
The only way that Axl and company could follow up with those initial three records would be to produce the biggest, baddest, loudest, hard rocking-est, balls and cockin'-est, mean-machinin', boozin' and bruisin', spillin' out of the bar room out to the back parking lot brawlin', son-of-a-bitch record of all time. And that is just the music. Axl has to be the baddest bitch on the block for this record to work; to even have a shot at living up to half of its hype, and to make it the wait somewhat plausible.
Will it be? Your guess is as good as mine. I have heard most of the tracks here and there, but not all together, not in album order. Hell, I'm not sure that they are the final mixes and masterings. Knowing Axl, they probably aren't. So I decided to wait, just like everyone else, so I know for sure what I am listening to, and also, because, I am a little bit excited too, that this record is about to see the light of day, and the laser reader in my car. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Chinese Democracy is set to come out finally on Sunday through Best Buy stores "exclusively", but I bet your local neighborhood indie store will find a way to have a few copies there for your (dis)liking...I'll believe it when I see it though. However, if you do so choose to G-N-R it up this weekend or later on, please shop locally, especially this holiday season, and help your fellow brothers and sisters out:
Find your closest independent store and support your 'hood, yo-- Represent!