Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

January 30, 2010

Guns N Roses ~ Chinese Democracy

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: hard rock
Label: Geffen
Year: 2008
Home: Los Angeles

Members: Axl Rose ~ lead vocals/keyboards
Dizzy Reed ~ keyboard/b. vocals
Chris Pitman ~ keyboards/bass/guitar/b. vocals
Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, Buckethead ~ lead guitar
Robin Finck ~ lead guitar/keyboards
Tommy Stinson ~ bass/b. vocals
Bryan "Brain" Mantia ~ drums/programming
Richard Fortus ~ rhythm guitar
Eric Caudieux, Caram Costanzo ~ programming/b. vocals
Paul Tobias ~ rhythm guitar/piano

Additional: Patti Hood ~ harp
Suzy Katayama ~ french horn
Pete Scaturro ~ keyboards
Frank Ferrer ~ drums

Guests: Sebastian Bach ~ b. vocals

Speaking of what if reunions … this is not a bad album. It’s got some great songs culling diverse sources of inspiration that G'N'R previously only hinted at behind a bluesy fa├žade. While the reformed band is without question Grade A talent. But, one can’t help but wonder what a G'N'R album would sound like with the original or classic line-up, because this feels like Axl’s attempt at at a Use Your Illusion III with ballads over riffs. Gone is blistering Slash & the youthful G'N'R jungle anger, replaced by more piano & intricate & lush arrangements that in some ways could be better than earlier G'N'R. But, it’s like listening to the Stones after Mick Taylor or Pink Floyd after Sid Barrett. Something is missing. Something familiar. It’s not bad, just different. If it wasn’t for Axl’s reputation & G'N'R’s past hits this album might have faired better on the charts. Unlike older G'N'R albums, this does not hit you in the face with a lyrical/musical onslaught. This is a more meditative G'N'R, if such a thing isn't a contradition between band reputation & music. Axl deserves more credit for his work, but this isn’t a perfect world, particularly in the music biz. Give it a chance. It ain't bad & really should be listened to without the what if attached.

(originally written for the Roman Midnight Music newsletter Issue 2, Fall 2009, expanded for blog)

(featured on the Roman Midnight Music CD Reviews & Interviews podcast: episode 10 "Rockin' Comebacks", January 2011, click here to listen)

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