Guns N' Roses 

Chinese Democracy

A lot has happened in the music world since Guns N' Roses released its last albums of original material, 1991's Use Your Illusion I and II. Grunge, nu metal, and boy bands came and went; teenage "artists" are ruling the charts today; and little devices called iPods are now what many people use to enjoy their music. After thirteen years of recording what The New York Times reported to be the most expensive album never to hit the streets, the long-awaited Chinese Democracy is finally here. But it's not worth the insulting wait.

No original G N' R members remain other than vocalist Axl Rose, so Chinese Democracy should be credited to the Axl Rose Circus rather than G N' R. Musicians including Brian May, Buckethead, Dave Navarro, and Sebastian Bach either contributed to the recording process and/or were once part of the "new" G N' R lineup. Chinese Democracy does not even sound like a band effort; rather, it seems like Axl was in control of every piece of music recorded. Rose spent more than a decade trying to reinvent the classic G N' R sound. Instead, Chinese Democracy sounds like either B-sides from 1987's Appetite for Destruction or sequels to the G N' R hit "November Rain." The opening title track is reminiscent of the in-your-face "Mr. Brownstone," while "Madagascar" sounds like a typical G N' R epic accompanied by electronic beats. "If the World" features acoustic Spanish guitar accompanied by more electronic beats — how is that rockin'?

Sorry, Axl, but you can't force a masterpiece. (Geffen)

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