It may have taken a decade and a half but in 2008 Axl Rose finally brought democracy to China....though not literally.
Being one of the most problematic albums of all time in addition to being one of the most anticipated releases ever "Chinese Democracy" has perhaps more extra baggage than most major airports. After numerous leaks, costly delays, a revolving door of musicians, several lawsuits, and an unusual attack against Dr. Pepper "Chinese Democracy" was released in November 2008 and debuted in the top 5 of every major chart worldwide, despite very poor promotion prior to it's release (partially at the fault of Axl Rose who went into seclusion months before the album's release) it has sold as many as 5.5 millions albums worldwide...though that is well below expectations, especially since "Chinese Democracy is reportedly the most expensive album ever made. 1. Chinese Democracy
Any alright track on the album. There is a long intro that I wasn't the most fond of but the real song starts with a scream like only Axl can do and from there on it rocks very hard and drives very well, but I'm not a fan of how it ends. The song seemed like it was building up towards a great finale but then just sort of dive bombs at the end and I feel it drops the ball. All in all it's a good song but not the one I would've picked as the lead single on the album. 2. Shackler's Revenge
The weakest song on the album if you ask me. "Shackler's Revenge" has a very disgusting main/opening riff and just oozes with a thick industrial sound that I for one believe Axl Rose should stay far far away from. 3. Better
"Better" is a very solid song. It has a good riff and is well written though as with "Chinese Democracy" I wouldn't have chosen this song as a single. 4. Street Of Dreams
This is the song that I feel probably closest resembles the original Guns N' Roses sound. An optimistic song that is very piano based and one of the best songs off this album and THIS is the song that I would've released as the first single. Instead it was released as the third single several months after the album was released and failed to chart anywhere.....
5. If The World
This song has an unusual groove that isn't present on the other songs on the album. "If The World" has an almost funk based riff as it's main melody. A solid, mid tier track. 6. There Was A Time
The longest song on the album that has very good, prominent guitar solos in it. This song has some of my favorite vocals from Axl on this album and is one of my favorite songs on the album.
7. Catcher In The Rye
This song is in the same ballpark as "Street of Dreams" and because of this it is also a favorite of mine on this album. There are some very good solos that seem to have tinges of Slash flair to them at times. There is also a very good chorus and "la la la"'s that I'm very happy with. 8. Scraped
One of the heavier songs on the album that seems to focus on vocals more than any other song on the album, particularly with several "ah"'s that serve as backing vocals and are most prominent in the beginning of the song. Not a bad song really but not exactly memorable. 9. Riad N' The Bedouins
I think this song is one of the weakest songs on this album. It also has a long intro like "Chinese Democracy" and it rocks well enough but it just doesn't wow me all that much. 10. Sorry
A lot of people I talk to consider "Sorry" to be one of the best songs on the album and I have to disagree. It's the slowest song on the album and has very big choruses with backing vocals from Sebastian Bach (though if someone weren't to tell you that then you wouldn't know). The guitar solo in the middle of the song is the best part of this song I think because unlike the rest of the album it isn't about shredding and many layered parts and is just a slow, emotional solo that resembles someone like David Gilmour or Roy Buchanan. 11. I.R.S.
"I.R.S." is just a hard rocking song. Lyrically it's one of my least favorite songs on the album. The thing I praise the most with this song is that it builds until it explodes in the last minute of the song with some ludicrous guitar work, powerful drumming, and a piercing high note from Axl.
This is the song I was most excited for when this album came out. "Madagascar" was the earliest song on "Chinese Democracy" to be played live with it even being included in their set list at their surprise appearance at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards sandwiched between "Welcome To The Jungle" and "Paradise City". It has one of the slowest tempos on the album and is one of my favorites. The focus point of the song is a mashup of audio clips centered around Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech being layered over a guitar solo. 13. This I Love
This has been a track that I feel in love with ever since I first time I listened to the album. This is the only song on the album written solely by Axl Rose and is primarily played on piano with a string and horn section (as can be found on most of the songs on the album, though less prominently in many cases) complimenting it and Axl's powerful vocals. The song is very reserved at first but builds steadily as the song progresses until it fully takes off with the guitar solo, which is my favorite on the album, before returning pack to the tone the song started with.
The thing I love most about this song are the explosive choruses. During the verses the song is very gentle with very solid drum work being quite prominent before the guitars and string and horn sections come in with triple forte force. The song builds in intensity with two very good guitar solos and with the completion of the second solo a long outro takes over that gives a strong sense of finality and resolution to the album.
Over all I would give "Chinese Democracy" 9 out of 10.