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Gnfnr.dk • Vis emne - Under the Scalpel: 'Chinese Democracy'

Under the Scalpel: 'Chinese Democracy'

Redaktører: Democracyrose, Michael

Under the Scalpel: 'Chinese Democracy'

Indlægaf Michael » 26. jun 2011, 16:56


Saturday • November 8, 2008

"Under the Scalpel: Dissecting Pop Culture One Song at a Time" is a weekly column written by Mark Ingoldsby of 411mania.com. This weeks it's time analyze 'Chinese Democracy'.

The last time Guns N' Roses released an album, man had recently invented the wheel. More accurately, Bill Clinton began his first term as President, Microsoft released Windows 3.11 and Intel starting shipping the first Pentium chips.

In the race between Chinese Democracy and Chinese Democracy, it appears Guns N' Roses is poised to win. The lead single from GNR's upcoming album is available for streaming at www.gunsnroses.com. It's been a long and painful wait, but now fans can go to GNR's website and experience… a long and painful wait.

After several false starts in the ridiculously long and pretentious intro, Axl's trademark yell crescendos and the song explodes into less than three minutes of second-rate hard rock.

To his credit, Axl's voice is still very powerful and charismatic after all these years. The recording of the vocals utilizes the same technique found in "Don't Cry" and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," in which two vocal performances – sung in different registers – meld smoothly with one another.

The lyrics, however, leave much to be desired. Before performing this song at the Las Vegas House of Blues in 2001, Axl reportedly said, "It's not like an intelligent song."

He was not kidding.

I would sooner ask Miss Teen South Carolina why a fifth of Americans can't locate the United States on a world map than request Axl Rose's opinion on world events. He claims to have been inspired by Martin Scorsese's movie "Kundun," a film about oppression by the communist Chinese government and the exile of the Dalai Lama. To say that Axl's lyrics don't aid to the cause would be an understatement.

Even those who despise the Chinese government will have a hard time rallying under Axl's war cry, "It would take a lot more time than you have got for masturbation." The next line, "Even with your iron fist," makes matters worse.

It is a common saying amongst songwriters to "write about what you know." Singing about fifths of whiskey, having another cigarette and being brought to your sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na knees shot Guns N' Roses into superstardom. Rather than sticking with a proven formula, Axl presents us with his ‘New Coke' of lyrics. It is unlikely the average barstool headbanger is going to shout along to lines like "Blame it on the Falun Gong" or "Our baby's got to rule the nation."

The music creates a simple, head-nodding rock tune that unfortunately provides much less satisfaction than most of GNR's previous singles. The opening four-chord guitar lick that spans the majority of the song is a modified version of Blur's "Song 2." To take it one step further, it is a variation of The Kingsmen's "Louie, Louie."

In the middle of the first verse, the song intensity increases nicely, creating the perfect launching pad for a memorable and satisfying hook. Unfortunately, the song has no hook and instead the band plows unremorsefully into the next verse. This concept is best understood by imagining the song "Pretty Tied Up" with every chorus removed.

In addition to clever lyricism and an identifiable hook, also gone fishin' is the skilled axe-slinging formerly handled by ex-lead guitarist Slash. Although a drifting guitar solo meanders throughout the duration of song, it does not have the signature excellence previously associated with the name Guns N' Roses.

The official "I just sang the second chorus, take it whatsyerface!" solo is comprised of two pitiful back-to-back performances. The first solo sounds as if the band recorded the first amateur they found standing on a wah pedal at Guitar Center on a Tuesday night. The second solo emulates a mix of Tom Morello in Rage Against the Machine's "Know Your Enemy" and John Lowery in 2wo's "I am a Pig." It would be very avant-garde, 'twere it 1995.

Like the latest Metallica single, "Chinese Democracy" will sell like imitation lemonade at the fair on a hot day. Music lovers are thirsty for something new and the lead single is a familiar flavor that will prove somewhat gratifying. However, for those who expect another "Welcome to the Jungle," it's gonna bring you down.

Source: 411mania.com
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