Guns n’ Roses were my undisputed favorite band from the time I was in Fourth Grade until around Ninth Grade. I cheered when “November Rain” finally overtook “Thriller” on the MTV New Year’s Eve music video countdown. “Estranged” was my favorite song (well, maybe tied with “Mr. Jones”). And I knew every where every single F-word was on every album so I could properly fast-forward the tapes when I was in the car with my mom.
And yet, when the announcement came that Chinese Democracy would finally be released after a 65-year delay (ballpark), I absolutely couldn’t have cared less. The album received 4 Stars from Rolling Stone (the highest rating they can offer to any post-1980 non-Dylan record), and even more valuably, an extremely positive review from Chuck Klosterman, whose piece about the Guns n’ Roses cover band from Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs remains among my favorite pieces of writing ever.
Here’s why I’m not buying in — listening to Chinese Democracy won’t count as listening to music. It’ll be listening to an event or a milestone or some other ethereal act that we’ll have to process intellectually but can never enjoy on any unselfconscious level. This is perfectly fine if you’re someone like Klosterman who revels in big, cultural portraits and can talk endlessly about how something fits into the grand scheme of uncharted pop culture waters, but three months from now, am I ever going to scroll by Chinese Democracy on my iPod and think to myself “man, I really want to hear these spliced-together Buckethead riffs with nine years of re-recorded rhythm tracks and lyrics altered to lamely reference Axl’s own perfectionism?” As Teddy Roosevelt once said to Franklin, “Not f*cking likely.”
What do you think, BWE readers? Excited for Chinese Democracy? Curious? Apathetic? Let out your two decades of frustrations in the comments!