As you may have heard, Axl Rose, former member of hard rock supergroup Guns N’ Roses, has been working on an album titled “Chinese Democracy.” For years. And years. Seventeen years, in fact.
It was expensive to make. Very expensive. $13 million, expensive.
It was released and now has been reviewed. Chuck Klosterman reviews it for the Onion. He draws a comparison between reviewing the album, and reviewing a unicorn. I love that.
Here’s some of his conclusion:
Still, I find myself impressed by how close Chinese Democracy comes to fulfilling the absurdly impossible expectation it self-generated, and I not-so-secretly wish this had actually been a triple album. I’ve maintained a decent living by making easy jokes about Axl Rose for the past 10 years, but what’s the final truth? The final truth is this: He makes the best songs. They sound the way I want songs to sound. A few of them seem idiotic at the beginning, but I love the way they end.
While Chuck is happy and excited at the Onion, Jon Parales is disembowling Rose over at the Times. His first real evaluative statement is,
“Chinese Democracy” sounds like a loud last gasp from the reign of the indulged pop star: the kind of musician whose blockbuster early success could once assure loyal audiences, bountiful royalties, escalating ambitions and dangerously open-ended deadlines.
Strangely enough, the same stuff Chuck loves (e.g., the lyrics, the dense production) are the attributes Parales singles out for criticism, and the converse (Chuck hates the openings) is true as well.
I wonder what this means for Marginal Revolution’s position that music reviews “are so positive” and attribution of this (unsupported) claim to the need of content providers to give good copy.