Chuck Klosterman on Chinese Democracy…for real this time

Posted November 19th, 2008 by Eric Greenwood · No Comments

Chuck Klosterman famously reviewed Chinese Democracy for Spin as an April Fools joke that worked because the album has become such a mythical clusterfuck that nobody actually thought it would ever be released. Least of all Dr. Pepper. Now that Axl has proven everyone wrong, does he get the last laugh? Surely not. The jokes at his expense are bloated beyond Spinal Tap-ian proportions and will continue to be so, even if Chinese Democracy has a few passable songs. Klosterman’s real review is up at The Onion’s A.V. Club, and it’s even more golden than his joke review:

“Sometimes it seems like Axl believes every single Guns N’ Roses song needs to employ every single thing that Guns N’ Roses has the capacity to do—there needs to be a soft part, a hard part, a falsetto stretch, some piano plinking, some R&B bullshit, a little Judas Priest, subhuman sound effects, a few Robert Plant yowls, dolphin squeaks, wind, overt sentimentality, and a caustic modernization of the blues. When he’s able to temporarily balance those qualities (which happens on the title track and on “I.R.S.,” the album’s two strongest rock cuts), it’s sprawling and entertaining and profoundly impressive. The soaring vocals crush everything. But sometimes Chinese Democracy suffers from the same inescapable problem that paralyzed proto-epics like “Estranged” and “November Rain”: It’s as if Axl is desperately trying to get some unmakeable dream song from inside his skull onto the CD, and the result is an overstuffed maelstrom that makes all the punk dolts scoff. His ambition is noble, yet wildly unrealistic.”

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