Chinese Democracy

A guy by the name of Ryan handed me a cassette of music in Grade 9 science class. I can’t remember if I asked for it or if he suggested it or whatever. I do remember he tried to look like Slash and I do remember that the cassette Guns and Roses and the name of the album was Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide. I remember liking it alot and then I went out and bought Appetite for Destruction. And then I remember being hooked.

I remember wearing bandana’s because I thought they were cool. I wore ripped jeans and cowboy boots. I did all the things I was supposed to do when I started to listen to that music. And man, listening to it still makes me feel good. I have a picture of my daughter wearing a green bandana, wearing a great big grin and a pair of pink pyjamas. I can’t say for certain how old the bandana is but it is clean. I had just washed it. I’m too old for cowboy boots. They beat the shit out of my back and they are too damned tight. I think my wife might have thrown them away when she was cleaning one day and I had a moment of weakness. I couldn’t fit one, fat leg into my old ripped jeans even if I still did own them. I do, however, still have ripped jeans. And I’ve graduated to much more grown up footwear. Converse. My wife calls them my big-boy shoes. My daughter likes my orange pair of high tops best.

I remember sitting on the back steps of the fast food restaurant I was working at listening to Patience, trying to get that damned whistle just right.

I remember waiting so damned long for Use Your Illusion I & II and then regretting it, because a girlfriend of mine at the time insisted on singing November Rain to me while we were in my car together. She wanted romance and I wanted into her pants. I think we both got what we wanted, but November Rain still irks me when I listen to it.

I remember that my friends went to the Metallica / GNR concert (September 13th, 1992). I would have been the impossible age of nineteen, turning twenty thirty days later. I cannot remember why I did not go but if I were to venture a guess, I would tell you that I had to work.

I’m not sure what the ‘critical reception’ of The Spaghetti Incident was (I would have to skip back to the Wiki and see what others had to say about it). But I liked Look At Your Game, Girl ; Chuck Manson cover or not. My favourite track would have to be Down On the Farm. Axl trying to sound english, crying out ‘Down on the fahm’.

They told me to get healthy
They told me to get some sun
But boredom eats me like cancer
Down here on the farm

Love it. Excellent. The farm can be anywhere, can’t it? And boredom as a disease? Sure, it’s not Axl’s lyrics (some British band ; I’ll have to Wiki that, too)

I’d heard about Chinese Democracy and then I stopped caring. And then, I was on Facebook and someone said they were not impressed with Chinese Democracy. And then I wondered if it was out, so I checked online and nope. And then, by the magic of… well, magic, I was able to get a copy of the album. And I chose tonight to listen to it.

I got the day off work tomorrow and my daughter was in bed and tonight is Grey’s Anatomy and ER for my wife, so I figured, what the hell, I would give it a listen.

In short, Axl has grown up, I think, despite how childish his relations with others might seem.

My synopsis would be as follows ; very original and evolved but definitely GNR.

Better = Strong track. Nothing I’ve heard can compare to it.

Chinese Democracy. Title track. Haunting intro and then into it with the guitar. Very GNR. Lyrics, though, for me, make me wonder if he just threw together some headlines or if he thought about them. And if he thought of them, well, I would have to go to the trouble of listening better the second time.

If they were missionaries
Real time visionaries
Sitting in a Chinese stew
To view my dis-infatu-ation
I know that I’m a classic case
Watch my disenchanted face
Blame it on the Falun Gong
They’ve seen the end and you can’t hold on now

Maybe it has to do with the persecution of Falun Gong. It’s a nice tune, but I wonder where he’s going with the lyrics.

IRS = Another nice but confusing track. It has power and strength to it, almost kind of like a ballad, which rings true with the lyrics. Most especially, the lament at the bridge.

Feelin’ like I’ve done way more than wrong
Feelin’ like I’m livin’ inside of this song
Feelin’ like I’m just too tired to care
Feelin’ like I’ve done more than my share
Could’ve been the way that I carried on
Like a broken record for so long

Could this album be as close as Axl’s strong personality can come to an apology? And I wonder why the IRS title? It’s more about the crime someone has committed. The only reason he would want the IRS is because the IRS would determine the couple’s net worth and divide everything up evenly. But the lyrics kind of read like an audit of his emotions.

I like this tune.

Madagascar = slow and plodding and does nothing for me. But that tells me that maybe I am missing something, so don’t take my word for it. I can’t speak to it musically because the only instrument I ever tried to play was a flute (despite my Dad’s best efforts – he bought me a 12 strong guitar for one Christmas. I think my middle brother broke it down to 6 strings and still plays it from time to time ; he can still strum a tune despite his sausage like fingers. Calluses built up like crazy nuts, though)

It has a bunch of sampling thrown into it ; Martin Luther King’s famous speech ‘I have a dream’ speech along with The Captain’s speech from Cool Hand Luke (also used in the GNR tune Civil War). This all tells me that I am really missing something. It’ll come to me later.

That’s enough for tonight. I’ll listen to the album a couple more times and see what else I come up with.

But, for the record – Thanks, Axl. Good work, so far.

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