Chinese Democracy by Guns ‘N’ Roses is the best sort of comeback album any band could ask for. It’s not an enormous departure from their previous music, so won’t disappoint old fans and they rock just as well as they used to, so haven’t fallen off their game in the 13 years since they released an album.

The songs tend to drag on for a bit long sometimes. With only two of them being three and a half minutes and the rest of them hanging around five minutes, the length takes some of the power and emphasis away from the tunes, which is obviously far from ideal.

The more fast-paced tunes that prove Axl Rose can bring the hard rock in the 21st century are the first two singles, “Chinese Democracy,” “Better” and “Shackler’s Revenge.” These three songs start the album out on an adrenaline high that definitely hooks the listener.

The pace then slows down a bit on “Street Of Dreams,” where it is great to note that Rose’s vocals don’t fail when they don’t have a wall of wailing guitars supporting them all the time.

A variation in style is shown with the choral melody that starts “There Was A Time.” “Catcher In The Rye” starts in a similar fashion and could almost be a Coldplay-esque song before Rose’s high-pitched vocals slide in. There is also a very evocative use of political speeches set to music, in “Madagascar,” heightening the social message that the whole record carries.

“Riad N’ The Bedouins” is a hit-to-be that is a little slow to start off, but that rock and rollers will love after the first listen. It also brings to light Rose’s point of view about the West fighting against the East and is interesting to really listen to.

The definite low point on the album is “Sorry.” Yes, Axl Rose, you should be sorry for this song! It whines on and overflows with melancholy for over six minutes and gets enjoyable at no point. It’s an unfortunate blip on a great album.

The final two songs, “This I Love” and “Prostitute” close the album off as stylishly as it began, but on a slower, more emotional note. Yes, even “Prostitute” is a good song! They bring a more personal note to the songs instead of more on Rose’s political views.

The “Chinese Democracy” record is great to listen to at any time of the day and offers listeners a variation of musical styles. If you’re not a fan of Axl Rose’s unique vocals, you should buy it for the guitar playing alone, which is incendiary from start to finish, without ever skipping a beat.


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