The Null Device

Chinese Democracy, at last (possibly)

A lot of people thought we wouldn't live to see Chinese Democracy, but it seems that they were wrong. I'm of course referring to the fabled next Guns'n'Roses album, in the works since 1994, MP3s of which seem to have made it into the internet. The verdict seems to be unencouraging: The Guardian's columnist says that it's "like Coldplay meets Aerosmith":
Of the nine songs, only three - Rhiad and the Bedouins, If the World, and a track with an unknown title - had not previously leaked in one form or another. But all of these recordings appear more polished, with organ, tambourine or strings alongside screaming electric guitar and flourishes of electronics.
If the World is particularly indicative of the almost 14 years that Chinese Democracy has been in development. Many musical trends have born and died since 1994, and we get to hear a number of these alongside Axl Rose's familiar shriek. There's a vague industrial chug, ambient electronics, and a bass line that recalls Red Hot Chili Peppers - but more cringeworthy is the song's recurrent flamenco guitar, like a nightingale trapped in a studded leather bag.
Then again, perhaps the whole thing is a fake; perhaps there are a number of fake Chinese Democracies, made with or without Axl Rose's involvement, due to be posted to the internet, circulated, and then debunked or dismissed as early demoes, and "nowhere near as good as the final mix", further building up the myth of an elusive, unimaginably brilliant Chinese Democracy, somewhere just out of earshot; a Chinese Democracy which nobody has actually heard, but everybody knows someone who has, with each report being both wildly enthusiastic and wildly different. After all, if Chinese Democracy ever does come out as an actual sound recording, it can only be a disappointment compared to the myth that has built up in its absence.

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