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Guns N' Roses

Chinese Democracy [Limited Collectors Box]

Chinese Democracy [Limited Collectors Box] cover

With Chinese Democracy Axl Rose labored to create an ideal version of his inner world, working endlessly on a set of songs about his heartbreak, persecution, and paranoia. Using the pompous ten-minute epics "Estranged" and "November Rain" as his foundation, Axl strips away all remnants of the old, snake-dancing GNR, shedding the black humor and blues, replacing any good times with vindictive spleen in the vein of "You Could Be Mine." All this melodrama and malevolence feels familiar and, surprisingly, so does much of Chinese Democracy. One listen and it's abundantly clear that Axl spent the decade-plus in the studio not reinventing but refining, obsessing over a handful of tracks, chasing the sound in his head.

Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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