Happy Festivus Everybody!!!
I was actually pretty busy yesterday and was unable to draft the most excellent post I had worked up in my mind, but it looks like Poobomber beat me to it anyway. The new GNR record, OOPS!... I mean Axl’s solo record is pretty fucking awesome really. No, it’s not Appetite for Destruction and how could it be? That was a Guns and Roses record. Other than the ‘Lies’ follow up to Appetite, there really weren’t any other GNR records made. While the Illusion albums do have a few interesting highlights, they weren’t made with the original line up and dissolved into a double dose of Axl driven indulgence and disappointment. I don’t fault Axl’s ambition to write and record an epic, but not after your first album dude. Nope, ‘Chinese Democracy’ is not a GNR record, but that doesn’t at all make it a bad record by not being so. I read with interest everybody's reviews and waited for all the hoopla to die down before picking it up and do what I usually do when these trumpeted releases drop: stick it in the car player and listen to it for a week without analyzing it in the granular sense. After doing this, what I hear is a pretty damn good collection of songs performed passionately by Axl and the extensive cast of assembled players. Yes, I know he’s a freak, and he’s impossible to work with, and 13 years is an excessive amount of time to record a record, etc, etc… None of that factors into whether or not ‘Chinese Democracy’ is a good record or not.
My only complaint about this album is that it’s an obvious ProTools product. After MANY years debating internally and with all my music friends the issue of whether or not DAW (digital audio workstation) based recording has had an overall positive or negative impact on the recording arts, I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s been a bad thing mostly. Nobody tracks songs live anymore and I miss it. The art has suffered badly. This album could have been as big as Axl wanted it to be if he’d actually taken his meds, held a band together (didn’t have to be GNR), and recorded this material the traditional way. Despite this, the material is pretty damn solid and I’ve not taken it out of the player for 10 days or so.
It may take me awhile to read through all the liner notes and determine who played what on what though…
So, this is my last day of ‘work’ (and by that I mean hanging around blogging and Facebooking until my boss leaves) until like January 5th or something like that. Since it’s such an unusually long holiday break (most everybody here is off until the 5th too), one of my buddies here at work has agreed to, along with me,forgo shaving the entire two weeks and grow Stanley Cup beards. We’ll come back on that Monday looking like Muslim brothers. Good times.
Anywhoodle, It has certainly been a trying year for all of us and 2009 looks to be an even tougher one. I hope everyone makes a concerted effort to avoid watching the news and distract themselves enough to drink up the holiday spirit like I am. It’s been harder to do that this season, but I’m committed. Whether you actually believe in baby Jeebus or not, here’s wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!