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October 2008
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December 2008

Chinese Dictatorship (Chinese Democracy Album Review)


This is easily the most overhyped record of the year, if not this century. Musically it is not something I would typically review here. So why give it more press? Because in all the hype and all the reviews I have not seen my viewpoint represented. The best review I have read is by the great Chuck Klosterman. He liked the record more than I did, but it is by far the best written and he makes some great points. I am loathe to even link to it because it just illustrates how bad my writing is…but here goes:


From this point forward, this album will be the very definition of the term “over-produced.” It is as if Axl was trying to keep the production on pace with the hype over the last 15 years. Rumor has it that the album cost $13 million to make. At least it sounds like it. There are actually a few places on the record where you can hear 4 separate and unique lead guitar parts all playing at once over the top of each other. It really is an amazing listen on headphones though, with layers and layers of vocals, guitars and wide assortment of sounds and rhythms.


The album opens with a bang as the title track slams you with a bombastic array of rock guitar that sounds great turned up loud. Lyrically it is a miss with some bad relationship analogy, no political insight here. The irony is that there is probably more democracy in present day China than there ever was or will be in the band Guns N’ Roses. It is Axl’s own larger than life vision and ego that gets in the way, but that is only if you try to approach Chinese Democracy as a Guns N’ Roses record, because it is not. This is not the same band that made the rock classic Appetite for Destruction. This is an Axl Rose solo album with a bevy, a veritable plethora if you will, of guest musicians and studio players. The credits in the 24 page booklet provide an entertaining read, with multiple guitar players on each track.

Axl’s vocals are hit and miss, with each track sounding completely different. We get the melodic and layered 70’s rock vocals (“If The World”), and we unfortunately get the over the top scratchy Ethel Merman on acid vocal sound (“Street of Dreams”). The real story here is the variety, the production and the guitars. Oh the guitars…it is a rock guitar lovers paradise that will have fans of players like Vai, Buckethead, Satriani and May drooling. I haven’t heard guitar solos this good on an album in years…and years and years. When you get to track 10, the moody but moving “Sorry,” you may think the album is winding down. Then “Madagascar” comes in at track 12 and it is a perfect album closer with Axl showing his most moving vocal performance of the album over a bed of strings and weeping solos. Unfortunately Axl didn’t see it that way and two more tracks of strings and musical closure follow, extending the drama, and by the time you get to the overly mellow-dramatic album closer “Prostitute” you will be beyond ready for the album to end. Axl apparently doesn’t know the meaning of “less is more.”

As an Axl Rose solo album I would give it an B+ and as the overhyped long awaited Guns N’ Roses album I would have to give it a D. That is quite a range, but there is also a very big difference in reviewing it for what it is versus what it is supposed to be. No matter what I think, kids of all ages will still have fun rocking out to this album.

Guns N' Roses, NoiseTrade and the Open Web Awards

Photo  Democracy

It's another episode of Are You Really Experienced! Lifestyle recovery expert Michael Wright (of NiceFishFilms) and I talk about the new Guns N' Roses album since no one else seems to be talking about it... yeah, right! We review Chuck Klosterman's excellent review of the album and the record breaking online streaming of the full album on MySpace. We also talk with Joe Kirk of NoiseTrade about the Open Web Awards. is in the finals in the music category and I strongly urge everyone to vote for this great site.
To vote just CLICK HERE.

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Beat of a Different Drummer

On this weeks episode of Are You Really Experienced, Michael Sean Wright of NiceFishFilms pays tribute to Mitch Mitchell, talks to Tommy Nast and covers some other music tech topics. Then as an add-on bonus on this recorded version of the live show, I join Michael towards the end of the show to talk about the Brian Wilson concert. It's all good!

Please give it a listen and post your comments and thoughts.

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Brian Wilson, My Son and Me

Adam and I got to hang out backstage with Brian Wilson tonight! The concert was amazing. Brian and his band are even better this time around. Adam's first major concert...he loves The Beach Boys!
Here we are with the great American songwriter...


ObviousPopCast Episode 13 - New Music!


Episode 13 of the ObviousPopCast is here! You will hear new music from Keane, Starflyer 59, Self, Snow Patrol and more! Plus an ObviousPop Exclusive Unreleased track! Download the high quality DRM free MP3 and listen now!

Download it now: ObviousPopCast Episode 13

Add it to your iTunes podcasts: CLICK HERE

(If you use the link to download it to iTunes, it may go into your podcast folder or possibly be listed in the main music library under the title: ObviousPop or the artist name: Dr. Tony Shore.)

Web 2.0 and the Music Biz

Songbird vs. iTunes, CD's vs Downloads and more on the new episode of ARE YOU REALLY EXPERIENCED!

We had a great show tonight! This is a web cast that is recorded live using TalkShoe. Michael Sean Wright of Nice Fish Films is the host and I join in as co host and we have some fun talking music and the internet.

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