The legend is true: The infamous, ill-fated, Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracy has been leaked after 14 years of recording and scads of record-company dollars down the four-track. I had hoped it would be the greatest peak in maddening celebrity indulgence, like a thousand Golden Throats records combined into one dense, intimate portrayal of a millionaire superstar’s descent into syphilitic isolation. Maybe it could have been a rock opera about the plight of Jar Jar Binks, wherein Axl Rose raps “One Night in Bangkok.” Or it could have been an extended song-poem about a lonely child named “Xal Esor” who got caught up in the spotlight yet still pines for his trusty bandanna, “Budrose.” Or it merely could have been a muttered list of who is out to get him—played over old GnR tracks on a Casio SK-1. It could have been any of these and more, but instead it’s Use Your Illusion III. I’d almost venture to say it’s decent; a few million dollars in studio time can add some serious polish. I could see listening to it in a stretch limo while driving around downtown Los Angeles after a successful reality-show taping.
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