Rockin' Our Turntable: Tommy Stinson (and some other dudes)

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 19, 2008 5:00PM

2008_11_chinese_democracy.jpgTommy Stinson's side project, Guns N' Roses, has finally released the long awaited follow-up to their last album, The Spaghetti Incident. The album has a pristine sound that would have been absolutely perfect and killer ... had it come out in 1998.

Stinson's singer, Axl Rose, is still in fine form, but seems to insist in writing songs bearing so many layers of studio trickery that they no longer resemble musical constructs. Instead they come across as so many high tech Lincoln Logs piled upon each other until they reach the stratosphere and threateningly teeter into the realm of the ridiculous.

Honestly, the first four tracks on the new album -- cunningly titled Chinese Democracy after the impossible standards set by the band's label for their promotion teams -- ain't bad at all. Despite some tired industrial disco beats underlying the rock, the tunes manage to be catchy and break free of the mountains of sheen doing its best to weigh them down. After that, though, things swiftly spiral downward, burdened by misplaced Flamenco guitars, overwrought balladry that would make Meat Loaf hide in shame, and hooks that reach out only to miss just before you tumble off the cliff they've thrown you over.

Depsite all of this, our recommendation is that you buy this album. Why? Because no one makes records like this anymore. We've lost sight of the glory of rock star excess as it's been overshadowed by pop pap and it's reliance on corporate sponsorship and video product placement. You should but this because no one else has the moxie to make their fans wait a decade plus for a new album while seriously thinking they're still relevant (we're not counting The Eagles or My Bloddy Valentine). And, finally, you should buy this because Tommy Stinson could use the dough until Paul Westerberg comes around and finally conceeds to a Replacements reunion tour.*

*And, by all rights, said tour should kick of in Grant Park, to bring that band's life cycle full circle.