Axl Rose has been promising the imminent release of Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy ever since he looked like this (pictured). So most fans become properly skeptical whenever Billboard publishes an article like this one, claiming that Chinese Democracy will finally (no, really!) be released on Nov. 23. This time, though, there’s some indication that the news is for real. Namely, there’s the early, legitimate-channel release of a couple of the album’s songs: The game Rock Band 2 uses “Shackler’s Revenge,” and “If the World” plays during the closing credits of the new Russell Crowe/Leonardo DiCaprio movie Body of Lies. So start bottling extra soda, Dr. Pepper, because you may actually have to make good on your bet.
Assuming the story is true, however, I wonder how disappointed we’ll all be. Not just because the disc will be available only at Best Buy, or that we won’t have an excuse to make jokes anymore about the Waiting for Godot-esque likelihood that the album would never come out. Rather, it’s that there’s no way Chinese Democracy can live up to expectations. Whether because of Axl’s endless perfectionism in tinkering with the tracks (and the lineup of musicians on them) over the years or the byzantine legal and contractual snarls that may have been involved, the project bears the inevitable odor of a pot roast that has been boiling so long that all the flavor has been cooked out of it. Given the passage of time, Axl is likely to have either updated the sound so that it’s no longer recognizable as the GN’R of nostalgic fondness, or else he’ll have preserved it in amber so that rings hopelessly dated.
Of course, I’ll be happy to be proved wrong, but how many of you think Chinese Democracy will really be worth the wait? Weigh in below.