By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated November 20, 2008 at 12:00 PM EST

And they said this day would never come. Axl Rose’s magnum opus will be on Best Buy shelves across the nation this Sunday, all right, doubters be damned — and MySpace is doing us one better by streaming the whole thing for free as of right now. (MySpace is also streaming Paul McCartney’s new project, which I personally just might be comparably psyched for.) And? Midway through my first listen, Chinese Democracy is sounding pretty cool, but I’m nowhere near close to being able to form a conclusive opinion on such a weighty matter. So I’ll turn it over to those critics who’ve had a little more time to ponder the first original Guns N’ Roses album in 17 years. Head over to GNR’s MySpace to check out the album if you haven’t heard it yet, and speak up: Do you think any of the reviews excerpted after the jump get Chinese Democracy right?

Verdict: Mixed (B–)
“This is unapologetically huge music, not fit for tiny iPod earbuds. Attimes it’s possible to hear the world-changing CD that Rose — whosebanshee howl remains gloriously intact — must have had in his tightlybraided skull all these years…. But too often quantity gets in the way of quality: No rock cliché fromthe last decade goes unrepresented (hip-hop loops, nü-metal skronk),and did ‘Madagascar’ really need a horn section and Martin Luther King Jr. samples?” —Andy Greenwald

Verdict: Positive (4/5 stars)
“Let’s get right to it: The first Guns n’ Rosesalbum of new, original songs since the first Bush administration is agreat, audacious, unhinged and uncompromising hard-rock record… If this is the Guns N’ Roses that Rose kepthearing in his head all this time, it is obvious why two guitars, bassand drums were never going to be enough.” —David Fricke

Verdict: Positive (3.5/5 stars)
“An outrageously overblown pop-metal extravaganza, Chinese Democracyfeels like a perfect epitaph for all the absurdity and nonsense of theGeorge W. Bush era — one final blowout before Principal Obama takesour idiocy away.” —Mikael Wood

Verdict: Positive (A–)
“Still, I find myselfimpressed by how close Chinese Democracy comes to fulfilling the absurdlyimpossible expectation it self-generated, and I not-so-secretly wish this hadactually been a triple album. I’ve maintained a decent living by making easyjokes about Axl Rose for the past 10 years, but what’s the final truth? Thefinal truth is this: He makes the best songs. They sound the way I want songsto sound. A few of them seem idiotic at the beginning, but I love the way theyend.” —Chuck Klosterman

Verdict: Mixed
“Howcan it ever live up to the legend, or justify its ludicrous gestationperiod? Needless to say, it can’t, but it is a remarkable and oftenexhilarating album…. Rose sings in many voices — sneering, raging,crowing, opening his battered heart. Yet his presence, beyond question,is phenomenal, unrivalled in contemporary rock.” —Andrew Perry

Verdict: Mixed
“You can’t say it’s a bad record — you just can’t do it…. The production values had to be probably at thehighest level of anything, and you can hear that immediately. There is not a lot of magic going on, in terms of making s— fromnothing. These are real players, and this is the greatest karaoke bandever assembled.”