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Author Topic: What is it people fail to understand about Chinese Democracy?  (Read 157048 times)
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« on: June 10, 2009, 08:36:08 PM »

Here we have one of the greatest albums in recent times, if not the best, and it is largely ignored by the media and the public in general. This is a mystery to me. Can all the ridicilous bias towards Axl in the media and the public explain all of it? Maybe parts of it, but not all. So what is it? I keep asking myself this. I look at Green Day's last album and the massive attention it gets everywhere, and I'm just puzzled that Chinese Democracy wasn't treated like this, because the overall quality of the songs blows anything out there today out of the water. It's really strange, and you can't just blame this on other bands having had better promotion. A big disservice has been done to Chinese Democracy, and one of the greatest rock n' roll records of all times have largely been ignored. It is a disgrace. What are your theories as to why this has happened?
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2009, 08:45:49 PM »

green day promoted their album with videos, in store signings, special shows, etc. Axl did not. Promotion, if done right, can go a long way. Also, I don't think anyone outside of the GN'R message board would ever consider it to be one of the greatest rock albums of all time, not to start shit or anything, but most people seem to think it is "alright" to "pretty good".
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2009, 08:51:45 PM »

green day promoted their album with videos, in store signings, special shows, etc. Axl did not. Promotion, if done right, can go a long way. Also, I don't think anyone outside of the GN'R message board would ever consider it to be one of the greatest rock albums of all time, not to start shit or anything, but most people seem to think it is "alright" to "pretty good".
I think it's a great album, but I agree that more promo, specifically from Axl since he's the man everyone wants to hear from, would've helped a great deal.  The media is often unfair and harsh towards Axl BUT, they were ready to embrace this album.  They played the single every hour on the hour the day it was released to radio and they played the album in full the weekend it was released.  It's not like they just turned the other way, at least not initially.  After certain things didn't happen though, they did seem to give up.  Hopefully we'll get a second push somewhere down the road.  I'm sure they'll be ready to embrace him again.  With all the crap that the media spews about Axl, I think overall he's well respected in the industry.  Anytime he chooses to speak, they will cetainly listen.
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2009, 08:53:43 PM »

green day promoted their album with videos, in store signings, special shows, etc. Axl did not. Promotion, if done right, can go a long way. Also, I don't think anyone outside of the GN'R message board would ever consider it to be one of the greatest rock albums of all time, not to start shit or anything, but most people seem to think it is "alright" to "pretty good".

Subjectively, no one can consider it "alright to pretty good". No way. The songs are on a level that no other bands out there today puts out, and the production is flawless and so is the band. It's not possible that the GN'R message board community can deem it to be an amazing record and the rest of the world does not. Look at Rolling Stone's review. It was on point, and so were a lot of other reviews. The bias in the media can't explain it all and neither can the lack of promotion. It' something else.
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2009, 08:56:40 PM »

maybe that's just because people are dumb, they want the old band, and they don't want to buy "Axl's record" ?
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2009, 09:00:16 PM »

What people fail to understand about GnR is that they don't make the same album twice. You won't hear a song on CD and say it sounds like a song from AFD, or you want hear a song on UYI and say it sounds like GNR Lies. They make new music on a new album. Bands like Green Day, ACDC, Linkin Park, Metallica, or U2 make the same music over and over, they take very little chance to differentiate their music. There's nothing wrong with that approach, but thats why GnR doesn't get the love. They make music outside of the box. Love or hate it, I think everyone should respect it. BTW IMO There Was A Time is the best written song every.  peace peace
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2009, 09:05:56 PM »

What people fail to understand about GnR is that they don't make the same album twice. You won't hear a song on CD and say it sounds like a song from AFD, or you want hear a song on UYI and say it sounds like GNR Lies. They make new music on a new album. Bands like Green Day, ACDC, Linkin Park, Metallica, or U2 make the same music over and over, they take very little chance to differentiate their music. There's nothing wrong with that approach, but thats why GnR doesn't get the love. They make music outside of the box. Love or hate it, I think everyone should respect it. BTW IMO There Was A Time is the best written song every.  peace peace

I both agree with your points and about There Was A Time. I think the person who said people want the old GN'R may be onto something as well, but I still don't think that explains all of it. It shouldn't be possible that the most hyped and anticipated album ever from such a big name as Guns N' Roses is ignored, especially when it delivered like it did. I'm not saying it's entirely ignored in terms of sales, because they are alright, but in terms of the attention it gets it's ridicilous.
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2009, 09:06:30 PM »

Subjectively, no one can consider it "alright to pretty good". No way. The songs are on a level that no other bands out there today puts out, and the production is flawless and so is the band.

All music is going to be greeted with responses ranging from "this is awesome" to "this is shit". Everyone is different. What one person considers to be great, someone else will think is awful.


I wouldn't be too worried about the wider public's opinion of CD. IMO, if I like it, that's my main concern. The album's out there in the shops for people to discover and if in time, people begin to like it, great.



To answer the question, the fact that the band is almost completely different from the AFD/UYI line-ups probably turned a lot of people off.
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2009, 09:08:58 PM »

Subjectively, no one can consider it "alright to pretty good". No way. The songs are on a level that no other bands out there today puts out, and the production is flawless and so is the band.

All music is going to be greeted with responses ranging from "this is awesome" to "this is shit". Everyone is different. What one person considers to be great, someone else will think is awful.


I wouldn't be too worried about the wider public's opinion of CD. IMO, if I like it, that's my main concern. The album's out there in the shops for people to discover and if in time, people begin to like it, great.



To answer the question, the fact that the band is almost completely different from the AFD/UYI line-ups probably turned a lot of people off.

The main thing for me is that I enjoy the album as well, but the question begs to be raised why such a hyped record was ignored, regardless of promotion. People should have been all over it, it should have been selling itself, judging by the hype, the band name and the quality of the material.
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2009, 09:30:34 PM »

lack of promotion surely is a significant factor.
but and maybe it misses those "hit singles" they were known for?
maybe expectations for a release under that band name were too high?
maybe it has too weak songs overall?
the complexity of all the layers also might be too difficult to understand for casual listeners.
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2009, 10:42:30 PM »

Quote
Bands like Green Day, ACDC, Linkin Park, Metallica, or U2 make the same music over and over, they take very little chance to differentiate their music.

Umm, both Green Day AND Metallica have taken HUGE chances over the span of their careers. With drastic changes from album to album.   
   But to address the topic, Chinese Democracy, in the eyes of A LOT of people, even GnR fans, is not GnR. Bottom line. Simple.  I know its really hard for this board to grasp, but that is the NUMBER 1 reason for the lack of airplay, support, and sales.  I ,however, am a huge fan of the album. Im just not clueless to how this band is perceived.
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2009, 10:51:31 PM »

lack of promotion surely is a significant factor.
but and maybe it misses those "hit singles" they were known for?
maybe expectations for a release under that band name were too high?
maybe it has too weak songs overall?
the complexity of all the layers also might be too difficult to understand for casual listeners.

I heard Chinese Democracy on the radio, as of yesterday, on the local rock station.
Expectations were so high, that no matter what Axl did it wouldn't have been good enough for some.  Also it is a different time in music than before.
The songs are very complex, but I think some ppl get too caught up in the production and label it as weak.  
I agree that the layers in the songs may be a lot for some ppl who just want to hear simplistic music.  

I think overall, Axl made a really good record, from an artistic standpoint, which is all that matters.  I think some ppl just try to blow things out of proportion. 
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2009, 11:29:34 PM »

The perception of the band being the "real Gn'R" is all but irrelevant.  That may affect some, but I think most of the people that would even know that much about the band would probably buy the album anyway just to hear it.

The real issue is the lack of promotion.  Aside from that, the music IS really good, but really good music is usually not liked but everyone.  The music takes risks, and the nature of that is not everyone will like it.  I think many of the fans of this album on the board here are focused on a very particular ideal of music; it's one that I personally find myself drawn too as well.  But, some people just don't get it.  I don't understand how people can not love Pink Floyd, on the same level, but some people just don't.  (and keep in mind, the insanely high sales of Pink Floyd are all from the long-long periods they've been on sale, many took 10 years to break the five million mark, very few albums of their albums sold a whole bunch right out of the gate).

For the members of the boards, I think the best thing people can do is let go of their preconceived notions of why something is this way or why things have to go that way because they just think they know it all.  Let it go...  Chinese Democracy is a great album, it's unique, and in the long run I believe the sales as well as the general view of it will be very positive.
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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2009, 01:07:34 AM »

green day promoted their album with videos, in store signings, special shows, etc. Axl did not. Promotion, if done right, can go a long way. Also, I don't think anyone outside of the GN'R message board would ever consider it to be one of the greatest rock albums of all time, not to start shit or anything, but most people seem to think it is "alright" to "pretty good".

i am going to assume this is why you got your negative karma  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2009, 02:46:45 AM »

Chinese Democracy (the song) doesn't have a recognisable chorus. It has a hook that catches but it takes several times of listening. Green Day's Know Your Enemy is nothing but a catchy chorus. You can sing along the first time you ever hear that song. You get bored at KYE after two weeks of hearing it and really want to hear something else whereas CD is only beginning to tickle your nerves at that point.

The problem is "the MTV generation", or whatever you want to call it. They want their music disposable. The songs, the hits are here and now, and they are meant to be pretty much forgotten in less than a month and to be replaced with something else that can also be enjoyed quickly and then disposed. People buy (or download it P2P) the song they hear on the radio, or even if they buy the whole physical record, they listen to those few songs they already know, skipping over the others. And they listen to their music as a background noise when doing something else, while sitting in a bus, while riding a bike, or something like that. They don't concentrate on the music itself, they don't need to find something that isn't there on the first two listens.

Chinese Democracy (the album) is full of songs that need at least a dozen listens before they grab on. The songs are great but they are not easy to access. People who are not already fans and don't know the songs beforehand might listen to it once or twice, but it just doesn't swallow them at once. For them "it's ok but nothing spectacular". As for us, we have heard the songs a hundred times, the songs have grown on us and we have grown into them, and we know just how good they are. But honestly, outside of Better, can anyone deny having very mixed feelings when listening to the leaks (yes, we've all done that, stop kidding yourself) or live versions for the first time? But then you listened to them 15 times a day for a week, and yes, it actually is a great song. Most music consumers these days don't have that attention span to get to know the songs the hard way if they don't really really want to for some reason (like because they're already fans of the band).

Many times during this 10+ year long ride to Chinese Democracy people have called some songs out-of-date. The songs aren't out of date, but the album as a whole is. It belongs to the good old days when album format was the king and bands -- no, strike that, the record companies -- wanted to put out good albums, not just two good songs plus a lot of filler and/or remixes.
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2009, 03:07:43 AM »

It does make me kinda sad that Chinese Democracy didn't sale more copies, and especially that so many people just kind of dismissed it without ever giving it a chance. I haven't stopped listening to this album since the day it came out. It's the best album I've head since . . . Well, since the UYI albums!

I think there are many factors that contribute to the lack of sales and misunderstanding of the album. The lack of promotion definitely played a factor. Not enough people knew about its release. The Best Buy exclusive and lack of availability also hurt it. Illegal downloads probably hurt it a lot, too. A lot of people just downloaded the album because they either don't like Axl, they don't want to support the new version of the band because Slash isn't in it, or they were lonly slightly curious to hear it but didn't want to spend their money on it.

The lead-off single probably wasn't the best choice, either. It did get a lot of airplay (where I live, at least), and I love the track, but there are several songs on the album that are much better. Some people heard it, figured it was probably the best CD had to offer, and immediately dismissed it. "Better" SHOULD have been a huge hit, but it got almost no airplay here. I still hear GNR on the radio all the time, but, unfortunately, it's always an older tune.

Chinese Democracy is an album that slowly unveils itself to the listener over time, which I think the best albums do. It gets better and better with each listen. Because of its complexities and layers, I think a lot of people probably listened to it but weren't immediately grabbed by it. The expectations of the album were impossible to meet, plus people had a preconceived notion of what it was supposed to sound like. Some people didn't like the UYI albums because they weren't AFD. People didn't like CD because it wasn't AFD or UYI. GNR's music is always evolving, like a true artist should, but most people would rather listen to the new AC/DC album where every song sounds exactly the same.

It's unfortunate, really. Hopefully things will pick back up at some point. A tour at some point, maybe another single, a video, etc. Not enough people have heard this album. And the people who only gave it a quick listen are missing what the album was really all about. I still think this album is just too damn good to be dismissed like it has been. I just hope it isn't like 20 years in the future before people look back and say, "You know what? Chinese Democracy was actually an amazing album."
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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2009, 03:19:03 AM »

Chinese Democracy (the song) doesn't have a recognisable chorus. It has a hook that catches but it takes several times of listening. Green Day's Know Your Enemy is nothing but a catchy chorus. You can sing along the first time you ever hear that song. You get bored at KYE after two weeks of hearing it and really want to hear something else whereas CD is only beginning to tickle your nerves at that point.

The problem is "the MTV generation", or whatever you want to call it. They want their music disposable. The songs, the hits are here and now, and they are meant to be pretty much forgotten in less than a month and to be replaced with something else that can also be enjoyed quickly and then disposed. People buy (or download it P2P) the song they hear on the radio, or even if they buy the whole physical record, they listen to those few songs they already know, skipping over the others. And they listen to their music as a background noise when doing something else, while sitting in a bus, while riding a bike, or something like that. They don't concentrate on the music itself, they don't need to find something that isn't there on the first two listens.

Chinese Democracy (the album) is full of songs that need at least a dozen listens before they grab on. The songs are great but they are not easy to access. People who are not already fans and don't know the songs beforehand might listen to it once or twice, but it just doesn't swallow them at once. For them "it's ok but nothing spectacular". As for us, we have heard the songs a hundred times, the songs have grown on us and we have grown into them, and we know just how good they are. But honestly, outside of Better, can anyone deny having very mixed feelings when listening to the leaks (yes, we've all done that, stop kidding yourself) or live versions for the first time? But then you listened to them 15 times a day for a week, and yes, it actually is a great song. Most music consumers these days don't have that attention span to get to know the songs the hard way if they don't really really want to for some reason (like because they're already fans of the band).

Many times during this 10+ year long ride to Chinese Democracy people have called some songs out-of-date. The songs aren't out of date, but the album as a whole is. It belongs to the good old days when album format was the king and bands -- no, strike that, the record companies -- wanted to put out good albums, not just two good songs plus a lot of filler and/or remixes.

Great  post. And you're spot-on about all of your points. I think I remember one review of the album saying it was the end or an era in music, that Chinese Democracy was the last true album we'd ever hear. Everything's about Itunes now and one or two hit singles surrounded by filler trash. People don't just sit down and lose themself in an album anymore. Listening to Chinese Democracy is an experience, it's a journey--- from the intro to "Chinese Democracy" to the slow fade-away of "Prostitute." But nobody hears it like that. They listen to one song, a little bit of another, skip around, then put it aside.
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2009, 03:48:16 AM »

I cant believe this hasnt been mentioned more but the 15 year wait may have caused a lot of people to not care anymore.  The lack of promotion means that a lot of people don't know the album is even out.  In ireland anyways, i dont really listen to the radio cos its just news and britney spears etc but i never heard anything.  I didnt see any ads on TV or posters in shop windows promoting the release date.  I only knew about it cos im a big GNR fan.  The casual listener wouldnt have heard anything.

Maybe we just have to accept that GNR are not too popular anymore?  Or that most people just don't like it? 

Also, AFD needed singles to sell!  Nothing has been released from CD.

And it was the media that built this up as "the most anticipated album", I doubt the average fan held their breath.

Plus, i dont think any other band has ever released an album with 1 only original member and got a great reception.

Everybody should just take this album as what it is to them, who cares what the majority would think anyways?  And who knows, maybe Axl will have a bash at this soon.  Smiley

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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2009, 04:24:41 AM »

Chinese Democracy (the song) doesn't have a recognisable chorus. It has a hook that catches but it takes several times of listening. Green Day's Know Your Enemy is nothing but a catchy chorus. You can sing along the first time you ever hear that song. You get bored at KYE after two weeks of hearing it and really want to hear something else whereas CD is only beginning to tickle your nerves at that point.

The problem is "the MTV generation", or whatever you want to call it. They want their music disposable. The songs, the hits are here and now, and they are meant to be pretty much forgotten in less than a month and to be replaced with something else that can also be enjoyed quickly and then disposed. People buy (or download it P2P) the song they hear on the radio, or even if they buy the whole physical record, they listen to those few songs they already know, skipping over the others. And they listen to their music as a background noise when doing something else, while sitting in a bus, while riding a bike, or something like that. They don't concentrate on the music itself, they don't need to find something that isn't there on the first two listens.

Chinese Democracy (the album) is full of songs that need at least a dozen listens before they grab on. The songs are great but they are not easy to access. People who are not already fans and don't know the songs beforehand might listen to it once or twice, but it just doesn't swallow them at once. For them "it's ok but nothing spectacular". As for us, we have heard the songs a hundred times, the songs have grown on us and we have grown into them, and we know just how good they are. But honestly, outside of Better, can anyone deny having very mixed feelings when listening to the leaks (yes, we've all done that, stop kidding yourself) or live versions for the first time? But then you listened to them 15 times a day for a week, and yes, it actually is a great song. Most music consumers these days don't have that attention span to get to know the songs the hard way if they don't really really want to for some reason (like because they're already fans of the band).

Many times during this 10+ year long ride to Chinese Democracy people have called some songs out-of-date. The songs aren't out of date, but the album as a whole is. It belongs to the good old days when album format was the king and bands -- no, strike that, the record companies -- wanted to put out good albums, not just two good songs plus a lot of filler and/or remixes.

It does make me kinda sad that Chinese Democracy didn't sale more copies, and especially that so many people just kind of dismissed it without ever giving it a chance. I haven't stopped listening to this album since the day it came out. It's the best album I've head since . . . Well, since the UYI albums!

I think there are many factors that contribute to the lack of sales and misunderstanding of the album. The lack of promotion definitely played a factor. Not enough people knew about its release. The Best Buy exclusive and lack of availability also hurt it. Illegal downloads probably hurt it a lot, too. A lot of people just downloaded the album because they either don't like Axl, they don't want to support the new version of the band because Slash isn't in it, or they were lonly slightly curious to hear it but didn't want to spend their money on it.

The lead-off single probably wasn't the best choice, either. It did get a lot of airplay (where I live, at least), and I love the track, but there are several songs on the album that are much better. Some people heard it, figured it was probably the best CD had to offer, and immediately dismissed it. "Better" SHOULD have been a huge hit, but it got almost no airplay here. I still hear GNR on the radio all the time, but, unfortunately, it's always an older tune.

Chinese Democracy is an album that slowly unveils itself to the listener over time, which I think the best albums do. It gets better and better with each listen. Because of its complexities and layers, I think a lot of people probably listened to it but weren't immediately grabbed by it. The expectations of the album were impossible to meet, plus people had a preconceived notion of what it was supposed to sound like. Some people didn't like the UYI albums because they weren't AFD. People didn't like CD because it wasn't AFD or UYI. GNR's music is always evolving, like a true artist should, but most people would rather listen to the new AC/DC album where every song sounds exactly the same.

It's unfortunate, really. Hopefully things will pick back up at some point. A tour at some point, maybe another single, a video, etc. Not enough people have heard this album. And the people who only gave it a quick listen are missing what the album was really all about. I still think this album is just too damn good to be dismissed like it has been. I just hope it isn't like 20 years in the future before people look back and say, "You know what? Chinese Democracy was actually an amazing album."

These are both very good posts, with a lot of good points in them. One thing is the downloading, but the parts you both mentioned about people not really sitting down and listening to the music anymore is something I didn't quite fully realize until recently. I see people every day with their iTunes ear buds on their bikes, bus, while jogging etc, but I still had some sort of illusion that people in fact still care about the music. At least those who listen to the right type of music. But I was wrong. When I started reading fan reviews of Chinese Democracy I was shocked to see how many GN'R fans posted things like "Scraped is great to listen to when I work out!". I came to the dreadful realization that if GN'R fans have this approach to the music, what about the casual listener? They probably download the album, put it on on the laptop while chatting on MSN and 80 minutes later it's over and they're like "I didn't hear anything catchy, it sucks" without even paying attention for a single minute. It's sad that the era where people sat down with the actual album in their hands, put it into their stereos and played it from beginning to end without doing anything but focusing and listening, is over. But unfortuately, to a large extent, I think it may be.
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« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2009, 04:37:38 AM »

Quote
"I didn't hear anything catchy, it sucks"

People just underestimate the importance of a single these days.  Think about AFD if SCOM was never released = Guns may never have been so huge.  People think TIL would make an epic single but i disagree.  I think SOD would be much more "Radio Friendly".
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"i can tell you a thing or two about something else if you really wanna know? know what im saying? "
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