beyond deja vu… chinese democracy

We´ve been here before, and, in many ways, we could quote that earlier post word-for-word, changing only the name of the single.

But yes.

Guns´n´Roses are apparently releasing Chinese Democracy on Nov 23. You can listen to streaming audio of the single Chinese Democracy here.

It´s almost impossible to say anything worthwhile about this event happening or not. The hype and sheer bullshit surrounding the band (whoever the hell that is these days) makes any attempt to even listen to the music (should it be released) on its own terms difficult. They were raised to the heights and torn apart by the same vicious frenzied machine that will whip itself into a froth over this however it plays out. So it goes. (Just ask Britney Spears…)

At least for me, Guns´n´Roses changed irrevocably when the Rose/Stradlin songwriting partnership ended with Izzy Stradlin leaving the band in ´92. The name may be the same but it is a different beast, and has been for the better part of two decades. However, for all the malignment heaped upon his ego/excesses, Axl Rose was the last great lyricist rock produced, and I will probably buy the album anyway. \m/

9 Responses to “beyond deja vu… chinese democracy”

  1.   Scott
    November 11th, 2008 | 3:39 pm
  2.   Administrator
    November 11th, 2008 | 4:25 pm

    Awesome.

  3.   Daryl
    November 14th, 2008 | 10:52 am

    Axl Rose was the last great lyricist rock produced?!?! WTF? What an appaling statement!

    I am surprised at you, Moose… at what point did rock switch to being in the past tense, pray tell?

  4.   Administrator
    November 14th, 2008 | 12:23 pm

    Daryl: it doesn´t read in the past tense. Rock is ongoing. If you want to put forward a great current or post-Rose lyricist in rock, please do. I would maybe allow for Thom Yorke… but yeah. Where are they? Who are they?

  5.   Daryl
    November 14th, 2008 | 1:31 pm

    Sorry, I kinda took “was the last great” as a signal that he was the last ever great lyricist… which he isn’t.

    “Last Most Popular Great lyricist” could be more appropriate… or maybe adding a “so far” at the end, to allow the longevity of certain current and/or upcoming lyricists to be included.

    And yes, Thom Yorke totally qualifies as great… PJ Harvey, Kurt Cobain, David Yow, Perry Farrell, Damon Albarn, Ian MacKaye, Brian McMahan, E, Chino Marino, Mark Linkous… they have all made me stop and go… “holy shit, that is GREAT!” That may be because they were hilarious, maybe insightful, maybe miserable… but they are all great examples of many different flavours of great modern rock lyricists.

    Granted, most of the time I ignore lyrics. I enjoy the tones, melodies, rhythms and rhymes of the sung word moreso than what message is being conveyed… so what the hell do I know?

    Anyway… Nick Cave was/is much better than Axl…

  6.   Administrator
    November 14th, 2008 | 3:42 pm

    It´s funny, I sort of expected this kind of argument to have begun ages ago. I haven´t heard of half the people on your list, as it happens – David Yow, Ian MacKaye, Brian McMahan, E, Chino Marino, Mark Linkous – feel free to quote something or email me something. 😛

    Kurt Cobain – here the claws come out – legend that he is, never impressed me lyrically out of the little I listened to and could understand of his output. I feel sure someone´s teenage self is screaming right now, so I guess I´ll just let them get on with it.

    Damon Albarn? Really? On account of what?

    PJ Harvey – yeah, I should listen to more of her stuff, can´t comment on what I have heard.

    Nick Cave is definitely doing his own thing, and it is so far not my thing. He is great in a general way, but I don´t grant him greatness as a lyricist. (Oh boy, I know which folks that annoyed.)

    Of course, my own bias is for content rather than form, and intellect rather than sound. (As evidence by my own approach to lyric writing.) So what do I know. I was also 14 when illusion1&2 came out, and internalised it a bit. 😉

    De gustibus non est argumentum.

  7.   Pearce
    November 14th, 2008 | 7:40 pm

    The singer from Idle Faction doesn’t know who the singer from Fugazi is? Inconceivable!

    Personally, I think to rate as “great” a lyricist has to match form to content, intellect to sound, e.g Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Tom Waits, and Warren Zevon. All of whom came up over 30 years ago, so they’re out of the running.

    To me the best lyrics aren’t totally on the nose, so that multiple listens bring out more details and shadings. Most lyrics reveal themselves fully the first time around (if they aren’t delivered marble-mouthed a la Kurt Cobain) and could be easily summarized: “I’m in love”, “War is bad”, “I’m really fucking high (or just a fruitcake)”, etc.

    But a song like “Still Crazy After All These Years” by Paul Simon… well shit I don’t know what to say. Just listen to it and you’ll know what I mean.

    I guess this is a round-about way of saying that I can’t think of any truly great rock lyricists since Axl Rose, but I don’t think he was one either.

    Fortunately, in the meantime hip-hop has given us a few genuine greats such as Chuck D, Rakim, Percy P, Ghostface Killah and Jean Grae. Just as the torch was passed from Cole Porter to Dylan, so it has been passed on again.

  8.   Administrator
    November 15th, 2008 | 11:29 am

    Oh, that Ian Mackaye. 😛

    And while YMMV, Rose definitely matches form to content, etc.

  9.   Joey
    November 16th, 2008 | 1:59 pm