Well, the rumours of the completed album appear to be true – as the days have gone by my Google Alert fro “Chinese Democracy has slowly become busier and busier until yesterday what I was looking for finally made its appearance.

Leaked finished studio tracks.

How do we know they’re real? Well, unlike many of the other tracks, the hosting of these anywhere on the internet was followed almost immediately by the now well-known team of Axl Rose’s Lawyers, self-defeatingly issuing Cease and Desist letters like it’s National Cease and Desist Letter Day (can you think of a better comparison? Go ahead bitch.) – So, it would see, these are the real deal.

Here’s what was released a short while ago (practically CD quality if you know where to find it online. It is worth noting that until now the list of all the tracks GNR fans knew about was fairly stable. The emergence of 3 new songs is a surprise. Moreover, the fact that the track names are not yet known means that amid all the leaks there has been some well kept secrets. In fact, one or two of the new tracks are among the better offerings.

1. Better
Very similar to the very recently released rough drafts. Crisp, balanced and with a killer middle 8th riff at 2.44 worthy of the GNR days of yore. Weirdly though, it lacks a certain energy. Try it out for yourself.

2. Chinese Democracy
The way this has been produced makes it the almost 100% contender for Title track. Again very similar to the rough draft released in 2007 except the end bit’s been remixed and modified. It starts with a bunch of Chinese people talking, which seems an all too unsubtle reference to Chinese Democracy. Then the opening riff drops and your face flies off in awesomeness. I love this track – worth the wait.

3. IRS
One of the tracks that has only had very bad live copies flying round the net…UNTIL NOW! Mix of acoustic and electric guitars. Apart from the slight squawking sound Axl is making, the riffs are killer, good energy. ery Solid Rock, on par with some of the tracks on Angel Down by Axl’s buddy and fellow 2008 music releaser (let’s hope) Seb Bach.

4. Madagascar
Another one I only ever heard as a live bootleg. Starts with a grand brass intro and then strings as per previous versions. The central piece of the song is great, reminiscent of the November Rain era. Then it’s interrupted by a montage of speech samples set to a James Bond-esque string backing, to fairly cool effect. No-one can argue Axl’s got a pretty good range of styles on this new disc.

5. Rhiad and the Bedouins
I was anticipating this on the playlist already – eager to see what mysterious new tunes we are to be treated to. Choppy guitars, Axl’s high pitched voice, some interesting minor keys used. Just doesn’t sound like Guns N Roses. Then again, it’s not is it…fast and energetic though.

6. “New Song” (Title unknown as yet)
Much more softly sung. Middle of the road. Not too much to say.

7. If The World
Cool funky rock song – with guitars overlaid in different positions in the surround sound. Spanish guitars too! I wonder if Buckethead’s in this one. Very solid song. One of the best of the nine. It makes me want to buy the album rather than download it from Axl’s very own computer whilst singing Velvet Revolver songs. Like I will.

8. The Blues
And we’re back on familiar ground. A sort of modern version “Guess That’s Why they Call it the Blues” – lots of string arrangements, piano, multiple guitars. One thing true of this track as well as all the others is that there are a lot of things going on in the song. With songs like these it works; with the louder and heavier ones, however, it becomes crowded.

9. There was a Time
This was the first one I heard off the album back in 2006. This is the 3rd version I’ve heard and it’s starting to sound overproduced. The main remix here is the bass track and the opening track. Some very impressive shredding here (most likely Buckethead) but come on – when all’s said and done…

Give me Slash any day.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,