I think the biggest problem with reviews concerning the new Guns N’ Roses album is that everyone keeps comparing it to earlier records, namely Use Your Illusion I & II, which seems desperately misguided to me. It’s been almost twenty years since those records were released; not only were they written under different cultural and social contexts, but under different musical culture and social contexts. I’m not going to be the first person who says a) no one would care about this record if it was any other band’s fifth (original) studio effort, and b) production-wise, this CD is so far from anything Guns N’ Roses, it’s probably not fair to call it anything other than simply Axl Rose. But I say it anyway.
That being done, my favorite tracks are “Better” and “Sorry.” Here is Chuck Klosterman on “Sorry”:
On the aforementioned “Sorry,” Rose suddenly sings an otherwise innocuous line (“But I don’t want to do it”) in some bizarre, quasi-Transylvanian accent, and I cannot begin to speculate as to why. I mean, one has to assume Axl thought about all of these individual choices a minimum of a thousand times over the past 15 years. Somewhere in Los Angles, there’s gotta be 400 hours of DAT tape with nothing on it except multiple versions of the “Sorry” vocal. So why is this the one we finally hear? What finally made him decide, “You know, I’ve weighed all my options and all their potential consequences, and I’m going with the Mexican vampire accent. This is the vision I will embrace. But only on that one line! The rest of it will just be sung like a non-dead human.” Often, I don’t even care if his choices work or if they fail. I just want to know what Rose hoped they would do.