The countdown has begun – for about the 300th time. This time they’re saying it’ll be different, but we’ve been teased like this before only to be let down with unfulfilled dates and silent speakers. Will this November 23rd be different? Will Chinese Democracy hit the streets or will the Axel break down once again and postpone this release beyond the foreseeable future.
What is to be the first Guns N’ Roses studio album since 1991’s Use Your Illusion(s) were released, “Chinese Democracy” is being touted as “one of the most highly anticipated albums in music history” (Gary Arnold, Senior Entertainment Officer for Best Buy) – which may very well be true: depending on how you look at the numbers. Let’s dissect this claim like an economist…
There’s two ways to look at how anticipated Axel’s Chinese Democracy. One is to consider the anticipation for the album as a sum of all the rumors and potentially floated release dates over time. This could include those who had just bought Guns last studio album when it was released in September 1991, and thought to themselves “I can’t wait for the next album!” Take that energy and amass it with the anticipation of people who had read any number of articles regarding the album’s production or rumored release over the past fourteen years, and the aggregate could certainly measure up against even longer stalled projects such as Brian Wilson’s Smile, since Wilson didn’t have nearly so many publicists working for him. Let’s do a quick recap of the build-up over the years:
2006: Pop and Rock Listings
The other way to measure the anticipation for this album, is to look at how many people are still really excited about the album when it is finally and officially released. This takes many more factor into account into the measurement. There’s no more double counting of individuals, and fans that have lost interest over the past 206 months since the last GNR release finally come into play.
The two measurements are both very useful: the first is great for promotional purposes, the second provides a more accurate judge of how “successful” the album could prove to be. For “Chinese Democracy,” success must be measured by its potential to rebuild the Guns franchise back into something that can make money again, as the album sales for this collection will in no way be expected to cover the massive costs of its production. However, if Axel succeeds such that he can bring old fans back who had written him off, as well as win over new fans who have never heard of him, then the rumored “triple threat” of GNR releases over the next several years, the explosion of concerts expected to follow, and the tell-tale merchandise that the band could move, could put the band back in black: unless AC/DC sues for royalties.
But all of this is still purely subjective, and will have no grounding in fact until “Chinese Democracy” actually hits the streets, a matter that here in Hong Kong remains very much below the radar. When I hear it, I’ll let you know.
A first taste and countdown clock is currently live on www.gunsnroses.com
READ FOLLOW UP ALBUM REVIEW: Golden Turd (Without the Gold)