Editorials

ANOTHER NEW GN’R SONG LEAKED?! More Confusion About Chinese Democracy Ensues

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070321_finck_home.jpg“Madagascar,” the epic ballad by Axl Rose’s re-jiggered version of Guns N’ Roses, isn’t exactly a “new” song- the band has been playing it live for at least six years now, and it’s been one of the most well-received pieces of material that will presumably appear on the possibly-never-to-be-released Chinese Democracy– but a version leaked earlier today that sounds remarkably like a genuine studio recording- or, at the very least, a very high-quality demo.

As when a version of “Better” snuck out into the world awhile back, the leak has ignited a fire amongst hardcore GN’R fans; the biggest question, of course, is: is this thing even real, or some fan-made concoction? The vocals in the first verse, in particular, sound like they could be the work of an Axl impersonator- albeit a very, very talented Axl impersonator. But the music sounds so incredibly crisp, and so much like Axl’s new band- it’s really hard to imagine that’s anyone other than Robin Finck (above), Richard Fortus, and possibly Buckethead playing- that, well, it just seems highly unlikely that some dude whipped this up with some concert bootlegs and his pro-tools.

My guess? It may not be the final studio version- but it’s real. And you know what? It’s AWESOME. The production is crisp and layered, but doesn’t feel, to my ears, overdone; the performances are kick ass, with Finck and Fortus doing the guitar hero thing as well as anyone and keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman more than proving their worth (finally!); and as the song goes on, Axl’s vocals consistently improve, to a point where, by the song’s conclusion, there can be no doubt that it really is the man himself (although, yes, the first verse could use some sprucing up). The mixing also sounds light years ahead of that on the “Better” leak. Yeah, the track is, as Vince would say, “cheesy in a Queen-kinda way,” which is to say highly operatic- but anyone who appreciates “November Rain” or “Estranged” won’t have any strong objections.

Consider my appetite for Democracy whetted (again). Now if Axl would just release the damn album already…

-AR

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