Tuesday, November 11, 2008
GnR's Chinese Democracy: Where the Past Clarifies the Present
Most of the early part of my teenage years looked like this: boarding school and enculturation, long discussions and music sessions with my most musically 'with-it' and very-much-in-the-know and in-the-now friend Eli., rocking out to Metallica's Master and Puppets with the guys in my class, memorizing random English literary texts almost on a quotidian basis, and a whole lot of MTV that Eli and I would run to watch every single day after class.
Guns n Roses were more than just music for us. Axl Rose and co. represented a kind of text we had not encountered before. It was a text of never-before-seen possibilities, a text of identity, even. And since most teenagers also want to be accepted by the bigger group, we also listened to such bands as Metallica and Europe. We were but 14, after all. Guns n Roses, however, was what we thought marked us as different. And we fully embraced that difference.
To Eli and me tracks like November Rain, Paradise City, and Sweet Child of Mine were not just tracks, they were a way of life.
Eli and I sort of knew that there were Metallica people and Guns n Roses people. And while, for the most part, we espoused a policy of inclusion, we enjoyed self-identifying as true GnR fans. True music fans are unequivocal about their dedication to certain music. It's not just a hobby or a passing interest, it's a modus vivendi.
Now as an adult I continue to be one of those music fans who didn't give up on Axl Rose's talent. While our music tastes tend to be located in more typically indie pastures, we will always show our loyalty to a band that represented so much more to us than just music. The music of Guns n Roses was to us a rite of passage. And every rite of passage begs for attention and respect.
Ergo, will the new much-anticipated Guns 'n Roses album, Chinese Democracy become a high-frequency playlist?
But of course!
And here is a taste of glories past. Guns n Roses 9-minute-plus track November Rain:
graph per rs