April Fool: [critic]al thinking

Guns N’ RosesChinese Democracy(Not! Records)4 Stars14 years and a reported 13 million dollars later, Axl Rose and the revolving group of musicians that now make up Guns N’ Roses finally deliver the long awaited follow-up to “Use Your Illusion.” An album that many thought would never see the light of day shows GNR taking new strides musically. On their new disc, “Chinese Democracy,” they stray away from their previous hard rock styling and opt for a sound that could best be described as “Rock-a-billy, R&B, Twee, Doom Reggae,” which matches surprisingly well with Rose’s raspy scowling. Rose compared the album to “a Raffi album after taking a ton of cough syrup.” The recording was stalled while producer Phil Spector stood trial for murder, but his sonic guidance can be heard throughout this album. The numerous celebrity guest appearances, at times, hinder this album. On “Appetizer for Chaos,” T-Pain and Ringo Starr sing back up over a reverb- drenched polka beat ac?companied with banjo and vibraphone. The title track on the album seems like the last remnants of GNR’s early 90s radio-friendly heavy metal, but is countered with R. Kelly reading beat poetry about pandas and Chinese take-out. GNR may not be the band they once were, but they come through with a masterpiece that will find its way high atop the modern rock canon.