Today’s the day that no one thought would come- Chinese Democracy is finally out now. You can go to the GNR MySpace page to decide if the wait was worth it.
IHMO, it wasn’t unless you like over-flashy guitar that makes you miss Slash and enjoy Axl’s voice being submerged instead of being utilized as the great scream machine it is (at least until the middle of the thing). And for the handful of good melodies around, they’re more than balanced out by the soggy ballads. I’d take anything else in their back catalog over it.
Their label will soon find out if it was worth the millions of dollars that they invested in it but don’t be too surprised if they can’t recoup the dough from the album sales. Granted, it was a canny move to get it sold through Best Buy but there’s no way that they’re gonna sell as many copies as Appetite For Destruction and I doubt that they’re gonna outsell Lil Wayne or the Eagles for this year either. Mostly likely, Axl is gonna have to haul whoever is in GNR now around for a tour and try to sell enough merchandise to make up for it. They don’t have any dates scheduled yet but rest assured that his label’s breathing down his neck to take his act on the road.
But you also realize this occasion means that Dr. Pepper now has to make good on its promise that it surely regrets making earlier this year: one of their sodas for everyone in the States, barring Slash and Buckethead (though Axl promised to give his soda to the later) if GNR finally put out their album this year. Needless to say, they made the offer when they were fairly confident that Axl wouldn’t come through but he finally did (maybe he was goaded on by them), so now they’re stuck.
If you go to their website today, you can download a coupon for a free soda that you can redeem at any store that accepts it until next February. First, you have to get to the site though and it’s clear that they weren’t ready for the traffic they got. Here’s some of the error messages that their site spit out earlier today:
“The paging file is too small for this operation to complete.”
“The specified CGI application misbehaved by not returning a complete set of HTTP headers.”
“Insufficient system resources exist to complete the requested service.”
“The network link was interrupted while negotiating a connection. Please try again.”
“Not enough storage is available to process this command.”
What you have here is kind of a greatest hits of server breakdown messages. And even after you get into the site, you still have to sign up for the soda coupon and rest assured, their server isn’t ready for that either—I’ve tried a number of times and my browser just keeps timing out.
Makes them look kind of bad now but rest assured that they’ll have a notice up tomorrow saying “We’re thrilled with the response we got!” instead of “We weren’t prepared to have that damn album come out and have to make good on our promise!”
Of course, people love to gooble up free stuff and this stunt was good publicity for them but it’s hardly gonna turn America into a nation of Pepper drinkers. Most people will just go back to the other crappy drinks that they guzzle down after this.
As for me, if I do get my coupon, I’m gonna cash it and send my soda to Slash. He deserves it and I’d wager that he’s not bummed that he isn’t on the new GNR album either.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times. Thanks everyone.