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Why Chinese Democracy's Fine Print Is Way More Fun Than the Record Itself

Axl Rose amuses his delusion

God, "It's So Easy." You put on Appetite for Destruction (in, like, 1987), cranked up "Welcome to the Jungle," and believed that no finer specimen of pure, vicious, exhilarating rock-'n'-roll hedonism could ever exist, and then came track two: "It's So Easy." It's an objectively perfect song, and though objectively perfect songs aren't effortless, per se, they sound that way—the effort, the craft, the forethought, the money, the time, and the personnel they require is the least interesting and prominent thing about them. Chinese Democracy is the inverse: a hilariously painstaking attempt to synthesize that lightning, a lost cause taken to delirious extremes, a fascinating catastrophe inspiring equal parts awe and pity. A would-be Hollywood blockbuster upstaged by its own credits.

rharvilla@villagevoice.com

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