Photo: George Chin
A long and very strange journey will come to an end on Sunday, Nov. 23.
That is the day, reportedly, Axl Rose will send to Guns fans to their nearest Best Buy boxstore, where a copy of the most expensive album made in history - Chinese Democracy - will finally be available for your holiday purchasing pleasure.
Of course any discussion on its imminent release should entice laughter and eye-rolling, as we have been down this road a comical amount of times. But, according to Billboards' source, it's going down like a bottle of Jack Daniels in Slash's dressing room.
The mystery of Democracy, however, was somewhat diffused this year when nine Guns tracks leaked, leading to an FBI investigation that sent cold shivers up the back of every paranoid music pirate downloading in a dark room. But it's hard to see that leak having much impact on physical sales, which, even in a downtrodden economy, are surely to be robust.
Axl's Best Buy deal follows suit with what AC/DC are doing this week with their newest barnburner, Black Ice. The unflappable Aussies licensed it to Wal-Mart, with no outlet for digital sales. As the band explained recently to the NY Times, they're averse to breaking up their albums into tracks. Either Angus Young would like to maintain the integrity of albums like Ballbreaker and Blow Up Your Video or there's a shit load more to be made from CD sales (especially off their back catalogue) than there is from 99-cent tracks off iTunes (hmm...). Digital sales remain a question for Chinese Democracy but Best Buy's recent acquisition of old guard internet music hub Napster could have something to do with it.
However, there is something melancholy about Chinese Democracy's arrival. It was undeniably fun to follow this ever-bizarre storyline of changing members, endless studio tinkering, failed attempts by the record label to muscle Axl; his horrifically unforgettable unveiling at the MTV awards; the strange soda promotion schemes, a guy named Buckethead....it was all thoroughly more entertaining than what is likely to be on that disc. Hopefully, if the Goddamn thing actually sees the light of day, a new journey of absurdity will begin.