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The Next Chinese Democracy: Music’s most overdue albums

on January 28, 2011, 4:58pm
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chinesedem thumb The Next Chinese Democracy: Musics most overdue albumsSpeculation gets the best of us. We feed on it. It’s sort of like Devil’s food cake, or something sweet and alarmingly harmful to our diet. We know it’s unhealthy for us, but we can’t help but return to its flavor. More often than not, speculation runs the music industry.

Day in and day out, artists drop cryptic hints at everything they’re involved in: an LP, a tour, a reunion, a breakup, or, sometimes, a collaboration. Some stay true to their words (e.g. Jack White), others forget about them (e.g. Dr. Dre). Fans never do, however. That’s why you have countless legions of fanatics, all raving about this and that, when this and that never amounted to anything, anyhow. But, it’s fun, nonetheless. It’s why folks continue slaving away on message boards and searching the footnotes of Wikipedia, all looking for more.

The truth is out there.

Ah, of course. The quest for truth. Well, in this industry, truth is what you hold in your hands, whether it be a ticket or a sealed LP. Nothing is certain until it’s a product. Take Guns N’ Roses 2008 myth-turned-reality, Chinese Democracy. For 14 years, the album drove speculation to epic heights. People bootlegged shows, they squandered over demos, they debated over lineup changes, and they held onto every vague quote that Axl Rose spit out. It became a deep-seated fascination that couldn’t, and wouldn’t, die… that is, until that fateful Sunday morning in November, when fans strolled into Best Buy and ended their “pain” and “suffering.” Although, for some, it just began.

Most will agree that the journey leading up to the album happened to be more exciting than the end result itself. That’s what hype and speculation does to us. It’s sort of a hobby. No, it is. People flock to these myths in the industry no different than Fox Mulder to an alien conspiracy, all because it’s the quest for a truth we believe in.

Or, it’s just too damn fun.

Having said that, we rounded up our list of the industry’s most overdue albums, the ones “we’ve heard about” for years. Our next “Chinese Democracy“, if you will. Some of them might never see the light of day – well, probably the majority, actually – but if we learned anything from our time with Mr. Rose & Co., maybe we’re okay with that.

-Michael Roffman

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