Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

OMG New GNR on MySpace! Oh…Nevermind

Depending on your memories of the late ’80s/early ’90s, the release of “Chinese Democracy”–Guns N’ Roses’ first new album in a gazillion years–could be a very big deal. Until, that is, you actually hear the album. Then it’s not such a big deal at all.

That appears to be the conclusion that visitors to GNR’s MySpace page, where the album is being streamed in its entirety, have reached. Lots of people are showing up at the page, which encourages them to preorder the album, which goes on sale exclusively at Best Buy (BBY) on Tuesday. But few of them are sticking around to actually listen to the whole thing.

Glenn Peoples at Coolfer has actually plotted out the song-by-song streaming results. The numbers in Glenn’s chart, below, are a day or so old at this point, but they’re directionally accurate: Only about 20 percent of the visitors to the page are sticking around to hear the whole album.

What to make of that? Probably an Occam’s Razor answer: People check out the page out of curiosity, hear the first few songs (the title track plays automatically when you load the page), and decide they stink.

More charitable answer: Web music fans in 2008 just don’t listen to entire albums, period. Glenn makes a nod toward this by noting that people who have checked out the MySpace page for the new Paul McCartney album also flit away after a track or two. Perhaps News Corp.’s (NWS) social network just isn’t the place to stream more than a couple songs. (News Corp. is the owner of Dow Jones and this Web site.)

But I’m going with the first explanation: These may be Guns N’ Roses songs, but they’re not good Guns N’ Roses songs.

Remember those? Here’s one, from way, way back in 1991, which as I recall was the tail end of the band’s heyday.

Would you like a professional reviewer’s take on the new album. No problem: Chuck Klosterman takes a crack at it in The Onion. And while we’re addressing all things Axl, a question for MediaMemo readers: Does anyone remember “White Trash Wins Lotto,” the excellent GNR-meets-Gilbert & Sullivan production from about a decade ago? I can still remember the songs, but can’t find them anywhere. Any help, either in comments or via email, much appreciated:

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