Last night, while mining the depths of Amazon.com’s music section, I decided to check-in and see how much a brand-new copy of CHINESE DEMOCRACY was going for these days. The last time I did this two years ago, I was horrified to see that the album was going for less than $4.00 a copy. That was back on October 25 2012, would the album be selling for less than $2.00?
Thankfully for Axl, the album’s value has…increased!?
I’m kicking myself for not checking the price last year and this year on October 25–not that doing that would provide a reliable barometer of the album’s value. As most of you serious online shoppers know, the prices on Amazon.com are in a constant state of flux.
And even taking Amazon’s pricing system out of the equation, CHINESE DEMOCRACY has a couple of things working against it in terms of it’s price/value. Firstly, the album was sadly panned by many critics and ignored by the public. But bad reviews and a lack of singles doesn’t necessarily make a cut-out-bin record. Even after all these years the name Guns N’ Roses as a brand still has remarkable value.
Secondly, and the biggest reason CHINESE DEMOCRACY’s value is so low is the fact that Axl twisted Best Buy’s arm and made them buy a bajillion copies in advance so they would have exclusive rights to the infamous album’s initial release. It’s a smart move on his part, because the albums Best Buy bought to sell were counted as “sold” albums, thus making the album appear to be a bigger hit than it was. AC/DC did a similar deal with Wal-Mart when they released BLACK ICE back in 2008. But there’s a downside, much the same way a Chevy Impala don’t have much re-sale value because they’re used so much as fleet cars–Axl prematurely saturated the market with albums. Thus, an abundance of unsold albums means the price is gonna drop. I can understand why bands do these store-exclusive releases, but I really dislike them. CHINESE DEMOCRACY was probably one of the last new CD’s I bought at Best Buy because I dislike the store so much.
The album’s going for just under $5.00, which isn’t great but it is higher. Of course, beyond the Amazon price-fluxing, this higher price could be due to inflation or some other over-reaching economic force I’m too stupid to understand. I’m going to definitely try to keep an eye on the album’s price for future music-geek research.
That said, at less than $5.00 there’s no excuse for you to not own this album. I’m going to pick-up where I left off on my track-by-track review of CHINESE DEMOCRACY soon-ish because I really do feel like it’s an amazing, underrated album. The merger of Industrial rock and tender piano ballads is just too incredible.
I enjoy using the specific time of ‘soon-ish’ – and agreed re: the excellence of Chinese Democracy. I think of it as an Axl record (as opposed to GNR) but what a record!
Oh, I totally agree. I actually wish he had released it as a solo record. I understand he wouldn’t have been able to strong arm Best Buy with a solo record, but I think people would have dug it more if it didn’t have the expectation of being a GNR record.
And admittedly, I got the cd, imported it to my itunes & changed the artist name to ‘Axl Rose’ – it worked for me! A few of the songs in particular (Catcher in the Rye, Better) are spectacular
Those two are my favorites on the album, for sure. I think “Better” actually works as a GNR song.
I haven’t actually listened to it in a year or two – you’ve inspired me to break it back out tomorrow, my thanks!
It’s definitely a “grower.” I remember when I first heard it, I was super-disappointed (which is the general consensus). But Axl did a lot of good work on that album. Anyway, let me know if anything stands out/catches your ear after you give it a new listen.
After another listen+a half over the last couple days, it’s a solid Axl Rose record!
It feels like there are thousands of tracks on each song so it’s not exactly ‘under-produced’ but there are some strong moments.
Other highlights for me: The title track (actually the whole first half of the album for that matter) & the ‘should have been a James Bond theme’ If the World!
The production is one the most fascinating parts of that album. There’s three or four different guitar tones in many of the songs! I really wish someone would write a book about the recording of this album.
And you’re right, “If The World” should have been a Bond theme.
Glad you enjoyed Axl’s solo album.
I really love that album. Its a shame people dismiss it so easily.
I wish they’d went through with the whole “triple album” thing.
[…] Go ahead and check-out that first album-price post, it’s much better written. In that post I point out that prices on Amazon are always in flux so this might not actually mean anything. I also noticed (when I was halfway through writing that post) that I wasn’t comparing the price of the album at the same time of the year (October 2012 vs. December 2013). I even think I suggested that I check on the price of the CD in December 2014 to try and be more scientific about studying this trend. Of course I forgot. […]