Speaking of hell freezing over…

Yes, for the record, I was speaking of hell freezing over.

I’ve never really been a big Guns N’ Roses fan. I didn’t care for them at all, frankly, when they were around, although I’ve come to appreciate some of their earlier (less self-important) work as the years have gone on. “Sweet Child of Mine” is a superbly crafted pop hit, not to mention a real rocker. “Welcome to the Jungle” is legendary. I can take or leave the rest of their oeuvre, especially the overblown covers of “Live and Let Die” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” and I really can’t stand “November Rain.”

But I digress (as is my wont, a phrase that encourages further digression, but I will refrain, for once). Chinese Democracy is now second only in the annals of legendary, doomed, never-to-be-released rock albums to the Beach Boys’ Smile. (Personally I’d put Captain Beefheart’s Bat Chain Puller in there too, but well, that’s me.) But, hey… Brian Wilson finally finished the damn thing and released it four decades later. Axl couldn’t wait quite that long, but apparently now this new GNR album has been 17 years in the making. Not bad. It’s more of a joke, now, than anything else, but there has been growing buzz lately that the album does exist and is actually coming out this month.

I didn’t believe it at first, but then I opened up the iTunes Store and found they’re selling the title track as a single now, and accepting album pre-orders. It really is real, really! Of course, the page says “Expected Release Date,” not just “Release Date,” so retailers still appear to be hedging their bets.

And, there’s also the matter that Axl is the only “classic” GNR member on the album. So is it really Guns N’ Roses at all? And has Axl gotten himself in better shape than he was in for his appallingly breathless performance on that MTV awards show a few years back? Here’s hoping, and I’m not even someone who cares.