I'm on my second listen and I think I like enough of these songs to say the album is a success. But ultimately the "how" of this album is important enough that it might very well overshadow the "what."
Aside from this ruining the premise of my serial-noir (which, you know, is fine with me) I recognize that this album is art of a sort that rarely exists in the mainstream anymore: obsessively conceived and produced in epic toil. Fifteen years, people. It's like he's some sort of a novelist!
The time signature on that is just lusciously alien in 2008, when instant gratification (and disposal) are the default means of consumption. Add to that the fact that Axl--perhaps in another anachronism--seems in middle age to be every bit as incapable of irony, self-deprecating or otherwise, as he was in his brash youth, and you have a work of such pure earnest that I can't help but think of it as heroic. That a good number of you will scoff at such overstatement is part of what makes it real. This isn't just about greatness but also grandeur.
Maybe that makes it sound better.