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Smokin!

Kurt Cobain must be spinning ’round like a record in his grave. For all of the noise about the supposed cultural/musical paradigm shift created by Nirvana cleansing the world of supposed dinosaurs like Def Leppard, how is it that in 2006 rock music is flabbier and more toothless than ever? I’d trade a dozen of these knee-biting emo dorks for just one song that could hang with “Photograph.”

The only son of a bitch with enough piss, vinegar and kill-’em-all attitude to shove an M-80 up rock’s collective ass right now is Axl Rose. And from the sound of the recently leaked new Guns N’ Roses song “I.R.S.” — from the eternally forthcoming Chinese Democracy album — he’s ready to blow shit up.

Classic rock radio station KLOS-FM snuck “I.R.S.” in during a block of GN’R, and the song fit like a glove. Opening with a flash of Led Zeppy acoustic guitars and pedal-steel accents, it soon explodes into a rush of Buckethead’s psychedelic power chords and Rose’s psychotic nasal whine. Rose sounds great, confidently working his upper register and showing more vocal control than ever. He nails confessional lines like “Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been wrong/Wouldn’t be the last time should have gone/All the rumors I can tell/Some things didn’t work so well.” It may be a shot of desperation from the last of the Mohicans, but it’s a direct hit.

My money’s on Axl Rose saving the day in 2006, akin to what Mariah Carey did for the pop children last year.

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