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Did Axl have a song capable of being a late 90s/early 2000s comeback hit?


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Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, I’ve always been drawn to the music that came out around that time. A lot of rock bands from the 70s and 80s had a lack of success in the early 90s but then had come back hits in the late 90s and early 2000s. The eagles had “love will keep us alive”, Bon Jovi had “it’s my life”, Aerosmith had “don’t wanna miss a thing”, Santana had atleast 3 hits, most notably “smooth”.

Which begs the question, out of all the leaks we’ve heard and the early versions of Chinese Drmocracy songs we’ve heard, had Axl released a couple albums between 1999 and the early 2000s, do you think Guns n Roses could’ve had a comeback hit? I personally think Perhaps, IRS, the blues, or Hardschool could’ve had success had they been released back then. What do you guys think?

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"Better" probably would have done well on rock radio around 2001 or so but it wouldn't have been a major top 40 hit like those other songs you mentioned. Of course they would have had to push it hard the way any band does with a hit single and that involves promotion that Axl has not shown himself to be willing to do.

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Posted (edited)

I think maybe a radio edit of Better. However they'd have to have edited out the Buckethead death metal breakdown in the middle

and gone straight into the Robin Finck solo. You'd have a three minute catchy song then that sounded like classic GNR.

I'm not sure it would have been a massive hit, but with a video behind it it might have been fairly big.  Hard School could have been another mid-sized hit I think; maybe Chinese Democracy.

Silkworms actually I think had potential if it had been released as that type of music was big at the time. The lyrics would have had to be changed a bit though.

 

I thin Aerosmith and Bon Jovi had two nineties peaks. Keep the Faith and Get a Grip were both very big. Then they were followed by Nine Lives and These Days which were big though not huge; and then both had giant singles at the end of the 90s. I think that's right!

 

One other thing to note is that I don't want to miss a thing and it's my life both had outside writers (maybe co-writers). Whether the bands could have come up with such giant songs by themselves I'm not totally sure of. Axl if anything went the other direction, focusing on writing non-commercial music with fairly obscure punk and underground musicians.

Edited by axl666
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There would likely not be another SCOM but Better could’ve been a huge success for sure. I think the CD song even had huge radio potential itself, just not in 2008 when no one gave a shit anymore.

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1 hour ago, drlaban said:

CD was released 2 to 8 years too late though. 

This. Alof of songs were already outdated in 2008. Even Hard Skool and Absurd doesn't sound like modern Rocksongs

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By the late 1990’s I would say no. There was never a time that CD was a perfect fit for in any of its forms that we’ve heard. Better had the best chance for the most air play. There would have been a bunch of songs people would have liked (Catcher, TIL, TWAT). 

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If we could say Better was ready around early 2000s (I know it wasn’t but in a ‘What If? scenario) then that would have been the perfect song - pretty much a perfect blend of old and ‘nu’.

As we know it wasn’t ready - I still think the Village Sessions version of Chinese Democracy with the raw/stripped back instruments would have been a big hit around 2000. It’s still my go-to if I want to listen to that track.

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Nope, there’s two or three VR songs which could have been minor hits if Axl was on vocals but ultimately their time had passed by the millennium and I don’t think it would have mattered what they released.

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Posted (edited)

Axl’s taste making CD was very in tune with what was popular at the time imo. Not the fixation on ballads and mid tempo songs though (I don’t see songs like Catcher or SOD catching on after 1995)

Better, Perhaps, even Shacklers (they let KORN do well on the radio…) could have done well. I think the question is how the band would have been perceived by the public, especially those driving culture (younger people, media outlets etc). Suppose GNR releases a pretty good Chinese Democracy in 2000 - would people have thought they were cool? Would the new branding (Chinese lettering/etc) have resonated with people? New GNR was pretty weird (see: buckethead dancing, finck’s haircut and face, the green lights live), and weird WAS in, but I can’t say if new GNR was the right kind of weird.

Edited by Jakey Styley
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Posted (edited)

What killed Axl come back(s) was the messy way of presenting new songs.

For some reason he's never been capable of releasing new songs in a normal and conventional manner; Not at least since '99 Live Era which is again thanks to Universal/Geffen. The supposed big hit surprises were either ending up being unfinished and low quality like Oh My God or leaked thanks to being mixed and mastered by tones of personnel. And this is never ending. Just look at the disasterous so called new EP HardSchool. Rushed production. Tasteless album art work made from stock footage photoshopped by Fermanager.

Sometimes I wish the label could take full control of GNR releases. They can handle things much better than the ever failing Axl and Team Brazil. If artistic integrity means Absurd/HardSkool then fuck it. Let the label force songs out and do it their own way.

Edited by ©GnrPersia
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Posted (edited)

I think Better or even IRS with Buckethead would have absolutely destroyed if they were released during the fall 2002 comeback, I’m sure of it. That moment was literally it, and hindsight has shown us that fucking that chapter up pretty much killed any hope a Slash-less GNR had of connecting with a mainstream audience.  
 

Even if they had managed to release the album in late 2006 while still on tour I don’t think it would have made much of a splash, though it still would have been preferable to the 2008 shitshow.

2002 was really it.

Edited by sofine11
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Posted (edited)

No.

As much as I love CD, every song on there is a niche-song. Something, only fans like and that wouldn't do well in mainstream. I'd even dare to call them "weird". Like Street of Dreams, that song had potential but it's missing the catchy chorus that "Don't Want To Miss A Thing" and "It's My Life" had. None of the CD songs are that catchy that they'd top the charts.

EDIT: While Hard Skewl is catchy, it still wouldn't have done well. Too much rock and not in a ballad-y way.

Edited by TheGeneral
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3 hours ago, ©GnrPersia said:

Sometimes I wish the label could take full control of GNR releases. They can handle things much better than the ever failing Axl and Team Brazil. If artistic integrity means Absurd/HardSkool then fuck it. Let the label force songs out and do it their own way.

I wish the label would force out CD2, pre Bumblefoot. :)

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On 5/29/2022 at 2:50 PM, prez said:

"Better" probably would have done well on rock radio around 2001 or so but it wouldn't have been a major top 40 hit like those other songs you mentioned. Of course they would have had to push it hard the way any band does with a hit single and that involves promotion that Axl has not shown himself to be willing to do.

Better minus the intro and with a more accessible transition to the bridge would have done okay. More than okay? That's a question we'll never see the answer to. 

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