Better (Guns N' Roses song)

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GNR Better.jpg
"Better" cover
Promotional single by Guns N' Roses from the album Chinese Democracy
Released November 17, 2008
Format Digital download, Promo Single
Recorded 2001-2007
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length 4:57
Label Geffen
Writer Axl Rose and Robin Finck
Producer Axl Rose, Caram Costanzo
Chinese Democracy track listing
"Shackler's Revenge"
"Street of Dreams"

"Better" is a song by American rock band Guns N' Roses, featured on their 2008 sixth studio album Chinese Democracy. It was sent out as the second radio promo from the album, after "Chinese Democracy", but was not commercially released as a single eligible for international sales charts.


"Better" was written by lead vocalist Axl Rose and former Guns N' Roses guitarist Robin Finck between 2001–2007, before the band headed out on tour in 2006, by that time the song had already been recorded, later however, most of former drummer Bryan Mantia in drums on the track were edited by drummer Frank Ferrer. Prior to the song being released as a single, "Better" had been played live by Guns N' Roses on their Chinese Democracy Tour in 2006 and 2007.[1] In February 2006, a demo of the song "Better", along with demos of "Catcher in the Rye", "I.R.S.", and "There Was a Time", were leaked on the internet through a Guns N' Roses fan site. The band's management requested that all links to the MP3 files and all lyrics to the songs be removed from forums and websites.

Beginning in October 2006, the song was featured in an internet advertisement for Harley-Davidson. However, the ad was short-lived, as the company quickly pulled it from the site because the group did not allow for its creation.[2]

Promo Release history[edit]

Country Date
United States November 17, 2008
United Kingdom January 5, 2009

Music video[edit]

Breaking a two month silence by posting on a message board on December 11, 2008, Axl Rose revealed that a music video for "Better" directed by Dale "Rage" Resteghini[3] would be released "soon".[4] Shortly after, Rose wrote that Lars Ulrich stated that he makes an appearance in the video saying, "There’s a shot of me and Axl embracing backstage at some concert, and I signed off that, and hopefully it’ll make it in the final cut.” Ulrich was later blamed by Rose's associate, Fernando Lebeis, to be the reason the video has been delayed, since "the Metallica drummer needed to sign a release". Ulrich responded by saying “I have heard about this, yes. There was a couple of clips of me in the video and they asked if I would sign off on it. When it got to me, I signed off on the one clip… I don’t know where [the rumor] came from. I’d love to be in a Guns N’ Roses video. It’s my favorite song on the record — I think it’s a great song." On December 30th, 2008, Rose wrote on the message board "Lars isn't holding anything up with our video. Our message board comments were meant casually, in fun and amongst friends...We hope to have our video out shortly." [5] On September 13th 2012, nearly four years after the single release, a workprint of the video leaked onto the internet. As of November 2014, over five years since the release, still no official music video has been released.


"Better" debuted live on May 12, 2006 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. It has been played at almost every show since.


The song has received a mostly positive reception from critics. Consequence of Sound has written, "While there’s the industrial-like swagger that’s prevalent in “Chinese Democracy”, the bite and harmony is classic GN’R. In fact, this might actually be the best song on the record, out of all three singles released from the record it has been considered to be the lead single." Rolling Stone concluded, "Like 'Chinese Democracy', 'Better' feels like classic Guns N’ Roses — Rose’s growling croon in the verses could have floated out of the Use Your Illusion sessions."[6] The song was officially released as a single on November 17, 2008. On Rolling Stone's "100 Best Singles of 2008" list, "Better" placed at number 19.[7]


Radio Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 18
Ecuador Super 9'49 Radio Top 20 2


  1. ^ "Guns N' Roses On Tour!!!". Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Music Video News: SHOT: Guns N' Roses - Rage, director". Video Static. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  4. ^ Rolling Stone, Axl Rose Talks Chinese Democracy, Kanye, "Better" video in Late Night GnR Message Board Chat, December 12, 2008
  5. ^ (2008-12-30). "Guns N' Roses: News". Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  6. ^ "A Look Back at 1991 as New Guns N' Roses Single 'Better' Premieres". Rolling Stone. 2008-11-17. 
  7. ^ "Rolling Stone‘s 100 Best Singles Of 2008". Stereogum. Retrieved 2011-10-27.