Thursday, March 12, 2009

Songs I'd like to see in Rock Band, YouTube edition

Ever since the release of Guitar Hero, and later Rock Band, discussing what songs we'd like to play has been a popular topic of conversation. I dedicate at least as much thought to this as to what I'd do with all the money if I won the lottery -- which is to say that I lie awake at night thinking about it.

Here are a few of my most wanted Rock Band tracks, in YouTube form. The only ground rule is that I'm restricting my choices to artists who, to my knowledge, have yet to appear in either Rock Band or Guitar Hero, just to keep it fresh. I also estimate the likelihood of my wishes ever coming true.

By the way, screw everyone who disables embedding.

Andrew W.K., "Party Hard"

Why: People either love Andrew W.K. or they hate him. I love the guy. His music, and this song in particular, is pure rock 'n' roll id. If you believe, as I do, that the point of playing Rock Band is to unleash the primal rock beast within, then no song is better suited for the task.

Likelihood: I could see this happening, particularly if he's got a new album coming out. They might follow the Killers model, wherein they release one new track alongside some old favorites. This would be a day-one download for me.

Refused, "New Noise"

Why: It's an astonishing feat of songwriting, starting off with a bang and escalating even further over the course of the song. The guitars are punishing and the vocals are off the charts. I think anybody who played this song in Rock Band would wind up smashing something by the time it was done.

Likelihood: Zero. Song licensing is the province of capitalist swine.

Dire Straits, "Money for Nothing"

Why: "Sultans of Swing" might be the better pick here, but the chunky guitar riff in "Money for Nothing" sounds like two Transformers mating. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

Likelihood: It's possible, although not the most likely Dire Straits song to make the cut. Additionally, they'd have to go with the radio edit that excludes the line about "the little faggot with the earring and the makeup."

Electric Six, "Gay Bar"

Why: Like AWK, Electric Six is a polarizing band. Once again, I know which side I fall on. A kick-ass surf-rock guitar part and hilariously blunt lyrics would make this Rock Band's guiltiest pleasure.

Likelihood: Zero. Really, I just wanted to share the video.

Joy Division, "Love Will Tear Us Apart"

Why: It's the most popular song by one of the most critically acclaimed bands ever, and one of my favorites. Rock Band is generally lacking in post-punk (let's be honest here: how much post-punk do you really need?). Joy Division would do nicely.

Likelihood: I think it's pretty likely, actually. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this eventually came available. I'd sell my soul for a JD track pack with this, "Transmission," and "She's Lost Control."

Sunny Day Real Estate, "Seven"

Why: Remember when "emo" wasn't a dirty word? SDRE was one of the best examples of the genre before it got all stupid, and this is one of their best songs. I chose this one because I think it'd be great fun to drum, but I'd be happy with almost anything from their catalog.

Likelihood: Eh, maybe as part of a 90s indie-rock pack. I'm not holding out much hope, though.

My Bloody Valentine, "You Made Me Realise"

Why: Oh, you know, they're only one of the most celebrated guitar-rock bands of all time, enshrouded in legend and spoken of in whispers. If Lush made it in, surely there's space for MBV. By the way, I originally was going to put "Only Shallow" in this space, but YouTube yielded only concert footage.

Likelihood: Low, because I think whoever had to draw up the note charts would jump off of something.

MC5, "Kick Out the Jams"

Why: Just a classic, awesome song. Anybody who knows the song would want to play it, and anybody who doesn't know it needs to learn.

Likelihood: I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility. Rock Band has dealt with the profanity issue before, by simply leaving out the offending words. I think anybody would be pleased as punch to belt "Kick out the jams, motherfuckers!" regardless of what the screen did or didn't say. I bet the folks at Harmonix would love to do it.


Gary A. Lucero said...

I must be super old because I don't even know most of those songs (and Dire Straits got played so much on the radio I don't want to EVER HEAR THEM AGAIN!!!):

Neil Young: Songs from Zuma, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Rust Never Sleeps, Ragged Glory, others. Also, the song Southern Man. Pretty much anything The Man has released would be good but the rock stuff would be best for RB2.

Pink Floyd: I only like albums Dark Side of the Moon through The Final Cut. Anything from those albums. Also, any of Roger Waters stuff

Yes: Anything from the seventies pretty much.

ELP: Tarkus.

Jethro Tull: More Tull please. How about the entire Thick as a Brick album?

The Who: The entire Quadrophenia album.

The Jonas Brothers: My daughter loves these guys. Disney is stupid to not make a deal with MTV and just release their music in RB2. This would make my daughter VERY happy.

Other stuff:

A few Led Zeppelin tracks would be good. I'm not a huge fan but Stairway to Heaven would be fun.

The Doors would be awesome.

Grand Funk Railroad "Heartbreaker".

Deep Purple's "Child in Time".

Jay-z/Linkin Park's "Numb/Encore".

Tin Machine.

Mitch Krpata said...

Neil Young would be superb.

It kind of depresses me that Jonas Brothers are by far the most likely band on your list to one day have a song in Rock Band.

Nels Anderson said...

I'm still saddened that there's nothing by The Misfits on Rock Band. I'd like some Rammstein too, but I guess non-English tracks would be asking too much. And yes, Andrew W.K. is a glaring omission.

chesh said...

I actually need quite a lot of post-punk. Every day I have to grind up a new copy of Unknown Pleasures and snort it.
(It does make me very happy that SingStar has both Love Will Tear Us Apart and Blue Monday, almost enough for me to buy it despite not having a PS3 or liking karaoke.)

Also, seconding the cry for more Jethro Tull.

Gary A. Lucero said...

Patti Smith and The Jam would be good. Punk in general might be fun. Better than that god forsaken Heavy Metal!

Anonymous said...

My non-Radiohead division answer:

My Morning Jacket, "One Big Holiday"

J. Lesley Feezberg said...

Honestly, I'm just happy to see cool stuff like Mission of Burma showing up, but the one song I'd love to play in a drunken stupor in the middle of the night -- Fugazi's "Merchandise" -- will probably never be available, for obvious reasons.

Julian said...

Big fat YES to Refused (and to Fugazi, for that matter). My biggest problem with RB's track selection is that most of my favorite bands would never consider making a deal with MTV.

mewithoutYou is probably the one band I can think of that actually has a chance of making it on there. They have an album coming out in a couple months, and have a history with MTV. They have one of the best drummers I can think of, and structurally their songs are very interesting.

Also, they need some older Modest Mouse songs, maybe from Lonesome Crowded West or This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About. Those are really their only two good records IMO, and they have some stuff that would be very fun to play and different from other songs available.

Anonymous said...

More Girl Rock!
- you know who this is.

Jonathan Mills said...

There's at least one person on the inside who would like more post-punk in Rock Band, at least according to this interview at OXM. There's at least one obstacle standing in the way, though--Warner Music. Variety's Cut Scene blog has a post on Warner Music's hardball tactics against Rock Band, which means their artists aren't likely to show up soon. I know Rhino puts out Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division releases, and Rhino's a subsidiary of Warner, but I'm not the world's best corporate money tracker.

Personally, I demand Cake's "The Distance," Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love," and Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out." In the No Chance in Hell category, I'd like to see the no wave classic "Helen Fordsdale" by Mars.

Unknown said...

MC5 are in Guitar Hero World Tour.

Mitch Krpata said...

Gus, speaking as someone who doesn't own Guitar Hero, I'm not sure quite how to feel about that.

I am also upset that GH:WT has "Crazy Train."

Gary A. Lucero said...

I have Guitar Hero World Tour, which I don't care for very much, but it never auto-loads or saves games and in general is harder and less polished than RB2. IMO. Plus it doesn't have any music from The Who or other "old" bands I like.

Julian said...

I rented GHWT, and that made me decide not to buy it. It's not nearly as polished as RB2, and even after calibration the detection felt wonky. I like the open note on the bass, but why does it have to be the same damn color as the background? Lots of baffling little decisions like that kind of ruin the game for me. I played maybe 10 songs, and decided it wasn't even worth my time. It's unfortunate, because they seem to have a lock on a few bands whose music I'd like to play, most importantly Tool. I just can't justify trudging through the terrible presentation and little technical problems when I could be playing RB2.

Anonymous said...

Hopeful - American girl, tom petty.

Less hopeful - White stripes

No hope at all - Neutral milk hotel.

Iroquois Pliskin said...

Aww man RB needs all kinds of Tom Petty.

In addition: all manner of Radio Head, but Bodysnatchers in paricular.

Furthermore, large swaths of The Hold Steady, but Stuck Between Stations in particular.

@ryan: good call on My Morning Jacket. Love that band.

You know this entire wishing-on-a-star enterprise is pretty tortuous. Harmonix has done well by me what with the fact that they put out TEXAS MOTHERFUCKING FLOOD last week, which is about as good as it gets. But there is just too much music in the world that I want.