I know, as a non-mainstream music blogger (are there mainstream music bloggers, anyway?) that’s something I probably shouldn’t admit. But I just don’t care. The game is ridiculously fun.
As someone who never learned much real guitar and fancied himself a sort of music snob, I was reluctant to get into the game. I always thought it would be ridiculous to have a generation full of kids who were experts at Rock Band when they could have put the time and effort into learning how to play actual guitars/drums. But thanks to an irresistible sale last Christmas, I gave in and started rocking – and I haven’t looked back. From the moment I began my psuedo-rock star career though, I noticed a severe lack of good music in the game. Every time I heard a great, rockin’ song from my library, I immediately thought how great it would be to play on Rock Band. I was officially addicted.
If you can look past the pages of Foo Fighters and god-awful death-metal, the game does have it’s fair share of good music. I can get by with decent 70’s rock mixed in with some Weezer, Beck, and other various ‘popular’ artists that are digestible. With the ability to download additional songs from the Rock Band Music Store, your choices grow and, in some cases, fall more toward the indie side of things. Both smash singles from Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix are available, you can pick up a couple Raconteurs tracks, and of course Oasis is always a good pick. There are even a few tracks that I never knew before picking up that majestic plastic stratocaster:
Panic At The Disco - Nine In The Afternoon
Norman Greenbaum - Spirit In The Sky
The cascading flow of colored buttons has even reaffirmed my love for some mainstream rock from over a decade ago. Although Weezer’s ‘Say It Ain’t So’ isn’t part of Rock Band 2, I’ve played it on my Rock Band iPhone app as well as on a Wii Rock Band song pack. The killer guitar solo on the back end of the track makes it one of the best songs to live out your rock star fantasies. Naturally, I had and adored a copy of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory back in the day and couldn’t get enough of ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’. But Rock Band has helped to reveal the forgotten greatness of ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’.
Weezer - Say It Ain't So
Oasis - Don't Look Back In Anger
And let’s not forget about that twisted corner of the rock world known as punk. These tunes tend to be higher on the difficulty scale, with more intricate drumming and faster guitar parts. Too bad the catalog in this genre is quite limited.
Social Distortion - I Was Wrong
The Replacements - Alex Chilton (RIP, sir)
Late last year, the people behind Rock Band released the Beatles Version of the game (complete with John, Paul, and George’s replica guitars). Just last month, news landed that a Jimi Hendrix edition of the game was nearing completion. But the most exciting news will likely revolutionize the game. With the recent advent of the Rock Band Network (currently only available to XBox users), the game’s song catalog will likely grow exponentially in the next few months. Now, bands have the ability to create and submit their music for sale in the Rock Band Store. This could possibly become the next powerful medium for new bands to get their music out to the people.