Top 5 Songs I’d Like To See In A “Guitar Hero” Or “Rock Band” Game

(originally featured on the Oct. 10, 2008 show)

These days, the kids sure do love Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Love ’em. Can’t get enough of ’em. Need proof? Go to YouTube some time and search for your favorite song. Chances are, some kid’s uploaded a video of himself playing it in a custom Guitar Hero level.

Sure, you’ve got all the detractors saying things like “PLAY A REAL GUITAR” or “JUST ‘CAUSE YOU’RE GOOD AT GUITAR HERO DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN PLAY GUITAR,” but let’s be reasonable — if you honestly think Guitar Hero will make you significantly better at guitar, it’s time to pony up for some lessons. Also, I’ve got a bridge in Philadelphia I’d like to sell you. I can’t keep my name connected to it much longer — I don’t want to be associated with the myriad of devastated Eagles fans who would like nothing more than to hurl themselves off the nearest bridge in the wake of yet another disappointing playoff loss. (For the record, I’m also an Eagles fan.)

But I digress. Guitar Hero and Rock Band are fun games. They don’t really try to be anything other than really fun games. And isn’t that what video games are all about? I mean, come on… just because you’re good at Ace Combat doesn’t mean you’re Maverick. Halo won’t turn you into an expert marksman, no matter what Jack Thompson tries to tell you. And playing Final Fantasy doesn’t make you a master at wielding giant swords that are bigger than your body either, which is fine by me — you don’t want the ladies thinking you’re trying to compensate for something, do you?

With each new installment of Guitar Hero or Rock Band, lots of people start making up wish lists for songs to include in the game. This list is mine.

5. Jimi Hendrix, “Little Wing”

This song is downloadable in the latest installment of the Guitar Hero franchise (World Tour). One down, four to go. Of course, I made this list before the game came out, so… anyway. “Little Wing” is my favorite Hendrix song, and it stands tall as one of his finest moments on the guitar. He was one of those guys who strove to put his heart and soul into every note he played, and he’s still considered by many to be the greatest to ever play. Also, the tone he gets in this song is still a thing of beauty nearly 40 years after it was created.

4. Mastodon, “Capillarian Crest”

Here’s the bottom line with this song — anyone who can keep up with Brann Dailor deserves major props. He’s one of the best drummers out there today, and the constantly changing tempos and patterns and time signatures here won’t make it any easier for people to do it. And on top of this, the guitarists play a lengthy instrumental break in the middle that requires fast fingers and lots of tapping. So why would I like to see this in a game like Guitar Hero or (preferably) Rock Band? Because it’s really really hard, that’s why — and also because I’m not enough of a sadistic prick to put the 13-minute prog epic “Hearts Alive” on this list. A song like this takes lots of skill just to re-create. Now imagine how much skill it must take to create it!

3. Muse, “Plug In Baby”

This entry is pretty special. Why? Because it’s the only one on this list that I actually know how to play on the guitar. And it’s a fun song to play on the real guitar, so why wouldn’t it be fun in Guitar Hero? Plus, these guys are no strangers to the phenomenon — “Knights Of Cydonia” is in Guitar Hero III, “Assassin” is in Guitar Hero World Tour, and “Hysteria” is in the European version of Rock Band. That opening guitar line is all the evidence I need of this song’s worthiness.

2. Radiohead, “Paranoid Android”

“Paranoid Android” is, put simply, Radiohead at the peak of their guitar-rock awesomeness. Drawing inspiration from songs like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the Beatles’ “Happiness Is A Warm Gun,” not to mention The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, this song is a multi-part six-and-a-half-minute epic that exemplifies pretty much everything that makes Radiohead such a kickass band. Thom Yorke’s always-impressive voice, Jonny Greenwood’s signature guitar freakouts, and some fine work by underrated bassist Colin Greenwood (you usually have to listen closely to notice what he’s playing, but he always makes it worth your effort) — it’s all here.

1. Metallica, “Master Of Puppets”

The best song from Metallica’s best album. One of the best metal songs ever. Not one, but two great guitar solos showcasing the band’s versatility — the first is slower and soulful and one of my favorite solos ever, while the second is a straight-up thrash-a-thon. An instantly recognizable main riff, and Cliff Burton on bass. Basically, eight-and-a-half minutes of total awesome. And don’t even try telling me it’s too long or too hard (LOL THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID LOL). If they can put “Freebird” and Dragonforce in a Guitar Hero game, they can sure as hell find room for Metallica’s finest hour. Now put this in a damn game, guys. OBEY YOUR MASTER! MASTER!

Oh, and in the spirit of this video-game-related post, I leave you with this masterpiece. It’s all about the joys of… well, playing video games, told from the eloquent perspective of three 11-year-old boys who “don’t wanna go to school” because they “just wanna be a fool.” Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the Black Out Band. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the genius.

You can thank (read: FLAME) me for exposing you to this brilliance later.

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4 responses

  1. I dont like other songs xcept 4 .5 n .1

    January 22, 2009 at 8:27 pm

  2. colfrat

    UPDATE: “Master Of Puppets” will be featured in “Guitar Hero: Metallica,” along with a song by Mastodon — just not the one I chose. The Mastodon song is “Blood & Thunder,” which I included on a different Top 5 list.

    So that’s two for five! Still waiting on “Capillarian Crest,” “Plug In Baby,” and “Paranoid Android,” though.

    January 24, 2009 at 9:08 pm

  3. colfrat

    UPDATE: “Plug In Baby” will be featured in “Guitar Hero 5.” So now I’m three for five. Bring on “Capillarian Crest” and “Paranoid Android”!

    July 30, 2009 at 12:24 am

  4. Eric

    No offense, but Little Wing was as much Mitch Mitchell’s and Noel Redding’s song as it was Jimi’s. So add Experience after Jimi Hnedrix, plx. xD

    October 1, 2009 at 8:48 am

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