A quick primer- this is the first non-Stereotoid related article I've written since we started so this will probably come off as vaguely amateurish. Moving right along...
So, as anyone who's played the Green Day Rock Band demo (Or simply saw the article Nick Chester
posted), Rock Band 3 is set to feature some form of keyboard/keytar peripheral. At first I didn't think much of it, aside from the obligatory "sweet, more gameplay for me". Though, just like anything else Harmonix has ever done in a video game, during one long drive with the radio cranked high, my mind started turning and I saw the possibilities. So, in an article that will surely only excite myself and Xzyliac, let's get to listin'.
Journey- Seperate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Okay, so I'd be lying if I said I wasn't typing up this entire thing just because of this song. In fact, it was this song coming on the radio that sparked this whole idea. But still, listen to it. Listen to that keyboard. That's perhaps one of the few times where anybody could call a keyboard part "badass". And of course, in true Journey fashion, once the rest of the song kicks in it just gets better. It has all the makings of a great Rock Band song (Seriously, why do we only have two Journey songs in the game anyways?), except with an awesome keyboard part that's perfect for being included as an example of how well the new peripheral can work out in the game.
...However, the music video is just ridiculously goofy. Thank the 80's for that, and thank Harmonix for using in-game avatars as opposed to music videos.
Guns N' Roses- November Rain
Another fairly obvious choice, yes, but usually when debuting a new peripheral for a music game, you need a couple songs in the game that shine specifically because of that peripheral (Like, say, what Won't Get Fooled Again did for the drums in RB1). And while the first suggestion is perfectly rounded out on all instruments, for November Rain the majority of the song takes a backseat to the piano parts, up until the guitar solos that is. This would be a perfect song that spotlights the keywhateverweget and would even be a nice song to introduce a keysomethingoranother solo with. Plus, most people would agree that some more classic GnR would be a great thing to have, and even if I'm not the biggest fan in the world I can't deny that.
Death Cab For Cutie- I Will Possess Your Heart
Yeah yeah, go ahead, instantly invalidate all of this for including an uber-popular indie hit on it. But realize one thing- if Rock Band didn't put a bunch of radio hits in their games, they probably wouldn't sell nearly as many copies and, therefore, wouldn't be able to eventually shower you in (Insert not-that-famous band you love here)'s best songs as DLC later. Plus, as a general rule I try to keep it semi well-known with my RB lists. Aaaaaanyways, another staple of throwing in a new instrument is that you have to have that general 'easy' song that allows you to come to grips with the new mechanics and, this song would be perfect for such. I only suggest that they use the radio edit as opposed to the eight minute long album version, or else everybody will be bored to death before the singing even occurs. Plus, it'd also fulfill the aforementioned 'popular indie song' criteria that RB seems to have in their starting tiers usually (Like Float On in RB2).
Muse- Apocalypse Please
A band that's sorely requested time and time again in the world of Rock Band, Muse would also be a perfect band to show off the new peripheral. There's quite a few songs from them that would make good additions to the game with or without piano parts, but ultimately I went for this song simply for how much piano is present in the song. Combine it with typically bombastic lyrics from Muse about the end of the world, and you also have a perfect song to go about your keytar/vox dreams.
Seriously though...keyboard or otherwise, we better get more Muse in the game.
The Dead Weather- The Difference Between Us
And now let's get a little weird. Suggested by the always-brilliant Xzyliac, this would be a perfect track to showcase some of the more quirkier sounds you can get out of a keyboard, not to mention a simply awesome track from in my opinion the best of Jack White's fifty bajillion different bands. Add in the fact that we've already seen three tracks from The Dead Weather in the game and you could actually see this kind of happening.
Queen- Bohemian Rhapsody
Like you didn't see this coming. Everybody and their mother wants this song in the game. And hell- if Guitar Hero can throw it into their game, why can't Rock Band? Unless Queen Rock Band becomes a reality and they save this for that, I honestly would be pretty surprised if this doesn't show up in the game eventually. One of the greatest songs in the history of ever. EVERYBODY knows the words to it. I'm sure you've re-enacted the car scene from Wayne's World millions of times, you understand why this needs to be in.
Styx- Come Sail Away
Come on. COME ON.
Depeche Mode- World In My Eyes
Okay, so this one may be a little bit of a stretch but...I'm sorry, I just really really like Depeche Mode. This would be another one of those easy ones, and might not even be too popular to the majority of the people buying the game but few can deny the impact Depeche Mode had on the world, and I think it's high time they wind up in something other then Lips. Not to mention, even if the keyboarding parts might not be that hard, you still have a really fun drum line and some great vocals to sing.
Eurythmics- Here Comes The Rain Again
Another far cry to be sure, but it's still another great example of how the keyboard reigned supreme in the 80's, and another song that features a great drum track that's sure to challenge even the hardiest of fake-plastic-skin beaters. Though you can't mention this song without talking about the wonderful vocalwork of Annie Lennox. Is it sad that I'd kill to see this song in the game? No? Good.
More 80's madness? You better fucking believe it. Berlin's another one of those amazing examples of keyboard-driven awesomeness, and the added benefit of having a hot lead singer like Terri Nunn probably had something to do with their success. Sure, most know them for the cheesy ballad Take My Breath Away from Top Gun, but this song always takes the cake for me. I promise I'll cool it with the 80's now.
Devo- What We Do
ARE THEY NOT 80'S!? NO, they are new Devo. As any fan of the band would know, they have a new album coming out this month, so why not throw their newest tracks into Rock Band? As Xzyliac said so elegantly to me on Twitter about 25 minutes ago, "New Devo > Old Devo", so instead of going the easy route and saying Whip It, I'd rather this amusing little track that shows just how much a bunch of old guys can rock. Sure, it might be a bit easy on the guitar side, but just try to play this song without a grin on your face.
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons- Beggin' (Pilooski Re-Edit)
Let's get old school. REAL old school. Originally from 1967, this song would be perfect not only for some piano action, but an excellent display of harmonies from an era that perfected the art, from one of the standout groups of the time. This particular version is a slight remastering from 2007 (Some of you may have heard it in a certain shoe commercial) that would be perfect for Rock Band and an excellent way to alleviate the almost total lack of music from the 60's present in the game.
The Animals- House Of The Rising Sun
This is quite possibly one of the greatest songs to ever be written, why isn't this in a game yet?
And finally, we have...
Patch keyboard compatibility into existing Rock Band songs
Alright, so, let's be honest- this will probably NEVER happen. Not even counting the Rock Band Network, Harmonix has well over 1000 songs in their catalog already. For them to go back and put keyboard support into every one of those songs that has a keyboard part would be simply insane. But if it would happen it'd be simply incredible and prove once again that Harmonix are the undisputed masters of their craft. Of course it may not be so far-fetched after all: if I recall rumors from long ago, there were rumblings of patching harmonies into existing Rock Band songs and, combined with the fact that RB3 has been in development for at least two years now, anything could happen.
One thing's for sure though- either way, I can't wait 'til this Fall.