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LONG BLOG

Building a Better "Rock Band"

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Remember the Rock Band games? You should—between six games, the series has sold around thirteen million copies. At the same time, they've introduced millions of people to what became their favorite bands.

But sometimes, their song choices were a little...off. Some were poor examples of the group's work. Others overlooked much better choices. Others had absolutely no business being included alongside the other iconic tracks in the game. So in the spirit of nostalgia (and my irrepressible hipstery smugness), allow me to present the most puzzling, infuriating, and head-shakingly-bad song choices from the series, along with my suggestions for replacements.

Radiohead - Creep

Why It's Wrong

Creep was Radiohead's breakthrough hit, and it's still their most well-known song.

And nobody resents that more than Radiohead.

Radiohead has one of the richest catalogs since the Beatles. The three albums that followed Creep's Pablo Honey are all regularly featured on lists of the best albums ever. So why not cull something from there? And besides: Creep is...sorta boring.

Replace It With...

Paranoid Android has sometimes been called Radiohead's Bohemian Rhapsody. It's a rock-opera-esque song chock full with meter changes, memorable chord changes, and killer guitar solos. In other words, the perfect song for a Rock Band game.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani California

Why It's Wrong

I'll readily admit that I'm not a huge fan of RHCP. And most music snobs are with me on that. Even if they do have some good songs, Dani California wasn't one of them.

Plus, it was far too recent—it was still getting radio play when Rock Band 2 came out, which just makes its inclusion feel like it's part of the press package.

Replace It With...

Californication is one of RHCP's trademark songs. And truth be told, it is pretty catchy. If you're going to include them in the game at all, at least include their best song.

David Bowie - Suffragette City

Why It's Wrong

I can already hear the gasps. "What! Sufragette City is a classic!" And yes, you are right. It would be pretty hard to go wrong with any song from the Father of Glam Rock.

But there are so, so, so many Bowie songs that would be better choices.

Replace It With...

This one is a bit of a challenge. Just because there are so many options. "Space Oddity" would be great, but it's a little too obvious. "Ziggy Stardust" would be a little too meta, since it's a song about a rock band. But the best choice would probably be...

Life On Mars? is enough of a deep cut that it would still be fresh to many players. Plus, its jazzy key changes and huge vocal jumps would be an excellent challenge for any vocalist looking for a perfect score.

The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again

Why It's Wrong

The Who are rock icons. That cannot be denied. Despite starting out as a mop-topped R&B band, they basically created hard rock when drummer Keith Moon (the alleged inspiration behind the Muppet Animal) couldn't play quietly.

But if you're looking for the best contribution for a Rock Band game, you could do way, way better than Won't Get Fooled Again. It's not even in the top ten list of best Who songs.

Replace It With...

Like Bowie, the Who's discography is ripe for the picking. From the rock-opera-esque Pinball Wizard to the symphonic Baba O'Reilly, the Who's work often found all four members of the band running on all four cylanders. But if I'm forced to choose just one...

My Generation came out in 1965, but it had a punk energy that was decades ahead of its time. Between the start and stop guitar riffs, ceaseless drum rolls, and Roger Daltrey's spitting delivery, it would make for the perfect addition to the Rock Band franchise.

Bonus points if you can get the stutter perfect.

Rock Band: Green Day Edition

Why It's Wrong

Only two bands have been honored with an entire Rock Band game devoted to their career. The other is The Freaking Beatles.

Green Day might be pretty good (their early stuff, at least), but in no universe to they deserve to be "The Only Band Besides the Beatles to (Literally Anything)."

There are hundreds of bands that would make a better game. Bands with huge, diverse catalogs. Like...Radiohead, or David Bowie... or the Who...

Replace It With...

Freaking Queen, of course.

They're the band behind some of the greatest rock songs of. all. time. Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, We Are the Champions, We Will Rock You, Another One Bites the Dust, Under Pressure...Their Greatest Hits album is nothing but complete bangers.

From Freddy Mercury's iconic tenor to Brian May's unmistakable lead guitar, Queen simply oozes rock and roll. And with fifteen studio albums under their belt, there would be plenty of songs to choose from.


Was I wrong about anything? Did I miss your personal least favorite song? Do you want to beat me up over what I said about the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Jump down to the comments.

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About natdangerone of us since 9:20 AM on 12.21.2017

Nat's been playing video games his whole life, but like...totally noob stuff like Mario. He still can't beat the original Zelda. What a poser.