The Highway to Hell will open once more this 2015 when Rock Band 4 returns.
Dust off the drum kits, fine tune those vocals, make fun of your bassists and ready that axe. Chop! Chop! Put on your best shirt (or none at all). Go all eye make-up or Au naturel. Rings, stitches, masks, cuts and bruises from a serious mosh pit, steel-toed boots and bed head. Whatever your style and however you want to celebrate everything "Rock", you and your band's customizations are there to delve into the other important part of Rock that isn't the showmanship—the music!
Lately I've been thinking about the bands and songs I'd like to see in Rock Band 4. Some bands have made an appearance before, some songs got skipped. Some songs are just the ones I stumbled upon when scrolling through my library and I nearly forgot just how great they are.
The possibilities are as endless as there are opinions on great music in this world. Here are 11 songs that I think would be great additions to Rock Band's track list (and the ones I'd like the chance to ruin with my sub par vocals as band leader of my Rock Band band, The Oxtails):
"Pioneers" — Bloc Party
The slow build up leading into the steady beat. The variations that follow and the triumphant finish. Bloc Party are true to their name in their sound and so much more. They've got a collection of songs, like the popular "Helicopter" which was featured in Guitar Hero, that would be perfect for the living room, friend co-op fun Harmonix are looking to capture again.
"Map of the Problematique" — Muse
Muse has an album coming out this June. For me thus far, "Psycho" and "Dead Inside" aren't yet sounding like the rock god tracks the band should deliver for Rock Band. I'll need some time for them to grow on me. In the meanwhile, they've got a back catalog that's absolute killer. Try anything from Origin of Symmetry (but without keyboard support, it stifles the chance for the lighters and hysterics of the rock operas "Space Dementia" and "Citizen Erased"). Of course, the lack of keys won't stop me from wanting "Map of the Problematique". Muse fans know though that just about anything can fit the set list. Hopefully they'll actually make it on with more of a showing this time around. Giving them their own Rock Band game sounds like a great idea.
"The Pot" — Tool
Give us our Tool, Rock Band! "Forty-Six & 2". "StinkFist". "Lateralus". "The Pot". THE POT. Think of the vocal strain! The 6 minute + indulgence of guitars and bass. The accusatory lyrics. Yeah, that'll do nicely. Anything would, really. Seems to be a common phrase in this writing but it's Tool. Need anything else be said?
"Scarlet Fields" — The Horrors
After The Horrors did a 180 from the trashy, horror punk style I came to love, I wasn't too sure about the new mellowed out sound. But you know, I just can't deny this song. It's probably boring as all heck to play for the rest of the band, though, due to its unchanging rhythm. But, it's cool to shoegaze sometimes, right?
"Tom Sawyer" — Mindless Self Indulgence
We already got Rush's original great, "Tom Sawyer", which was the song we needed. Mindless Self Indulgence's jam-packed 2 minute cover of the song is the one we deserve this time around. MSI's lyrics aren't always so easy to digest, and as much as I'd love "Stupid MF" or "B*tches", those things should probably remain off Rock Band's set list. There's always my favourite "What Do They Know?" which is much more radio friendly but "Tom Sawyer" captures the spirit of the band perfectly. It'll certainly be a hellish, fun nightmare to play.
"Freedom at 21" — Jack White
Never quite sold on the idea touted by many at just how much of a "Rock God" Jack White was during his days with The White Stripes, Blunderbuss finally convinced me. It's a brilliant, experimental, layered mess of an album and songs from this one would be quite the challenge.
"The View From The Afternoon" — Arctic Monkeys
Oh my boys. There's so much to choose from. There are older tracks with faster drumming from Agile Beast Matt Helders to tackle, along with some biting lyrical wit. Then there are the newer tracks which are soulful in Alex Turner's crooning. We recently got a surprise DLC track with "R U Mine", which while not the best song, was something I enjoyed for the mere fact that Arctic Monkeys was getting some love. I'll gladly take more, please. "The View From The Afternoon" is from the first album that started it all for me, during a time when I refused to get sucked into the band that was taking the UK by storm. One trip to London with the best in-flight entertainment on Virgin Atlantic and taking a chance on "What People Say I am, That's What I'm Not" was all I needed to fall completely in love.
"Dance or Die" feat. Saul Williams & "Faster" — Janelle Monáe
I can't forget my ladies. Especially when they're as talented as Ms. Monáe. There's "Dance or Die" which prominently features some bad-assed bass. There will be some keys missing from "Faster" but this upbeat track is a small sampling of the stylized funk this girl can bring. Let's not forget the range in her vocals, wonderfully showcased on both tracks. The dynamic difference between songs as one leads into the other, should be packaged together and they relay just how varied an artist Janelle is.
"Settle Down" — Kimbra
I just want to do the claps while I sing this. Harmonies too. And I'd like to destroy my vocals as well. Kimbra's got power, range and interesting arrangements. No Kimbra in Rock Band would be a terrible oversight.
"I Appear Missing" — Queens of the Stone Age
I'm just going to put this out there: 2013's ...Like Clockwork was one of the best albums released that year. Ever since it came out, I've been lamenting that I would be denied playing every song from its fantastic track listing in Rock Band. Now it's a matter of hoping this album does not get passed over. QotSA already have some great tracks in past games in the series but the songs on this one need to join them. If I couldn't get every single track (but I'm gonna guess that "My God is the Sun" has a very great chance of showing up), this is the one I want most. A little dull perhaps to play at the beginning, the end of "I Appear Missing" is such a great send off that it's really a modern wonder of rock.
"Rock and Roll" — Led Zeppelin
What's Rock Band without a legend? Who knows if we'll get Led Zep. But you thought I was gonna suggest "Stairway to Heaven", weren't you? It's certainly a legendary song and its inclusion to represent the great Led Zeppelin is something that would feel right to accompany other greats like Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills", Kansas' "Carry On My Wayward Son" and The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter".
"Rock and Roll" isn't even the song I'd really want. I can think about 10 others I'd rather play from Led Zeppelin before this one (blasphemy, maybe, but "D'Yer Mak'er", "Poor Tom" and "Fool in the Rain" are some I'd be happier with). But think about it, Rock Band is coming back proper after a 5 year absence; its closing notes on Don McLean's classic "American Pie" was a fitting end for an era.
Well, I propose that the opening notes "It's been a long time since I've Rock and Rolled" would be the perfect way to welcome us to a new era.
Lay down the devil horns for a minute... Just long enough to tell us which songs or bands you'd like rock in Rock Band 4. Create your song playlist and share those rock anthems in the comments below (the legacy set list is up on Harmonix's website here), as well as everything you're looking forward to like naming your band, hairstyles, threads and tattoos.
Oh yeah, and in case you haven't already done so, you can actually make a song request to Harmonix. Right here.
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