Vexus's Hypothetical Rock Band 5! (91 on-disc songs, DLC, RBN return requests and a sandwich)

edited November 2018 in Your Ultimate Setlist
91 tracks, 13 per tier. I'll put the tiers in later. Here's part 1: A-I.

Abba - Mamma Mia (+KB)
Alestorm - Captain Morgan's Revenge (+KB)
Arch Enemy - The World is Yours
Arctic Monkeys - Brianstorm
Ash - Girl from Mars
The Ataris - The Boys of Summer
Avatar - Hail The Apocalypse

Babymetal ft. Herman Li and Sam Totman - Road of Resistance (+KB)
Bananarama - Venus (+KB)
Band of Skulls - Asleep at the Wheel
Beastie Boys - (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)
The Beautiful South - Rotterdam (Or Anywhere) (+KB)
Biffy Clyro - Bubbles
The Birthday Massacre - I Think We're Alone Now (+KB)
Black Sabbath - Children of the Grave
Blur - Parklife (+KB)
Bowling for Soup - High School Never Ends
Boyinaband ft. Veela - Two Skin (Djentrance) (+KB)
Brocas Helm - Cry of the Banshee
Brody Dalle - Don't Mess With Me
Busted - Crashed The Wedding (+KB)

Cake - The Distance (+KB)
Crucified Barbara - The Crucifier - replacement for Time to Say Goodbye
Crush 40 - Live and Learn
Culture Club - Karma Chameleon - confirmed DLC 17th April 18

Deap Vally - Royal Jelly
Deep Purple - Black Night (Live) (+KB)
Delain - Suckerpunch (+KB)
The Devin Townsend Project - Fallout (+KB)
Dion and the Belmonts - The Wanderer
Dolly Parton - Jolene
The Donnas - Take It Off

Electric Light Orchestra - Evil Woman (+KB)
Electric Six - Danger! High Voltage! (+KB)
Epica - Beyond the Matrix (+KB)
Evarose - Provoke Me

Fleetwood Mac - The Chain
Fountains of Wayne - Stacy's Mom

Goldfinger - Superman (+KB)
Gotye ft. Kimbra - Somebody That I Used To Know (+KB)
Green Day - Bang Bang
Guns n' Roses - Paradise City

Himalayas - Thank God I'm Not You
Ho-kago Tea Time - Fuwa Fuwa Time (+KB)

IDestroy - Vanity Loves Me
In This Moment - Beautiful Tragedy (+KB)


  • edited October 2018
    Part 2: J-Z (well, W.)

    Janet Jackson - Black Cat (+KB)
    JayCee - Domino
    Jeff Williams and Casey Lee - Time to Say Goodbye (+KB) - confirmed DLC 30th August 2018
    Joss Stone - You Lost Me (+KB)

    Kaiser Chiefs - Oh My God (+KB)
    King Crimson - 21st Century Schizoid Man (Live) (+KB)

    Led Zeppelin - Rock and Roll
    Linkin Park - Bleed It Out
    Lita Ford - Kiss Me Deadly (+KB)

    Manic Street Preachers - Motorcycle Emptiness (+KB)
    Metallica - Moth Into Flame
    Michael Jackson - Beat It (+KB)
    Mott the Hoople - All the Young Dudes
    Muse - Knights of Cydonia (+KB)
    My Chemical Romance - Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) (+KB)

    Nightwish - Wishmaster (+KB)

    Ocean Colour Scene - Hundred Mile High City
    The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet
    Orianthi - Suffocated
    OutKast - B.O.B. (+KB)

    Peaks - Eden
    Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb (+KB)
    The Presidents of the United States of America - Video Killed the Radio Star - replacement for Karma Chameleon
    Primus - Wynona's Big Brown Beaver

    Radiohead - Paranoid Android
    Rammstein - Feuer frei! (+KB)
    Raspberries - Go All the Way
    Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Can't Stop
    Republica - Ready to Go
    Rush - Headlong Flight

    Saw Doctors - Red Cortina
    Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK
    Siouxsie and the Banshees - Spellbound
    Slade - Mama Weer All Crazee Now
    Slash ft. Fergie - Beautiful Dangerous
    St. Vincent - Rattlesnake (+KB)
    The Stone Roses - Waterfall
    Suede - Trash
    Suzi Quatro - 48 Crash
    Sweet - Fox On the Run (+KB)

    t.A.T.u - All The Things She Said (+KB)
    Tenpole Tudor - Swords of a Thousand Men
    Thin Lizzy - Don't Believe a Word

    Ugly Kid Joe - Everything About You
    The Undertones - Teenage Kicks

    The Who - Substitute
    Within Temptation - Faster (+KB)
  • Ah, now THIS is a quality setlist. Can't wait for the tiers!
  • Thanks! The tiers are taking a bit of a while since I've not really done it before and I'm not much of a drummer so anything beyond a 3 is pretty much the same as an impossible for me. :L Still, I'm working on them!
  • If it helps, I have a few of these songs for Phase Shift, which are mostly fully tiered. I could give you those tiers as a starting point.
  • LiveHomeVideoLiveHomeVideo Trying too hard
    What I tend to do when doing tiers for setlists is make a document comparing all the songs to each other in terms of difficulty on each instrument, and evenly separating them afterwords to separate tiers. I then try my best to explain that the tiers are relative to each other, as opposed to how they'd appear within RB4's thresholds. Just something I thought I would mention since you mentioned you're having trouble, is all.
  • If it helps, I have a few of these songs for Phase Shift, which are mostly fully tiered. I could give you those tiers as a starting point.

    That would be very useful, thanks!
  • edited April 2018
    Had a good Christmas?

    Here's the first set of tiers:
    Band Tier Zero (Warmup)
    All the Young Dudes
    Bleed It Out
    Crashed the Wedding
    High School Never Ends
    Mama Weer All Crazee Now
    Provoke Me
    Red Cortina
    Somebody That I Used To Know
    Stacy's Mom
    Swords of a Thousand Men
    Teenage Kicks
    (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)

    Band Tier One (Apprentice)
    Asleep at the Wheel
    Comfortably Numb
    Fox on the Run
    Girl from Mars
    Go All the Way
    Hail The Apocalypse
    Karma Chameleon
    Live & Learn
    Royal Jelly -- low-end guitar alt-charted to bass as well as guitar
    Video Killed the Radio Star
    The Wanderer

    Let's talk about one of the big changes I'd make, since they're pertinent to a lot of the tracks in this post. Currently, I believe that talk notes are way too easy. Just make a noise while they're getting checked and you get the points, making getting gold and crimson stars on some of them a joke. I would make the following changes:
    - In order to get the points, you must be in the actual key of the song, somewhat similar to the current freeform vocals in RB4.
    - On Brutal Mode, the lyrics are hidden and vocal tracks are disabled. This gives the player far fewer cues in regards to pitch and timing.

    Another change I'd make is in regards to characters. First off, customisation would get a buff to be on par with at least RB3. Categories for outfits would now be tops, bottoms, and shoes. Accessories would be hats, glasses and masks, piercings, and hand accessories (things like gloves, rings, bracelets). "None" options would be available for tops (men only, though bras and bikini tops would be available for women), shoes and all accessory categories. Speaking of gender, I'd make it so you could assign a male and female lead singer, and the game automatically swaps between the two as appropriate, selecting one at random for instrumentals and songs tagged as "non-binary" under vocalist gender (which as far as I know is just Clear Clear Light from RB4, but who knows what I'll come up with for DLC!)

    More tiers, tweaks and additions to follow.
  • Band Tier Two (Solid)
    48 Crash
    All The Things She Said
    Beautiful Tragedy
    Can't Stop
    Danger! High Voltage! -- saxophone alt-charted to guitar
    Mamma Mia -- marimba alt-charted to guitar
    Oh My God
    Rotterdam (Or Anywhere)
    Take It Off
    The Distance

    Band Tier Three (Moderate)
    Anarchy in the U.K.
    Another Girl, Another Planet
    Beautiful Dangerous
    Boys of Summer
    Evil Woman
    Feuer frei! -- synth lead alt-charted to guitar
    I Think We're Alone Now
    Kiss Me Deadly
    Ready to Go
    Thank God I'm Not You

    Band Tier Four (Challenging)
    Black Cat
    The Chain
    Don't Mess With Me
    Everything About You
    Hundred Mile High City
    Motorcycle Emptiness
    Rattlesnake -- synth bass alt-charted to bass
    Vanity Loves Me
    You Lost Me

    Since I talked about vocal changes before, let's talk about changing guitar and bass. In gameplay terms, I wouldn't change much. It's not broken, so there's nothing to fix. I mean, I'd like to have open notes make an appearance in the game, but for the sake of maintaining consistency with the previous games/DLC, I'm willing to forego them.

    No, my biggest alteration would be to the hardware. This time around, the guitar will resemble the Fender Telecaster. We've had a few Stratocasters, a Jaguar and I believe a Mustang for Pro mode, plus the Beatles guitars. The Telecaster would have a jack input for attaching headphones or a headset and a pickup switch for overdrive/freestyle solo effects, as well as all the features of the RB4 Jaguar. The other addition (which I am soul-lessly ripping from some of the Guitar Hero controllers) is a bridge-based overdrive button. All controllers that work with RB4 would work with RB5, and the Telecaster Controller would be compatible with RB4.

    I'd also add bass solos (as well as drum solos) to old songs that should have them but lack them - Rush's Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear), for instance.

    Nightmare and Impossible tiers, drum info and other additions coming up!
  • edited April 2018
    So Imgur's being a pain, meaning I can't upload tiers. Here's how the remaining songs are distributed between band tiers, however.

    Band Tier Five (Nightmare)
    Bang Bang
    Beat It
    Children of the Grave
    Don't Believe a Word
    Fuwa Fuwa Time
    Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)
    Paradise City
    Paranoid Android
    Rock and Roll
    Time to Say Goodbye
    Two Skin

    Band Tier Devil (Impossible)
    21st Century Schizoid Man
    Beyond the Matrix
    Black Night (Live)
    Captain Morgan's Revenge
    Cry of the Banshee
    Headlong Flight
    Knights of Cydonia -- synth bass alt-charted to bass (and not guitar!)
    Moth Into Flame
    Road of Resistance
    The World is Yours
    Wynona's Big Brown Beaver

    So what's going to change with drums? Again, the big change I'd make is hardware-based, much like with guitar. In fact, one of the big changes is, again, to add a headphone port. I'd also include cymbals and a second kick pedal by default. The other change is that I'd find some material that doesn't sound so loud when you hit it.

    Now, I'm aware that RB4 does technically support double kick, but I'd go one step beyond and add a pair of double kick modes covering all difficulties - Double Kick Standard, Double Kick Pro; and Easy, Medium, Hard, Expert and Brutal levels for each. The main difference would be that orange notes would appear on every single kick, and said kicks can be hit using either pedal. Double difficulties wouldn't be available on every song, but would be added to legacy DLC/export tracks where appropriate.

    Speaking of Brutal Mode, I'd retain leader boards for it but make it a standard difficulty level, listed after Expert. Crimson stars can only be gained in a band if all players pick Brutal, gold stars require all players to pick Brutal or Expert in any combination.

    So, that about wraps up the on-disc set for my hypothetical RB5. I've got a few DLC pack ideas, and I'll post them at some point!
  • And the tiers are finally up!

    So I had a number of ideas for DLC singles and packs - some of which have already made it into Rock Band proper! I'll put some up every now and then, such as when they're pertinent to the content of the pack. What I'll say now is that every band on the main setlist will have at least one other playable song between the current DLC, song exports from 1/2/3/4/Lego/Green Day, and my DLC plans.
  • edited January 2018
    You know what, I'll put some DLC up each week. To kick us off, here's my first artist three-pack. I'll probably do quite a few of these - they seem to be a bit of a RB standard. So here is:

    Led Zeppelin 01:
    The Immigrant Song | Band tier 2: Solid
    Kashmir | Band tier 3: Moderate
    Whole Lotta Love | Band tier 4: Challenging

    Next week, I'm going to kick off my first Hypothetical Rock Band 5 Rivals Season: To Understand The Future...
  • edited January 2018
    ...We Have To Go Back In Time!

    More on that later. First:

    How I'm tackling Rewinds

    I don't see Rock Band 5 coming out soon. At all. This thread is what I would like to see it be like if it did come out soon, or at the very least songs I'd like to see added to RB4 as DLC. Still, I'm going to work under the assumption that RB5 won't be out for a really long time, and in that time every exportable song from RB1, 2, 3 and Lego will have been rewound. As such, the only rewinds I'll do will be those not in the RB1 and 2 export packs and tracks from RB4.

    Related, but not quite the same, are delisted DLC and RBN tracks. Ideally, I'd want to see delisted DLC be re-added ASAP. Failing that, added at a point that it's relevant. I haven't yet decided how I'll deal with RBN songs (possibly the most realistic thing about my track ideas!)

    Now's as good a time as any to bring it up because...

    This week's DLC

    Metallica 02
    Enter Sandman (Rewind)
    Battery (Rewind)
    Master of Puppets | Band Tier 5: Nightmare

    I'm not gonna bother tiering Rewinds - they already have been officially, somewhere out there in the nethersphere.

    I didn't talk much about the songs last week, which is something Harmonix and other people with these kinds of threads do, so let's talk about Enter Sandman, Battery and Master of Puppets.

    Straight out of the original Rock Band is arguably Metallica's most iconic song, Enter Sandman. Carried by a silky riff, huge chorus, particularly rhythmic bassline and shreddy solos, this song is probably the one I have missed most post-RB1. Rock Band 2 gives us Battery. Don't let its pretty intro fool you - out of the Metallica songs in RB to this part, it's possibly the most all-out thrash track once into the song proper! Finally, a new addition to Rock Band (but not CERTAIN OTHER GUITAR-BASED GAME FRANCHISES ) is Master of Puppets. This time-signature bending tune is the title track of Metallica's incredible 1986 album, and I would imagine one of their most requested songs.

    "But Vexus!" you may cry, "Which of these is the Spotlight song?"

    Sad, but True is. Metallica's been overdue a return to RB for years now, and in my ideal world, I'd make up for last time, with a retrospective pack, consisting of one track from every album.

    Metallica Through the Years
    Hit the Lights | Band Tier Devil: Impossible
    Creeping Death | Band Tier 5: Nightmare
    Orion | Band Tier 4: Challenging
    One | Band Tier Devil: Impossible
    Sad, but True (Spotlight) | Band Tier 2: Solid
    King Nothing | Band Tier 3: Moderate
    Fuel | Band Tier 4: Challenging
    Frantic | Band Tier 4: Challenging
    That Was Just Your Life | Band Tier 5: Nightmare
    Atlas, Rise! | Band Tier 4: Challenging

    Whew. First off, Kill 'Em All is Metallica probably at their most punk rock, particularly with their speed and sound. Hit the Lights opens with what I'd call a "big rock opening" After that, it goes full throttle, slowing down a bit in feel for the choruses. A break, followed by a solo then an actual BRE round the track out.

    On Ride the Lightning, Metallica started writing fewer songs about metal and more about other topics. Creeping Death is another song that's all about the riffs, though it has plenty of fun for all the band members - vocalists get that sweet "DIE!" gang vocal, drummers get fills for days. One of my favourite Metallica songs, and from my personal favourite album.

    With Master of Puppets, the band started going in a bit more of a progressive direction, such as with Orion. It's an instrumental, with all three parts have some good variety with plenty of changes, loads of bass and guitar solos and a solid rhythmic drive.

    The band didn't take the loss of long-standing bassist Cliff Burton lightly, and followed Master of Puppets up with what I consider their "angry" album, ...And Justice For All. From it, we get One. After the sampled war noises you start with a fairly iconic guitar arpeggio, which is the basis for a lot of the song. About two thirds of the way in, the song goes from slow ballad to full metal mode - more than living up to its tiering!

    Onto this week's Spotlight song and the album it's from. With their self-titled fifth album, Metallica started to morph into more of a hard rock band. That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind, since there are some absolute bangers on the self-titled album, such as Sad, but true. This song is generally a lot more straightforward than anything else in the pack, though it still sounds huge - a great song in my opinion to say "welcome back" to Rivals Mode with.

    Sixth and seventh came Load and Reload, a pair of albums that were originally going to be one double album. These days Metallica sort of view them as interchangeable, as they came out within a year of each other and are probably their least heavy albums to date. They also feature some of the more diverse influences in Metallica's career, such as blues and southern rock. I've gone a bit more straightforward with my song choices from them. From Load, King Nothing is sort of an "Enter Sandman Part 2", being structurally similar but with a bass intro rather than guitar. From Reload, we've got Fuel. Aside from being a minor meme and possibly the inspiration for the name of a tiny yet well-regarded rock bar and club in Cardiff, Wales, it's a bit more of a callback to Metallica's thrashier days.

    St. Anger was the first and only album with Bob Rock playing bass, and it was the most divisive one to date. Let's just say Lars experimented with snare sounds, they didn't want Kirk to solo and the band as a whole were on hard times. Frantic is relentless riffage, rolling drums and generally... well, frantic.

    With Rob Trujillo making his debut studio appearance as Metallica's bassist, Death Magnetic was an attempt to return to their thrash sound, though it was muddied somewhat by the final mix of the album. That Was Just Your Life starts with some trippy guitar riffs, before going into more of a full thrash song.

    Last but not least, the lastest album, Hardwired... To Self-Destruct. To me it feels like a continuation of what they were trying with Death Magnetic, but with some of the genre experimentation of Re/Load. There's something about the chorus of this one that reminds me of Iron Maiden - possibly the tone of the dual guitar licks.

    I'm running out of space, so Rivals stuff below.
  • Rock Band 5 Rivals Season 1: To Understand the Future...

    Week 1: Where It All Began:

    Play songs by any of the fifty-eight bands that were on the original Rock Band disc.

    The theme for my first Rivals season is a Rock Band retrospective. Through the next few weeks I'll be taking a look at the various sources of songs and celebrating the history of the franchise. Where better to start than with the very first game?

    As we should by know, Rock Band 1 came out in 2007 as a spiritual successor to Harmonix's Guitar Hero games. It featured a refined version of the familiar gameplay of GH2, with the addition of drums and lead vocals. Its song list, while not personally my favourite, was pretty eclectic and also the subject of some of Irish stand-up comedian Dara O'Briain's material (particularly him bemoaning the fact that in order to get to what he considered the good songs, you had to get through "feckin' Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs").

    Of course, you could play feckin' Maps if you wanted, but that's not what I picked for the spotlight songs.

    Radiohead: Paranoid Android
    Metallica: Sad, but True
    David Bowie: Suffragette City

    Because my plans for this thread aren't finished bending reality, my first track is Radiohead. Their breakthrough hit Creep was featured in Rock Band 1, and this track Paranoid Android is my first on-disc spotlight song for RB5. Creep has re-entered the public eye due to a lawsuit against Lana Del Rey, who has been accused of plagiarising it or something. I'm not really a Lana fan so I'm not entirely sure of the details of it, nor am I that bothered. Besides, I'm supposed to be talking about Paranoid Android. The guitar chart for this one goes back and forth between acoustic and electric and gets pretty shreddy at points. Thom Yorke's vocal goes all over the place (in a good way!) and the tempo changes keep everyone on their collective toes.

    I already talked about Sad but, True in the last post, but I think it's interesting how with the three packs and one on-disc song, the various Metallica songs are divided by album: 1 each from Kill 'em All, Load, Reload, St. Anger and Death Magnetic; 2 each from Ride the Lightning, Metallica and Hardwired... To Self-Destruct; and 3 each from Master of Puppets and ...And Justice for All. Who knows, maybe I'll do a Metallica 03 (maybe it should technically be 04? Debate it in the comments) at some point, but for now I'd say seventeen will do.

    Suffragette City, from Bowie's classic Ziggy Stardust album, rounds this out. This Rewind track is already confirmed, unlike at least two the others I've selected so far, and is a pretty straight-up rock song. Don't get tripped up by the fake ending, though! Not that you should - one addition to the series I'd make is a time meter, which progresses from left to right as the song goes on, giving you a rough idea how much is left. There should still be a gap between the needle and the end at "Wham, bam, thank you ma'am!"

    Next week, my big contribution to the Track Pack Game thread.
  • So, here's a little unplanned, on-the-fly addition.

    This month has been pretty bad for music. In very little time at all we lost Babymetal guitarist Mikio Fujioka, Motörhead guitarist "Fast Eddie" Clarke and The Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan. I thought I'd do a little tribute to the three of them, since they were all incredible musicians in their respective genres and instruments. I think it would be pretty cool if down the line Harmonix did something like this, but I do get that securing the licenses, getting the tracks, charting the instruments etc. is very time-consuming, even after all this time.

    Tribute singles:
    The Cranberries: The Glory | Band Tier 3: Moderate
    Motörhead: Overkill | Band Tier 5: Nightmare
    Babymetal: Head Bangeeeeerrrrr!!!!! | Band Tier Devil: Impossible

    The Glory is a track from the final album The Cranberries put out with Dolores. The track is from an album that's mostly acoustic versions of older songs. The instrumentation provides a beautiful, dreamy landscape for Dolores to lay her vocals down on, and the whole thing is just generally a lush bit of alternative pop.

    I've linked the original version of Overkill (the one Fast Eddie actually plays on) but I totally understand if we get the 2008 rerecord, and I think my tiers wouldn't change drastically for that. This is one that has several fake endings, with a pretty solid and constant drum pattern, bass solo intros with chords played throughout and plenty of guitar solos, before finishing with an actual big rock ending.

    Head Bangeeeeerrrrr!!!!! rounds off the list. It's probably the heaviest track off Babymetal's self-titled debut album, with what I'd imagine to be the toughest guitar track (apart from maybe Road of Resistance, which was only on the international edition, though was also on Metal Resistance - more on that when it ends up as the spotlight track). Loads of great riffing and chugging, a brief solo, the band's good old mix of J-pop idol and harsh vocals and plenty of breakneck double pedal drum sections.

    Three great musicians that music is all the worse off for losing.

    Back to normal on Friday.
  • Let’s get back to regular business with some pretty rockin’ singles and a tribute to a decade old game. If I can get this to work anyway!

    This Week’s DLC:
    This week, every new DLC song shares its name with a track that’s in my Rock Band 5 list, which is very similar to a category I started a few weeks ago in the Track Pack Game thread (only there it was songs that share their name with ones from the non-hypothetical bits of Rock Band).

    Variety singles: Name’s the Same Edition

    Generation X: Kiss Me Deadly | Band tier 2: Solid
    Lacuna Coil: Spellbound (Spotlight) | Band tier 3: Moderate
    The Pretty Reckless: Oh My God | Band tier 4: Challenging
    Television: Venus | Band tier 3: Moderate
    Manic Street Preachers: Faster | Band tier 2: Solid
    System of a Down: Bubbles | Band tier 5: Nightmare

    First off, we’ve got Billy Idol’s old band, Generation X. Kiss Me Deadly shares its name with a Lita Ford song, and strangely enough is actually from the band’s self-titled album. The Kiss Me Deadly album isn’t unrepresented in Rock Band though - Dancing With Myself is from that album, which came later. Confused? Me too! Pretty arpeggios give way further down to some classic punk energy, but come back for the choruses. Fun rumour: I’ve seen it mentioned online that this might be Billie Joe Armstrong’s favourite song, but I’ve got no confirmation either way.

    Spellbound by Lacuna Coil shares its name with a Siouxsie and the Banshees song, as well as having some roots in the gothic rock genre. Shallow Life, the album Spellbound is from, is probably Lacuna Coil’s most mainstream-friendly album to date and my personal least favourite, but this song’s a gem from that album nevertheless. The guitar parts are pretty riff-driven with a pretty nice solo (something pretty rare for LC) and male vocalist Andrea Ferro takes the lead for the verses. The bassline is pretty much all root notes, and the drums get a few fills here and there. A bit of a mix of familiar and novel from Italy’s biggest metal export.

    The Pretty Reckless hit us with a two-for-one deal, as this track shares its name not only with the Kaiser Chiefs’ indie anthem from my RB5 list, but also Ida Maria’s song in RB3. Here, Taylor and co. go a bit thrash, with some frantic guitar riffs, drumming and bass picking. It slows down a bit for the vocal hooks, but provides some nice challenge without being too inaccessible.

    Up next is Venus by Television. Sharing its name with the Shocking Blue song of the same name (the more famous Bananarama cover being part of the RB5 list), it provides a fair bit of contrast with the rest, having more of a laid back feel with some tricky bass licks. It’s also one of those rare tracks where the solo is probably easier than the rest of the guitar track, being mostly long notes.

    Welsh wonders, the Manic Street Preachers are next, with their song Faster. Compared to the Within Temptation song, it certainly is. It’s another pretty early song of theirs, when they had a lot more punk and glam influence than some of their later and more well-known songs. This is a feisty, fiery romp of a song with a pretty surprising guitar solo part-way through. Nothing too tricky here, it’s just a great tune by a long overdue band.

    Finally, some nu-metal. System of a Down’s track is the heaviest of this week’s singles by a longshot, and considerably harder than Biffy Clyro’s song! Our first song from Steal This Album!, Bubbles is a relentless chugger of a track with little let-up for anyone. SOAD have always been a pretty experimental band, and this is one of their songs that they really mix that with raw aggression. Definitely a song to check out.

    A few of these bands will return down the line. For now though, let’s take a look at the Rivals challenge.

    Rock Band 5 Rivals Season 1 Week 2: Sophomore Release
    Play songs by any of the fifty-eight bands featured in Rock Band 2

    Rock Band 2 launched in 2008 and while it didn't feature much in the way of major gameplay updates (talk notes became easier and drummers can solo now, and some online stuff), it did bring the most and in my opinion, best set of songs to date. Gone are the in-house covers and in are loads of great punk, metal, new wave and old school tunes - you know, stuff I love! In fact, this week’s spotlight songs are a great old school song, a great metal song and a great new wave song.

    Fleetwood Mac: The Chain
    Lacuna Coil: Spellbound
    Devo: Uncontrollable Urge

    The Chain is from the classic album Rumours, as is Fleetwood Mac’s RB2 song Go Your Own Way. This song was made up of smaller song ideas, creating an almost odyssey in itself. Every instrument gets a standout moment - the soaring vocal harmonies, beautiful guitars, bass solo (which you Brits might recognise as the formula one theme) and steady percussion make this quite rightly one of the most wanted songs for Rock Band.

    Spellbound has been talked about for gameplay. This is the only spotlight song in this season that doesn’t predate the game it’s representing, with the Shallow Life album dropping in 2009. However, the album’s opening track Survive was among the first songs to be on the RBN, which was originally launched on RB2. A truncated version of Our Truth (from 2006’s Karmacode) appears in RB2 itself.

    Finally, another on-disc/rewind track from the game in question rounds us off. One of the beauties of this series is learning about music you were previously ignorant to. Prior to hearing Uncontrollable Urge, I just assumed Devo were a one-hit wonder synthpop band, but this more punk-influenced track showed me otherwise. This song is just pure fun, with its descending riff and kinda wacky vocals. If I recall correctly, it was also re-recorded specifically for RB2 (hence using a gameplay video in the link), and is one of the few songs to have had that done.

    Next week, we're building it up.
  • edited June 2018
    Not to burn it down though - that song’s already a piece of DLC, silly! In fact, Linkin Park’s pretty irrelevant to this week overall, in fact.

    This week’s DLC:
    I bring you a three-pack of songs by a Scottish folk singer-songwriter who had a song (Suddenly I See) in the game that’s at the centre of this week’s spotlight (Lego Rock Band), as well as another song (Black Horse and the Cherry Tree) its rough counterpart game from that other rock guitar game thingy franchise (you know the one!). Folk’s one of those genres I feel is a bit underrepresented in the RB games, so why not have some more? Certainly, this week’s artist has the tunes to deserve it in my opinion.

    KT Tunstall 01:
    It Took Me So Long to Get Here, But Here I Am | Band tier 3: Moderate (Drum machine alt-charted to drums)
    Black Horse and the Cherry Tree (Spotlight) | Band tier 4: Challenging (Verse percussion alt-charted to drums)
    Hold On | Band tier 2: Solid

    KT has more than just the four great songs, of course, so I’ve been low-key holding out for more of her for a while now. First is It Took Me So Long to Get Here, But Here I Am from her 2016 album KIN. A fitting title for someone who is an overlooked and overdue artist for some RB DLC, I’d say! The chorus drums remind me a lot of Everlong by the Foo Fighters, hence the high tier. The guitars are pretty straight forward, and the vocals are sweet and melodic with some pretty nice harmonies. A gorgeous tune, considering I mostly picked it for giggles.

    Black Horse and the Cherry Tree has a rather divided set of difficulty tiers. I’m not going to pretend it’s even remotely difficult on bass, and the drums have a bit of additional percussion tiered to them to keep things lively, but the guitar has plenty of tricky chord strum patterns and little licks in it that make it nice and tricky. The vocals are varied and span quite a wide range of notes, with some really hooky harmonies in there.

    Talking about these songs doesn’t really do them justice, I feel. A lot of what I’ve said above also applies to Hold On, but it still sounds pretty different from the other songs of hers. You know what to expect - minimalist bass, guitar that mixes chords and licks almost seamlessly, solid percussion and great lead vocals with gorgeous BVs. Yet, it’s different enough in sound to still be worth checking out.

    Bonus Track:
    I usually put my posts up in the early hours of Friday mornings in the UK. This week is no exception, but yesterday was both Burns Night in Scotland (a day of memorial for the Scottish poet Robert Burns) and St. Dwynwen's Day in Wales (basically an extra Valentine's Day roughly a month early). So, why not put a classic love/heartache song by a Welshman in too? I mean, I already put a Scottish artist at the forefront!

    Tom Jones: It's Not Unusual (+KB) | Band Tier 3: Moderate

    If It’s Not Unusual does somehow end up in Rock Band and the singer doesn’t do the Carlton Dance, I will be very, very upset. Tom Jones of course is something of a living legend in popular music, having been around forever and at some point worked or met with just about everyone! I can see this having a bit of a similar chart to Uptown Funk, with the horns or strings not being alt-charted. The vocals are really the standout parts here, though the guitar does get a brief solo. Drums are pretty straightforward but with pretty small note divisions, giving it a faster feel than it has.

    Rock Band 5 Rivals Season 1 Week 3: Bricking It
    Play songs by any of the 44 bands featured in Lego Rock Band

    Breaking up the numbered sequels, Lego Rock Band featured a smaller, more family friendly side-installment. Does that mean the song list was neutered into being nothing but teeny bop trash? Goodness no! It has plenty of great songs in it like Fire, The Final Countdown, Valerie, Suddenly I See, Song 2…

    Blur: Parklife
    KT Tunstall: Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
    Ray Parker Jr.: Ghostbusters

    Parklife, from the Blur album of the same name, is a pretty simple warmup song to help push your crew up a level. On vocals, the verses are all talkies provided by actor Phil Daniels, while the choruses don’t really change up much. Simple, effective instrumentation rounds out the track. Lego Rock Band of course has Blur’s biggest hit in America, Song 2, which was supposed to be a parody of grunge and American alternative rock.

    Black Horse and the Cherry Tree is detailed above. KT’s first appearance in Rock Band was of course with Suddenly I See in Lego Rock Band. Of the two tracks, Suddenly I See is probably the one that better fits a whole band game, due to having a fairly constant bassline and (as far as I know) no alt-charted drums. Still, this was also a big hit and is probably the most likely to make it into an actual RB.

    One thing I’m doing for 1-4 and Lego is picking a song from the game itself to be the final spotlight song. For each, I wanted the tracks used to be something of a comment on the content of the games. For RB1 it was that it had a solid balance of tracks, but was mostly rooted in the past. For RB2, it was reflective of how I felt it had the best setlist for my music taste. Lego, meanwhile, is a pretty mixed bag - there’s a lot of British alternative/indie stuff on there (hence Blur and KT) but most of the stuff on there is just pure fun, even if very little is difficult on the instruments. Ghostbusters is a great embodiment of that, with a great groove to it and guitar parts that have a bit of an alt-chart feel to them without being alt-charted. Like a lot of LRB, it’s great at parties!

    (Originally I was going to use The Final Countdown, but I've got another spotlight challenge in mind for it...)

    Next week should be good, but prevention would be better.
  • worrrd! KT Tunstall is such an underrated artist for someone who nevertheless had chart success. I especially loved "Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon" from 2013, never faltered though, has a great ear for power-pop-like rock. Great pick!!
  • @thebipsnbeeps Thanks for the comment. I didn't end up picking anything from Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon this time, but there were a few songs I considered that didn't make the cut for this three-pack. Might do another three-pack somewhere down the line though!
  • edited February 2018
    Because prevention is better than the cure. HAH.

    This week’s DLC:
    The Cure are one of the all-time greatest bands in my opinion. Whether they like it or not, they pretty much made the template for gothic rock, while constantly evolving their sound. I doubt one three-pack will be enough but it’s a good… well, continuation from the two on-disc songs they had in RB3 and 4 and having Lovesong as a DLC single.

    The Cure 01:
    A Forest | Band tier 3: Moderate
    Boys Don’t Cry (Spotlight) | Band tier 1: Apprentice
    Fascination Street | Band tier 3: Moderate

    First off is A Forest. Even the addition of a reverse-reverbed snare drum on a fairly constant drum pattern can’t stop this song being cold and haunting, with the guitar and bass really setting the tone for the vocals. This would be one of the most atmospheric songs in Rock Band to date, and I would love to see more songs like it brought in!

    Boys Don’t Cry is a great little song with a great little guitar lick, though there shouldn’t be anything here that’s too tough for anyone to take on. If you want to add some gold stars to your crew’s scores this week, this would be the track to do it on The only thing to watch out for is a bit of off-beat strumming, but otherwise this would a cakewalk of a song. Still good though!

    Finally, Fascination Street comes with long instrumental passages with another fairly constant bassline and a pretty interesting snare pattern coupled with sixteenth notes on the high-hat. When the vocals come in, you get Rob Smith using a good portion of his range making it pretty tricky. I can see there being a percussion track (likely tambourine) which would sync up with the snare during some of the breaks. The guitars get a few different licks to play which helps to keep this track interesting.

    Rock Band 5 Rivals Season 1 Week 4: Major Key Alert
    Play songs by any of the 83 bands featured in Rock Band 3

    Rock Band 3 was the final RB game for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii, and where DLC stopped altogether for a while. It also has in my opinion the most ambitious additions to the series - it was the first numbered RB game (though third overall) to have vocal harmonies, and the first and so far only to have keyboards and pro instruments (other than drums, which returned in 4 and would return in 5). To call it ambitious would be underselling it. When it was announced, I was worried it would be spread too thin and risked being unsatisfying on the five instruments, and that 1/2/Lego (and the full band Guitar Hero games for the most part) struck a good balance between number of instruments and having good songs for those instruments. I still feel that way to a degree, though it was better than I expected. Still, it introduced me to the most new acts that I’ve grown to like out of any Rock Band so far, which is cool!

    Primus: Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver
    The Cure: Boys Don’t Cry
    Bob Marley and the Wailers: Get Up, Stand Up

    “Ugh, do I have to do bass, Vexus? Bass is boring!” is something I’ve heard all too often. I disagree - while a lot of lines are repetitive and made up of root notes that you just move between every bar or so, or do a single riff over and over, there are plenty at are more interesting. “But it’s so easy!” Two words: Les Claypool. Primus first came to Rock Band in RB3, with a song that’s Nightmare-tier on bass and yet still undertiered. Weird, huh? Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver might be an ever so slightly, marginally, teeny tiny bit easier than Jerry Was A Race Car Driver on bass, but it’s still near impossible in the literal sense as well as the tier sense. The other parts have a similar amount of Primus craziness to them, with a nice bit of a country flavour.

    Not much else to say on Boys Don’t Cry other than we need more gothic stuff dammit! The Cure’s debut appearance in Rock Band came in 3, with Just Like Heaven. Since then they returned in RB4 with Friday I’m In Love and as DLC with Lovesong. Boys Don’t Cry is one of their biggest songs not to be in the game, so it feels a bit overdue. As for why its album art and listing is the single... it's complicated.

    I know I called Rock Band 1 eclectic, but Rock Band 3 was ECLECTIC. Bob Marley and the Wailers are pretty much the definitive reggae band, and this track comes with all the musical tropes I personally associate with the genre - vocal freestyling, syncopated guitar, a bassline that leads the song almost as much as any other instrument (SO BORING!) and swung drums. One of the more outside-the-box tracks in this season’s spotlight.

    One last thing before I wrap up the week: I've been putting together a Spotify playlist of almost every new song in the thread. Some are replaced with live versions, but the only one missing altogether is Fuwa Fuwa Time. That's still over eight and a half hours of music so far, and increasing.

    Next week, double the packs = double the fun?
  • Sorry to anyone who's been wondering where the posts for this have gone. I've been unwell recently and going through some pretty bad stuff in my life and ended up putting this to the wayside. Not sure when I'll pick it up again.
  • edited February 2018
    Since this post was about 95% done (just a bit of the blurbs and the tiers were missing - I'll add the latter later), I figured that I might as well finish this up and just post it. Originally I was going to post this on 9th February. Funnily enough, @FritzyKatz did an Arctic Monkeys three-pack at around the same time (with one song in common!), and RB4 got an Imagine Dragons song (though neither of the new ones here) as DLC this week.


    Two artist three-packs for the price of… well, two really. Or one and two thirds if you own RB4. Yep, it’s Rewind O’Clock! First though, a bit of info about a potential curveball.

    Handling the legacy of the Rock Band 4: Rivals tracks
    Well, it’s not really a curveball. I’m going to treat it pretty much the same as Blitz. You bought it, you get RB5 on the same console family, you get the tracks in RB5. As for the latecomers, I’m not sure how to handle them. Maybe a Rivals pack that sells the songs at a slight discount as the features added to RB4 in Rivals are part of RB5’s base game? Rewinds? Food for thought.

    This week’s DLC:
    Like I said, it’s two packs this week, and it’s all a bit indie.

    Arctic Monkeys 01:
    Do I Wanna Know? (Spotlight) | Band tier 0: Warmup
    When the Sun Goes Down | Band tier 4: Challenging
    Fake Tales of San Francisco | Band tier 3: Moderate

    Our spotlight song this week is a punchy, riff-based tune. During the choruses, the vocal line follows the guitar melody, giving vocalists something to follow, which makes it a little easier to sing. It’s overall a pretty straight forward song, but sounds so good despite that simplicity. Maybe because of that simplicity. Who knows?

    When the Sun Goes Down has a bit more going on in it by contrast. Light intro and outro, powerful rhythm section and loads of drive. It’s one of the darker songs of theirs, lyrically, telling the story of a “scummy man” picking up a prostitute and knowingly infecting her with an STD. You know, because I love nice happy uplifiting music!

    Fake Tales of San Francisco rounds the pack out. I was torn between this and a few other songs to put in the pack (enough that I might do an Arctic Monkeys 02 at some point). I Bet That You Look Good on the Dance Floor, Fluorescent Adolescent and Arabella as a second rewind all appealed. Instead I went with this one, as I love the groove on it and the lyrics mocking phony “weekend rockstars”. Something about that being in a game where you pretend to be a rockstar rather appealed… I think the tiers speak for themselves here - everything’s carried by solid groove apart from the break in the middle when things kick up a bit in terms of note divisions.

    Imagine Dragons 01:
    I Bet My Life (Rewind)
    Demons | Band Tier 1: Apprentice
    It’s Time | Band Tier 2: Solid

    I’m not really a huge Imagine Dragons fan, but I don’t think they’re as deserving of scorn as some people seem to think they are. I mean sure, Thunder was a pretty horrible song and either of the non-rewind tunes would have been preferable, but we get what we’re given and it’s up to us to vote with our wallets. That said, I really like It’s Time, and Demons is a perfectly fine song.

    I Bet My Life is the rewind and technically a spotlight song, but I wouldn’t put it in the spotlight pack. After all, why should those with the RB4 export pay twice for the same song? Vocally it’s pretty rough, going from soft, short and low in the verses to high, long and powerful in the choruses. It’s a surprisingly fun challenge. Instrumentally it’s basic on drums and bass, and somewhat akin to the vocals on guitar - short and quiet notes with plenty of movement in the verses, big long chords in the choruses.

    Demons is more of a low-key song instrumentally, with nothing too difficult. Vocally it has a relatively straightforward and drawn out melody, though it does span quite a wide range. Not much to say on it really, I just wanted something to be the third track in the pack!

    It’s Time is driven mainly by a mandolin (correct me if I’m wrong on that) riff which would be alt-charted to guitar and some prominent percussion. Vocals have some very nice harmonies on them which make this a little bit trickier. After Radioactive, it’s probably my favourite Imagine Dragons song.

    Rock Band 5 Rivals Season 1 Week 5: Freestylaz
    Play songs by any of the 89 bands featured in Rock Band 4 or the Rock Band Rivals updates

    I don’t think Rock Band 4 deserves all the flak it got. Admittedly I got into it a couple of years late when a lot of its teething issues had already been sorted but these days, I’d say it’s a worthy follow-up to Rock Band 3. Sure, I can see why losing most of the pro modes and keyboard mode altogether sucked (and there are quite a few songs from the RB3 days that really suffer for the lack of keys) but I thought the song list as a whole was pretty good (I actually prefer it on the whole to RB3), if smaller than I would have liked. I think Harmonix would have been better off waiting for Guitar Hero Live to crash, then brought out RB4 with additions such as setlists, ratings and so on. Also, freeform solo vocals? BEST. THING. EVER.

    St. Vincent: Rattlesnake
    Arctic Monkeys: Do I Wanna Know?
    Imagine Dragons: I Bet My Life

    Hey, I only have to talk about Rattlesnake here! St. Vincent makes some pretty interesting, weird and generally off-the-wall stuff, and her self-titled album is a great demonstration of this. What’s an even more specific demonstration? Birth in Reverse, but we already had that in RB4 (thank you based Harmonix!) so how about the opening track? The standout track for me is the synth bassline, but everything else is quirky and fun too. Who else was a song about a naked person getting chased by a snake going to turn out, after all? Obviously I Bet My Life is from RB4 itself, and Do I Wanna Know? Is from the same album as Arabella.

    Next time, we put nepotism in the spotlight.
  • edited March 2018
    Originally this post was intended to be put up on 16th February.

    This time, let's take a look at career mode. First though, a question with a simple answer.

    This week’s DLC:
    You know what the series is a bit lacking in?

    70’s Glam Singles:
    Sweet: Blockbuster | Band Tier 1: Apprentice
    Slade: Cum On Feel The Noize (spotlight) | Band Tier 4: Challenging
    Mud: Tiger Feet | Band Tier 2: Solid

    If you're wondering what's with the Top of the Pops clips, the seventies was a bit before the era of music videos, and TOTP had all their performers mime their songs. Still, it gives a bit more to look at than just an audio upload, but still has the studio version playing. Anyway, on with the song blurbs.

    Is it me or does the guitar part for Blockbuster sound a lot like The Jean Genie by David Bowie? Either way, the vocals are all over the place in this one, with a fairly solid rhythmic guitar part. The vocals are pretty all over the place, spanning low and high notes with some long “ah-ahhs”, and they’re the stand-out part here. Nothing too difficult on the other instruments, apart from… let’s just say a rhythmically intriguing break in the middle of the song.

    I’m British. Nothing against Quiet Riot (and I wouldn’t mind their version either) but the Slade version of Cum On Feel The Noize will always be the “proper” one to me! Vocals are pretty solidly high the whole time, but nothing that quite pushes up to Impossible tier, I don’t think. Drums are fairly solid with some fast hits on the high-hat, guitars both have some neat fills in them. Overall quite a tricky song.

    And to round out the week, here’s something a bit cheesier and upbeat (which when this week’s about seventies glam rock out of the UK, is saying something). A couple of solos on guitar, but nothing too ridiculous. In fact, this week as a whole is kind of a demonstration that while challenge and fun can (and quite often do) overlap, they're not the same thing.

    Rock Band 5 Rivals Season 1 Week 6: This Is the New Shtuff
    Play songs by any of the 91 bands featured in Rock Band 5

    I’m rather proud of my list, but then I would be - it’s my list! It reflects my personal music taste while providing a decent variety of songs. My main focus genres were rock, punk, metal, alternative and pop-rock with a few outliers that I thought would work well (such as “Two Skin” and “B.O.B”).

    JayCee: Domino
    Slade: Cum On Feel The Noize
    Electric Six: Gay Bar

    Last time I jokingly said nepotism was in the spotlight. This is because quite a few bands on my set list are friends of mine through things like university and meeting them at festivals. One such band is JayCee - I’m on the same course as the guy singing lead during the verses. Sadly the mixing on Domino doesn’t do the tune justice, but it’s a pretty solid pop-punk-inspired belter. I’m not sorry at all for using this platform to promote some friends of mine, and you won’t be sorry if you check out more of their work.

    All I have to say about Cum On Feel The Noize that I haven’t already is that I am also not sorry for the fact I don’t plan to put in any Quiet Riot. :P

    Gay Bar’s all talkies, so that’s an easy full combo for the singers out there (or anyone who owns a USB mic or a headset really). Otherwise, it’s just a fast and fun party song that you will not regret playing! Just the audio and album cover since the upload of the official video is both a lyrically censored version (the words "nuclear war" are covered by whip cracked - the RB DLC version is uncensored) and age restricted.

    Rock Band 5’s Career Mode
    I liked the idea behind RB2 and 4’s career modes, where you start off playing an open mic night in your hometown and forge a career path from there. As such I’d use RB4’s career mode as the sort of mould for it. One thing I liked in the other Rock Bands though was seeing your characters interact and be a band - things like the rooftop party in RB3, or the posters in RB2. We don’t really get that in the same way in RB4, which I think is a bit of a shame. So rather than just text boxes with a picture, I’m thinking that the gameplay should have little cutscenes between the main bits of the story. In addition, the pre-made characters would be voiced, and you can choose one of those voices for your custom characters.

    I don’t see a lot of point to keeping the songs locked away, but venues would be. The story mode starts with a decision about where the band should make their debut appearance: either a party (sticking you to a pre-made setlist) or an open mic night (giving you free reign of all the songs you own at band tier 1 or lower). From there your options start to branch out, depending on which you picked. Maybe one day I’ll go into more depth on this.

    Next time, I do the equivalent of pressing F.

    EDIT: I've updated the Spotify playlist to include the Arctic Monkeys, Imagine Dragons and glam singles songs, plus next week's ones. See if you can work out the theme!
  • edited June 2018
    This post was intended to be posted on 23rd February.

    We’re all familiar with St. Patrick’s Day, no doubt, but the other big nations of the British Isles have patron saints - George for England, Andrew for Scotland and David for Wales.

    This week’s DLC:
    It’s for good reason that I’m briefing you all on a bit of British culture, as this week I’ve done some mixed singles, all from Welsh acts.

    Variety week: St. David’s Day Edition
    Catatonia: Road Rage (+KB) | Band Tier 3: Moderate
    Skindred: Warning (ft. Jacoby Shaddix) (+KB) | Band Tier 4: Challenging
    Duffy: Mercy (+KB) | Band Tier 4: Challenging

    For those who don’t know, St. David’s Day falls on 1st March.

    Catatonia (not to be confused with Katatonia) were a pretty big deal here in the UK in the 1990s from what I recall. Singer Cerys Matthews had one of the most distinctive voices in the game, making absolutely no attempt whatsoever to cover her accent up. I can see that tripping up vocalists a bit, along with some of the drum fills for the drummers. Guitar and bass are pretty standard alt-rock work.

    Skindred are a band who take influences from all over the place - metal, punk, reggae, electronic music and hip-hop, to name a few. As such, this is probably one of the more unusual songs to end up in the game, but nowhere near the weirdest that Skindred have to offer. Vocals could be a bit of a pain to chart, but I can see it coming out something like Lamb of God’s "Redneck" - quite a few pitched bits that one might normally expect to see put in talkies - particularly the verses. This one’s pretty riff-focused on guitar and bass, with guitar having slightly more work but not so much that it gets a higher tier. A lot of the time the two are doing similar things.

    So, soul made a big comeback in the 2000s over here. We had singers like Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone bringing out material and making big names for themselves. However, those two are English. Just as well Duffy also brought out an album called Rockferry at around the same time otherwise I’d struggle to come up with a third act. Well, not really. I originally had Tom Jones in this slot but moved him forwards and there are LOADS of great Welsh acts. No alt-charting to be found here, though the guitar’s kind of pushed in the background. Rather, this one is all about the bass and the lead vocal (and I suppose the background rap in the middle 8).

    Rock Band 5 Rivals Season 1 Week 7: A Good Connection
    Play songs by any band that was featured on the Rock Band Network

    I miss the RBN, don’t you? It had all sorts of stuff from alternative rock, underground metal, dank memes, up and coming new bands, an absolute tonne of Halcyon Way for some reason, UK-based J-rock… Ideally, I’d love to see all the songs from it come to RB4, but I know that’s not realistic in the slightest going by the community survey and recent delist. Still, acts like Bring Me The Horizon, My Morning Jacket, Third Eye Blind and Seether having RB4 DLC and that anniversary 10-pack do instill me with faith that we might see it return in some form or another. Even if it doesn’t, you’ve still got acts like In This Moment, Jonathan Coulton and Lacuna Coil who appeared in other sources than just the RBN.

    Alestorm: Captain Morgan’s Revenge
    Skindred: Warning (ft. Jacoby Shaddix)
    Freezepop: Doppelgänger

    Alestorm had two tracks from Back Through Time on the RBN: the title track and Shipwrecked. As one of those bands who undergo quite a few lineup changes (and a few tonal shifts too), Captain Morgan’s Revenge has a bit more of a sea shanty feel to it than either of the other tracks, but it has plenty of metal elements too. For instance, it opens with a ridiculous drum intro over some bombastic orchestral parts and drawn-out guitar chords. As I’m not generally* a fan of alt-charting, I wouldn’t use any, though I would be amused if the accordion solo (well, keytar using accordion samples) was charted! It wouldn’t change my tier for the guitar after all - it’s already an impossible! A fairly low impossible (akin to Something Bigger Something Brighter) but an impossible nevertheless. Bass for the most part emulates (but doesn’t alt-chart) rhythm guitar, vocals are pretty simple but must be performed with a good pirate accent. Ye landlubber.

    *there are exceptions to this. Maybe one day I’ll do a rant about alt-charting I like and dislike.

    Skindred are in because they’re this week’s DLC band that previously featured on the RBN, with two versions of their song Stand For Something, one for RB2 and one optimised for RB3. Already talked about Warning’s gameplay, so let’s instead talk about the Newport Helicopter. The band are utterly bonkers live. They usually end with this song, during which they get the crowd to take their shirts off, hold them up and spin them around. This is the Newport Helicopter and as amazing as it would be to see your vocalist Carlton Dance to It’s Not Unusual, seeing the Newport Helicopter in RB would be even more incredible. Plsplsplsplspls let it happen, Harmonix!

    Doppelgänger is a song that I didn’t hear before the anniversary pack. Now it’s my first choice for a spotlight song for this pack. Why? Well, it’s one of only a few tracks that not only is playable in RB4 but also was actually available on the RBN for one, and for another I just love Freezepop’s lyrical creativity and keen sense of melody. Guitar gets a bit of a breather (well deserved after two kinda bonkers metal songs) while bass and vocals come into the spotlight.

    Next time, some pithy comment about Green Day blitzing the remaining sources.
  • edited June 2018
    BONUS ROUND! Valentine’s Day singles which I meant to post around Valentine’s Day itself. There’s a lot to get through so I’ll spare you my usual blurbs. Just the tunes and the tiers this time. Six male-fronted songs, six female-fronted songs and six duets. Let’s get it on*!

    *is not in the pack, nor is the Meghan Trainor/Charlie Puth song that references it.

    Valentine’s Day Super Pack
    Mr. Mister: Broken Wings (+KB) | Band Tier 2: Solid
    New Found Glory: Kiss Me | Band Tier 3: Moderate
    The Cure: The Lovecats (+KB) | Band Tier 2: Solid (Piano and horns alt-charted to guitar at some points, double bass alt-charted to bass)
    Maroon 5: She Will Be Loved (+KB)| Band Tier 2: Solid
    Linkin Park: Valentine's Day | Tier 1: Apprentice
    Ne-Yo: So Sick (+KB) | Band Tier 3: Moderate (Synth bass alt-charted to bass, drum machine alt-charted to drums)
    Florence + The Machine: You've Got The Love (+KB) | Band Tier 1: Apprentice
    The Bangles: Eternal Flame (+KB) | Band Tier 1: Apprentice
    Shakira: Whenever, Wherever (+KB) | Band Tier 3: Moderate (Mandolin alt-charted to guitar)
    Taylor Swift: You Belong With Me (+KB)| Band Tier 2: Solid (Banjo alt-charted to guitar)
    Sara Bareilles: Love Song (+KB) | Band Tier 3: Moderate
    Epica: Our Destiny (+KB) | Band Tier 5: Nightmare
    Frank Sinatra: Somethin’ Stupid (ft. Nancy Sinatra) (+KB) | Band Tier 4: Challenging
    Bryan Adams: When You’re Gone (ft. Mel C) | Band Tier 3: Moderate
    Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: Please Read The Letter (+KB) | Band Tier 4: Challenging (Violin solos alt-charted to guitar)
    Paula Abdul: Opposites Attract (+KB) | Band Tier 5: Nightmare
    Lita Ford: Close My Eyes Forever (ft. Ozzy Osbourne) (+KB) | Band Tier 4: Challenging
    Lacuna Coil: Honeymoon Suite | Band Tier 4: Challenging

    As you can see, the pack is about one third bitter and sarcastic - sort of like me in real life. I got the impression that a lot of people were a bit disappointed with the Valentine’s Day content this year. I was too, and I think if we even got a fraction of what I’m suggesting in this post it would have been much better. There are loads of ways you could take Valentine’s Day-themed content, and so having two singles as DLC (though they were good songs, I’ll admit) and a vaguely love song-ish Rivals week felt very underwhelming to me.

    I'll end on a positive note and just say that I know some of my choices are utterly mad, especially when next to each other, but I was not putting in any songs I dislike just to pad the numbers. I would never do that to you. In fact, if anything, this eighteen-pack of basically every style ever in RB is me trying to be restrained!

    The thing I said would be this time will be next time for real this time!
  • edited June 2018
    Alright, two things.

    Thing one is that I try to plan these posts way in advance. I come up with song ideas, and I put them with other songs either in an artist pack (as with Metallica, Led Zeppelin and this post's main artist) or in a themed pack or singles selection (as with the seasonal posts, 70s Glam or Same Name Different Song). One song I hadn't put with anything was Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield, which is confirmed for this week. Here are the tiers I had come up with (band tier is a 2). Yes, I know the bass tier is confirmed as one, but A: I disagree and B: this is what I've had in my spreadsheet for a while.

    Second thing is another band we've needed more of for a long time now. As such, I doubled the three-pack.

    This week’s DLC
    Who do I mean? Oh, just some English trio you might have heard of.

    Muse 01:
    Citizen Erased | Band Tier 5: Nightmare
    Mercy (+KB) | Band Tier 3: Moderate
    Plug In Baby (Spotlight) (+KB) | Band Tier 4: Challenging
    Time Is Running Out | Band Tier 4: Challenging
    Uprising (+KB) | Band Tier 3: Moderate
    Uno | Band Tier 4: Challenging

    Citizen Erased opens with a screechy, HOPO-laden intro. It goes back and forth between heavy and quiet throughout. When it’s heavy, it’s pretty unrelenting on any instrument but the quiet passages grant everyone a bit of a breather. An amazing track which would be very interesting to see given the RB treatment.

    Another Same Name Different Song! Mercy opens up with piano and bass, with the drums and guitars coming in with a pretty straightforward beat. Vocals really get the spotlight in this one,

    Plug In Baby’s our spotlight song this week, carried mainly by the drum beats and the arpeggiated power chord bassline. Guitar drops out a few times, and mostly sticks to chords and the main riff - the latter’s trickiness balanced out by the relatively straightforward and simple pre-choruses and choruses. The vocal improvisation bumps the tier up one, otherwise it’s a solid three there.

    Time Is Running Out is another one mostly carried by bass and drums. This is kind of a recurring thing with Muse, and this won’t be the last one in the pack like this. This one’s slower-paced, but with some pretty tricky drum fills in the pre-choruses.

    Uprising is one of those songs where there will be some alt-charted synth leads in the guitar chart, but weirdly I didn’t mind it much in Guitar Hero. Solo vocalists rejoice - the song has claps built into it! Once again, the song is carried by the bassline (mostly syncopated octaves) and drums.

    Finally, Uno is a bit weirder, having a bit of a western vibe to it. Guitar and vocals are at the forefront here, with the hi-hat having some pretty fiddly rhythms on it that put the tier way up.

    Rock Band 5 Rivals Season 1 Week 8: Spend, Spend, Spend!
    Play songs by any band that first appeared in Rock Band as DLC, in Blitz or in a track pack

    That’s about all that’s left, after all. It’s also probably the majority of bands, since so few appeared elsewhere.

    Green Day: Bang Bang
    Muse: Plug In Baby
    Living Colour: Cult of Personality

    Considering that they had an entire game to themselves (which is actually the reason I picked them for the spotlight this week), it’s perhaps easy to forget that Green Day had two track packs beforehand - especially since the content of those packs is all from the 21st Century Breakdown album. Bang Bang reminds me quite a bit of St. Jimmy, and is modern Green Day at their more punk-ish. It’s also one of my more preferred tracks from Revolution Radio, along with the title track. Fast playing with plenty of space to trip up. Approach with caution!

    Not much else to say about Plug In Baby other than there will very likely be more Muse down the line. My personal favourite album is totally unrepresented by the pack, after all~

    Does anyone know why Guitar Hero needed a re-record while Rock Band got the original version of Cult of Personality? Either way, Living Colour come to the spotlight table to represent Blitz. This is HOPO heaven, carried by a strong, solid drum beat. Guitarists, prepare to shred for your lives!

    Next time, we take a three week break from the rivalry to focus on some of my personal favourite bands.
  • edited June 2018
    Unwritten Tier Comparison

    Guitar and bass were one low, drums were spot on and vocals were one high. Not bad, even though I disagree with bass being tier one. I also disagree with the genre Harmonix listed the song under - I reckon she fits more naturally under pop/dance/electronic than pop-rock as she is a pure pop artist. Don’t get me wrong, I like the singer and the song, and Unwritten would have been in this thread at some point, but it’s really not rock.

    You know what is though?

    This week’s DLC

    If you were to ask me what my all-time favourite band is, I would say “Epica”. No hesitation. No difficulty. Every time. As such, it feels a bit odd that I’m only giving them this three-pack and an on-disc spot for now when I gave Muse six songs and Metallica twelve. That’s because I don’t think they’re an absolutely perfect fit for Rock Band. Keyboards and orchestral arrangements are a big part of their sound, but RB4 doesn’t have keyboards and I (mostly) dislike alt-charting - especially when there is already a guitar part (or multiple) in the song. I would also hesitate to add keyboards to RB5, for reasons I mentioned in the RB3 Rivals theme post. (THAT AGED LIKE MILK LMFAO)

    Blimey, I’m doing a three-pack of my favourite band and I’m sounding negative as heck right now!

    Alright, positive things about Epica. Well, as their name implies, they sound epic, in the “heroic or grand in scale or character. They’re a symphonic metal band, so that should come with the territory, but I mean that they sound epic even in comparison to other symphonic metal bands. They don’t just sound like Disney tunes with guitars (not that there’s anything wrong with that, and they have dabbled in that occasionally too), but like a full-on metal band with classical elements such as choirs and orchestral arrangements. They draw upon genres such as death metal and progressive rock more than their contemporaries, combining them with the usual gothic rock, power metal and classical influences that their contemporaries also use, to create something beyond them. Lyrically they also generally (but not entirely) avoid the romance and literary allusions that other bands of their kind play on too, instead covering things such as current events, quantum physics and corruption in religion.

    And hey, just because their songs would all be better with playable keyboards doesn’t mean that none of them would be good without them!

    Epica 01:
    Storm the Sorrow (+KB) | Band Tier 3: Moderate
    Kingdom of Heaven (A New Age Dawns Part V) (+KB) | Band Tier Devil: Impossible
    Decoded Poetry (+KB) | Band Tier Devil: Impossible

    Elephant in the room out of the way first regarding vocal tiers: Yes, they’re all impossible. Yes, even Beyond the Matrix from the disc. Yes, even Our Destiny from the Valentine’s pack. Between lead vocalist Simone Simons and the choirs, this shouldn’t be a shock! Though I will say that Storm the Sorrow is probably easier than the others, to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just a Nightmare tier (rather, I’d be surprised if it came out at all).

    In fact, “it’s easier than the rest” is true of Storm the Sorrow overall - even more so for the guitars and drums! This is the only Epica song I’ve picked in this pack that lacks a solo, but still has some fairly fast and tricky strumming and HOPOs at points. Nothing too bad, but still worth keeping an eye and ear out for. It’s one of their more accessible songs for people new to the band, and to the symphonic metal genre as a whole, and is my go-to one to introduce someone to Epica and their works. I could write an essay about why I love this song - in fact, I once did!

    At over thirteen minutes long, Kingdom of Heaven was never going to be a warmup-tier song, and while it does spend one of those minutes building up, it becomes a pretty merciless track for the rest of that time. There are some rather nasty strum patterns and fast passages with loads of drum fills. While there are a lot of talkies in this thanks to the growls and spoken word breaks, this is more than balanced out by Simone’s lead vocals and the choirs. I gave everything in this song an impossible tier, and unlike some of the on-disc songs (both Harmonix’s and mine) where some are tiered for relativity, this song earns those impossibles.

    Finally, Decoded Poetry is a bit of a middle ground between the two songs, as well as Epica’s most recent video. Originally I was going to put The Solace System here but I think I slightly prefer this one from the EP. Might put The Solace System in there if I do an Epica Pack 02… which I am sorely tempted to! Eventually, anyway. It has everything that makes a good, difficult Rock Band song - solid rhythms, a tricky but not too noodly solo and elegant vocals (mostly - obviously the growls aren’t “elegant”).

    So if Epica’s my favourite band but not the one I’d most like to see added to Rock Band, what is? Find out next week! I’ll give you three clues though.
    1: They don’t currently have any songs in Rock Band,
    2: They are, however, on my list of on-disc bands.
    3: They’re not Epica.

  • edited June 2018
    It’s the Manic Street Preachers.

    No, really. The Manics were a pretty big deal back in the 90s and 2000s, and can still pull a good crowd today. They have loads of great songs of varying styles and difficulty levels, and generally seem criminally overlooked these days. I already put Motorcycle Emptiness in the disc list, and Faster in the Same Name Different Song singles. I wasn’t done with them there, however.

    Manic Street Preachers 01:
    A Design for Life (+KB) | Band Tier 3: Moderate
    If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next | Band Tier 2: Solid
    You Love Us | Band Tier 4: Challenging

    A Design for Life is carried through the verse by the triplet-feel guitar arpeggios, with the bass and drums carrying the same sort of rhythm. The pre-choruses and choruses use simpler chords rather than the arpeggios (which would likely be charted as HOPOs). Vocals are pretty straightforward.

    If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next is potentially a good song to do the Wannabe Bassist challenge on - lots of long and drawn out chords over a solid groove on drums and actual bass - even the solo is mostly long notes with a lot of effects on them. There’s a bit more going on with the vocals compared to Design, but it’s another one that’s fairly easy.

    When the Manics started out, quite a few terms were applied to them like glam, metal and punk. I can definitely hear that on tracks like Faster and of course, You Love Us. This one has the hardest guitar chart of any Manics song to date, with some speedy and noodly solos and an utter ton of energy put into the performances. As such, it’s no slouch on drums or bass either.


    Variety Singles: St. Patrick’s Day Edition
    Yep, it’s the day before St. Paddy’s, so let’s have some singles from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

    Thin Lizzy: Whiskey in the Jar | Band Tier 2: Solid
    Saw Doctors: Hay Wrap (+KB) | Band Tier 4: Challenging
    The Undertones: My Perfect Cousin | Band Tier 1: Apprentice

    Picking just three bands to represent Ireland wasn’t easy when it gave us those three plus U2, The Cranberries, Stiff Little Fingers, The Dubliners, The Corrs, The Boomtown Rats, The Pogues, Snow Patrol, The Script, Ash, Horslips (and yes, this was written before Fritzy's latest pack suggestion!) and of course, Jedward. I can easily say much the same for Wales and will likely do so for Scotland and especially England. Still, this post isn’t about them (well, it kind of is for Wales because of the Manics pack).

    Starting us off is a track I’m amazed we haven’t had yet in any rhythm game to my knowledge. It’s a traditional Irish song, so securing the rights to it in that respect can’t be so difficult - it’s probably public domain. That then leaves the recording, but we’ve had Thin Lizzy before in live form, and GH and Rocksmith have had studio tracks so… the heck? Why have we not had this yet? Gameplay wise there's a lot of interesting guitar work and a fairly solid rhythm section carrying the song.

    Hay Wrap by the Saw Doctors features some alt-charting I don’t mind too much - it’s mandolin to guitar, which is not the kind of stretch that usually annoys me. I mainly want this song just for the “get that wasp off my sandwich” line which, like most of the song, would be a talky. It’s just a fun, silly song about baling hay with some pretty tricky bits of guitarolin thrown in.

    Finally, I kind of feel like The Undertones are a criminally overlooked band these days. Most people only remember Teenage Kicks (which don’t get me wrong, is a great song) and even then, partly because One Direction did that horrible mashup cover of it with Blondie’s One Way Or Another. Get out of here with the “it was for charity” bit - so was Epica’s “This Is the Time”, but that song’s actually good. My Perfect Cousin is a pretty simple straight-up classic punk banger of a tune. Energetic, fun, yet simple.

    Next week, we round off the break in rivals seasons with one of the most important bands in the history of popular music.
  • Let’s round off the Rivals hiatus with a three-pack of what I called “one of the most important bands in the history of popular music” and a sneak peek at RB5 Rivals Season 2.

    This week’s DLC:

    Note I said popular - not pop. There’s a difference, even if pop is technically short for popular. “Popular” just means any kind of music with some kind of mass appeal, whereas pop is a specific genre which I’m sure we’re all familiar with. This week’s band are hugely popular, but definitely not pop.

    Black Sabbath 02
    Black Sabbath | Band tier 4: Challenging
    Paranoid (Original Version) | Band tier 4: Challenging
    Fairies Wear Boots | Band tier 5: Nightmare

    (Apologies for the rather underwhelming videos this week!)

    The song that launched a genre! Black Sabbath (the song) gets plenty of mileage out of the toms and trill lanes. It’s a slow burner, with some emotive and eerie vocals from Ozzy Osbourne and a ton of atmosphere from Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler. It eventually goes into a full on breakdown and kicks up in tempo. Most of the difficulty comes from the latter half of the track.

    Paranoid returns - this time the original rather than the covers from GH3 or RB1, or the Metallica/Ozzy live rendition from GH Warriors of Rock. Interestingly (if RBDB is to be believed), the original coincidentally had the same tiers as the ones I’ve given the original. That wasn’t intentional on my part - honest! Only difference is I’ve put it as a 4 for band rather than 5. Vocals are dead simple; for the most part they're quite monotonous and on the same notes as the guitars. As such this gives you something to latch onto even in my buffed brutal mode. The guitars in turn have a similar part to each other, though the bass throws in a few fills that the guitar lacks - balanced out by the guitar solo.

    I decided to add this rather than do a rewind - while I will admit the RB1 version is a good replica of the original, I didn't much like the tacked-on BRE. Plus, Harmonix covers in the RB4 era feel a tad dated in my opinion. I get that for a while the masters for a lot of Black Sabbath stuff wasn't available (hence there being no Sabbath songs that weren't covers in any rhythm games prior to GH5's Sabbath pack) and the aforementioned Metallica/Ozzy version being in GHWoR suggests to me that as of 2010, that hasn't changed for Paranoid (either the song or the album).

    This, admittedly, does not bode well for the final song of this week and inter-season lull! Fairies Wear Boots is more of a groovy track, with a long-ish intro featuring drum fills and a guitar solo. Then the main riff kicks in and the song gets going properly! Structurally it's all over the place, with plenty of guitar and drum solos.

    Season 2 Preview

    DLC artists: Abba, Abnormality, AC/DC, Alphabeat, The Birthday Massacre, Bruce Springsteen, Emmelie de Forest, Hole, Katrina and the Waves, Kittie, Neil Young, Pat Benatar, The Proclaimers, Scorpions, Sepultura, Sheryl Crow, Superbus

    Other spotlighted artists: Alanis Morissette, Alice In Chains, Babymetal, The Cranberries, Dion and the Belmonts, Electric Six, Epica*, Europe, Guns ‘n Roses, Gotye, Honest Bob and the Factory-To-Dealer Incentives, IDestroy, Men At Work, Portugal. The Man, Santana

    *yes, I do plan on going easy on the Epica after this, don’t worry!
  • Welcome to RB5 Rivals Season 2! I think I'm going to make a few changes with how this is going to work, starting with me making my posts on Wednesday nights rather than Thursday nights.

    This week’s DLC:
    Originally, every week was going to have a specific band pack. Every band was going to be one I thought was deserving of a pack but for whatever reason, hadn’t got one. In the end I changed it up to being artist packs some week and spotlight-related singles other weeks, though still using artists and songs from the initial packs (those being the spotlight songs). Some artists are new to Rock Band, some aren’t and some, like this week’s artist, appeared on the Rock Band 1 disc and then never again, even though they’ve made a few appearances as Rocksmith 2014 DLC.

    Hole 01:
    Awful | Tier 3: Moderate
    Malibu | Band Tier 0: Warmup
    Violet (Spotlight) | Band Tier 3: Moderate

    Starting off the pack is a song title that is a lie - Awful has a pretty nice alternative rock feel to it, and kind of reminds me of REM. I like REM, so that's no bad thing in my books. Drums start off pretty simple but start to get a bit trickier as the song goes on, but don't go quite into Nightmare/Impossible territory. The rest of the instruments keep a fairly consistent level there, though the lead vocals do take some pretty interesting melodic lines throughout which keeps it up a bit.

    If you want more of a chilled song, Malibu is the one to go for. It’s very rare that I pick a song that fits into the Warmup band tier (I think this is the first one that’s not a troll since the disc songs). However, I am of the opinion that difficult is not the same as fun, and similarly easy is not the same as boring. Plus, the easy songs are where people really learn the game and start to step up their difficulty levels. As such, I am not only totally cool with having Warmup-tier songs as DLC. I just wish I could think of more!

    Violet is not the one to get if you want a chilled song. There’s a fun mix of vocal styles used on this one, with a balance between loud and soft parts on all four instruments. The guitar part is built around chord riffs, with the rhythm section keeping momentum going through the quieter parts.

    Rock Band 5 Rivals Season 2: Rock Band: World Tour

    Week 1: Way Out West

    Play songs by acts from “The West” of the USA (Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico)

    Guns ‘n Roses: Paradise City
    Hole: Violet
    Alice In Chains: No Excuses

    The West of the USA is something of a hotbed for hotbeds of music. Loads of great thrash metal, glam metal, punk rock, surf rock, alternative rock, grunge, hip-hop, riot grrrl and even some pop and country artists hail from the area. Finding songs you like shouldn’t be difficult at all. It’s a real melting pot for genres.

    First up, Paradise City. In some ways, GnR are the quintessential Los Angeles band. Axl Rose has one of the widest vocal ranges in music, and he puts it to some pretty strong usage here. The rest of the band are no slouches on this track either - you’ve got guitar solos, bass and drum fills, a fake-out ending and an extended double-time section. It’s a Nightmare-tier song for good reason, and one of the upper songs in that tier - without relative tiering, I would likely have put it in Impossible. I can see it being right on the borderline on most instruments.

    Already talked about the song and the band, so not much else to say about Violet. Hole is probably best known these days as Courtney Love’s former band, and Love herself is probably best known as Kurt Cobain’s widow. Still, they formed in LA as well, and Love herself is from Springfield, Oregon.

    Speaking of grunge and the Seattle scene, let’s round this out with Alice In Chains. This one’s really for the harmonies players, and was something of a shock pick to me when it was on GH Metallica - I would have thought that a "heavier" song. I’m also a bit surprised that the guitar parts in the choruses and the drums in the intro aren’t counted as solos, but that’s just me. It's got a pretty chilled vibe to it, giving a nice contrast with the more aggressive Violet and bombastic Paradise City

    Next week, we go from a big bit of the USA to a smaller bit.
  • edited June 2018
    Another bonus post that I'm doing on the fly!

    With all the talk about seasonal tracks as of late, I thought I'd give it a go. I couldn't think of much for Easter specifically. I could either blatantly rip off @FritzyKatz or I could do way more research than necessary in order to come up with a few songs I wouldn't be that bothered about. I mean, there's only one song about chocolate I'd be that bothered about having, and we already got it! Songs related to bunnies? I'm not sure "Run Rabbit, Run" fits the bill particularly, either as a bunny song or as a Rock Band song. Something to do with the biblical meaning of Easter? I'm sure they exist, but I don't want to get too deep into researching songs just so I've got something for it. Crucified by Army of Lovers (or better yet, Ghost)? Pushing it, I think.

    But with this week's Rivals theme (the real one, not my "west bit of the USA" one), I think I've got something!

    This pack brings May flowers
    Delain: April Rain (+KB) | Band Tier 5: Nightmare
    Manic Street Preachers: Umbrella | Band Tier 2: Solid
    Garbage: Only Happy When It Rains (+KB) | Band Tier 2: Solid

    April Rain was a no-brainer. It's a symphonic metal song, and it's me picking the songs. I couldn't NOT use it! Vocalist Charlotte Wessels isn't a full-on classical-style singer akin to Nightwish's Floor Jansen and Tarja Turunen, or Epica's Simone Simons for instance, but I can see her being pretty difficult to emulate, especially with the long notes in the choruses. The drums are pretty fill-happy, bass is straightforward for a metal track, guitar has a brief solo and some interesting rhythms. Official video here - used an upload of the song as the video uses a truncated version.

    Umbrella is a cover of the Rihanna song of the same name, which was a pretty massive hit here in the UK. The Manics version replaces the electronic instrumentation with guitars and the rap intro with a guitar solo outro. It sounds a bit like a mix between the original Umbrella and If You Tolerate This. I think I mentioned before that I have a soft spot for rock covers of pop songs, especially in the context of RB (see also Word Up from Lego, Kids In America from RB2, I Think We're Alone Now from my OP). Expect more things on those lines in the future!

    Finally, Only Happy When It Rains is to me one of the ultimate examples of "easy but fun", at least on guitar. It was one of my most played in GH5 and WoR, simply because it's a good warm-up and pretty varied as it goes between different guitar parts. Sure, there's no solo, but there are plenty of little licks, arpeggios and chord progressions in there that make it interesting. Bass and drums are pretty simple, vocals seem to be on about the same level as the other three Garbage songs in the game (which are two twos [Why Do You Love Me, Stupid Girl] and what I think is an undertiered zero [I Think I'm Paranoid]).

    See you next time!
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