Gary's Rockband Wishlist

I'm taking a brief break from talking about podcastery in general to mention some Rockband wishes at the request of Kole.

Considering a song for Rockband is tricky. A good Rockband song should be interesting on all five instruments consistently through its run time. As I've been considering this list, I've found this magical combination to be pretty rare and I don't think I've exclusively found songs that meet this criteria. These are just songs I'd love to fuck around with in Rockband, even if each one is not perfect for the platform.

Birth in Reverse by St. Vincent

If you haven't heard this St. Vincent album, do yourself a favor and check it out. As far as choosing it for this list, I'm a real sucker for noise and dissonant guitar and this song (and really the whole album) is defined by distortion. The interplay of the bass and guitar in the chorus, though simple, turns my crank.

Oh You, Old Thing by Wolf Parade.

I've linked a live version because it has a few more guitar flourishes.

I've just gotten into Wolf Parade this year but I'm real, real into them. I chose this song because it'd be a really fun highlight for the keyboardist. The key part is both prominant and naive and I think it'd be great fun jumping into it after the verselines with the guitarist.

The drums, while no particular great shakes, are interesting and driving enough to keep ones attention and the vocals allow a lot of space for experimentation. If any instrument would be a snooze in this song, it'd be the bass but what else is new?

Menopause Man by Ariel Pink

Again, a live version to envision what it might be like to actually play the song on instruments. Sort of an apology for the lackluster bass in the last song, the bassline of this song would be a blast to play, the keyboard flourishes are tasteful and the bridge is a proggy wonderland for all instruments involved. The sense of relief when the song abandons those weirdo time signatures and pops into the 4/4 chorus is palpable.

The lyrics to this song are potentially problematic and are probably something not a lot of people would be psyched to sing in front of people, which is sort of a bummer but not a fatal flaw in my eyes.

Bury Us Alive by Starfucker

This is much more of a Keyboard Hero style song but if there are songs without keyboard, I think there could be songs without guitar. I was really late to the party with this band so this is probably dating me, but this album (Reptillians) is a favorite of mine.

The little keyboard fill and delay right before the chorus always gets me pumped and I imagine it would in game form too.

Game of Pricks by Guided by Voices

Arguably the definitive GBV song, Game of Pricks is a straight ahead rocker. I've chosen the Tigerbomb version as it features more guitar heroics and is a bit faster. Unlike the other songs on this list, I choose this one because I'd love to sing it more than anything.

One of my defining moments of being a band guy was covering this tune.

Jellybones by The Unicorns

Speaking of naive keyboard. I fucking LOVE the Unicorns. Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone is one of my all time favorite records because the songs are so perfectly weird in a nonlinear way. Songs almost always eschew a traditional verse/chorus/verse structure so they fulfill the requirement that they be interesting for their entire runtime.

Settle on Your Skin by Swan Lake

I'm sort of cheating by choosing a Wolf Parade related super group but this song sort of has it all and the outtro gives me chills, which is a plus. Though the keyboards sort of fade into the background in the mix, I have a soft spot for them as a former rhythm keyboardist, and the interplay between them and the guitar in the outtro is sublime.

Jackie, Dressed in Cobras by The New Pornographers

My favorite drum parts feel like the cogs behind the entire song. The drums on this Dan Bejar number feel like they're literally manipulating the rest of the band. It's a melodic instrument as much as anything else.

Natural Disasters by Enon

If you learn anything about my musical tastes from this list, it should probably be that I love dissonance and distortion. Natural Disasters from Enon's masterpiece High Society is a crunchy, angry, propuslive number that sounds like it's at war with itself. The guitar and keyboards take turns expressing the conflict between those with and those without. One of my favorite songs ever.

Tally Ho by The Clean

I wasn't about to let the list go by without some Kiwi-punk. I almost went with Heavenly Pop Hit by The Chills for its self referencial lyrics and angelic harmonies but but I wanted something that would express what punk-organ sounds like. This is one of those bands that makes me want to start a band again to emulate it and it features another appearance by those wheel and cog drums I like so much.

So, there's my list. If I did this entry tomorrow I might come up with an entirely different ten songs but for now, that's what I'm feeling. What do you guys think?