After a five-year hiatus, Harmonix has announced that the Rock Band franchise is coming back this holiday season with Rock Band 4. The new edition will bring the music game into the current generation of consoles, allowing players to bring all their drunken rock ‘n’ roll shenanigans into the new age. While Rock Band already features over 6,000 downloadable songs for players to experience, there are still some gaping holes in the catalog. Here’s what we recommend patching up.
The Canadian indie-alternative act has become one of the most unlikely sources in the revival of old-school arena rock, with their recent spectacle-loaded Reflektor tour. While their ever-growing sound may seem tricky to adapt to the four-instrument core of the Rock Band experience, their catalog has more than enough tracks that can fit the format. In fact, why not have Harmonix go all-out, and release a true Rock Band: Arcade Fire edition, containing violin, steel drum, synthesizer instruments and enough glitter-covered tuxedo jackets for your whole crew.
Or maybe just stick to DLC.
Suggested Tracks: “We Exist,” “No Cars Go,” “Ready To Start”
While Daft Punk saw plenty of representation in Activision’s glorious-and-underloved DJ Hero franchise – the French gods of dance music are so much more than electronica. 2013’s Random Access Memories is a love letter to the funk age, right down to Nile Rodger’s sultry work on the guitar for “Get Lucky.” Each of the album’s three singles are heavy on this acoustic full-band sound, and would be right at home in a Rock Band setlist.
Suggested Tracks: “Instant Crush,” “Get Lucky,” “Lose Yourself To Dance”
The Joy Formidable
You probably don’t know about The Joy Formidable, but that’s okay. It just means you’re not one of the cool kids who has their ear on hard rock trios coming out of Wales. For their small size and following, they’ve got a massive sound to fill the void. The breakdown on “Whirring” is chaotic beauty, a hurricane of noise captured in a bottle. Let it out, Harmonix.
Suggested Tracks: “Whirring,” “The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie,” “Bats”
Motion City Soundtrack
It’s a bit early to make the call, but I think it’s safe to say that the emo, pop-punk scene of the early 2000s is the defining rock sound of that decade. While the ’80s had hair metal, and the ’90s grunge, the early millennium had garage bands with too much eyeliner, and jeans so skinny they’ll make a grown man cry. While plenty of these acts have already gotten their due in this digital Rock & Roll hall of fame, one iconic album goes unnoticed. Motion City Soundtrack’s “Commit This To Memory” – a 40-minute classic that turns ten this very year. To have the whole thing would be a dream come true, but I’ll settle for having an excuse to shout “Everything Is Alright” drunkenly at 3 a.m.
Suggested Tracks: “Everything Is Alright,” “L.G FUAD,” “Time Turned Fragile”
At this point, Muse’s non-inclusion in the Rock Band sound book has become something of a running joke. Arguably the biggest act in the rock-and-roll game right now, headlining sold-out shows across the globe, all with nothing but vocals, guitar, drums and bass. Yet their contribution to Rock Band is nothing more than a single song, hidden deep within the DLC archives. While the baseline to “Hysteria” is downright orgasmic, it’s time for more. While I’d love to see the entirety of Absolution or Black Holes and Revelations – I’ll settle with just a few more hits.
Suggested Tracks: “Knights of Cydonia,” “Stockholm Syndrome,” “Plug In Baby”
Check out our Spotify Playlist to hear all the suggested tracks for yourself.
Follow Chris Berg on Twitter, @Mushroomer25