List of all releases (inc. past C3-released songs) (I'll make fancy banner images and write blurbs for these too, eventually)
The Alan Parsons Project
1982 - Eye in the Sky
"Sirius"/"Eye in the Sky"
2017 - Night in the Woods, Vol. 1: At the End of Everything
I'll keep this one short. Have you played Night in the Woods? Or at least heard of it? It's been a fairly trendy and popular game since its release, and way that's kind of like Undertale, but it's better (totally not just pulling that out of my ass because I've totally actually played Undertale). It's an indie, narrative-driven adventure game, that's light on gameplay, but heavy on story, writing, and art style. Like, look at any screenshot of this game, it's gorgeous. I could ramble on about this game for a while longer, but long story short I love Night in the Woods and I seriously recommend you check it out, even if you're not even much of a gamer outside Rock Band. Well, if you're not that into story-oriented games then you probably won't like it much, but everyone else, beside you, if that may be the case.
But the reason I'm charting music from it isn't just because I like the game a lot. It's because the soundtrack to this game is absolutely brilliant, which is also probably a contributor as to why I like this game so much. While there's many tracks from it that I love, not all of which would likely be suited for Rock Band, I decided to settle on charting what's essentially the game's defining song.
Alec Holowka and Scott Benson - "Die Anywhere Else"
While NITW's soundtrack is largely comprised of chill, downtempo-ish tunes, the game has some "band practice" segments where the game's main characters get together to play some jams - "Die Anywhere Else" being the first of these songs, and also the most popular, becoming an anthem of sorts for the game. This song is an upbeat and very catchy little indie rock ditty. You won't expect it to get stuck in your head as much as it does, and when it does (which it will), you'll be singing along to the amusingly bright melody paired with the lyrics "I just wanna diieeeee anywhere eeeelseeee!"
The vocal chart needs to be addressed first, as it's pretty unique compared to your average RB chart due to the song's vocals, uh, not actually being vocals. Since the characters aren't voiced, the voice of Angus (the singer of their band) is represented with a synth sound. Not like, a vocaloid or anything. Just a synth. But the song has lyrics and it would be a shame to not let people sing along, and thus you have what's essentially "imaginary vocals." There's even a second synth with a different-sounding "voice" that comes in during the bridge, which is naturally charted on harmony 2. This particular part is very fun, with the second harmony taking a lead while harm 1 sings "ooh"'s in the background (which are actually staccato notes, but it'd sound silly to go ah ah ah ah ah throughout the whole thing), then the two join in harmony for the last phrase.
Since it's a synth, the """vocals""" are also charted on keys, and make for a part that's fairly easy and quite fun, since you're playing what's essentially the song's lead melody. While the verse and chorus have a slower and melodic feel, the bridge has a bunch of fairly quick 8th notes.
The bass part of this song gets a bit of extra attention since it's the part you actually play in Night in the Woods itself - the lead character, Mae, is the bassist, and her part is what's charted in the game's rhythm section bits. It's a pretty simple but neat part, since instead of just being 8th note strumming like many other low-tier bass songs, it actually has its own melody going on and is fairly varied.
Guitar, played in NITW by your eccentric fox pal, Gregg, is a bit more typical, with the majority of the song being comprised of 8th note chord strumming. The second verse simplifies the rhythm to be mostly just playing on beats 1 and 3, however, and the end of each chorus has the guitar part take a lead as it mimics the vocal melody.
And finally, we have drums. While all the instruments are technically just MIDI-programmed, the drum part is the only one acknowledged in game. Due to the absence of the band's usual drummer, the drum parts are simply, humorously played back by your friend Bea, who pushes a button on a laptop. The drum part is a little atypical, with the first two choruses having a snare on the and of 4 rather than on 2 and 4 as you'd expect, and there's frequent short tom fills. The song gets its difficulty from the bridge, since there's a long buildup section where there's a kick on every beat along with tom and snare hits.
1996 - Halloween Howls
"Spooky, Scary Skeletons"
2004 - Meltdown
Between the Buried and Me
2007 - Colors
"Sun of Nothing"
1970 - Paranoid
Pro Guitar/Bass by columbo777.
1968 - Vincebus Eruptum
2004 - Lines in My Face
"Time and Time Again"
Rap rock has always been kind of an "infamous" genre, because very few bands manage to actually pull it off well, and the ones that don't tend to suck major ass. It's a shame, then, that Chronic Future didn't get more attention. You guys know the song, "Handlebars" right? That's a pretty good song. This one's a similar kind of thing, but even better. This one seems to have gotten a lot of its fame from media appearances, such as obviously Burnout 3, as well as a baseball videogame and the TV show One Tree Hill. Also, according to YouTube comments it was apparently used (unauthorized) in an animated porn video, but let's not talk about that.
Instead, let's talk about how it might be one of the catchiest songs of all time. This song alternates between rap verses and anthemic rock choruses, with the bridge and last chorus getting quite heavy. The chorus hook is instantly memorable and will be stuck in your head for days. It's a great song for harmonies, as the lead singer raps the verses while the third harmony sings the main chorus lead (sung by the bassist of the actual band), and the second harmony comes in to add a screaming harmony an octave up. Even in the verses, the second harmony doubles up on a few words for emphasis, and the second verse has both harmonies come in for some call-and-response (?) melodies. The drum part is pretty fun, with a sorta funky beat in the verses, with swung kicks. The choruses continue this triplet/swing pattern, adding some extra snares as well. The bridge and outro chorus ride on the crash with some quick pseudo-double bass. The guitar part features HOPO arpeggio patterns on a clean guitar in the verses, before the distortion kicks in on the choruses, introducing a swung rhythm alternating between two-note and three-note chords. I don't really know how to describe the bass part in the verses (but I mean, it's pretty cool), and the chorus brings in some quick hammer-ons. The keys part consists of a 16th note arpeggiator pattern (though at a slow tempo) that starts the song and then re-enters periodically.
Crosby, Stills & Nash
1969 - Crosby, Stills & Nash
"Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"
1989 - Disintegration
1972 - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
As soon as I heard about Bowie's death, I decided I wanted to chart this song. This glam rock track from the concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was Bowie's first hit single since "Space Oddity." The song's lyrics describe the titular character Ziggy Stardust acting as a messenger for the "Starman," an alien bringing a message of hope to Earth. It's also my favorite Bowie tune. Gameplay wise, the vocal part is about as fun as you would expect from Bowie (that is, quite fun), and it's a highlight of the song. Guitar and bass, while not particularly challenging, are pretty fun to play. The former part has plenty of variation in the acoustic chord strumming patterns, and a nice solo in the outro. The bass part has a bunch of little licks thrown around throughout the song. The string arrangement is charted to Keys, and only comes in during the chorus (which has a few quick scale runs) and the melody - you know, the "laaaaa laaa laaa la laaaaa laaa laaa la" part. The drum part is admittedly not very interesting, but it's decent to play.
1971 - Fireball
1997 - Around the Fur
Deftones have had one of the more interesting metamorphoses among the many prominent bands of our day, with their progression often compared to that of Radiohead. From their start, their act was geared more towards nu-metal and was rather of-its-time, with some emerging influences from post-hardcore (as well as some rap elements, especially in tracks like "7 Words" (which is a total banger btw)). Over time, however, they're morphed into a sound often described as "alternative metal," and their music began to show more and more notable influence from genres such as shoegaze, new wave, dream pop, and post-rock. While their third record, White Pony, is often considered the major game-changer for the band, their sophomore effort, Around the Fur, already demonstrated the band distancing themselves from their earlier nu-metal sound (though not to discredit Adrenaline, which is a fine album in its own right).
"Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)"
This particular song however, holds a particular significance within the band's discography. "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" was the second single from its album after "My Own Summer (Shove It)," and their first to chart in the United States. More importantly, however, it's arguably the first track they released that really displayed those aforementioned influences (though Adrenaline closing epic "Fireal" is also a contender for this distinction), and has remained a perennial fan-favorite since. Most predominant here is the shoegaze influence, as right off the bat, the track is layered with hazy, reverberating guitars, with a simple (but deadly effective) two-chord riff that recurs throughout most of the song.
Meanwhile, the vocals take on a calm and lucid tone, the notes held long and the melodies kept uncomplicated, with wistful lyrics about wanting to just forget all of one's troubles, drop everything, and just run away to start anew - or in this case, drive away - and the destination really doesn't matter as long as it's somewhere far. It takes almost 3 minutes for the song to finally reach its namesake (or title-drop, depending on how you look at it), which in this case could potentially be described as the chorus. At this point, Chino's vocals shift from lilting melodies to impassioned, emotional yelling. Immediately following this is a brutal breakdown, featuring a crushing guitar riff and Chino practically screaming his guts out, making noises that just sound inhuman. After a short release, and unforgivably cut from the radio edit (but obviously present here) is an extended coda with the repeating mantra of "I don't care where, just far," increasing in energy and intensity, bringing the song to a great emotional climax.
As far as instrumentation goes, the real standout here has to be the drums. The main verses feature a ghost-note-filled heavy groove on the hi-hat, with lots of little variations and fills adding more interest to what's already a fun rhythm. Between the verses is a more relaxed beat on the ride cymbal, with sparser kicks and snares, but featuring tom accents thrown in throughout. The breakdown contains some heavy, varied cymbal work making for an awesome change-up, but what really makes this part shine is the outro. With a constant variety of fill and cymbal changes throughout the entire section, no two measures are alike, and it's a challenging but not ridiculous thrill ride to the end.
The guitar part is comprised mostly of two main riffs, which are not very difficult, but you'll find they're rarely played the exact same way each time around. The main verse/chorus riff features strumming on an RB chord followed by alternating between GY and RY, while the hazy bridge chords shift between YB and BO, with both riffs containing many variations in strumming pattern. Later, the main riff changes up to feature a hammer-on bend up to YB from the RB chord, naturally playable by moving one finger. You'll find some neat flourishes switching up to higher chords for a bit of a melody in the verses and outro as well.
On bass, there honestly isn't too much to talk about. The majority of the song is changing between varied strumming patterns on blue (with some yellow HOPOs) and green. As a bassline, it adds a lot to the song, but it's not that fun to play to be frank.
While describing the song in general, I already gave you a pretty good idea of what the vocal part here is like. It's a quite easy but also quite fun song to sing, with some simple, dreamy, sustained melodies. While some might find the all-talkies chorus and outro to be boring, if you're really into the song, then you'll have the most fun with it as you scream along to your heart's content and match the passion in Chino's voice. Also worth noting is that during the chorus and outro, the harmony part sings some echo-ish responses of "aaawaaayyyy" after every "I don't care where just far!".
2000 - White Pony
2002 - Amplify the Good Times
Like the Ordinary Boys, Donots are basically unknown in the US - aside from this song, mostly due to people who played Burnout 3. However, they are fairly known in Europe, especially in their home country of Germany. They really deserve more fame though, because if this song is any indication, they have a serious knack for writing great hooks. Like many other songs in the pack, this is an energetic and upbeat pop-punk song, with lyrics about the singer's experience with a very deceptive woman.
The song starts with a quite difficult and fun, clean guitar HOPO bit, leading into the main, 8th-chord based riff. While the choruses are all just standard 8th-note chord strumming, the verses are more interesting, alternating between muted and full chords, with some tricky single note bits as well. The intro part reprises itself a few times, while the bridge features another fairly challenging guitar lead. The bass is a great example of a pop-punk bassist actually playing out, with some quick little runs in the verses, and a bunch of variations in the choruses - particularly the last one, with some quick octave jumps and little melodies thrown in. It's the second contender for having the most fun bass part in the pack. The drums start with a simple ride-only beat with kicks on each beat. The riff features a quarter note, snare-on-all-four beat, followed by an 8-beat in the verses, with some quick tom rolls in the "hook" bits. The chorus then switches to a 4-on-the-floor ride rhythm, with a few little hi-hat accents in-between notes. The vocals are deceptively tricky - the verses have a fun melody and an awesome hook where the harmony comes, with the second verse featuring some more variation. The choruses have some quick up-and-down jumps, and the second harmony going along the whole time as well. The final chorus cuts off just at the last word, and the song ends with a mysterious clean guitar chord.
Fall Out Boy
2003 - Take This to Your Grave
"Reinventing the Wheel to Run Myself Over"
Over the course of their career, Fall Out Boy has shifted from "pop-punk" to "pop-rock" to "pretty much just pop." In my opinion, the poppiness of their music has a pretty inverse relationship with the quality of their music, and I don't think anything by them will really top their first album. We've gotten a good selection from them through official DLC and even more via customs, but only two hit singles and the opener from Take This to Your Grave, so why not add this 2-minute non-single?
This track really emphasizes the "punk" part of the genre, with a raw feel and a very fast tempo - particularly the first verse, which races along in a blazing double-time. And I tell you, I never really appreciated Fall Out Boy's drummer until I took a look at this drum track, because it is fucking hard and definitely the most challenging in the pack. The lead-in to the first verse starts with a very fast (single-stroke (I think)) 16th note snare roll followed by a huge fill around the snare and toms. The verse itself features a fast punk beat with some quick crossovers and another big fill. The song then mellows out, but it's still pretty tricky, with some tough crossover fills strewn throughout. The guitar part consists of quick 8th note chord strumming throughout most of the song, with some palm-muted bits in the pre-choruses. The chorus itself has a nice lead riff, breaking up the chord parts. The bass part is mostly just 8th note strumming as well (with a cool intro "solo" bit), which would normally be totally boring, but the fast tempo keeps it pretty interesting. The vocals are also the hardest out of any of these songs (well, probably, since vocal difficulty is largely subjective). There's some of tricky melodies going up and down the scale, and Patrick Stump belts out a couple of challenging runs (YOU'LL HAVE TO PROVE IT TO MEEEEEEeeeEEEeeEEEeEEeee). The harmonies are rather sparse, with a single actual "harmony," a quick "gang vocal" bit and a few parts echoing the lead.
2004 - Franz Ferdinand
We've recieved a 3-pack of Franz Ferdinand from Harmonix (including their most popular single), and the Funhouse has given us another set of three tracks, but we haven't gotten to play this fairly popular single until now. This track is an angular, dancey rock number, which as far as I've heard is pretty much what you get from most Franz Ferdinand songs. The lyrical content of this song involves a city that is evidently going to be burned down by a fire originating from the singer. It's very deep and meaningful. The chorus may be repetitive, but it's quite fun to sing along with, especially with the second harmony yelling in the background. Not to mention the verses, featuring Alex Kapranos's deep crooning, lulling you before the song lashes out.
Instrumentally, the drum part is probably the most fun, driving the song with a constant kick thump - like, there is literally not a single beat in the song without a kick. The verses have some play between the ride and hi-hat, with the build-ups to the chorus involve smashing the ride and snare with an increasingly frenzied bass drum pace. The choruses have a fun dance beat (you know the kind, with hi-hat only on 2 and 4), followed by a quick disco beat through the bridge and an interesting snare roll section later on. The guitar part features a recurring pattern of chords and muted chords, ascending during the verses and uh, not doing that in the choruses. There's a few simple single-note melodies thrown in, as well. Watch out for the outro, which is a sudden burst of very fast tremolo strumming - of course, covered up by laaaaannneeeesssss. The bass - well, it's simple. You've got one kinda cool but repetitive riff in the verses, and then basically just quarter notes everywhere else. Kinda left it on a sour note there, but let's focus on the good, shall we?
1972 - Foxtrot
"Watcher of the Skies"
Guitar and Bass by Gigakoops.
1973 - Selling England by the Pound
"After the Ordeal"
Pro Keys by sean.
"The Cinema Show"/"Aisle of Plenty"
1974 - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
"The Colony of Slippermen"
Vocals and Keys by Farottone.
"In the Rapids/It"
Guitar and Bass by Gigakoops.
1976 - Wind & Wuthering
"Eleventh Earl of Mar"
2010 - Aquarius
Jimmy Eat World
2004 - Futures
Jimmy Eat World is another band we've gotten a whole bunch of songs from, in both official DLC and customs. On their albums following 99's Clarity, JEW started moving from their previous emo sound to a more alternative/pop-rock-oriented style. Most songs off their album, Futures, are mid-tempo or slower and more contemplative. This one, however, is a fast and intense, almost punk-ish rock track, with lyrics that are probably about a relationship but I don't want to make any objective statements.
I would personally call this the most fun guitar part of the pack. The song opens and closes with an awesome riff that's semi-challenging to play. The verses and first chorus feature your standard chord strumming (muted chords in the first verse), but starting in the second chorus there's a fun lead melody with a bunch of minor variations keeping it interesting. The song also features one of two solos in the entire release, and the only guitar solo, specifically. The song is also pretty fun on drums, with most of the song consisting of a quick 8-beat on the ride. The verses move over to the hi-hat with a cool off-beat kick rhythm, while the bridge has a fast four-on-the-floor stomp. Throughout there's song there's quite a few quick rolls across the snare and toms, as well as a few tricky crossovers. On the other hand, the bass is rather dull, basically consisting of 8th note strumming throughout the entire song. The keys part is also not particularly interesting. The bridge has a simple synth melody and some parts have some 8th note repeating chords, but the rest is either empty or with a single long sustain. The vocals part is pretty fun, though, with some quickly-moving melodies and a great second harmony part, though the third harmony largely consists of a mostly-constant background "hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo."
1989 - Seinfeld
1986 - Top Gun: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Pro Guitar/Bass by columbo777.
1969 - In the Court of the Crimson King
"21st Century Schizoid Man"
"I Talk to the Wind"
"The Court of the Crimson King"
1994 - Welcome to Sky Valley
1969 - Led Zeppelin
"Dazed and Confused"
1973 - Houses of the Holy
A selection of three songs from my favorite Zep album. On this album, the band started getting a bit more experimental with its production and general music style. The songs on this album range from hard rock, to folk rock, ballads, psychedelic/progressive, funk and reggae. Many people disliked the latter two particularly (I disagree with them, "The Crunge" is pretty good and I love "D'yer Mak'er"), but even for them, the high points on the album made up for it. Most songs from the album have already been released in Sideshow's thread, so I chose to do the two that were missing as well as a previously drums-only track.
"The Song Remains the Same"
The first track on the album is this fast-paced hard rock song, notable for Jimmy Page's extensive use of layered guitar overdubs. The lyrics describe Robert Plant's childhood dream of playing around the world to share his love for music, as well as the universality of music. Unsurprisingly, this song is a standout for its guitar part, which features three technical solos, a variety of tricky riffs, and some fun HOPO noodling in the slow verse. The bass part is also quite varied and fun to play with some neat licks all over, again a standout for its chart. Plant's vocals are particularly high-pitched in this song, with some crazy runs in the latter half of the song, making it quite challenging. Drums for the most part keep a steady, upbeat rhythm with some variations and fills thrown in. Fun fact, this was actually the first song I charted after C3 releases ended, but it went on the backburner for a while as I didn't really know what direction or schedule I was going in yet.
"The Rain Song"
"Song Remains the Same" is followed up by this absolutely beautiful ballad, where Plant compares his relationship with a lover to the changing of seasons. The song builds up to an amazing peak, and slowly winds down to the ending afterwards. Robert Plant considers this song his greatest vocal performance, and I'm inclined to agree with him. The verse notes go up and down in a tricky way, and there's some tough high notes later in the song. The guitar part has lots of nice acoustic and clean electric licks and melodies. Drums take a while to come in, but have a fun snare brush pattern and some classic Bonham fills at the song's climax. The bass part isn't challenging, but it's still pretty entertaining and keeps it mixed up throughout. The keys play the mellotron string arrangement - while there is a piano part, it's kinda wishy-washy and goes in and out, so I only charted it when there wasn't anything else going on.
Later on in the album, this amazing epic track is perhaps the closest Led Zeppelin ever came to prog rock. It's also my favorite Led Zeppelin song ever. The lyrics describe a group showing no mercy to its enemies, but also asking for none when vanquished, and like many other Zep songs they contain references to ancient mythology. "No Quarter" is essentially the signature song of John Paul Jones, who was a keyboard maestro on this, with layered electric and acoustic pianos. Particularly on live versions, where he would play massive extended piano solos. Thus, this song is especially a treat for keys players, who are the star of the show during the quiet, atmospheric intro and verses. There's also a great piano break which continues through the guitar solo. Speaking of guitar, aside from the great solo in the middle of the song, the part is mostly a repetitive riff. However, it does help that this riff is pretty fucking great. The drum part has a really awesome groove with lots of ghost notes and some cool fills. Interestingly enough, the bass part isn't actually a bass guitar. Instead, it's a synthesized bass played by JPJ in real-time alongside the keyboard part, using foot pedals. It's also a lot more fun than you would expect from such a part, and you have to wonder how he had such dexterity. The vocals part is as fun as you'd expect from Robert Plant, with the awesome "THEY TOOK THE PATH WHERE NO ONE GOOOOOOOOOOOES" line and some cool alternating harmony vocals in the final chorus.
The Mars Volta
2005 - Frances the Mute
2009 - Crack the Skye
"The Last Baron"
Motion City Soundtrack
2003 - I Am the Movie
"My Favorite Accident"
Motion City Soundtrack is a band that's produced numerous singles, but never really achieved mainstream popularity despite being around during the heights of pop-punk popularity. More importantly, however, they're a pop-punk band with a fucking Moog player. This is not their most popular song in general, but probably the most famous off their first album, and it's a great all-around high-energy pop-punk track. (It kinda felt bad to just break that hyphenated-phrase streak there.) As you might expect from the genre, the lyrics are about a broken relationship - though endearing in the way he admits the relationship was an accident, but says "you'll always be my favorite one!"
Now, speaking of that Moog, the keys part opens with a slow piano intro before the song kicks in, featuring a really awesome synth riff/melody - not very challenging, but really fun to play. This riff reprises itself at various points throughout the song, while the chorus features a different melody consisting of sustained notes. Out of songs featuring keys in the pack, this is definitely one of the most interesting ones. This song is also a highlight on drums, with the rhythm in the main riff featuring a lot of tricky off-beat kicks and snares, as well as some quick 16th rolls. The first verse has a half-time feel, but with lots of little accents and fills, while the other verses keep up the high energy from the riff rhythm while not being as complex. The guitar part has lots of 8th chord strumming, but with lots of little breaks in the rhythm keeping it interesting. The main riff has some parts where it doubles the quick bits of the keyboard melody, and the chorus features slow, clean arpeggios. For bass, take what I said about the 8th strumming and replace chords with single notes. Don't take this as meaning they're not fun, though! The vocal part has tricky melodies up and down the scale in some parts, and great full 3-part harmonies in the choruses - not to mention the bridge, an awesome moment which has all the harmonies singing totally different parts.
2001 - Origin of Symmetry
Following album opener "New Born" is this upbeat, positive alt rock track, driven by keyboard arpeggios and a loud bassline. This song is about Matt Bellamy's envy and awe of a person who is just so perfect - someone in bliss, "a state of mind where you give out everything you have without any need for return," who "hasn't been exposed to stuff yet." The aforementioned arpeggios make the song quite a challenge on keys - once it starts, the song never lets up with its fast 16th note patterns. The bass part contains what still stands as one of Muse's best basslines during the main riff and verses, going all over the scale with quick pairs of 16th notes, then reverting to standard 4th/8th note strumming in the choruses. The drums have a really fun and unique rhythm, with tricky off-beat kick and snare hits. The choruses feature a crash cymbal beat, heavy on kick drum, and the bridges contain snare/tom hits building up to a roll that leads into the final chorus. Guitar wise, there's a cool main chord riff and varied chord strumming in the bridge, but there's also a lot of resting as Matt doesn't play anything during the verses. The vocals are standard Bellamy, with a lower croon in the verses, getting more intense in the choruses with some high falsetto notes.
This song's one of the heavier ones on the album, leaning more towards hard rock. It's a very energetic song, featuring aggressive vocals and bitter lyrics. Matt describes this song as being about "wanting to destroy a person you've loved." Lyrically, you could actually connect tracks 2-4 on this album to be about the deterioration of a relationship with one person. If "Bliss" is the "you're amazing and I love you" song, and "Space Dementia" is the "your love is driving me insane" song, then "Hyper Music" is the "FUCK YOOOOOOOUUUU" song. Given some people's interpretation of the following track, "Plug In Baby," you could extend the series to that song and say it's the "fuck human women, I'll just love my guitar instead" song. Anyway, gameplay-wise, this song is a treat on every instrument. Guitar starts out with a fun, noisy and somewhat abrasive riff, before buffing it up with a more full-formed sound. The verses feature 16th note chord strumming, and the outro of the song features a bit of soloing. Another one of Muse's best basslines, Chris rapidly ascends the scale with a quick, somewhat syncopated rhythm during the verses, and doubles up on the main guitar riff as well. The drum part features a fast and lively rhythm, with some cool fills and an interesting flam pattern during the riff. The angry vocal performance is quite tough, with some fairly long notes and high yells during the chorus. The harmonies feature some high falsetto backing "ooh"s and some furious screams.
And here it is, the fan-favorite, the 7+ minute behemoth that many people consider Muse's greatest song. I believe someone actually charted this before, but I remember people complained about sync issues, and it's not in the database, so I decided to make a more "final, polished" version. This song is probably the closest Muse ever got to prog, and it's one of their heaviest and most intense songs. However, the mid section of the song takes a quiet, subdued, atmospheric turn, and after the climactic last chorus, the song winds down into a beautiful piano ballad finale. The lyrics detail the feeling when you are questioned by someone, and are inspired by George Orwell's famous novel, 1984. Muse is a band of many great riffs, but the robotic, jumpy riff of this track may be their most awesome yet, alternating quickly between low and high notes. The chorus features some heavy 3-note chord strumming - at first listen the charted chords might not seem to match the song, but in reality the actual guitar chords are somewhat buried beneath the bass and keyboards. The midsection and outro feature some quiet, clean, but fast and tricky HOPO sequences. And of course, there's that unique and chaotic effects-laden solo before the last chorus that's quite interesting to play. Dom's drum part was actually what inspired the main riff, with the unique, funky but heavy drum rhythm driving the song along. The chorus parts feature some fairly difficult rhythms as well, with lots of cymbal work. The bass part is decent, but nothing special - it echoes the main riff and has 16th strumming in the chorus, but aside from that is mostly sustains. The keys part can be described similarly, with mostly sustained chords until it takes prominence in the piano-led outro. But the vocals part - this one's a real highlight. Matt starts out in a dramatic lower voice, building up to some higher notes before letting it out in the big choruses. He hits some crazy high falsetto notes (charted on HARM2 as they're actually separate takes), also doubling them with a lower octave harmony. The midsection contains a lower, more relaxed and mellow tone. Following the last chorus, he holds out some super long falsetto "ooh"s, then croons his way through the outro.
2003 - Absolution
"Butterflies and Hurricanes"
Vocals by Nyxyxylyth.
Pro Keys by GanonMetroid.
Venue by Unicyclone.
My Bloody Valentine
1991 - Loveless
Loveless. An album that basically defined an entire genre. An album that influenced countless other bands ever since its release. An album that truly sounds like nothing else before or after - it has its imitators, sure, but none of them perfectly capture exactly what made Loveless unique.
So what is "shoegaze," anyway? Well, you could probably do a quick Google search, or I dunno, look it up on Wikipedia or something I guess and get a more accurate answer. For the sake of convenience, however, I'll make my best attempt at defining it here. Shoegaze generally sits somewhere between dream pop and noise rock - you might want a definition for those, too, but the names of those genres are descriptive enough that you can probably kinda sorta figure out what they sound like. To sum it up using semi-cliche terms, shoegaze usually takes a pretty pop song and layers it with heavy production and guitar effects, turning it into kind of a wall of sound, or a blur of noise. But it's not like a grating kind of noise that makes you go graaahh turn it off it hurts etc. It's more like a nice, lovely ocean of noise that surrounds and envelops you. It's the musical embodiment of a hazy daydream.
Actually, the most accurate way to describe what this album (and most shoegaze in general) sounds like is to tell you to just look at the album cover. It sounds like the cover. It's probably the most accurate album art ever.
This album has all sorts of crazy stories surrounding its production and interesting ideas that were used to give its distinct sound. Perhaps the most well-known aspect of it is how it's said to have gone far over-budget and over-time, with all sorts of exaggerated rumors about its exorbitant cost to record. The reality of it is that Kevin Shields, essentially the band's primary creative force, is something of a lazy perfectionist. Though the album took a long time to produce, a lot of that time was wasted or simply unused. However, when it was being worked on, Shields slaved over every aspect of the record to make sure it sounded absolutely exactly how he envisioned it, and the band used many innovative - or just plain weird - techniques throughout the recording. Most notable is Shields' usage of the tremolo bar as he strummed the guitar, causing the strings to bend and out of tune, with an overall effect that made many effects pedals and guitar layering techniques, commonly found in the shoegaze genre, unnecessary. On the more interesting side is how Shields and fellow guitarist/singer Bilinda Butcher would be woken up early in the morning to record vocals, resulting in an intentionally less clear and more indistinct vocal sound, with deliberately ambiguous lyrics.
Admittedly, by and large this album probably isn't the most challenging to play if you only care about the charts themselves, but it's really a musical experience like no other, and that's what makes it fun. I don't really know what else to say about it, so hopefully those who already know this record will be pleased, and those of you who don't will have a wonderous first experience with it!
Note this album frequently blurs the lines between shoegaze, noise pop, and dream pop, so the genres shown in the visualizers are arguable and slightly arbitrary.
"Only Shallow" (BearzUnlimited)
Four snare hits, and then a screaming riff. This opener immediately hits the listener with the manifesto of what this album is all about, encapsulated in its most "rocking" song that also happens to be quite accessible to new listeners. This song trudges along at a heavy, slow tempo, alternating between the heavy and noisy riff section, taking the place of a traditional chorus, and its dreamy and melodic verses sung by Bilinda Butcher. Capping it off is a beautifully hazy guitar coda.
Loveless is known primarily for its guitar textures and sound, so it's not too surprising that guitar is probably the most interesting instrument here. The main riff features slow 16th note tremolo strumming, while the verses consist of 2-note chords with a mix of 8th and 16th notes, as well as some bend-y HOPO chords here and there.
The bass part is easy but decently fun, with a cool ascending line during the main riff sections. The verses also feature a mix of 8th and 16th single notes, following a similar progression to the guitar chords.
The drum part is quite simple, consisting of a simple 8-beat on the ride cymbal with a fairly constant kick pattern. There are various easy fills thrown in throughout, as well as a few snares in between ride hits.
The vocal melody, again, is not difficult to sing, and if you enjoy the song you're naturally likely to enjoy the vocal part as well. There is a neat harmony part doing background "ooh"s as well. Note that there is no official lyric source for any of these songs, and with the album sounding the way it does, it's hard to really know what the singer is saying. While some songs had what sounded like an accurate transcription (as far as listeners can tell) on lyric sites, other songs had to be pieced together from various sources, all of which had some parts that sounded right and others that were off.
One of the mellower and shorter songs on the record, this song has a guitar sound that feels like it's constantly somewhere in between airy and pounding, between tuneful and dissonant. The whole song, really, feels both blissful and melancholy at the same time. It stays at a fairly constant tempo and dynamic, with vocals and keyboards (though less a keyboard than a sound, really - though it's actually sampled from warped guitar noise, you can't quite put a finger on what it sounds like) drifting in and out. Like most songs from this album, it doesn't have a real chorus, but rather an instrumental hook melody that here sounds otherworldly.
This song has a fairly interesting keyboard part, with the intro (and other similar sections) all having totally different patterns from one another. They stay around the same few notes, but the "melody" kind of glides up and down and never really sticks to a beat. It takes the lead in the hook, and though here it plays the same each time, it's still a pretty cool part.
The vocals consists of two short verses that follow a similar line. There's nothing particularly special about the part, aside from it being a really pretty melody. The only harmony is literally just one note.
The rest of the instrument parts are not very noteworthy. The guitar part consists of constant 16th note strumming (at a slow tempo) of both two and three-note chords, though the way the ascending chords match the hook melody is pretty cool. The bass is also just 16th strumming, and the drum part is a constant slow roll on the floor tom for the entire song.
This song is an oddball on this album for various reasons. Unlike the other songs on the album, this track has a kind-of-experimental electronic sound, and it's only about a minute long. The first half of the song alternates between a dissonant "verse" section with loud synths, and a smoother "chorus" featuring heavy synth-strings creating an almost orchestral effect. The second half slows things down and drops the minimal drum track, solely featuring the strings. This song was actually composed and performed solely by the drummer, Colm Ó Cíosóig, and together with the drums in "Only Shallow" made up his only live contributions to the album due to him dealing illness and homelessness at the time. However, the other songs did feature sampled drum tracks assembled from patterns that he was able to play despite his problems.
The keys track is fairly tricky in this synth-focused song. The main "melody" features difficult, quick groups of notes due to the pitch modulation, and the chorus is made up of tricky broken chords. The drums, on the other hand, are a very simple beat played on two toms. Think "29 Fingers" but easier and it doesn't play for half the song.
"To Here Knows When" (BearzUnlimited)
This, to me, is one of the most perfect pieces of music ever recorded. A massive swirl of noise with beautiful sounds and melodies everywhere. Remember how I described shoegaze as being a "lovely ocean of noise"? Well, this song is truly the epitome of that description. The track immediately grabs your attention with its shimmering synth melody. Then you're dropped into the verse, where you get your first taste of the gorgeous, dreamy vocal melodies, shrouded by clouds of guitar noise that's almost entirely removed from any sound you'd normally expect to hear from a guitar. The chorus continues this as more layers of vocals and keyboards enter, the guitar begins to take a more harmonious sound, and the vocal melody is 50 times prettier than the second-prettiest thing you've heard. The outro just drones on and on, but despite that, you still don't want it to end; you want it to go on forever because it's the most beautiful sound you've ever heard. And while you could more accurately replace every "you" (or variant thereof) with "I," "me," "my," "etc.," it doesn't change that "you" could be YOU if you give this a listen.
The keyboard part is probably the most varied and fun instrument in this song. The striking intro melody, which reprises itself at a couple other points in the song, consists of fast 16ths across different note. The verses are more relaxed, with quick pairs of 16th notes sprinkled throughout. The chorus is the highlight, featuring a mix of arpeggiated 8th and 16th notes, which never seem to repeat the same pattern twice.
The guitar part is almost entirely made up of moderately fast 16th strumming of different 2-note chords - fast enough to be a bit tricky, but still fairly laid-back. The ending is mostly unrelated to the next, a slower but more varied riff that plays distorted and alone.
Bass and drums are quite simplistic. The drum rhythm is neat, with slightly fast double kicks and snare ghost notes in between, but it repeats the same way throughout the whole song. The bass part is 16th strumming just like guitar, but on single notes.
Vocals are a similar story throughout the album - if you like the song, you'll like singing those lovely melodies (though the ending might get repetitive). Interesting to note is the second harmony part, which might go unnoticed even if you're very familiar with the song and album. It contributes some high background "hoo"s and echoes of the lead melody in the bridge and outro.
"When You Sleep" (DemonUnicorns)
If you only end up liking one song from the album (which would be a shame, by the way), it would almost certainly be this one (or "Sometimes," but I'll get to that later). This song would be pop perfection on its own, but the added textures and effect common across the whole record elevate it to an even higher level. It's a fast-paced, upbeat rocker, and there's basically two alternating sections to it - the hook, where the keyboard takes a high lead melody and the guitar kicks it up a notch too, and the lovably catchy verse. To many listeners, this song sounds like Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher are singing together, but it's actually just many takes of Kevin alone, some sped up and some slowed down, creating an indistinguishable voice. This effect originated from Shields' frustration over not being able to record a perfect take; as it turns out, the perfect take turned out to be all of them combined.
The keys part has that iconic synth melody to play in the main hook of the song, and there's another different bit that appears between the first and second verses. Sadly, there's nothing to actually play during the verses.
This song's guitar part is entirely on a basis of 8th note chord strumming, but there are many variations in the rhythm, and a bunch of quick 16ths mixed in as well. Easy, but it keeps you engaged.
That last sentence applies to the other parts as well. Drums play a 8-beat on the ride cymbal throughout, with frequent kicks whenever there's not a snare. There's also a bunch of fairly tricky snare and tom rolls all over the song, which brings the difficulty up relative to the other parts.
The bassline is basically 8th note strumming throughout the song, but there are some quick HOPO triplets in the main riff/hook section.
The vocal melody in the verses is mostly repetitive, but it's such a great melody that it's fun every time. Difficulty-wise, it's not hard, but there are a couple tricky slides in there.
"I Only Said" (DemonUnicorns)
This is one of the more dancey, electronic-influenced songs on the album. It moves along at a slow pace, with a groovy sampled drum pattern that keeps your head bobbing along. Above that drum beat floats the album's trademark dreamily noisy guitar chords, that waver in and out of tune thanks to Shields' signature tremolo bar usage. The hazy, breathy, androgynous vocals have similarly layered octaves to "When You Sleep." And of course, it's a perfect example of the guitar sounds being turned into synth-like parts (as I described with "Loomer"), with that striking OOooOO ooOOoo hook (you'll know what I mean when you hear it).
While in some cases, the quasi-synth-but-actually-guitar sounds were charted to keys, here they've been charted to guitar. Of course, there's that aforementioned OOooOO ooOOoo part that plays as a neat, slidey HOPO riff. The verses feature an eclectic mix of 8th and 16th note strumming of both 2 and 3 note chords, changing frequently throughout the song. The bridge has a slight variation with a quick 16th note melody alternating between two colors.
Similar to guitar, the bass part has a mix of 8ths and 16th note pattern that vary heavily between sections. There's also a bunch of little 16th note HOPO bits that help make it more interesting. Also worth noting, sound-wise, that the verses take a peculiarly high-pitched and prominent approach.
Being a sampled pattern, the drums will naturally be pretty repetitive in this song. It's still a cool beat, filled with hi-hat triple-hits and in-between snares, and it also has frequent snare rolls.
Easy vocals part again with octave harmonies, though the verses have an unusual structure to them. The "if you like the song, you'll like singing it" rule applies yet again.
"Come in Alone" (DemonUnicorns)
A slow, heavier rocker, in a similar vein to "Only Shallow." However, this one's slightly more on the dreamy side compared to that song, with a guitar riff that's not quite as dissonant and loud. Like that song, there's a guitar-led distorted riff and a vocal-led, woozier and melodic verse. The vocals have a particularly feminine sound despite being sung by Kevin, and they sound bigger than they are even though there's no harmony part.
The guitar part features that weird lead riff, which certainly has one of the most unique sounds that's come out of a guitar. In addition to the main hook, there's also a short reprise in the middle of the verses. It's a rather slow single-note melody, but it's played slightly differently each time, adding more variety. The verses, like many songs on this album, contain 16th note chord strumming, though this one has breaks in the strum pattern.
On the bass, the verses have a similar mix of 16th and 8th note strumming, though it's one of the more interesting variations on this trend throughout the album. The bass takes more prominence in the hook, with a heavy bassline alternating between two low notes.
Remember how I described "Only Shallow" on drums? Well, this is basically the same kind of thing.
The spacey keys part only plays during the hooks, and it only uses three notes, but the pattern is constantly changing similar to the keys from "To Here Knows When," so it's still a neat part.
Like the other songs, the vocal part is not hard, though the melody often moves in slightly unusual ways, and every once in a while there's a tricky run across several notes.
If you only end up liking one song from the album (which would be a shame, by the way), it would almost certainly be this one (or "When You Sleep," but I'll get to that earlier-- wait fuck that doesn't make sense). This one is easily the most mellow and melodious song on the album, being almost entirely focused on Kevin Shields' guitar and voice. The song has a distinct, prominent guitar sound that includes layered acoustic and electric guitars, giving the song a feel that's simultaneously gritty and dreamy. The vocals are the most vulnerable on the whole album, being sung by Shields alone and being relatively effects-free, giving the whole song a far more intimate feel than the rest.
The guitar part is made up entirely of 3-note chord strumming, but with every verse having a slightly different strumming pattern that keeps it fairly interesting. It's probably a pretty good voxtar song, though I wouldn't know since I can't grasp singing and playing (or even talking and playing) at the same time.
Each of the verses has a similar melody on vocals, and while there's not a whole lot of range, the line glides pleasingly and smoothly between different notes with a bunch of little slides mixed in.
The keys part doesn't play for a large portion of the song, but it enters in the third verse and continues on through the fourth verse and the instrumental outro. It's a slow melody with lots of sustains, but it has a beautiful flute-like sound.
The bass part is just 8th note strumming for the entire song, and it's pretty buried underneath the guitars. The drum part is just constant 8th note kicks with a hi-hat on every beat. That hi-hat note is actually a hi-hat pedal click, but the drummer animations have them hitting the hi-hat since not having any hand animations makes them do the weird glitchy hands-in-the-air thing and it looked ridiculous.
"Blown a Wish" (DemonUnicorns)
This is likely the album's most airy, dreamy song aside from "To Here Knows When." It's similarly pretty compared to that song, but more vocals-focused and with less noisy guitar textures obscuring it. The guitars never really have a distinct guitar-like sound, but instead sound almost like synth as they float above the music. The drum beat is a sampled pattern akin to "I Only Said," which also gives this song a slightly electronic-influenced feel, though it has slightly more variation than that song. The vocals here are perhaps Bilinda Butcher at her most angelic, with a very delicate and fragile sound.
This song's guitar part plays quite similarly to "To Here Knows When," featuring 16th chord strumming at about the same tempo, making it fast enough to be engaging without being overbearingly difficult.
On drums, the sampled patterns is primarily based off of a simple 8-beat on the hi-hat, but the third beat of every measure has a quick open hi-hat following the on-beat closed hat. Like "I Only Said," there's frequent snare rolls that help make the part more interesting.
The bass on this song is not challenging, but it has an unusually melodic, almost lead-like feel to it. There's frequent slides and a bunch of quick little HOPO runs throughout the song.
The vocal part is one of the more difficult in the pack. The lead vocal has its moments, with little variations in the verses and that tricky run with the "ooh" at the end of each verse. The harmony part has "ooh"s in the verses that are quite long and have quite a bit of range to them, and they also have a constant repeating melody between said verses.
"What You Want" (BearzUnlimited)
This song is to "When You Sleep" as "Only Shallow" is to "Come in Alone." In this case, it's "When You Sleep"'s noisier cousin. It's also an upbeat pop/rock song underneath (mind, minus the rather melancholic lyrics), but with a very raw and noisy production style that borders on lo-fi despite there actually being a whole lot going on in the mix. The song's main riff features a prominent and dissonant guitar part that makes heavy usage of the tremolo bar. There's also a pretty keyboard lead, also similar to "When You Sleep," that sounds vaguely like some kind of wind instrument. The verses are also catchy and dreamy, as you'd expect.
The guitar on this track is possibly the most fun out of the whole pack. The main riff features lots of quick chord changes and chord HOPOs emulating the tremolo bends, and it's very entertaining to play. The verse pattern is standard 8th note strumming with constant changes in the pattern.
On keys, even though that keyboard lead consists of mostly long sustains, the way it kind of drifts along without really sticking to a regular beat makes it still a cool part. There's also a long coda where the keyboard alone plays for quite a while.
The vocal melody again sits at a great sweet spot of being not very difficult, but still an interesting and fun melody. There's also quite prominent background "oohs" that get quite long, with a few slides.
Bass here is just 8th note strumming throughout with a few short sustains, so nothing really special.
The drums are quite similar to "When You Sleep," with a similar ride 8-beat at a similar pace, with snare rolls from time to time.
Compared to the other songs on this album, this one feels almost kind of normal, like it pulls you out of the dream that the rest of the songs threw you into. This song is awesomely danceable, with a killer sampled drumbeat that drives the song along. Throughout the song, it kind of feels like you're plunging in and out of an ocean. You're bouncing along to the beat, with that sprightly not-really-keyboard melody going on, and then suddenly the verse hits and there's a wall of guitars and those sensual, slightly unsettling vocals start to enter. While the song's extended outro sticks to the bright and clear sound, there's still those constantly repeating "haa"s in the background that feel like they're trying to call you back into the dream and dive into the album once again.
For one last time, let's jump into the guitar part first. Like almost all the other songs, it primarily alternates between two patterns. One of them is the "keyboard" melody mentioned before, which plays as a fun albeit rather repetitive HOPO-based pattern. During the verses, you have the album's fastest 16th strumming on mostly 3-note chords, so you'll enjoy watching the masses of points roll in when you activate overdrive.
The bassline in this song is one of the most active and interesting of all the songs here. While the verses do have the standard, varied 8th-strumming fare, the hook sections have a really cool riff that bounces all across the frets with little groups of 16th notes mixed in.
While, yes, the drums are the same beat repeated throughout the song, it's such a great rhythm that you may still have fun with it regardless. It's based on a hi-hat 8-beat, but with quick double- and in-between-kicks as well as frequent snares between the hi-hats.
You should know what to expect from vocals at this point, given my descriptions for all the previous songs. This one has a bit more emphasis on holding out longer notes.
2001 - Blackwater Park
The Ordinary Boys
2004 - Over the Counter Culture
"Over the Counter Culture"
The Ordinary Boys made little impact in the US, but were apparently more well known in the UK, with lead singer Preston being somewhat of a controversial figure of his own, particularly after his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother. I mean, I don't live there so I don't really know. This is the title-track from their debut album, an energetic and upbeat indie track with some tinges of ska and punk, about people who think they're being rebellious and unique by buying into the same "counter-culture" "alternative" trends as everyone else. Kinda like Hot Topic.
This is probably my favorite song to listen to from the game's soundtrack, and it's really fun to play as well. The intro and outro of the song on drums feature a sorta tough, kick-heavy rhythm. The verses have a quarter-note pattern on hi-hat with fun kick placement, and the chorus moves to the ride that's actually a shitty crash cymbal which the drummer is hitting the shitty bell of, trying to make it sound like a ride. There's a few difficult fills through the song, and some little tricky bits in the last chorus as well. On guitar, the intro contains 3-note-chord 8th strumming, followed by the main riff, which is a fun mix of single notes and chords. The chorus features chord strumming, with some quick bits of 8th note hammer-ons, and the effects-laden bridge following the first chorus has some difficult ascending and descending HOPOs, adding an interesting twist to the middle of the song. It's almost like a solo but it's not. The bassist on this song is no slouch, as rather than sticking to basic root note strumming, the bass part features lots of little melodies, runs, and variations of its own, making it probably the most fun bass song in the pack. I can't really describe each individual section of the song, but I will say the outro is a particular highlight. The keys part is what brings in the ska influence, as it consists entirely of brass instruments. Most of the song is fairly easy, with some chord melodies in the choruses and bridge. The outro, however, features the *other* solo of the pack, which is pretty difficult and features a whole bunch of 16th note runs. The vocals part is also great fun, ignoring the second harmony that only comes in for one short section of the song. None of the verses have the exact same melody, and the bridge and the end of the last chorus add even more variation.
1977 - Animals
This right here is my favorite Pink Floyd album. Not as popular as DSotM, WYWH, or The Wall, but in my opinion their masterpiece. It's a loose concept album, not with a story driving it but instead with an overriding theme. Roger Waters compares various societal classes to animals - dogs, pigs, and sheep - and criticizes capitalism. It's definitely one of Floyd's more raw, unfriendly works, and it also felt like it would be one of their most fun to play in Rock Band.
"Pigs on the Wing (Part One)"
This is a short, soft, acoustic folk song whose two parts bookend the main portion of the album. There's not much point in playing them individually, but they serve as a contrast to the darkness and pessimism of the other songs, and they're important when listening to the album as a whole. Gameplay wise, you have acoustic chord strumming and a fairly simple vocal part.
Pro Keys by sageamagoo.
(This blurb still in the context of the release, I'll change it eventually.) Right here is where "Dogs" would go, if I hadn't already charted it. Two years ago. Two fucking years ago. Damn. This song discusses the "dogs" of society: the businessmen, and various aspects of their working life, including the ruthless competition and aggression. Anyway, if you're interested in playing the whole album, make sure you pick up this 17 minute epic from the database. It's the highlight of the album and literally my favorite song ever. Do it now.
"Pigs (Three Different Ones)"
Pro Keys by mazegeek999.
The third track from the album takes a slower turn, a dark, lengthy, bluesy song that criticizes the upper class of society. Specifically three indivduals in that group, who are compared to, well, pigs. This song definitely stands out for the guitar and bass parts. There's a cool talkbox solo in the middle of the song, and another great, more intense solo in the outro. The bass part has two fun lead sections and gets pretty technical towards the end of the song. Drums have some cool rhythms but get a bit repetitive until (again) the outro, where Nick Mason starts throwing in a bunch of big fills. Aside from the notable and iconic intro and reprise of that intro, the keyboard part is mostly sustained chords. Vocals have a long break in the midsection, but the parts with vocals are quite fun to sing and there are a few cool harmony phrases as well.
Pro Keys by mazegeek999.
The fourth song on the album and the final epic, "Sheep" brings the tempo up for a more upbeat hard rock song with a cool triplet feel. This song is about the rest of the people in society, the "mindless and unquestioning herd," who of course are portrayed as sheep. It also has this neat effect where some long vocal notes gradually fade into a synthesizer note, so that's cool. The guitar part is mostly rhythmic and chugging, with a few cool leads thrown in until the epic outro riff. The bass part is similar to the guitar, but minus the leads and adding an interesting "octave-bouncing" riff that comes in at some points. Drums have one of the better parts here, with the upbeat, swinging triplet feel and a bunch of cool fills, particularly in the outro. Keys have an awesome intro and a more active part than in Pigs with a bunch of glissandos scattered throughout. The vocals are one of Waters's most angry and intense performances, with a tricky chorus part and some long held notes.
"Pigs on the Wing (Part Two)"
See "(Part One)" above. This is pretty much the same song but with different lyrics.
"Pigs on the Wing (8-Track)"
As an added bonus, here's an interesting version of "Pigs on the Wing." On the 8-track version of this album, due to some issue or feature of the medium (I wasn't around to actually know how the fuck these things worked) parts one and two of the song were merged into one. However, there's a solo played by Snowy White in between the parts, linking them together - this solo never appeared on any other version of the album. I was curious and checked it out, and I thought it would be a bit of a novelty but nothing special. But, when the solo came in I was immediately struck by its beauty. It's a great solo, so much so that I decided to chart this version. If you've heard this album but not this version before, I highly recommend listening to it.
Queens of the Stone Age
1998 - Queens of the Stone Age
2000 - Rated R
"The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret"
1993 - Pablo Honey
There was originally a near-full-band (just missing harmonies) chart of this song by Sideshow. This track has now been revised and polished in various ways for the RH:RB project.
This opening track starts the album off strong - it's probably the heaviest, grungiest studio cut in the pack, and it's characterized by a strongly contrasting quiet-loud dynamic and its shifting time signatures. The song generally follows a pattern of 3 bars of 6/8 followed by a bar of 5/8, giving it a unique, slightly off-kilter feel. Thom seems to simply be singing about a dangerous infatuation with someone, to the extent that they're all he cares about even during an apocalypse.
Guitar is generally the highlight instrument throughout the entire pack, and this song is certainly no exception. The song opens with a striking clean 8th-note arpeggio riff (which also reprises itself in the first half of the outro). This is then followed up by the main 3-note chord riff of the song, featuring some quick bursts of 16th notes. While the first verse is mostly a break, some slightly-distorted arpeggio lines (in a different style to the opening riff) come in during the second one. The loud choruses are where most of the action happens, with some fast 16th note chord strumming and some quick HOPOs as well, followed by an ascending 16th note lead riff.
The drums mostly stick to the same pattern throughout the song, though the aforementioned changing time signatures make it still interesting. It has some slightly tricky off-beat kicks, a heavy stomp on all three limbs during the choruses, and frequent crash usage during the outro.
The bass part mostly plays variations on the same riff - though it is a pretty nifty riff, with a rhythm that locks in with the drum groove. The chorus does have some quick 16th note strumming, and the outro throws in a little descending line to spice things up.
While the "chorus" isn't really a chorus, the vocals part has a cool, memorable melody in the verses, an interesting two part harmony in the repeating outro lines, and most notably, one of Thom Yorke's greatest vocal moments. After the second chorus, he belts out a very long, high "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!" which is solely responsible for at least one of the dots on the difficulty rating.
This one is the longest track on the album, and like "You," it has a prominent contrast between quiet and loud - though used in a different way. The first half of the song is mostly soft, featuring clean guitars and a light snare drum pattern. The vocals take major prominence here, and Thom sings a motivational tune about feeling free to express your feelings - the chorus line, "stop whispering, start shouting" basically sums it up. After a dip in the middle, the band starts to build back up, eventually bursting into a loud, raucous outro that continues to intensify all the way up until the Big Rock Ending (gasp!). Note that the original song lacks a final note at the end, and the band just kind of fizzles out - thankfully, I was able to use the Creep multitracks to engineer a proper end!
Starting with guitar, since it's again the most interesting instrument here: the first half of the song is mostly the same chord pattern with a few arpeggio patterns in the pre-choruses, though with many small variations, so that no measure repeats the exact same way. There's also a short guitar lead section with 16th chord strumming. The build-up includes a neat 8th-note melody, culminating in a fast burst of tremolo strumming before the outro. The outro starts off with some improvisational quasi-soloing, with a mix of 8th and 16th notes. Following that is a section of 3-note chord 16th strumming, which eventually breaks back off into the previous style. The song ends with a long orange strum lane before the BRE - note that due to a visual glitch, the lane disappears right before the BRE, but it still functions.
This song is somewhat of a vocals showcase - the verse, pre-chorus, and chorus all have fun melodies that require more range than the other tracks, and there's a slightly difficult run at the end of each chorus. The harmony part only briefly comes in during the second verse, however. During the outro, there's a reprise of the chorus with long sustains - particularly the final "start SHOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU--" which is held out for quite a while.
The bass part is pretty fun to play - while the verses are mostly long sustains with some little slides, the pre-chorus takes a more active pattern and frequently shifts across the fretboard, and there's some sections of alternating 8th notes. The guitar lead section also has some quick bursts of 16th notes. The outro sticks to 8th note strumming and generally follows the same pattern of notes, with some variations as it carries on, and some short runs ascending the frets.
On drums, there's two main rhythms - in the first section, there's a snare roll pattern with accents on yellow and a solid kick at the beginning of each measure. The second half features an 8-beat on the ride cymbal with some off-beat kicks and snares and a recurring snare roll fill. As the song nears its end, the part gets more frenzied with some fast alternating rides and crashes. The middle build up section has a loose, half-time feel.
This track closes out the album, and in my opinion it's easily the best song on it. Not only that, it's incredibly underrated in general and really stands up among some of Radiohead's best work from their later albums. The song starts out with a cool, kinda jazzy shuffle feel to it, with tasteful clean guitar work and a really neat drum groove. Then, the song breaks out in to a loud, surf rock-esque riff, with overwhelming, reverberating shoegazey guitars, before returning to a more driven, energetic variation of the previous part. Following that, there's an atmospheric breakdown bit before the song dramatically builds up into the outro. The outro can best be described as the most accurate recreation of the sound of a spaceship launching ever recorded. It's loud, intense, cacophonous, and most of all: fucking incredible.
The drums part in this song is definitely the best in the pack IMO, mildly difficult and very fun to play. As I mentioned before, the first section has a cool groove to it. It starts out as a basic ride 8-beat at a fairly quick tempo - however, while the ride, kick, and hi-hat pedal (which sadly can't be charted) lock into a constant pattern, the snare drum hits take their own, independent rhythm, accenting different beats in interesting ways. Every few measures there's also a quick snare/tom fill. The loud part has a surf rock groove, riding on the crash, with some weird crossover bits which were charted in a way that lets you conveniently fudge the sticking a bit if you're not on Pro. The build up section is a series of tricky 16th note fills, and the rest of the outro carries a brisk, driving beat on the hi-hat and later the ride.
The guitar part's quite neat as well. The intro and first verse feature clean, jazzy chords, and later on some increasingly tricky 8th note HOPO bits are mixed in. The loud riff in the middle is characterized by quick chord changes, though with the same root note, being Everlong-esque but easier. The second verse is the only uninteresting part. It's a reaaallllyyy long chord sustain, though with an overdrive phrase on it so you can whammy to your heart's content. Let's skip to the outro now, where the guitar is extremely prominently mixed and layered with all sorts of effects, creating the sound that makes the part so awesome. Gameplay-wise, it's a very long blast of tremolo strumming, so make sure you've got the stamina in your arm.
While the weakest instrument in the song, bass is pretty neat here as well. The melody generally follows the guitar part, with plenty of minor variations in the strumming pattern and quick licks. The loud riff and the outro feature 8th note strumming, but the outro has a neat rhythm alternating between pairs of notes, and later on there's a few little higher melodies thrown in.
This is likely the easiest track on vocals, with only two really different melodies on the lead vocal - one in the verse, and one in the chorus. However, the harmony part makes it still really fun to sing, with a very cool melody in the chorus that sings independently of the lead, and a neat harmony in the second verse.
1993 - Live at the MTV Beach House
"Anyone Can Play Guitar" (Live at the MTV Beach House)
Finally, we have a live version of a single from the middle of the album. While Creep was technically released first as a debut single, Anyone Can Play Guitar was the first released in promotion of the album, and Creep didn't gain popularity until it was re-released afterwards. ACPG has a bit of a funky feel in the verses, but then goes into double-time and takes on a standard alt-rock sound in the choruses. In this track, Thom mocks the "rock n' roll dream" - as Songfacts describes, he "heaps scorn on desperate wannabes who seek validation via Rock stardom."
So why a live cut? Dedicated Radiohead fans will know what's up with this particular live performance, and if you don't, I'll fill you in. MTV got Radiohead to play this televised Beach House gig, and naturally the song they were asked to play was Creep. However, they wanted a multi-camera shoot, but they didn't actually have more than one camera, so the band had to play Creep several times in a row with the camera in a different place each take. Naturally, they didn't take too well to that, and when the shot was done they suddenly launched into this song. Here, the intro and first couple measures are actually the studio version, since the crew had to rush to start recording again. Now what makes the actual performance so infamous? Let me recap the major events, in order.
- The band is onstage in the most ridiculously 90s getup.
- Thom starts singing pretty noticeably off-key.
- Thom suddenly starts hilariously verbally abusing the late Jim Morrison - I quote, "FAT! UGLY! DEAD!"
- Thom starts screaming at the top of his lungs while the camera zooms in on his extremely anguished, red face.
- Thom jumps into the pool and nearly dies twice. First, he's wearing Doc Martens, which quickly fill up with water and cause him to nearly drown. Then, he desperately tries to pull himself out of the pool by grabbing... a live mic cord. Thankfully, a crew member nearby kicks it out of the way at the last second, saving Thom from electrocution.
Actually, you should probably just watch the whole ordeal:
Gameplay wise, this is probably the most fun overall. The guitar part is the hardest in the pack, and probably the most fun to play as well. The intro and first verse are characterized by random, noisy freakouts from our good pal Jonny G, as well as a high-pitched melody. The second verse features muted strumming with a random pattern mixing 16th and 32nd notes (though at a slow tempo). Both of the pre-choruses contain a large amount of 32nd note chord strumming, capped off with random tremolo strums on the last chord - the 2nd one goes on longer, with more random HOPOs and strumming sections. The choruses are mostly standard chord strumming, but with lots of changes and very little repetition throughout. After the first chorus is a fun guitar lead with a mix of sustains and HOPOs, and the outro is essentially a block of noise that I could only really chart as a long chord strum lane.
The bassline is definitely the most fun out of the whole pack. The main verse riff is essentially the lead instrument, featuring a prominent sliding pattern. The other sections have a mix of 8th note and 16th note strumming. The whole song is chock full of quick HOPO runs all over the fretboard. There's not really much else to say about it - it's decently challenging and full of variety.
The drum part is also quite fun and interesting. Throughout the entire song, there's a basis on 16th note beats (though again, at a slow tempo, around 75-80BPM). The verses have a slow, groovy feel, with some quick kicks and tricky rolls on the hi-hat and snare. Before each chorus, there's a fast 32nd note fill hitting various toms, and the chorus then takes a double-time pattern with a few offbeat snares and quick fills. The guitar lead and outro are similar to the verse, but with the crash on the up-beat right before each measure.
If you read the previous description of the song itself and this performance, you should know what you're getting into with this vocal chart. All the off-key notes make it very challenging to do "perfectly," but it's still a really fun song to sing and fuck around with due to all the hilarity.
1997 - OK Computer
"Subterranean Homesick Alien"
Pro Keys by sageamagoo.
"Exit Music (For a Film)"
Pro Keys by sageamagoo.
Pro Keys by sageamagoo.
Pro Keys by sageamagoo.
"Fitter Happier" dance you fucker
"Climbing Up the Walls"
Pro Keys by sageamagoo.
1994 - Bananaphone
This amusing children's music track gained large internet popularity several years ago, which greatly surprised me when I found out, as when I was younger I used to listen to this song all the damn time. Naturally, I had to bring it to Rock Band because...,,,,????/? Anyway, as you'd expect from the title, this song is about a man extolling the virtues of his banana, which also happens to function as a phone. What a novel idea! Don't write it off as just a joke - this song has a challenging piano part that took a STUPID amount of time for me to chart, just for a novelty song. It features chords throughout the verses, with frequent flourishes on the piano, as well as on some wind instrument. In the middle of the song, there's a somewhat lengthy piano solo that's basically what gives the song its high difficulty rating. Drums play a jazzy snare brush pattern throughout most of the song, that's decently entertaining. There's a soft acoustic guitar part mainly playing chords on the upbeats, that gets a bit more involved later in the song. Bass plays a simple, bouncy little rhythm that's not particularly interesting. And of course, humorous songs like this are always entertaining to sing, especially if you know the song, and the only part that really repeats is the "ring ring ring ring ring ring ring, bananaphone!" verse that never really gets old, as well as the outro.
1999 - King of the Hill
"Yahoos and Triangles"
Reggie and the Full Effect
2003 - Under the Tray...
"Congratulations Smack and Katy"
Reggie and the Full Effect is a solo project of James Dewees, keyboardist for The Get Up Kids, where he plays keyboards (obviously), sings, and on the earlier albums, drums. He also has a bit of a knack for comedy, with numerous skits and songs featuring fake "alter-ego" bands on his albums. Not to mention the album packaging itself - the first three albums included a "Greatest Hits 1984-1987" "compilation," a CD made to look like a Promotional Copy, and an album where the CD is packaged Under the Tray where the disc would normally be found, fooling people into thinking it's missing. This song is about peanut butter and jelly. Well, at least that's what the fantastic music video is about, and that's what Dewees says to introduce the song when he plays it live. It's a great alt/pop rock track with a very electronic, synth-infused sound making it stand out.
Being the project of a keyboardist, this song naturally has a great keys part, likely the best of the pack. The verses feature 8ths doubling the bass note on synth, while the second half of the intro and the choruses have a great recurring melody that's a bit tough to play. During the bridge, there's a totally different part, consisting mainly of 8th notes but varying a lot in the melody. The guitar part doubles that synth melody whenever it is played, and also continues playing it in the bridge when the keys part is doing something different. Although repetitive, it's similarly as fun as playing it on keys. The verses and bridge consist of the standard 8th note strumming you'd expect from many songs. The bass is fairly uninteresting, comprised of 8th note strumming for almost the whole song. On drums, the song is mostly standard quarter-note-beat fare, moving between the hi-hat and two different crash cymbals. The half-time bridge is likely the most interesting part of the song, with neat off-beat kicks and snares. The vocals part is not very hard, sticking mostly to a fairly small range, but the melodies are really catchy and fun to sing, and there's some parts that challenge your ability to hold your breath.
The Rolling Stones
1968 - Beggars Banquet
"Sympathy for the Devil"
2001 - Melody A.M.
1975 - Caress of Steel
2002 - Vapor Trails
"One Little Victory"
2012 - Clockwork Angels
2005 - Single
"Heyyeyaaeyaaaeyaeyaa (Fabulous Secret Powers)"
1993 - Souvlaki
1995 - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
2009 - Rather Ripped
1968 - Steppenwolf
"Born to Be Wild"
Pro Guitar/Bass by columbo777.
Multitracks by maxton.
Strapping Young Lad
At this point, you may already be familiar with a man named Devin Townsend.He's been a very popular figure among progressive metal fans for quite a while now, primarily for the work he's produced under the Devin Townsend Project. But before there was the DTP, there was SYL. Earlier in his career, before Strapping Young Lad was officially put to rest, he essentially had two sides to his music: his solo albums, released under his own name, and his band (no, not the Devin Townsend Band, which was an awkward thing kinda stuck in between that was sorta his solo career but sorta not), Strapping Young Lad.
These two sides were best emobdied by the two albums he released in 1997, which are still often regarded by fans as his best work: Strapping Young Lad's City, and his solo album, Ocean Machine. In fact, shortly after completing these two albums, he was on the verge of a mental breakdown, causing him to check himself into a mental hospital at which point he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, during the creation of our second featured album of this release, 2005's Alien, he stopped taking his bipolar meds - a decision brought about by a desire to top City and take his music to greater extremes. While this may have contributed to the more pure and unrestrained emotional and musical qualities that the album demonstrated compared to its decidedly lackluster self-titled precursor from two years prior, Devin realized that doing this - and continuing SYL as a band in general - was unhealthy for himself as a person, and following the release of 2006's The New Black, the group was dissolved.
So just what is Strapping Young Lad all about? We know that Devin is a highly eclectic and versatile musician, covering a broad range of different styles. His output ranges from the calm ambient and new age of albums such as The Hummer and Ghost, to well... this. To put it simply, Strapping Young Lad is really the heaviest music that I know of, ever. Like, please, tell me if you know of any band or artist that hits you like a massive fucking freight train harder than this. I've heard (a few) other bands in the industrial metal genre, and I've heard suggestions of what's supposedly heavier than SYL, but I still haven't found anything with this level of intensity, energy, and unadulterated rage.
Strapping Young Lad can be described as industrial metal, a particularly abrasive style of metal drawing influence from industrial music and post-industrial subgenres such as electro-industrial and EBM. Earlier industrial metal acts such as Ministry took more influence from industrial music itself, with typically more rigid tempos and rhythms and often heavier usage of electronic elements and sampling. Later on, industrial metal started to swing closer to the metal side, with bands such as Fear Factory and of course, SYL, borrowing elements from thrash and groove metal. One of the key things that sets Strapping Young Lad apart, however, is the vocal performances. In most industrial rock and metal, you'd generally come to expect aggressive and passionate, but not very technically impressive vocals, which are sometimes masked by distorting effects. Devin Townsend is the exception to this. SYL is filled with vocal theatrics, as Devin can alternate from harsh, furious yelling to an incredible, emotive singing voice - and that's not to mention the absolutely insane screams he pulls off throughout the band's discography. One listen to "Oh My Fucking God" will leave you thinking "oh my fucking god." The lyrics, of course, are basically flat-out misanthropic fury, with some interesting takes on technology, omnipotence, and marriage thrown in there as well.
That's not to say the instrumentals are any less fantastic, however. One cannot talk about Strapping Young Lad without mentioning Gene Hoglan's powerhouse drumming - they don't call him the "Atomic Clock" for nothing. He demonstrates extreme stamina in playing for playing at high-speed tempos with lightning-quick double kicks, in addition to tricky fills and deceptively complex patterns. Then there's Devin and Jed Simon's twin-guitar attack of blistering tremolo strumming and heavy riffs, with some occasional crazy technical licks thrown in. Compared to the others, Byron Stroud seems a little... lazy, I guess, but he still lays down some very solid bass work. All this is wrapped up in Dev's trademark wall-of-sound production. City features a rawer sound, and can basically be described as pure heaviness, also often employing sampling and textural noise elements. Alien is more polished and layered (interestingly with some occasional sub bass drops), and embraces a bit of the proggier songwriting Devin shifted towards later in his career.
1997 - City
"Velvet Kevorkian"/"All Hail the New Flesh"
This track (or rather, pair of tracks) is essentially a mission statement, defining exactly what Strapping Young Lad is here to do: be really fucking angry and kick your ass. "Velvet Kevorkian" is essentially an intro track, coupling a constant mid-tempo pounding with melodic chants and manic yelling from Devin. Then, "All Hail the New Flesh" kicks in, initally putting you through a windtunnel of noise and blastbeats before taking on a somewhat-traditional verse/chorus structure in which the verses have a harsher tone while the pre-chorus carries an uncharacteristically beautiful melody - the chorus itself is kind of a mix of both. Mid-way through, the song breaks down into half-time with a heavy two-note riff, before returning to the pre-chorus.
The drum part, as always, is a highlight when it comes to SYL. After the relatively simple intro, you're greeted with a blast of extremely fast double bass notes before settling into a more relaxed pattern alternating between cymbals. The verses feature quick kick patterns beneath a stamina-testing hi-hat/snare rhythm, with various quad/sextuplet fills in between. The pre-chorus is relatively simpler, with double kicks between snare/cymbal hits, while the chorus has more prolonged double kicks alternating between straight 8ths (@~200bpm) and triplets, with a bit of tricky polyrhythmic hits. The heavy riff has a heavy triplet groove, and the bridge features a more traditional and simpler hi-hat/snare rhythm.
The main riff on guitar is based on single notes that aren't very fast but have a slightly off-kilter rhythm to them, however later on changes to quicker 16th notes. The pre-chorus and chorus are largely based on 8th-note chord strumming, but similar to the kick drums, the chorus alternates with triplets. After the fairly monotonous aforementioned two-note riff, the part features a chord-HOPO-heavy riff that later simplifies slightly.
The bass part is admittedly largely based on the same riffs and strumming patterns that the guitar part has, only with single notes instead of chords. Unique, however, is the verse riff which is totally different from the guitar part. Also, there's a neat lick that occurs in both pre-choruses.
None of the keys parts on these songs are much to write home about, as they're mostly used for textural purposes. This part largely follows the guitar chords, but with sustained notes where you'd have constant strumming. However, the bridge and outro contain a simple but prominent lead melody played on the keys.
The vocal part is one of the pack's most difficult. "Velvet Kevorkian" is harmony-heavy, with the melodic chants mentioned earlier, but they're used more sparingly later. Of note are three particularly long pitched screams, especially the extremely dramatic "MO. THER. FUCK. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR" in the middle, which is joined by a little choir of harmonies. The chorus also features some long-held notes, as well as a double-track HARM2 that occasionally splits off into a proper harmony.
"Oh My Fucking God"
"OMFG" is roughly tied with "Shitstorm" as being the most extreme song in the pack, and "extreme" for SYL means "mind-numbingly insane" by any other standard. After a short sampling/drum-focused intro, you're immediately hit by Devin screaming his goddamn lungs out. And if you think the dissonant riffage, fast thrashy drumming, and massive chorus chant were already harsh, then honey, you've got a big storm comin'. First, the start-stop blasts accompanied by Devin making... noises - then, a snare hit - and finally, a wall of fucking noise.
The drum part immediately hits you with a very common theme throughout this pack - super-fast double kick patterns - in this case, abruptly starting and stopping, with some cool alternating ride cymbals thrown in. The verses lay off a bit on the double kicks and enter a fast, thrash-y hi-hat pattern. The chorus is relatively simple, with some quick, but not sustained bass and alternating crashes. Simple, not minding the complex quad fills. The "heavy part" cranks the verse pattern up to 11, now at an even faster tempo, with double kick blasts later on - but before that, the breakdown features some strangely sloppy blasts which will be tough to hit precisely.
The guitar chart is a serious endurance test in this song, as the very first riff immediately throws you into fast tremolo strumming that snakes all over the fretboard. The verse riff slows down to 8ths, but with a fairly tricky pattern with blue/yellow notes anchored from green. The chorus gives you a break, with a relatively simple chord-based pattern, but when the noise hits, the blistering speed will leave you wishing for the strumming from earlier.
Like "AHTNF," the bass part mimicks the guitar riffs in many ways, but with single notes and 8ths rather than 16ths where applicable. There are some exceptions - the pre-verse riff follows a different pattern from guitar, and the patterns in the heavy part are also mostly unique, with some tricky fast note switching. The breakdown is an exception in a different way, featuring full-on tremolo strumming rather than 8ths.
On vocals, the nature of talkies makes one of the hardest songs to accurately perform, one of the easiest to sing in Rock Band. Still, it's great fun to mimic the insane noises Devin makes throughout the song (I quote, "Waaaghblblaaeeaagaahlblblaaaeeaeaeueeaagaggahblblaaaaaaieeeeeblblaaaghhblblaaaaggblblaaaaaaggahhablblaaaeeeghhlblbluuhhhwuaoh!"). The verses are of particular note as Devin angrily spits out a ridiculous amount of syllables without taking a breath. The lyrics, interestingly, are far more philosophical than you'd expect. The song's difficulty rating comes from some really fast "lalalalalala"s on HARM3 later on.
I can't talk about this song without just flat-out saying it's an absolute masterpiece and one of the finest pieces Devin has ever produced in his career. While other songs on the album express a very outward anger, this song, in contrast, takes a more introspective turn and deals with his mental health issues and his own personal struggles with anxiety. Yet, it does not lose any of the intensity and energy that the others provide. While the rest of the song is obviously excellent, with its heavy riffage, punk-y backing vocals, and higher emphasis on melodicism - the real star of the show is the midsection, which brings the tempo down and simplifies the song down to four chords and one of Devin's most emotional vocal performances put to record, before getting even more beautiful as it's reduced to two chords, with heavier synth pads creating a dreamlike atmosphere. Then, after a final cry of "God, I'm so lonely" (a phrase that sounds melodramatic and edgy on paper, but is delivered with utmost sincerity here), the song is thrust back into its high-tempo riffage.
This song's drum part is primarily based on fast (but not too stamina-breaking) thrash/punk beats, with some sections riding on the hi-hat with quick double kicks, and other parts alternating between two crash cymbals with constant 16th bass notes. Naturally, there's some pretty neat fills thrown in there as well. When the song initially breaks down into a slower tempo, the 16th bass continues into a ghost-note-littered hi-hat pattern. Throughout the bridge, there's a very simple quarter note crash beat, but with a more complex (and also catchy) kick rhythm driving the song and following the strumming pattern of the guitar and bass.
The guitar chart features a good amount of 16th note strumming. The main verse is initially based on two notes, but later becomes more complex and spans the fretboard. Intertwined with this riff is some tremolo strumming on 3-note chords (mmm, points.) Before the chorus, which features a variety of 2-note chords strummed in 16ths, there's a very tricky riff with ascending notes across the frets, anchored on green. The bridge contains a 4- (later 2-)chord riff with a neat strumming pattern, and shortly afterwards is a variation on the verse with a mix of snaky and descending patterns.
The bass chart is a great example of the guitar-mimicking trope that seems very prevalent in this pack. All of the riffs are very similar to the guitar part, except with no chords and slightly simplified in some areas (interestingly making it one of the hardest bass charts in the pack). Thus, there's not much to independently talk about here.
Like other songs in the pack, the keys here are largely textural, and are largely made up of simple chords.
The vocal part in general has a much greater focus on pitched, melodic vocals compared to other songs in the pack. While the melodies are not terribly complex, they're still very fun to sing - especially the bridge, if you find that part as emotionally powerful as I do. Of course, it has its fair share of pitched screams as well, adding to the difficulty. While the harmonies are largely the backing "Hey! You mo'!" chant, HARM2 does get its own unique melody shortly after the bridge.
2005 - Alien
After the short and sweet "Imperial" introduces the listener to Alien, we meet "Skeksis" - likely the band's most proggy and ambitious song to date (and given the current state of SYL, it'll probably stay that way). The song is quite unconventionally structured, with a lengthy intro based on variations of a single riff before the proper vocals even come in. When it seems like it's finally settling into a verse/chorus structure, it suddenly goes off into a fast and intense midsection, featuring a heavily modified chorus before finally going back into the verse, which is quickly cut short by a heavy outro.
The drum part is one of the most varied in the pack. Starting out with a tricky tom pattern, you're soon introduced to the main riff rhythm, featuring a simple hand pattern but much more involved footwork. A variety of other bits appear, including a fast snare roll/double bass lick, an odd-time-signature blast section, and a lengthy quad fill breakdown. The chorus and outro, curiously, are primarily based on a modified samba-like beat - a slightly unusual thing to hear in a metal track. The midsection, however, after a long snare roll, throws the player into an oh-so-familiar thrash beat briefly before switching to a very interesting polyrhythmic pattern alternating between hi-hat and crash hits.
After a short intro of various chord and single-note patterns, the guitarist is introduced to their main riff, a rumbling low 8th note pattern. Throughout this riff are variations such as descending tremolo strumming and added chords. Shortly before the verse, there's a cool lead with an arpeggiated triplet pattern. The verse riff alternates between single note hammer-ons and chords, with the chorus being largely based on chord strumming. A short bridge features a tricky 16th HOPO pattern all across the frets. The fast midsection returns to a traditional SYL tremolo riff, with some chunky chords and a crazy mini-solo thrown in. The lengthy outro riff features various HOPO chord bends.
The bass part in this song is very strange. I'd maybe describe it as... spotty? The intro starts out reasonable enough, with a pattern mimicking the guitar riff as you'd expect. Later on however, it seems to be used in a more "textural" way, providing accents to certain bits and a low rumble in various places, but not with any proper "riffs," and with long gaps where there's straight up no bass when you'd expect there to be bass. Maybe I'm thinking too deep into it, but I was very surprised by what I was hearing as I charted it.
The keys part is typical, with various chords to accentuate the chords being played by the guitar. There's a few little brass stings and a little xylophone part, too.
The vocals part is easily the most interesting vocal track in the pack. In some sections, there's so many layers of harmonies going on, all blurring together in the mix, that I'm honestly not sure if I'm hearing things right at all. If it weren't for lyric booklets, I wouldn't have any idea of the existence of much of it. Before the verse, roughly two minutes in, there's not much besides some talkie harmony chants. However, the first chorus is when shit gets real. The lead and second harmony are singing the same words but with a totally different melody, and the third harmony is going off on with some constant "dah dun dah dun"s, and then after that is a mix of unorthodox harmonies, oohs and aahs, and double-tracking. The second chorus takes this even further, with the third harmony on a totally different set of lyrics that's way buried in the mix.
The other "extreme" song of the pack - where "OMFG" is particularly extreme musically, this song is moreso in the lyrical department. Here, Devin proves himself a master of taking words that sound like they come from an edgy 14 year old's diary and putting utmost earnest, sincerity, and power into them so that they actually sound fucking scary. Right off the bat, you're hit with crushing riffs, and shortly after, a furious vocal refrain. From there, the song enters a massive buildup with psychopathic vocals that culminate into a devastating "FUCK YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!" A chunky riff, a female choir, and a sorta-breakdown later, the song returns to the earlier refrain before ending on a rather serene guitar arpeggio melody.
This song is one of the hardest on drums, loaded with endurance-straining blast-beats and double bass footwork. Following the intro blasts, the refrain sports a relatively simple thrash beat with quad fills mixed in. From there, it's another blast on the hi-hat before the hands let up and play simple quarter notes. The feet however, don't get much of a break, with a tricky (but not constant) pattern before returning to straight 16ths. The build up, well, builds up, with start-stop blasts morphing into full-on ones. There's a short break with an easier half-time rhythm, and the chunky riff features quick bursts of three kicks in a slightly djenty way.
The guitar part is also very difficult - the refrain riff is just simple chords, but there's plenty of classic tremolo riffs - especially in the build-up, which is just one massive test of your strumming arm/hand's stamina. Fortunately, you get a break from that with the slow 8th note chords shortly afterwards and the easy riff that follows it. There's more technical bits throughout, such as earlier in the verse, featuring a mix of strumming and HOPO quadruplets, as well as before the final refrain, where there's a mini-solo similar to the one in "Skeksis." The outro is also littered with tricky strumming riffs and HOPO triplets.
The bass track, while not insane, is quite challenging. The intro riff mimics the guitar, while the refrain puts more emphasis on the beat rather than the offbeats, compared to the guitar riff. Shortly after that, you're treated to a tricky ascending triplet riff, before entering what's probably the coolest bassline out of all of these songs, even if gets a little repetitive. The "FUCK YOU" release and chunky riff are easy as expected, and the outro has notes in groups of three with a tricky hammer-on bit mixed in.
Yet another typical keys part, this time with a bit more single notes and a quick melodic part rather than just chords.
Similar to "OMFG," this song has the easiest vocals in-game despite being very difficult to accurately perform, since much of the song is based on intense screaming which translates to talkies. Not that Devin's profane ranting isn't enjoyable. Special mention to the "FUCK YOU!!!!", which is formatted just like that in-game, which technically breaks RB standards, but I don't care because if there's any phrase that deserves to be in all caps with multiple exclamation points, it's this one. The second harmony is largely double-track and call and response bits that are similarly unpitched, but harmony 3 covers the choir parts, which add some pitched fun.
Finally, we're left with "Zen," which is sort of the last song* on Alien. This song has a much more positive outlook on life compared to the vast majority of other Strapping songs. Following a fairly long, atmospheric intro where the main guitar riff is repeated, the song drops into a heavy as balls riff as it properly kicks in. While it starts with the aggressive vocals you'd come to expect, it soon takes a more melodic tone, calming down somewhat before exploding into its huge, one-word chorus. Of course, after the song's final chorus, it takes one last dip into insanity before suddenly cutting off into static.
Oh boy, another segment where I say the drums in a Strapping Young Lad song are challenging! Anyway, the heavy/verse/outro riff segment features some tricky crossover fills and "Panic Attack"-esque quick double kicks, whereas the main riff and chorus feature a typical 16th-note kick pattern with snares on 1 and 3. Both pre-choruses and the bridge have a relatively simple snare/kick pattern, but immediately following the first chorus is a long and very tricky fill. The end of the final chorus takes those quick double kicks from before and makes them constant with alternating cymbals. Interspersed throughout are sections where the bass is kicked up to fast triplets.
The guitar part is, for the most part, relatively easy compared to the other songs in the pack. It's almost entirely comprised of 16th note strumming riffs, but this song isn't as fast as the others, so it's not a huge challenge. The heavy bend riff is even brought down to mostly 8th notes. However, there are a few parts where the difficulty is significantly increased as the strumming speed is brought up to triplets. The bass part doesn't even get its own paragraph since it's almost entirely identical to the guitar part, minus the triplet strumming, the intro, and with a slightly different riff in the bridge.
The vocal part, as previously mentioned, starts off with harsh, unpitched vocals. This changes halfway through the verse, when harmony 3 starts singing a fairly simple melody, and later on the lead gets more involved in the pre-chorus. All three harmony parts join together for the big "ZEEEEEENNNNNN" chorus, and the lead breaks off into its own melody and lyrics partway through. Additionally, the main riffs feature prolonged screams from the second harmony part.
*Following it is a 12-minute noise piece titled "Info Dump," which Devin described as a "reflection on the panicked state of mind that ensued when he stopped taking his medication." It's not really a "song," but it certainly is a composition. I actually considered making an alternate version of this track that tacked "Info Dump" on the end so that, in the event that the rest of Alien was charted, you could have the ~full album experience~, since "Info Dump" couldn't really be actually charted. But I didn't do it cause I was lazy basically.
2003 - Super Bad Sounds of the 70's
And now, we bring some recent memery (god, I can't believe I just said that) into the mix as well. It's weird how this happens - someone finds a somewhat obscure parody funk song made in 2003 by a comedy country artist, associates it with this face ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°), and suddenly it skyrockets in popularity over a decade later. I'd intended to chart this long ago, actually, but I never found the time until now. Continuing the trend of spending an absurd amount of time charting one part in a novelty song, this took ages to finish on vocals. Tim starts talking about the booty 12 seconds into the song, and doesn't let up for almost the entire length of the song after that. The whole time, there's loads of slides and half-sung pitches that would seem too generous as non-pitched, so you can imagine how much of a pain in the booty it was. It's also really fun to sing about the booty for 3 minutes, so it was sort of worth the effort. The main guitar riff is fun, if repetitive, but there's also some cool little guitar leads through the song, and a short solo of sorts in the outro. The bass and drum parts aren't difficult, but they've got a nice groove to them and they're pretty fun to play. Keys aren't that interesting though, as they're mostly repetitive chords and short horn breaks.
2001 - Lateralus
1969 - Hawaii Five-O
2003 - Ocean Avenue
Ocean Avenue was the breakthrough for seminal pop-punk band Yellowcard, and it remains their most popular album to date, spawning the popular singles "Ocean Avenue" and "Only One" (which we've both received as official DLC), as well as the less-popular single "Way Away." It seems like they've always kind of been in the shadow of the other more popular bands in the genre. More importantly, however, they're a pop-punk band with a fucking electric violinist. The lyrics of this song are *surprise surprise* about a broken relationship, in this case where the guy is taking responsibility for fucking it up.
Musically, this song can get pretty heavy, with some sweet riffage going on at times. The main riff section features some cool changing power chords, and other sections have a cool lead melody in unison withe violin part. The verses alternate between muted and full chords, building into the chorus that features 3-note-chord 8th strumming. The bass part has a lot of 8th strumming, but is surprisingly active, with the guitar/violin lead parts also having some really cool melodies on bass. It also takes a bit of a lead during the bridge, playing the main riff notes an octave up. That dude with the long name's drumming proves to be a highlight of the pack, with some fast kicks and fills/rolls all throughout the song. The main riff and melodies have some quite interesting rhythms going on, using lots of different cymbals. The verse settles into an fast 8th beat, going back to quarters in the pre-chorus and chorus, and then returning to 8ths (now on ride) in the later-introduced second half of the chorus. The bridge has some really tricky tom roll, and the outro has the only instance of double bass here (though, he has a bit of the "Disturbed foot," so single bass drummers may be able to handle it). Now, we have to talk about the violin. Sure, there's a lot of breaks, but the lead it plays in the main riff is super badass, and the melody parts have great stuff going on, too. Plus, there's the "sad violins" bit during the quiet verse. This song's also great on vocals, particularly with the harmonies that come in with their own separate melody, then merge back as a harmony with the main vocal in the second part of the choruses.