Background: I saw this chick open for... man, I'm old. I can't remember. Larry & His Flask, maybe? With Frank Turner? Either way, after her performance she gave out books of matches with her name on it, and I still have that neat little souvenir. She made a fan that evening, perched on a stool, center stage, just a girl and her guitar.
The Obvious Choice: Born To Lose
Album: An Unwavering Band of Light (2012)
Somewhere in the night, a man is standing by
With a deal you won't be able to refuse
It ain't the Social Distortionsong, that's for sure. More great lyrics from Ms. Youngs.
Vocals: Rapid fire vocals. Guitar: It's a part of the cacophony of sound. Bass: I can dig it. Drums: Intense. Keys: Maybe a little bit? Lots of stuff is happening, but I think I hear horns, too. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Don't need for anesthetic
Oh, and no more last regrets
Just sterilize the scalpel
And let's get this over with
Well, that's one way to end a relationship. Hump 'em and dump 'em, eh, Jenny?
Vocals: Haunting melody with a bit of backing vocals near the end. Guitar: Creepy guitar intro and creepy guitar solo. Bass: Simple but charming. Drums: Keepin' the beat. Keys: No, but... do I hear a really subtle xylophone midway through? I do! Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Album: Batten the Hatches (2005)
1, 2, 3, I hate me
There's no one else who I know how to be
4, 5, 6, oh, your body makes me sick
Don't take it away from me just yet
A song about loathing oneself and others with some love thrown into the mix. Relationships are complicated.
Vocals: With great lyrics and a chipper melody, the vocals are the star of the show here. Guitar: Forgettable chords. Bass: Nothing to write home about. Drums: Probably pretty simple. Keys: Simple but charming and important piano part. The featured instrument. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Background: Joel's catalogue of records is extensive and sonically varied, so I'm going to do the man justice by selecting four songs from a number of albums which I think would be his best fits in Rock Band while planting links to other gems throughout the post. I've been well-behaved lately so I deserve an indulgence. And, technically, I chose three songs by his band and one song from his solo career, so ha! Two different artists... I could have selected six songs and you'd have no right to complain! But why would you? Canadians don't complain, so neither should you.
The Obvious Choice: Extraordinary
Album: Truthfully, Truthfully (2003)
I was at the post office buying a stamp
Thinking that the girl behind the counter was fine
I said, "You think this’ll get there by Friday, ma’am?"
She says, "I get off work at quarter past nine"
Well, your first question should be Why are Canadian post offices open so late at night? Your second question should be How is this song so charming and catchy? Affable Canadians, that's how.
Vocals: I presume a decent amount of this could be talkies. Great backing vocals, too. Guitar: Great guitar in so many ways. Bad-ass riffs, bad-ass solos. Just bad-ass. Bass: It does the job. Drums: It has a few interesting and unexpected parts. Keys: Random bursts of awesome piano. Miscellaneous: Abrupt ending.
The dancers need a dance floor
The swingers gotta swing
Fashionable people doing questionable things
I waffled back and forth between this song and Drunk Teenagers, which was a very strong contender but life is full of hard choices. I'm not sure if this song is particularly deep with its criticism of the shallow, but it's catchy as all get-out. And, musically, it feels like it's all over the place.
Vocals: Stupidly fun falsetto. Guitar: The primary instrument. Bass: Nothing special. Drums: They're present. They sound weird at times. Keys: Some bizarre, adorable, random parts. And xylophone...? Miscellaneous: Very abrupt ending.
Runner-up: Work Out Fine
Album: Truthfully, Truthfully (2003)
The cops showed up, the cops showed up
I never thought that they'd catch me
The cops showed up, what the fuck?
They tried to turn me into a patsy
I find so many of this man's songs impressive, particularly from this album, hence the double-dip. If you don't like him by this point, you just... won't. Alas.
Vocals: So charming. Ugh. Stupidly fun backing vocals, too. Let's get wasted and queue this one up. Guitar: Doesn't come in for a solid minute, but it's pretty bad-ass if not simple after that. Weird solo, too. Bass: The early star of the show. Drums: Hit things slowly, then hit things rapidly. Keys: I feel like I'm at a baseball game. So, yes. Miscellaneous: Bonus points if you turn that into a Big Rock Ending, even though it's pretty capital-of-Arkansas.
Runner-up: Alright / OK
Album: The Park Avenue Sobriety Test (2015)
My sneakers wore out, my guitar broke
Sometimes life puts a stick in your spokes
Everybody thinks that I’m making a joke
But I’m telling it like it is
While the title track was a strong contender for inclusion here and Hard Times is one of my folky favorites, I decided to go with Alright / OK just because it's so damn fun.
Vocals: Does Joel have a future career in hip-hop? Oh, and backing vocals are present. Guitar: An electric guitar solo... followed immediately by a little acoustic guitar solo. Sweet! Bass: Yup. Drums: There are drums, yes. Keys: Synth, of course. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Background: Yes, At Night In Dreams is on the Rock Band 4 disc... don't remind me! Good for the band, and good for you! I'm a Wii user... Cut me a break and pretend that song never existed... it's great, but since I'll never get to enjoy it and can't request it, I won't, and you shouldn't be able to enjoy it either. Ahem... what was I saying? Oh, yes. I can't remember how I discovered these guys, but it was sometime in 2014 after the release of fourth album Corsicana Lemonade. According to last.fm, I've scrobbled that album 305 times, which, for me, is pretty darned impressive. These guys have a ton of material, but I'm going to focus on the feel-good rock which made me love them. [hipster glasses/mustache/flannel on] *ahem* Oh, and I knew about these guys before they were featured in multiple ad campaigns by a prominent video game console company. [terminate] White Denim do what Nintentell them to do to make that money. Oh, and brace yourself for irony...
The Obvious Choice: Let's Switch It Up
Album: [single] (2017)
Look around, what do you see?
Another golden opportunity
I am over your R-E-S-P-S-P-E-C-T
What you got is what I need
To be honest, I'm not sure this song should absolutely be the Obvious Choice, but they're all such strong contenders and this one is a bit... unique. You might have already unwittingly heard this tune. Nintendo commissioned White Denim to pen an original song for their Switch marketing campaign. My brain has difficulty processing that sentence, but the result is undeniably fantastic. The song, like most White Denim offerings, is infectious fun. I'd be surprised if you aren't jamming and smiling within the first fifty seconds at the latest. Plus, it's a song made for a video game that I'm now suggesting we put into a video game about about playing songs. Yo dawg I heard you like-- alright, alright.
Vocals: Fun but simple backing vocals to go with the melody during the refrain. A blast for parties, just like the Switch. Genius, Nintendo. Guitar: Really rockin' guitar part. Fun little solo, too. Bass: Putting the fun in funky. Drums: My ignorant brain says fun. Keys: Lots of synth. Saxophone, too. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)
Album: Stiff (2016)
I want you like the desert wants a drink
I want you and the whole kitchen sink
Would you believe that Let's Switch It Up wasn't actually used by Nintendo during their reveal campaign? Instead, they simply used a different White Denim song from their latest album. When I first watched the ad, I immediately thought, "Huh... This sounds a lot like White Denim!" And sure enough, to my surprise, it was them in slightly edited and truncated form. When did Nintendo get so hip?
Vocals: Family friendly and clever lyrics. A rare combination. Simple and fun backing vocals. Guitar: The main riff is a bit repetitive, but there's another guitar fiddling around in there as well for variety. A bit of the solo at the very end. Bass: Not my favorite bass part, but it'll do. Drums: Cool. Keys: Nope. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: Let It Feel Good (My Eagles)
Album: Corsicana Lemonade (2013)
It's hard to be a duo
It's hard to be a trio
It's even harder to be a quartet.
I'm told that going alone is just about as hard as it gets
My personal favorite. It builds and builds and builds but, somehow, leaves you wanting more at the end. I was devastated when they didn't play it at their concert. It would have been the perfect song to end the encore and evening! Bastards. But I bought a t-shirt with Texas on it anyway. Texas. That's how much I enjoy them.
Vocals: Group melody during the chorus at the end, which would be a blast for parties. No proper harmonies, though. Guitar: Electric and acoustic available. It would be neat to see both. Bass: Subtle but interesting and varied. Drums: They really kick into gear after the two minute mark! Keys: None, but one of the guitars could go here. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Background: As of this moment, Sam Roberts Band is the most scrobbled band of all time on my last.fm profile , cashing in with 4,221 scrobbles. It is a profound understatement to say I love this band. They've surpassed and supplanted other scrobbled heavy-weights such as The Killers, R.E.M., Kaiser Chiefs, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guster, the Gaslight Anthem, Bad Religion, and Band of Skulls in the past seven years. They have not produced a single album, let alone a single song, that I have not enjoyed. I consider 2011's Collider my favorite album of all time, even though 2014's Lo-Fantasy is what began my obsession. Many moons ago, I sent MrPrezident a list of potential Sam Roberts songs to consider for his Canada 150 Project, and while he shirked my suggestions and went with Don't Walk Away Eileen, that didn't bother me one bit; as I said, I'm a fan of any song by the band and I was simply overjoyed to have them in my library. That being said, I love carrying the fake grudge and didn't want to "waste" my write-up to him so I thought they would make a very worthy addition in my thread even though, yes, they now have one song in the database (which you should all download and enjoy ) and now another thanks to the fantastic 2017 C3thon charity event. There is no shortage of songs for me to include in this thread, and it's torture having to limit myself, but I shall do so, and with great mental gymnastics to somewhat follow my rules... as the original post states, I'll try to include songs from different albums. And since Sam Roberts has six albums and MrPrezident released a track from their debut, We Were Born In a Flame, I will be covering the other five here with one song from each and many breadcrumbs included as tasty treats for your ears! P.S. This ties my record for cheating with my Gin Blossoms post... whoops. P.P.S. Saw these guys play a live free show at an arts festival here a couple of years ago and it was so amazing. I was buzzed off of G&Ts made in my friend's purse. When the encore began, we moved to the front row and were blown away, literally and figuratively. If you ever get to see them perform live, seize the opportunity.
The Obvious Choice: Shapeshifters
Album: Lo-Fantasy (2014)
There goes my alter-ego
You know everyone that I know
If MrPrezident is reading this, he might notice that my suggestion given to him from this album was not this song but Metal Skin. I don't regret making that choice because this album is full of great singles, but I thought perhaps Shapeshifters (or the anthemic We're All In This Together) might snag people's attention a bit more easily.
Vocals: Great harmonies and backing vocals. Guitar: Lots to choose from. Bass: Funky, fun bass. Drums: Probably nothing special. Keys: Subtle synth throughout. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: Streets of Heaven (Promises, Promises)
Album: Collider (2011)
You're just a drop in the ocean
So don't rock the boat 'cause heads will roll
As I said, Collider is my absolute favorite album of all time (of all time!), so choosing one song from it was extremely difficult. My selfish brain wanted to go with Without a Map (my favorite song from my favorite album and therefore my favorite song of all time, I guess?) or Graveyard Shift (my second favorite from the album), but I went with Streets of Heaven because I thought it would translate wonderfully into the game. I'm so selfless.
Vocals: Some great harmonies to go with the great melody. Guitar: Pickin' strings and strummin' chords. Bass: Unique. Drums: I hope they're fun and interesting. Keys: Horns a'plenty could go here. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending. And did I mention how I'm so selfless I chose this song over my favorites? Oh, I did? Good.
Runner-up: Fixed to Ruin
Album: Love at the End of the World (2008)
She can dance like she got no bones
I forget I'm all alone
A track from a very solid album with no real stand-out singles, this song didn't pop into my mind at first because none of them did, but as soon as I listened to it I thought it would be a great choice. It really kicks into gear about 45 seconds in, so bide your time. (Note: This song [and album] is not available on Spotify)
Vocals: Melody and harmony. Guitar: Chords abound. Bass: Rumbling and steady. Drums: Busy! And the bridge is bongos! Keys: Yup! Even a solo of sorts at the end. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: If You Want It
Album: TerraForm (2016)
I remember love in the stars above
When push comes to shove, they run for cover
TerraForm is an album that "suffers" from the same problem as Love at the End of the World: every song is at least good but none of them particularly shine as a single. This song probably burns the brightest when separated from the rest, so I hope you dig it as much as I do.
Vocals: A vocal style similar to what began on Lo-Fantasy, this is a sonic, layered mess, in a good way. Guitar: Taking a backseat to the other instruments. Bass: The very interesting backbone of the song. Drums: Steady as she goes. Keys: A great piano opening, more piano throughout, and creepy (but pretty buried) piano during the bridge Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: Mystified, Heavy
Album: Chemical City (2006) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMWUsLhUBPk And landfall surprised us all
And she broke on the rocks like a china doll
You can hear the siren call
For the last dance at Poseidon's Ball
Vocals: Something about these vocals feels a bit pained, which I find interesting. Guitar: Lots of chords to strum and choose from. Bass: Subtle but interesting. Drums: I feel like they're somewhat slow but still very enjoyable. Keys: Synthesizer present. Miscellaneous: Fades out.
Send me this Reaper file and I will have it back to you with vocals and harmonies ASAP. How exciting! (P.S. I will count this in my thread win column )
All i can say it's in FoF/Phase Shift format (ogg + mid), so it has to be converted to RB. And i never dealt with Reaper myself. So if we get some conversion-expert here we can make great collateral effort here.
I saw you replied on my crappy request-thread. Who knows maybe at some moment you will check-out my list of lesser known bands and find some gems for your own good there
Background: Sure, the Zutons' Valarie (covered famously by Amy Winehouse) was included in Lego Rock Band, but I've never played it because I'm a Wii user and I see little point in buying a game that I cannot import into my Rock Band 3 library... This only makes me more bitter, because I adore the Zutons and that song in particular. The band called it quits after their third album, which is a shame, because they had such a great sound and I never got to see them perform live... They played a few benefit gigs last year, but... alas. Perhaps someday they'll get back together permanently... until then, maybe there's a shot to get some tunes into my library. In fact, somebody's already laid the ground work...
The Obvious Choice: Pressure Point
Album: Who Killed The Zutons? (2004)
Doctor, oh doctor, I'm begging you, please
To rid me of madness and cure this disease
It's a great tune from their debut album and already a drums-only chart in the database, so why not make it The Obvious Choice? Oh, and apparently people know this because it came pre-loaded on the PSP handhand console. (Note: This song [and album] is not available on Spotify)
Vocals: Nice harmonies, and alternating gentle and intense lead vocals. Guitar: To my ear, it can be fairly buried at times, but there are chords and picking and a sort-of fairly long solo midway through. Bass: Pretty standard stuff. Drums: Pretty nuts, based on the preview. Keys: How about saxophone instead? Miscellaneous: Cowbell for the drummer. Abrupt ending.
Runner-up: You've Got a Friend in Me
Album: Tired of Hanging Around (2006)
And even if I stop to say hello
There's so many things you don't know
I've got a perfect picture of you this way
And if I got to know you it could all change
A cute little song about stalking the woman you love and fearing that all that affection and attraction would disappear if you actually spoke to each other. It was a tough pick because this album is their best by far, but I wanted to pick something that sounded a bit different from the other selections. (Note: This song [and album] is not available on Spotify)
Vocals: His and hers vocals, lovely harmonies. Guitar: Cute pickin' and acoustic chords. Cute lil' solo. Bass: Funky. Drums: No opinion. Keys: None, but saxophone, of course. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: What's Your Problem?
Album: You Can Do Anything (2008)
You need it, you want it
You know just how to get it and you will
Oh, yes you will
A selection from, arguably, their weakest album, but that album ain't bad by any means, and I wanted to put my money where my mouth was by including a track from it.
Vocals: Good melody, fun backing vocals. Guitar: Lots of guitar. Nice solo. Bass: Groovy. Drums: Lots of hitting things. Keys: Horns as usual, but there's a lil' piano solo of sorts after a guitar solo. Miscellaneous: Abrupt ending.
Background: These guys recently received representation in the database courtesy of the Canada 150 Project, and that's great, but I already had four suggestions curated for MrPrezident and I didn't want to waste them. Plus, the available Trews songs on the Rock Band Network are simply... not that great, to be polite. And that's fine, because I can't download them on my Wii anyway! My suggestions are way better, and I'll prove it! Important note: the Trews' live acoustic album Friends & Total Strangers is incredible and I listen to it very frequently. I mention that because I've highlighted the original album/studio/electric versions of these songs but I'd honestly prefer the live acoustic versions from 2009 make their way into Rock Band. I've included each version on the Spotify playlist and a link to the live acoustic below each embedded video in this post. It's your call, authors, but treat yourself to the live acoustic renditions. Wow.
The Obvious Choice:
So She's Leaving
Album: Den of Thieves (2005)
Live Acoustic is better Oh my girl, please don't give in
Don't listen to your stupid friends
I hear them going off again
If we're being honest, Trews albums are generally pretty forgettable, but Den of Thieves has all the awesome hits on it (which, cough, are better live and acoustic). Of the three (sorry?) selections I've included from that album, this one is my least favorite, but probably would fit best in Rock Band.
Vocals: Good melody, nice backing vocals. Guitar: Bad-ass guitar. Bad. Ass. And that solo! Yowza. Bass: Standard hard rock bass part, it sounds like. Drums: Rock 'n' roll drums. Keys: Nope. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: Poor Ol' Broken Hearted Me
Album: Den of Thieves (2005)
Live Acoustic is better Her lies, they won me over quick
She ruled my mind, my heart, my dick
I took the line, the hook, the bait
And now I'm sick from what I ate
A great, great song, and the opening of their live album.
Vocals: Awesome opening with only vocals. A great moment of only vocals with clapping. Guitar: Awesome riff. Insane solo. Bass: More hard rock bass. Drums: That cowbell! Keys: Maybe? I can't tell! Miscellaneous: Fades out. Acoustic version has great harmonies and bongos and a big rock ending.
Live Acoustic is better Altered expectations
Everything is changing
I'm the same and aging
A very simple song, which isn't my usual bag, but something about the live acoustic version is so compelling... probably the crowd participation aspect turns me on to it. Still, the studio version ain't bad... just inferior.
Vocals: Great group vocals. Guitar: More of what you've come to expect from the Trews. That is to say, hard-hitting, memorable, simple riffs. Bass: Good stuff, especially the opening of the song. Drums: Rock 'n' roll drums. Keys: Nope. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending. That long vocal sustain during the live acoustic version... awesome. More bongos.
The Personal Favorite: Ishmael & Maggie
Album: Den of Thieves (2005)
Live Acoustic is better A king upon my barstool throne
I vow to never drink alone
I only drink with friends or total strangers
A great Nova Scotian drinking song, and my favorite song by the band. The live acoustic album I gushed about above derives its title from the lyrics of this gem. I saw these guys at the local Hard Rock Cafe a while ago and it was really sad... like 25 people showed up, total, and I felt awful for the band. However, I got to sit in a comfortable chair literally 15 feet from the band and drink and rock the hell out. When they asked for requests, I shouted "ISHMAEL AND MAGGIE!" They couldn't believe I requested that song, but they were happy to oblige. My night was made!
Background: This man has a ton of material and there's no possible way I could include selections from all of his albums, so even though I've included four of his songs, I still feel a bit bad about my choices when so much has been ignored. I wanted to give him some strong and compelling candidates for inclusion in Rock Band. Long-time fans will not be pleased, but perhaps those unaware of him will discover a new artist they enjoy. Sorry, Matt... you're welcome, newbies!
The Obvious Choice: Tall Trees
Album: Terminal Romance (2008)
"Who's gonna love you when I'm gone?"
Said the leaves to the limb
"I'll get over you in a while
And find somebody new in the spring"
The album Terminal Romance is so good that, yes, I chose two songs from it [spoiler alert?], but even then it was a hard decision. I could easily have put Building a Boat here, but I find this song a tiny bit more charming.
Vocals: Clever lyrics, lovely melody and harmonies. Guitar: Really awesome guitar riff throughout the song. Bass: Standard stuff. Drums: Ditto. Keys: Nope. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Album: Coyote (2012)
I was born on the day that music died
Now the sun's bustin' open like
Some powder ship collide
Not sure what it is about this song, but I really, really dig it. Something about it is so loving and bad-ass simultaneously. It's what I desire to be, personified. And technically this is a solo effort, so I didn't break any rules...
Vocals: Melody alternates between gentle and intense, with backing vocals and harmonies, too. Guitar: Sounds bad-ass, and there's a great solo midway through the song. Bass: Not bad... even great at times. Drums: They sound so cool. Keys: Yessir! Nice piano part after the guitar solo. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: Cocaine Cowgirl
Album: Matt Mays & El Torpedo (2005)
Move into the night far from the lights
On an asphalt path drifting over the white line
Drugs might not be cool, but songs about drugs definitely are.
Vocals: He sounds pretty tortured. Guitar: Haunting and beautiful guitar riff. Pretty crazy solo. Bass: Standard. Drums: I doubt they're anything special. Keys: None. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: Laser-Guided Love
Album: Terminal Romance (2008)
So pull your pin and throw yourself at me
We can explode simultaneously
My second pick from this album, but choosing only two still didn't leave me entirely satisfied. Damn you, Matt, for making such a solid album.
Vocals: Clever lyrics, a fun melody, nice backing vocals and harmonies. Guitar: The guitar shares the spotlight with the synthesizer for this track. Bass: Nothing to write home about, but not bad. Drums: Could be neat. Keys: A'plenty. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Background: Grace was recommended to me long ago by a friend, but for a while I forgot about her. Then she popped up on my Discovery Weekly recently and my interest was rekindled. There's definitely a Bonnie Tyler quality to her singing, but she might be even more bad-ass. Evidence to follow.
The Obvious Choice: Paris (Ooh La La)
Album: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
If I was a man I'd make my move
If I was a blade I'd shave you smooth
Everything about this song is bad-ass. Press play and be blown away by the cool.
Vocals: Intense female vocals. Guitar: The star. Bad-ass. Multiple parts. A great solo. Bass: Definitely has its moments! Drums: Standard. Keys: No. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: Ah Mary
Album: This Is Somewhere (2007)
She's the beat of my heart
She's the shot of a gun
She'll be the end of me
And maybe everyone
Hey, wait! This song isn't about a woman.... it's about America! A great example of how George W. Bush was a great president... in that he stimulated the creation of great music as social commentary, critique, and protest.
Vocals: Great lyrics alternating between gentle and intense singing. Guitar: Guitar shares the stage with piano for this number. Bass: Not bad. Drums: Standard. Keys: Great piano part. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Album: The Lion The Beast The Beat (2012)
'Cause I will be your record
And you will be my turntable
I'm your amplifier
And you're my RCA cable
Sexual imagery using analogue technology? I'm sold.
Vocals: Harmonies buried in there, but Grace's melody is the star. Guitar: More awesome guitar. Bass: Takes a back seat to the guitar, but it's solid. Drums: See above. Keys: Nope. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending. Actually, crispy.
Background: I can't say I know all of the material by Bell X1 (because there's a lot of it!), but this Irish band has some great stylistic range to them. Plus, they're named after a rocket powered airplane. Each of the three selections below sounds so different to me, unified only by their singer and the always-compelling lyrics. That being said, there is no real Obvious Choice, so try them all out if you find something you don't dig... the other songs will sound completely different. And I apologize to the fans who are more knowledgeable than me, for I did double-dip pretty lazily based on personal tastes.
The Obvious Choice: Flame
Album: Flock (2008)
I wanna be near you
And blink in your light
And toast marshmallows
On a cold dark night
Spooky! Passionate! Catchy! A very obvious Obvious Choice for Rock Band, except for the fact that the other choices are so wildly different.
Vocals: Neat lyrics and creepy vocals, especially with those backup singers. Guitar: Not overtly bad-ass, but bad-ass nonetheless. The featured instrument, definitely. And a solo. Bass: Not bad. Drums: Pretty cool. Keys: Something could probably go here. Miscellaneous: A cool key change. Crisp ending.
Runner-up: The Great Defector
Album: Blue Lights on the Runway (2009)
You're the chocolate at the end of my Cornetto
I love the way your underwire bra
Always sets off that X-ray machine
I think I might enjoy this song so much because it feels like a Talking Heads tune for today. And it makes an Of Mice and Men reference.
Vocals: Interesting lyrics, a nice melody with backing vocals and harmonies. Guitar: Chords and picking. Pretty cool. Bass: Neat bass part. And a solo? Go for it! Drums: Could be fun, or at least fine. Keys: I think that's a snythesizer of sorts in the background... Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: Rocky Took a Lover
Album: Flock (2008)
She said, "I don't believe in any old Jesus
As if there was a God, then why is my arse the perfect height for kicking?"
I won't pretend to know what this song is actually about, but it's got some great lyrics and a great feel to it. Musically, it's got so much is going on that I'm confused at times, but I think it's got all the legacy instruments...
Vocals: Gentle lead vocals. Guitar: Acoustic chords. Bass: Yes. Drums: Yes. Keys: A harp? A xylophone? Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Background: I can't believe these fellas are six albums deep now. They have many, many songs worthy of inclusion in Rock Band (except from their terrible sophomore album, which I pretend doesn't exist). In fact, Harmonix released First (a great song, but it wouldn't have been my first choice) as DLC for Rock Band 4 (so, as a Wii user, I cannot play it) and there's a conversion of Hang Me Up to Dry from Guitar Hero (which I cannot play because of the multi-tracks and lack of conversion or single-tracked version). So since Harmonix and the community has forsake this Wii user, I'm compiling a list of four awesome Cold War Kids songs I'd love to see in Rock Band. This is a selfish post. *hmph*
The Obvious Choice: Love is Mystical
Album: LA Divine (2017)
Love is mystical
Love will break the chains
You might feel invincible
And you might be afraid
What a freaking jam. The kids might call this one a banger. I was worried their latest album wouldn't be any good, but this opening track blew my mind and I don't know why I ever really doubted them. I'm ashamed.
Vocals: An intense, challenging melody, with fun hoo-hoos in the background. Guitar: Pretty buried at times, but it's there and cool. Bass: A simple but prominent bass part. Drums: I'm betting on awesome. Keys: That opening piano should grab your attention and keep it. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
The Crowd Favorite: Hospital Beds
Album: Robbers & Cowards (2006)
Bring the buckets by the dozens
Bring your nieces and your cousins
Come put out the fire on us
I was so, so tempted to choose Saint John or We Used to Vacation from their debut album, but, based on seeing them live and the reaction from the crowd, I just had to go with Hospital Beds. It's almost a religious experience when you're in the pit during a live show. It'll take a bit of time to hook you, but once that piano starts 90 seconds in, you should be adequately compelled.
Vocals: A magnificent refrain for parties, for boys and girls alike! Guitar: Sharing the stage with the piano, this guitar part definitely has its moments. Bass: Taking a back seat. Drums: Sharing that back seat. Keys: A joy to hear. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Runner-up: Miracle Mile
Album: Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (2013)
I was supposed to do great things
I know the road was long
But I wasn't raised to shoot for fame
I had the safety on
I think the message is supposed to be the future is open if you're hopeful, but I have no idea. I just know it sounds really nice. Their lead singer (far right of the image above) is so thick and athletic looking that if I saw him on the street I'd think he was some bonehead jock, yet he has one of the best voices I've heard. Don't judge a book by its cover, I suppose.
Vocals: Challenging lead vocals, equally challenging but sporadic backing vocals. Guitar: A joyful chordfest. Bass: Nothing special. Drums: Pretty darn cool! Keys: Lots of tapping that piano. Fun! Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
The Personal Favorite: Bulldozer
Album: Mine Is Yours (2011)
Run right over us
Feel the snap and crush of furniture
Clear a space for us
Let's rebuild this love on what we were
To be honest, this album is so solid that I selfishly picked my favorite track. Such great imagery. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Vocals: Those lyrics, that melody, that emotion Gimme. Guitar: Pretty. Bass: Brooding and intensifying. Drums: Pretty intense for such a relatively mellow-sounding song. Keys: Of course, sharing stage with the guitar. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Background: We all know Tom Morello from his work with Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave, but the guy is also a hardcore left-wing radical who writes and covers folk music with an acoustic guitar and a mediocre but heartfelt singing voice. I wasn't surprised to find he has none of his own songs in the database, but I think he deserves some credit. While discussing with Samyaza his upcoming project I name-dropped Morello and reminded myself I already had his three selections picked out but hadn't posted them because of their absence on Spotify. Well, YouTube will suffice.
The Obvious Choice:
The Road I Must Travel
Album: One Man Revolution (2007)
I called up my state senator
They said he wasn't there
The secretary took my name
And, man, she sounded scared
This song gives me a goosebumps. You'll be rooting for the protagonist as he burns the place down. (Note: This song [and album] is not available on Spotify)
Vocals: Fun na-nas for the whole soviet. Lots of talkies because it's Tom. Guitar: Acoustic strumming and some picking. Designed for voxtaring, of course. Bass: Nothing complex. Drums: Nothing winding. Keys: Bagpipes? Sure! Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
The Iron Wheel (feat. Shooter Jennings)
Album: The Fabled City (2008)
You can push and pull against it
But you'll ride it 'til it's through
And those who spin the wheel
Well, those fuckers ride it, too
Shooter Jennings has popped up again. He and Tom Morello are both friends with my man Ike Reilly whom I suggested a few posts back. This song seems to be about knowing when to fight and when to deal with it, knowing that, in the end, we're all dirt. (Note: This song [and album] is not available on Spotify)
Vocals: Shooter's the real melody here, but Tom does his best. The harmonies are nice during the chorus. Guitar: Lots of acoustic strumming but there's some pedal guitar, too, I believe. Bass: Fairly simple but it sounds really fun. Drums: Standard stuff. Keys: Nothin' doin', but there are so many guitars that one might fit here. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Save the Hammer for the Man (feat. Ben Harper)
Album: World Wide Rebel Songs (2011)
I leaned against a hot murder wind beneath a hateful rain
Politics, apocalypse... start to look the same
The price of my redemption will mean the end of many things
The ransom for my soul? The blood of generals and kings
A song about mistakes, redemption, hope, solidarity, change, and vengeance. There's a lot going on here, lyrically, but it should make you feel togetherness and comfort. Oh, and Ben Harper actually has official Harmonix DLC and it's really good!
Vocals: Tom's voice juxtaposed with Ben Harper's gorgeous vocals is really interesting. What a pleasure. Great backing vocals, too. Guitar: Beautiful. Crazy. Expect nothing less. Bass: A nice accompaniment to the vocals. Drums: Pretty slow paced. Sing those na-nas! Keys: Pipe organ. We're goin' ta church. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Background: I first heard Spoon while sitting with friends at a Red Robin waiting for our burgers to arrive. A song came on over the in-house radio and I remember being intrigued. I broke out my phone and tapped on the Soundhound app and discovered this post's Obvious Choice and then the fantastic album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and other solid Spoon tunes. Spoon does indeed have official DLC from Harmonix and even a custom in the database courtesy of TomGuy, but there are a few issues to discuss... first, let's tackle the official tunes. Don't You Evah is indeed a genuinely cool song and a pleasure to play, so I'm glad it's in my library, but while I Turn My Camera On is also awesome to hear, it's a snoozefest to play so I declined to purchase it. Trouble Comes Running and Got Nuffin aren't awful songs, just not my favorites by a long-shot, and they're a bit more exciting to play than I Turn My Camera on, but I never really enjoyed the Transference album and its stripped-down sound. If a future Rock Guitarist 9 video game were releasing DLC in the year 2077, I really doubt those two songs would have been considered... Harmonix and the band pretty clearly released them as a promotion for that album and vice versa. I could forgive them for this misstep if they had included The Obvious Choice in their selections, but as there's been no additional Spoon DLC released in the past seven years even in the wake of two more Spoon albums, I feel this post is justified. Oh, and about the TomGuy custom? Sister Jack is a fantastic song to hear and play, or would be... but it has multi-tracks and I'm a Wii user, so I haven't been able to enjoy it. This is my way of publicly shaming TomGuy into fixing it up so I can play it
The Obvious Choice:
Album: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007)
You got no time for the messenger
Got no regard for the thing that you don't understand
You got no fear of the underdog
That's why you will not survive
Undoubtedly one of Spoon's most popular songs, yet Harmonix missed the memo. I was snagged the moment I heard the first notes, especially the horns. This album is very, very good. Very good. Probably their best.
Vocals: Good lyrics, pretty melody, relaxing. Guitar: Acoustic chords. Bass: Pretty tame compared to the other selections. Drums: Standard stuff, but more exciting drum parts occur below. Keys: Gotta chart those horns. Miscellaneous: Abrupt ending.
Let Me Be Mine
Album: They Want My Soul (2014)
You're gonna take another chunk of me with you when you go
This album is just so darned good that we're in a Sophie's Choice no matter what... so, despite how great Rent I Pay, Inside Out, and title track They Want My Soul are, I went with my favorite, Let Me Be Mine. Your mileage will vary... but each will take you places.
Vocals: Nice hoo-hoos. Wink. Guitar: Typical Spoon chords. Bass: Fun, fun, fun! Drums: Yes, but I don't describe this stuff adequately. Probably fun. Keys: Piano! And synth! Miscellaneous: Abrupt ending.
Tear It Down
Album: Hot Thoughts (2017)
Let them build a wall around us
I don't care, I'm gonna tear it down
It's just bricks and ill intentions
They don't stand a chance
Even after I decided I would choose a total of four songs to represent Spoon, I knew an album would still be underrepresented. As with They Want My Soul, then, I went with my favorite song... but only because of the debacle described in the song description below! Poor Hot Thoughts...
Vocals: A fine melody, a very subtle harmony, a good chorus, and neat backing vocals. Guitar: The usual fare, but of the electric variety. Bass: Nothing remarkable. Drums: Relaxing. Keys: Really enjoyable piano part and synthesizer, too. Strings as well, but who cares? Miscellaneous: Abrupt ending.
The Dark Horse:
Album: They Want My Soul (2014)
Oh, what happened to you kid?
Yes, and oh, what's happening now?
Initially I was going to pick Shotgun from Hot Thoughts, but that harder-sounding song is inexplicably missing from YouTube... no matter! Its absence is serendipitous. It made me spit-ball with TomGuy and figure that Outlier would be incredible in Rock Band. Why? Clapping between vocal phrases. And the title is completely fitting.
Vocals: Mm-na-na-na-na, *CLAP!*, mm-na-na-na-na, *CLAP!* Guitar: Acoustic and electric. Busy chords. Some picking, too. Multiple parts from which to choose. Bass: Super groovy. Drums: Very busy. Keys: Something is happening here. Miscellaneous: Fades in, fades out. Seriously, chart those claps between the lyrics. Do it. Do it.
Background: I'm only somewhat surprised these (Scottish?) Canadians have not a song in the database or the official Rock Band store. Admittedly, I'm not a big fan of the Real McKenzies, simply because there are other bands out there with a similar style that I admire and enjoy much more because, well... those bands write better songs. But I wouldn't take away from them two gems that definitely deserve consideration. This post and the songs featured will be as short as my kilt. And that's short.
The Obvious Choice:
Album: 10,000 Shots (2005)
Pour decisions, a punk musician just ain't as cute at 53
A song about growing old and living with your decisions, hopefully with pride and dignity.
Vocals: Easy chorus, staccato verses. Guitar: Electric chordfest to the rhythm of the 'pipes. Bass: Fairly standard punk rock bass. Drums: Hard work. Keys: Bagpipes, anyone? Miscellaneous: Abrupt ending.
Album: Off the Leash (2008)
The Devil said unto Chip, "Take these nails and copper roll
But you also have to take this rat and I will take your soul"
Generally speaking, making a deal with Satan is not a good choice. Sure, it worked out for Johnny and his fiddle, but for Chip...? Rats.
Vocals: It's a fun story! Or tragic. Some backing harmonies at times. Guitar: Electric chords. Bass: Pretty freaking sweet... when it's playing. Drums: Pounding, for the most part. Love that stomping. Keys: Honnnnnnk... good luck charting this airbag. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Background: Remember that time Harmonix put a song by Warren Zevon on the Rock Band 3 disc and completely neglected his catalogue of brilliant songs? Not a single track by this genius has ever entered the Rock Band store, and it's a real shame. Yeah, everybody knows and enjoys Werewolves of London because it's charming and interesting and silly and smart all at the same time, but Zevon has so much more to him and his music. Where are the depressing tunes? Where are the silly tunes? Where are the silly and depressing tunes? I'm a huge fan of Zevon. I have fond memories of making a drink or three and putting on some somber Zevon tunes to commiserate and not feel so alone and alienated and different. Zevon getsme, and I think I get Zevon. Luckily, thanks to Nunchuck, we've got some Zevon in the database. Two of his creations would absolutely have been featured in this suggestion post had Nunchuck not already made them available, so I must make mention of his works, for which I am so, so grateful. I cannot describe the joy I felt when I discovered he had charted Mohammed's Radio... even though it's the album version (I prefer the live version). I've reached out to him with an offer to chart the female harmonies because ugh I need them. And Lawyers, Guns and Money was prime real estate for Harmonix to seize, but no... thank goodness for Nunchuck. But that sure ain't enough. So get to work, authors. You can sleep when you're dead.
The Obvious Choice:
Poor Poor Pitiful Me
Album: Warren Zevon (1976)
She really worked me over good
She was a credit to her gender
She put me through some changes lord
Sort of like a Waring blender
Seriously, Harmonix. How did you not release this? Everything about it is perfect. Everything.
Vocals: Backing harmonies during the chorus and some parts of the verses. Guitar: Those opening electric chords just grab you. Awesome solo. Bass: Groovy fun! Drums: I'm not a drummer, but I wish I could drum this! Keys: Joyful piano. I can't imagine what this song would sound like without it... Miscellaneous: Fades out. I don't wanna talk about it as talkies, please.
The (Other) Obvious Choice:
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
Album: Excitable Boy (1978)
Time, time, time
For another peaceful war
Time stands still for Roland
'Til he evens up the score
I enjoy story songs, and Roland's story is one of the best. Watching Zevon perform it for David Letterman at the host's request shortly before Zevon died of cancer still makes me weep. It was his last performance and perhaps his most memorable. If you're interested, Dave eulogized Warren on his show after he died and featured a sweet and sad performance of Mutineer. Dave's words almost do Warren justice, and I appreciate the attempt.
Vocals: The most amazing vocals. I want to sing the quoted backing vocals above so incredibly badly... Guitar: None that I can hear... but see the note under keys. Bass: Gentle and interesting. Drums: Songs like this make me want to learn to drum. I will learn to drum this if it's charted. I swear it. I'll even provide proof. Keys: Piano and organ. Might be nice to have both charted, with one using the guitar slot. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Album: Warren Zevon (1976)
Well, I'm sittin' here playin' solitaire
With my pearl-handled deck
The county won't give me no more methadone
And they cut off your welfare check
Zevon is a hero of mine, It might be controversial to include this track here because, yeah, it's a cover, but it's right up Zevon's alley (and down his veins) and his version is the definitive version, and rightfully so. Hell, Jackson Browne (another idol of mine) covers the cover and simply calls it a Warren Zevon song. Poor Murray McLauchlan... no credit for laying the foundation. But, hey, I've given his fellow Canadians plenty of representation in this thread already, so a wrong has been righted. Right?
Vocals: A sad yet pretty melody with harmonies to boot. Sobering lyrics. Guitar: A lovely Spanish/Mexican guitar. A real treat for guitarists. So pretty! Bass: Relaxing. Time for a siesta. Drums: Si, see above, Señor. Keys: None, but there are multiple guitars. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
The Personal Favorite:
Desperadoes Under the Eaves
Album: Warren Zevon (1976)
And if California slides into the ocean
Like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing until I pay my bill
One of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard and one of my favorite songs of all time. It almost makes alcoholism sound attractive, which is... disturbing. But I just enjoy sharing it.
Vocals: The humming air conditioner hummed vocals are truly some of the most beautiful sounds I've heard in my life. What a strange sentence that is... but it's true. Guitar: Minimal, but when it's there, it's so lovely. Bass: Gentle. Comforting. Drums: I'd learn this drum part. It's not hard. It's... pretty. Is that possible? Keys: Piano, yes, but there are strings as well. Beautiful, beautiful strings. Miscellaneous: Fades out. It feels fitting...
Background: Perhaps my favorite pop rock band, at least at the moment. Three really solid albums, with a new single recently released. I've been diligent and included one song from each album and the single as a bonus. This post'll be short 'n' sweet, because you'll either instantly enjoy this infectious pop rock or won't... typically this ain't my fare, but I'll chew my bubblegum if it tastes good. No idea how these guys put out albums so often, but it might be the fact that there are so many band members. Which is a part of the appeal... the group vocals are really, really somethin' to hear.
The Obvious Choice:
Album: Waiting for the Dawn (2013)
I lost my head in San Francisco
Waiting for the fog to roll out
But I found it in a rain cloud
It was smiling down
A feel-good song about love and togetherness. Hippies. The title is appropriate, I guess.
Vocals: Fun vocals for a group, especially the doo-doos. Heh. Doodoo. Guitar: Acoustic chordfest, but in a good way. Nice intro. An electric solo of sorts. Bass: Sounds pretty fun, actually. Drums: Could be pretty interesting. Keys: Harmonica, perhaps? Horns? Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Album: Where'd Your Weekend Go? (2016)
So what if you know
How to dig through the trash and come out with gold?
So what if you're broke?
I'm sure someone probably cares
But I swear I don't
Somebody bringing you down? Yeah, well... that's just, like, uh, his opinion, man.
Vocals: Group vocals as usual. The chorus is a joy. Guitar: Relaxing chords. Bass: Nothing remarkable. Drums: Nothing special. Keys: Something goes here... I hear piano at times. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Album: Kids in Love (2015)
Spent a long time living this way
Worrying what people say
Feeling like I don’t fit in
But I won’t give up, no, I won’t give in
Affirming. Hopeful. Fun.
Vocals: More fun group vocals with a him 'n' her focus. Guitar: A few parts to choose from. Bass: Not bad at all. Drums: Pop drums. I dig. Keys: Nope. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.
Album: [single] (2017)
I'm bored to death in here, wish I could disappear
Take you to the bathroom, howl at the full moon, an' take me to space
A song about escaping. Isn't that the point of pop music anyway?
Vocals: Fun group vocals with a focus on him 'n' her. Guitar: A little bit of everything. Neat solo. Bass: Nothin' special, but the effect is cool. Drums: Ditto. Predictable pounding. Keys: None that I can hear. Miscellaneous: Crisp ending.