I’d always thought that “This Song Is Just Six Words Long” was a Weird Al original, not a parody, but this morning on my way to the office I heard “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You,” and now I know the truth. It would have been impossible to take that song seriously even before Weird Al made fun of it. You wouldn’t think a song that ridiculous would really need a scathing destruction to lay bare all its flaws, but I guess that’s why we have Weird Al.
But that’s not what I really want to talk about today: I want to talk about Guitar Hero 5. I played it last week, and hoo boy, it does not have a very good song selection. Pick almost any song on the list, replace it with one of the songs from my previous polls, and you’d have a better game. The biggest misstep seems to be picking a great artist, and then giving us one of their weird, lackluster songs instead of one of their awesome ones. I know musical taste is subjective, but come on:
Bush – I know “Comedown” is the one everyone knows, but why not “Machine Head”? Or “Chemicals Between Us”? Even “Warm Machine” is better, and that one kind of bugs me.
Band of Horses – A band this varied, and all you can come up with is “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands”? How about “The First Song,” or the reason they’re famous to begin with: “The Funeral”? I’d even play “Is There a Ghost,” though it would get dull to sing.
The White Stripes – “Blue Orchid” pales next to songs like “The Hardest Button to Button,” “Icky Thump,” “or even older stuff like “Fell in Love with a Girl.”
The Killers – These guys don’t have a very deep portfolio, I’ll grant you, and most of their best have already been used, but that doesn’t mean we care enough about “All the Pretty Faces” to want it in our guitar game.
Billy Idol – You could fill a whole game with Billy Idol, and I would buy it, but that does not change the fact that “Dancing with Myself” is not even half as awesome as “White Wedding” or “Rock the Cradle of Love.”
Nirvana – Okay, I’ll give you “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” but why on Earth did you use the live version of “Lithium”? I can think of a couple dozen better songs to put here, such as, say, the album version of “Lithium.” Seriously.
Tom Petty – “American Girl” is arguably the best track in the game, so kudos on that, but “Runnin’ Down a Dream” should have been “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” This is inarguable.
Elton John – A piano guy probably just shouldn’t be in a guitar game in the first place.
The Rolling Stones – On a long list of awesome hits that changed the face of music forever, “Sympathy for the Devil” is one of the more boring choices you could have made. I could suggest alternatives, but if you need my help compiling a list of Rolling Stones songs maybe you shouldn’t be the guy picking songs for Guitar Hero.
Weezer – Here’s a short list of songs that would have been better choices than “Why Bother”: anything.
There are others on this list(like Muse and Coldplay and Beck and on and on), but I want to talk about other problems, too. “Under Pressure,” by David Bowie and Queen, and “Feel Good, Inc.” by Gorillaz, are fun to sing but boring to play. Bob Dylan is awesome, but “All Along the Watchtower” should have used the Jimi Hendrix version. “Sex on Fire” has awesome music, but lyrics so silly none of us can sing them with a straight face (I’ll actually put “We’re an American Band” in that same category).
What songs on this list do I actually think are good choices? There’s not very many, though at least they’re in double digits:
“American Girl,” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
“Bleed American,” by Jimmy Eat World
“Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” by The Smashing Pumpkins
“Du Hast,” by Rammstein (there are better Rammstein songs, but I’ll take what I can get)
“Judith,” by A Perfect Circle
“Kryptonite,” by 3 Doors Down
“Play that Funky Music,” by Wild Cherry
“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” by Nirvana
“Steady as she Goes,” by The Raconteurs
“Superstition,” by Stevie Wonder
“You Give Love a Bad Name,” by Bon Jovi
I’ll also say that most of the new features in the game are awesome, and I really wish I had them in Guitar Hero 4. But that song list is just too lame to bother with. Grrr.