When I first started working at Harmonix, one of the questions I was dying to ask my new coworkers was, “What is your favorite song in Rock Band?” I knew which songs I liked and which songs my friends liked, but I wanted to know what the people that work on the game like to play. After all, if you still want to play a song after working on the game all day long, it has to be good.
Check out the songs that are HMXers favorites, and then feel free to share your own in the comments.
After posing the question to my coworkers, very few agreed on the same songs. Many people were just looking for a fun time:
“’Eminence Front’ [by The Who] on Expert drums - not that hard, but so fun to just jam along to!” – Jessica Taylor, Artist
“For drums it's ‘Cherub Rock’ [by Smashing Pumpkins]. Really fun patterns...” - Sylvain Dubrofsky, Senior Designer
“I recently took up drums, and I'm having a blast. In that vein, ‘Lump,’ by POTUSA.” - Matthew Nordhaus, Senior Producer
I love the majority of the songs in Rock Band but if I had to pick one, I'd go with ‘I Get By’ by Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives.
“I love the majority of the songs in Rock Band but if I had to pick one, I'd go with ‘I Get By’ by Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives. This is one of the most fun songs in the game to sing and puts a smile on my face every time I get to go through it.” - Adam Cardoza, QA Tester
“In response to Adam’s answer above: I concur.” - Dan Schmidt, Senior Software Developer
“To this day, I still love playing guitar on Coheed and Cambria's ‘Welcome Home’ from Rock Band. The guitar part is quite varied throughout the song and the solo is one of my favorite parts to play in any Rock Band song. Many songs have come out since, but few feel as epic as ‘Welcome Home’ does.” - Jeff Dishman, QA Tester
My overall favorite song to play has to be ‘Siva’ by Smashing Pumpkins.
“Since I mostly play drums, my decision is mostly based on how fun/amazing the drum chart is. Out of all of the songs currently available on Rock Band (DLC/Rock Band/Rock Band 2), my overall favorite song to play has to be ‘Siva’ by Smashing Pumpkins. It is a blast to play and has a lot of varied style throughout the song. I love when the guitar and drums kick it into overdrive after the quiet part in the song. Always makes me feel like I'm actually making that magic happen.” - Ben Currier, Manufacturing Analyst
“I'm torn here...as far as listening to music goes, I'd say every single song we've done by the Foo Fighters (with ‘Everlong’ being #1 out of that group). But to play? I think I have to give the nod to ‘Bodhisattva’ [by Steely Dan]. It's just an extremely fun part on guitar that just sounds great.” - Tom Brown, QA Tester
As Tom Brown pointed out, your favorite Rock Band songs and the songs you actually like to listen to can be very different. Several people cited songs that they didn’t previously enjoy as their favorite Rock Band song.
The Hellion recently revealed her favorite Rock Band, “It's by a band that I'm not traditionally a huge fan of whose name rhymes with Blinkin' Shark [Ed. That’s Linkin Park, of course],” and added, “but [it’s] so fun to sing.”
“My favorite song is ‘Dirty Little Secret’ by All American Rejects. It really is my dirty little secret; it’s way too much of a fun song to be real.” – Phillip Hunt, Operations Associate
“I've got to come out and admit that ‘Casey Jones’ [by the Grateful Dead] is really, really fun to play on drums...I was never close to being a Dead fan, but you play it once and realize how catchy the damn thing is.” – Brett Milano, Writer
On the other hand, some people actually enjoyed their favorite music in the game:
“’Spirit in the Sky’ by Norman Greenbaum. Just hearing the song sends happy chills down my back. The song just makes me very happy. We played it when the family was in town for Thanksgiving and everyone was jamming out. It was awesome.” - Jim Otermat, Software Developer
“Gotta be 'Love Spreads' by the Stone Roses. I love the drum chart and just the fact that we got Stone Roses in the game...” - Eric Chon, Community Moderator
“’Sons and Daughters!’ [by The 88] That totally made the 20-free pack for me, and nothing gets me as pumped playing drums.” - Joe Kelly, Composer/Sound Designer
“While not the most challenging or musically complex song in our game, my favorite is by far ‘Complete Control’ by The Clash. I think the audio team did a great job in picking this out of the Clash's discography, as it showcases the band at their full punk power, yet also gives a small taste of what was to come from the Clash in later records, when they would transcend the confines of straight up three chords punk.” - Eric Pope, Senior Tester
“My favorite song is still ‘Maps’ [by Yeah Yeah Yeahs] on drums. When we started work on Rock Band, I took up drum lessons. ‘Maps’ was the first full drum song that I learned on full drums. It is still my favorite to play, either in or out of the game. That, and my girlfriend can sing it like a sultry 1930s gin joint vocalist.” -Chris Canfield, Playtest Coordinator
'Red Barchetta’ [by Rush] is great fun, but I haven't gotten past 25% on Expert. I'm not convinced that anyone should be able to play like Neil Peart.
Some employees – like many of you, I’m sure – preferred a challenge:
“‘Red Barchetta’ [by Rush] is great fun, but I haven't gotten past 25% on Expert. I'm not convinced that anyone should be able to play like Neil Peart.” – Brett Milano, Writer
“’Cool for Cats’ [by Squeeze] is without a doubt the best song in the game. While some may cite the reason for its awesomeness as its vocals, I believe it's because of the insanely hard drum solo. When I get to that drum solo, I brace myself for the whirlwind of notes that is on its way. There's no better feeling than absolutely crushing that solo and nailing 100% of it. The first time that I completely dominated it that solo, I wanted to pump my fist in the air and let loose a scream of epic proportions but, alas, I could not, since ‘Cool for Cats’ drums will not allow it. ‘Cool for Cats’ never rests.” - Tom Peterson, QA Tester
“Disturbed – ‘Indestructible.’ It easily has one of the best guitar riffs in the entire game with a mean solo to boot! It's challenging and interesting without being impossible. For a guitar lover, this song is a must have.” - Joseph Pagliuca, QA Lead
“One of my favorite Rock Band songs is ‘My Sharona’ [by The Knack]. I enjoy watching Expert players attempt to play this seemingly innocent-sounding song... only to have their egos (and fingers) destroyed by the second guitar solo!” - Alex Gold, QA Tester
“Lynyrd Skynyrd – ‘Simple Man.’ I play simultaneous guitar/vox a great deal, and southern rock songs just scream for this treatment. The guitar part is challenging without being overly complex, and singing this song while playing it conveys the singer-songwriter vibe superbly.” - Nathaniel Read, QA Tester
Some songs proved to be especially fun in groups:
“My favorite song is ‘Don't Look Back in Anger’ [by Oasis]. Without fail, every time that one came up in testing, by the end of it my whole room was swaying and singing along. It's got something in it that draws people in, and that's what makes it not just a good song, but a great Rock Band song.” - Ryan Griffin, QA Tester
“My favorite song to play in Rock Band is ‘Highway Star’ because I have had a secret love for Deep Purple since I was about seven years old; and because no matter who you are, you can't help but turn into a total rock god when you play it (as is illustrated by my sisters jumping onto coffee tables, jumping off couches, and generally thrashing about like maniacs whenever they sing it during obligatory Rock Band sessions at family gatherings).” - Damian Boyar, Operations Associate
Then there’s Bill Whitney, a Composer/Sound Designer, who says, “The Colour and the Shape, whole album start to finish (and not just 'cause I authored guitar and bass for three of the songs). That album kicks ass, and we were able to get all the parts of every song to fit very nicely on the Rock Band controllers. And I have a huge man-crush on Dave Grohl. It's cool. I'm not ashamed.” [Ed. Don’t we all have a huge crush on Dave Grohl? Who wouldn’t?]
There you have it – a sampling of Harmonix employees’ favorite Rock Band songs. Interestingly enough, the people who play the game the most – QA Testers – were the largest group that responded to my question. Even though their job is to play the game constantly, they still love it. As a longtime Rock Band player and a newbie Harmonix employee, I think that says a lot.
What about you – what are your favorite Rock Band tracks? Do you like a challenge, or are you just out to have a good time? Share yours in the comments, and check The Music section if you’re having a hard time narrowing it down.