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Journey, Pat Benatar and SpongeBob DLC

Something old, something new and….something SpongeBob? Sure enough, it’s one of our amazingly diverse DLC packs this week—half classic rock, half brand-new rock, with a surprise third half thrown in.

You should already know our two classic offerings: They’re not just hits, they’re full-fledged anthems. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is of course the song that Tony Soprano got whacked to (or maybe he didn’t—Let us know if you’ve figured it out!) In any case, the song is one of the ultimate prom ballads and singer Steve Perry’s greatest moment of glory. Released in 1981, the song capped Journey’s evolution from a jam-friendly San Francisco band to a nationwide hit-singles machine. They’d rule the charts for a few years afterward.

So would Pat Benatar, whose “Heartbreaker” was both her first hit and the leadoff track on her first album—This song took her (and her longtime guitarist/partner Neil Geraldo) straight out of the Long Island club circuit into the big leagues. From the start, Benatar’s trademarks were a mighty voice and a brassy, sexy personality. Lead singers, take note: “Heartbreaker” has one of the only unaccompanied vocal breaks in the Rock Band catalogue!

Moving into the present, Glasvegas’ “Geraldine” is the kind of bubbly pop that seems to come naturally from Scottish bands (see last month’s Fratellis pack for further details). So catchy it hurts, with a true story attached: The real-life Geraldine is a social worker who left her job to sell merch for Glasvegas on tour; the band thought she deserved a tribute.

Detroit’s garage-rock sensations the Von Bondies have been a fave of ours for awhile, especially since they joined us for last week’s Rock Band party during South by Southwest. “C’mon C’mon” is their greatest hit so far, with an unstoppable shout-along chorus. The track’s producer, by the way, is Jerry Harrison who also appears on Rock Band as Talking Heads’ keyboardist.

If you’ve been perusing all our DLC so far and thought there just weren’t enough cartoon sponges in the mix, salvation is at hand: Three tracks from the Nickelodeon sensation known as SpongeBob SquarePants. This ain’t just any cartoon though, as SpongeBob’s surreal brand of humor has already warped thousands of pre-adolescent minds. If you don’t see the Rock Band connection, keep in mind that many of the quirkiest bands around—from the Flaming Lips to Ween and the Violent Femmes—are fans of the show and have contributed music in the past. And musicologists will appreciate all the in-jokes, like all the Brian Wilson/Beach Boys sonic references that are crammed into “The Best Day Ever.”