Recent Songs We'd Like to Play in Rock Band 4

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Recent Songs We'd Like to Play in <i>Rock Band 4</i>

Rock Band fans were spoiled. For over five years new playable songs were released almost every week for the rhythm game, letting players build up their own personal library of hits. The river dried up at the start of April, 2013, with only a few new stray tracks coming out earlier this year. That means there’s a solid two and a half years of great hits and modern classics that have never popped up in Rock Band. Rock Band 4 finally comes out next Tuesday, and includes great music by such artists as St. Vincent, Lightning Bolt, Brandi Carlile and, for the first time in a full band game, U2. There’s so much more great music we’d love to see released for this game, though, so we’ve whipped up this playlist of recent songs that would make for great DLC. And if you have any requests of your own, feel free to leave ‘em in the comments.

1. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk

Released just a couple of weeks after the last weekly Rock Band DLC in April 2013, Daft Punk’s modern disco classic is a no-brainer for the game. It was a massive hit, sure, and those are always crucial for Rock Band parties. This would also challenge even the most skilled player, though. Between Nile Rodger’s painfully precise guitar and Omar Hakim’s peerless drums, it’d be one of those deceptively hard songs that everybody thinks they could handle just because they’re so familiar with it. More importantly, though, it’s just a timeless song, the song of every summer, and it would be one of the most popular songs in the game.—GM

2. “The Wire” by Haim

Fans of the L.A. sibling trio might consider “The Wire” to be Haim’s defining power-pop hit from their stellar 2013 debut. For fans’ parents, however, it probably provides a dose of déjà vu under the pretense of the Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight.” The arena-friendly handclaps notwithstanding, it’s easy to see how the two jams exist as two sides of the same coin. The Eagles are the ones with the sneaking suspicion that their Friday night will be plagued by relationship troubles, but it’s the sisters Haim who are busy planning the ill-fated “We need to talk” drama to come. Sharing mic duties to lament their botched attempt to stay friends, the three are left to commiserate, shrug their shoulders and move along. Because in the end, it felt right.—Nick Petrillo

3. “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” by Superchunk

Short but powerful, Superchunk’s 2013 single celebrates the power of music while also mourning its ultimate irrelevance in the face of our own mortality. Heady stuff for a two-minute blast of pop brilliance. Mac McCaughan sings about visiting record stores with a friend who’s no longer with us, and surely many similar friendships were deepened by playing games like Rock Band. It’d be a poetic addition but it’d also just be fun to play.—GM

4. “Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves

If country radio balked at the notion of “kiss lots of girls—if that’s something you’re into” and “Roll up a joint—just follow your arrow wherever it points,” Musgraves’ bit o’ sunshine declared country fans are willing to embrace the modern world as it really is. In spite of its exuberance, the slight songwriter nails hypocrisy from both sides (“if you can’t lose the weight, you’re just fat/ but if you lose too much, you’re on crack” and “if you don’t go to church, you’ll go to hell/if you’re the first one on the front row, you’re a self-righteous son of…”) and embraces the notion to live life as you wish, be kind and enjoy the ride. Easily country’s true single of the year. —Holly Gleason

5. “Weight” by Mikal Cronin

Cronin’s two-year-old hit sounded like a lived-in classic the first time we ever heard it. If you had told me it was a Badfinger deep cut I would’ve believed you. It could serve as a valuable bridge in a Rock Band setlist between classic rock hits and modern day indie-rock, satisfying both the old greybeards and the bearded young hipsters in your group. All kindsa beards can dig Mikal Cronin.—GM

6. “I’m Not Part of Me” by Cloud Nothings

Cloud NothingsHere and Nowhere Else closer “I’m Not Part of Me” works lyrically as a breakup song, with Dylan Baldi finding healing in the line “I’m learning how to be here and nowhere else, how to focus on what I can do myself.” The song works structurally, with a hooky verse followed by a hooky pre-chorus followed by a hooky chorus followed by a hooky bridge. It works in terms of ambition, stretching out what would typically be a compact blast of a couple minutes in the past, without resorting to the drawn-out jams Cloud Nothings tend to include a couple times on their recent albums. But maybe most interestingly, the song works at hinting at something more than all of these more surface pleasures. “I’m not telling you all I’m going through,” Baldi repeats, indicating that mentally and emotionally, heartbreak may not be all that is at stake. We can hypothesize what is going on with the speaker in the songs, but by ending on this note, Baldi is building the mystery, leaving the listener wanting more, proving as clever as he is raw.—Philip Cosores

7. “Archie, Marry Me” by Alvvays

As if this song weren’t already impossibly catchy, it’s also a marvel of structure. While singer Molly Rankin addresses her wary paramour in wistful tones, the roiling fuzzed-over guitars suggest there are more chaotic impulses lurking just below the surface of her rational, rather modest and drily hilarious requests for commitment.—Eric R. Danton

8. “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.” by Father John Misty

Literally, the only thing you need to know about this song is that it successfully uses the word “malaprops.” That, and Father John Misty (real name: Josh Tillman) shreds anybody who misuses the word “literally.” Oops. “The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.” is equal parts scathing wit, self-deprecation and even sadomasochism, as could only be conceived by the most deranged soft rock apologist. Tillman’s old fling is just, like, way too into herself, always broadcasting her “petty, vogue ideas” and copping all his drugs, blaming his influence all the while. Even when he’s singing “Silent Night” in the tub with this girl and her best friend, Tillman can’t be satisfied; she compares herself to Sarah Vaughan and derails the whole kinky escapade. At least he gets his way in the bedroom, where he’s all too happy to oblige her choking request. Actually, that’s probably not a good thing.—Bryan Rolli

9. “The Legend of Chavo Guerrero” by the Mountain Goats

“The Legend of Chavo Guerrero” wouldn’t be our first pick for the Mountain GoatsRock Band debut, but then the guitar-only songs John Darnielle recorded on a beatbox throughout the ‘90s probably wouldn’t work well with the game’s full-band set-up. (Sure, they’d be better for Guitar Hero, why not.) Not to say that his ode to Eddie’s older brother isn’t a great song, though: it’s one of our favorites of the year, a legitimate piece of art that uses pro wrestling to plumb substantial emotional depths.—GM

10. “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges

Rock Band has always been committed to including songs from outside the traditional rock genres, and some of my favorite songs to play are from R&B and funk artists like James Brown and the Ohio Players. My wife and I keep returning to the five Otis Redding songs released in 2010, not just because they’re great but because there’s really nothing else like them in the game. As you can hear with “Coming Home,” Leon Bridges uncannily recreates that same kind of soulful ‘60s R&B. It’d be a tremendous change of pace from the faster and heavier material that makes up so much of the game’s soundtrack.—GM

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