If you were to ask the casual rhythm game fan what the height of the genre was, they’ll probably tell you it was either Guitar Hero III or Rock Band 2. Even hardcore Rock Band fans will often swear up and down that Rock Band 2 was the best one. Featuring an absolutely massive career mode, the largest setlist in franchise history (a feat which has yet to be matched in a Rock Band game), and one of the longest post-release support windows ever seen in a non-MMORPG, delivering huge quality and quantity DLC every week, it’s not hard to see why fans consider Rock Band 2 to be the absolute peak of rhythm gaming both functionally and culturally.
As I’d mentioned, the big new addition to Rock Band 2 was a robust World Tour mode. As opposed to the original Rock Band‘s “here are the songs in this setlist, play them all to unlock the next set” career mode, World Tour mode gave you a huge amount of options. Things such as your hometown, choosing staff to get you benefits like more money, or more fans, or different gigging opportunities, as well as a variety of different setlists including pre-made, random, and choose your own. Along the way you would have certain setlists pop up to help you advance as clearing them would unlock things like roadies, a tour bus, or even a private jet.
The setlist featured something for everyone from massive pop-rock hits to riot grrrl to classic rock to thrash metal to prog and everything else in between. Huge acts like AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses (with the first public taste of the then-upcoming Chinese Democracy), and Bob Dylan were mixed in with smaller groups like Interpol, Dinosaur Jr., and Lush. It even gave Rock Band it’s first “devil tiered on everything” song with Judas Priest’s rip-roaring Painkiller!
Also of note is that for the first time in rhythm game history, the setlist featured zero “as made famous by” cover versions, instead having all 84 of the songs being the master track. A few songs in the game, however, are re-recorded versions done by the original band. This would set the standard for virtually every major rhythm game that followed.
Of the 84 song setlist, 29 are currently available, which is just over 1/3. That 34% puts it significantly below the original Rock Band’s 45%, and is second only to Guitar Hero: Aerosmith‘s 10% for the lowest percentage available in Rocksmith.
|Artist||Song||Date in Rocksmith|
|AC/DC||Let There Be Rock||N/A|
|AFI||Girls Not Grey||04/01/2014|
|Alanis Morissette||You Oughta Know||N/A|
|Alice in Chains||Man in the Box||11/12/2013|
|The Allman Brothers Band||Ramblin' Man||N/A|
|Anarchy Club||Get Clean||N/A|
|Avenged Sevenfold||Almost Easy||N/A|
|Bad Company||Shooting Star||N/A|
|Bang Camaro||Night Lies||N/A|
|Beastie Boys||So What'cha Want||N/A|
|Billy Idol||White Wedding (Part 1)||04/30/2013|
|Bikini Kill||Rebel Girl||N/A|
|Blondie||One Way or Another||N/A|
|Bob Dylan||Tangled Up in Blue||N/A|
|Bon Jovi||Livin' on a Prayer||12/02/2014|
|Breaking Wheel||Shoulder to the Plow||N/A|
|Cheap Trick||Hello There *||N/A|
|Devo||Uncontrollable Urge *||N/A|
|Dinosaur Jr.||Feel the Pain||04/21/2015|
|Disturbed||Down with the Sickness||12/10/2013|
|The Donnas||New Kid in School||N/A|
|Dream Theater||Panic Attack||N/A|
|Duran Duran||Hungry Like the Wolf||08/19/2014|
|Elvis Costello||Pump It Up||N/A|
|Fleetwood Mac||Go Your Own Way||08/18/2015|
|Go-Go's||We Got the Beat||08/27/2019|
|The Grateful Dead||Alabama Getaway||N/A|
|The Guess Who||American Woman||01/29/2013|
|Guns N' Roses||Shackler's Revenge||N/A|
|Jane's Addiction||Mountain Song||02/17/2015|
|Joan Jett||Bad Reputation||06/26/2018|
|Jimmy Eat World||The Middle||11/27/2018|
|Journey||Any Way You Want It||N/A|
|Kansas||Carry on Wayward Son||02/18/2013|
|L7||Pretend We're Dead||02/18/2020|
|Lacuna Coil||Our Truth||N/A|
|Libyans||Welcome to the Neighborhood||N/A|
|Linkin Park||One Step Closer||01/06/2015|
|Lit||My Own Worst Enemy||04/21/2015|
|The Main Drag||A Jagged Gorgeous Winter||N/A|
|Mastodon||Colony of Birchmen||05/13/2014|
|The Mighty Mighty Bosstones||Where'd You Go? *||N/A|
|Modest Mouse||Float On||04/16/2013|
|Motörhead||Ace of Spades '08 *||01/20/2015 *|
|The Muffs||Kids in America||N/A|
|Norman Greenbaum||Spirit in the Sky||N/A|
|The Offspring||Come Out and Play (Keep 'em Separated)||05/16/2012|
|Panic! at the Disco||Nine in the Afternoon||07/05/2016|
|Paramore||That's What You Get||N/A|
|The Presidents of the United States of America||Lump||N/A|
|Rage Against the Machine||Testify||N/A|
|RATT||Round and Round||10/22/2013|
|Red Hot Chili Peppers||Give It Away||N/A|
|The Replacements||Alex Chilton||N/A|
|Rise Against||Give It All||05/18/2014|
|Rush||The Trees (Vault Edition)||N/A|
|Silversun Pickups||Lazy Eye||N/A|
|The Smashing Pumpkins||Today||10/29/2013|
|Social Distortion||I Was Wrong||N/A|
|Sonic Youth||Teen Age Riot||N/A|
|Squeeze||Cool for Cats||N/A|
|The Sterns||Supreme Girl||N/A|
|Steve Miller Band||Rock'n Me||12/05/2017|
|Survivor||Eye of the Tiger||04/30/2013|
|System of a Down||Chop Suey||N/A|
|Talking Heads||Psycho Killer||N/A|
|Tenacious D||Master Exploder||12/08/2015|
|Testament||Souls of Black *||05/22/2018 *|
|That Handsome Devil||Rob the Prez-O-Dent||N/A|
|The Who||Pinball Wizard||12/03/2013|
* Indicates a re-recorded version of the track.
It was super difficult to narrow this list down to only 10 songs we want to see in Rocksmith, but somehow we did it. With that said, here’s what we’d like to see:
Bob Dylan – Tangled Up in Blue
Rocksmith was the first game to ever get Bob Dylan DLC and it was a personal favourite for me and for my money some of the best content they ever put out. This fast paced acoustic track would be a great campfire song to learn and would be a blast to play.
Guns N’ Roses – Shackler’s Revenge
I mean, people have been clamouring for Guns N’ Roses DLC in Rocksmith, right? All joking aside, Shackler’s Revenge may not have Slash playing guitar on it, but it does have Buckethead, so you know you’re in for a technical challenge. Plus, Chinese Democracy is actually a really good album and if you don’t go in to it expecting it so sound just like Appetite for Destruction, you might just see that too.
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
One of the biggest things I see pop up during weeks that aren’t metal is that Rocksmith doesn’t have enough metal. Well, hopefully GRAMMY Award winning metal band Jethro Tull can solve that problem! I mean, the flute is a heavy, metal instrument after all! Seriously though, Aqualung is an iconic progressive rock track and features a great main riff, a few good solos, and an ever changing pattern. Let’s make this happen, Rocksmith!
Jimmy Eat World – The Middle
Remember that massive boom of emo music we had in the early 2000s? We’ve gotten My Chemical Romance (twice), we got Fall Out Boy, and we even had some Thirty Seconds to Mars. One of the few massive acts from that era we haven’t seen? Jimmy Eat World. Sure, The Middle might not be the most technically complex song ever recorded, but it would be a great entry point to beginner guitarists and provide a beloved song to Rocksmith fans.
Lush – De-Luxe
Just imagine the tones. I honestly don’t know how well shoegaze music would work in Rocksmith, but there’s a lot of really interesting guitar work going on in these songs and it would be really interesting to be able to fully break down exactly what’s going on behind all the fuzz. Plus, Lush are an awesome band and they’re putting new music out finally so who knows?!
Rush – The Trees
I’m a young Canadian guy. This basically means two thing: I listen to Q107 and I love Rush. The Rush content in Rocksmith is certainly good, but with the exception of Headlong Flight, it’s all from their poppier 1980s output. Their progressive rock era from the 1970s would be greatly appreciated in Rocksmith, and The Trees would be the perfect starting point for a Rush Song Pack II (with 2112: Overture/The Temples of Syrinx, Bastille Day, Working Man, and La Villa Strangiato perhaps). The fun alternating between acoustic and electric would provide some great tones, and of course, Rush means that the basslines would be incredible.
Steely Dan – Bodhisattva
Among the genres we’ve mentioned to be lacking in representation in Rocksmith, Jazz and similar genres like Jazz-Rock and Jazz Fusion always comes to my mind. Steely Dan is unarguably one of the most popular Jazz Fusion and Jazz-Rock artists of all time, and their nearly spotless pedigree of top-notch production and instrumentation on all of their albums would make them a joy to play on guitar. Bodhisattva is a bit more blues-influenced than Jazz, but the lead guitar part would be a great challenge to try.
Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
There’s a little bit of New Wave in Rocksmith, but nowhere near enough for my tastes. Talking Heads are one of the most notable bands in the genre and Psycho Killer is one of their most well known songs. It’s based in relatively simple guitar playing, but there’s a lot of really interesting rhythmic stuff going on with it that would make it a blast to play. Also, the Stop Making Sense performance is fantastic and you should watch it right now along with the rest of that film.
That Handsome Devil – Rob the Prez-O-Dent
A great blues-inspired riff and a fast paced delivery combined with constant tweaking of the guitar part throughout the song are sure to make this song a hit in your Rocksmith library. Rob the Prez-O-Dent is one of my favourite bonus songs in any rhythm game period and I’d love to be able to play ANY That Handsome Devil in Rocksmith.
There’s our picks, what songs would you like to see from Rock Band 2 end up in Rocksmith 2014? Let us know!