If you’ve ever wondered what accounts for the sudden, occasional dips in quality on this site–why posts take three hours to show up, or why there’s a sudden surge of “look at this funny photo!” entries–there can be only one explanation: Your Idolators are off playing Guitar Hero. Now officially the eleventh-greatest thing ever to happen in the history of mankind (following such heavy hitters as oxygen, waffle irons, the fall of Communism, and season three of The Wire), Guitar Hero is the first game to combine our collective need for communal self-expression with our collective need to eat pizza and play “Smoke On The Water” eleven times in a row. Badly.
Next month sees the release of Guitar Hero II for Xbox, but we’re already thinking about the still-in-the-works third edition. So we hereby present our 30-song wishlist for Guitar Hero III jams–the songs that we hope to be playing along with in the near future.
We’ve even included MP3s with our top ten, so you can get a head start on your neighbor.
1. Television – Marquee Moon: It’s not the most obvious choice for the number-one slot: Not only have few people heard this 1977 new-wave work-out, but it’s a slow-building epic that uses its ten-minutes-plus running time to gather steam. But there are enough riffs, licks, and scattered notes here to test even the most experienced player’s skills, and it would probably inspire a generation of younguns to further investigate the careers of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, which can only be a good thing.
2. Megadeth – Holy Wars … The Punishment Due: Megadeth is a Guitar Hero mainstay; “Symphony of Destruction” was on the game’s first edition, and “Hangar 18″ was on its sequel. But “Holy Wars”–which is from the same album as “Hangar 18,” and which is, frankly, a lot better–would provide a fine challenge for more experienced Heroes. To start, there’s the manual-typewriter-like riff that provides the force for most of the song’s first half, but the real challenge comes at the midway point–a little gypsy-guitar bit that requires the fleetest fretwork, which could be a potential stumbling block for even the most expert players.
3. Soundgarden – Jesus Christ Pose: From its woodpecker-imitation opening and outro to its monster solo, this song kills–and it may very well kill the hopes of players trying to take their game to the next level.
5. Living Colour – Cult Of Personality: Vernon Reid’s opening salvo alone would make this worthy of inclusion, but throw in that thrashing finale, and you’ve got a song that would probably kill most of us on “medium.”
6. The Smiths – This Charming Man: Think the Smiths were soft? Try keeping up with Johnny Marr’s intricate guitar lines or Andy Rourke’s hop-along bassline.
7. Funkadelic – Maggot Brain: Sure, it’s another lengthy track, but it does have one of the best guitar solos of all time.
8. Sleater-Kinney – Rollercoaster: It’s hard to pick just one S-K song, but “Rollercoaster” is one of their most relentless numbers, and anyone sitting out a round can chime in background whooos of support.
9. Guns N’ Roses – Rocket Queen: Some of Slash’s best moments are in this mini-epic, which closed out Appetite For Destruction in a fierce, yet fiercely sad way. (Bonus points if you can actually find a “partner” for the bridge.)
10. Drive-By Truckers – Let There Be Rock: Admittedly, there are some quiet moments in the beginning, and the weed and acid references wouldn’t make parents too proud, but the closing solos are fierce. And who could argue with the song’s titular mission statement?
The remaining 20:
11. Archie Bell & The Drells – Tighten Up
12. AC/DC – Thunderstruck
13. ESG – UFO
14. Dinosaur Jr. – Out There
15. Faith No More – Surprise! You’re Dead!
16. PJ Harvey – Sheela-Na-Gig
17. Radiohead – My Iron Lung
18. Jane’s Addiction – Mountain Song
19. Modest Mouse – Ocean Breathes Salty
20. Bad Brains – Pay To Cum
21. Mudhoney – Judgment, Rage, Retribution, and Thyme
22. Poison – Nothin’ But A Good Time
23. Led Zeppelin – The Rover
24. At The Drive-In – Arcarsenal
25. Meat Puppets – Aurora Borealis
26. The Girls – The Girl From Yesterday
27. Ohio Players – Fopp
28. Melissa Auf Der Maur – Followed The Waves
29. Extreme – Get the Funk Out
30. Metallica – Anaesthesia (Pulling Teeth)*
* Yes, we know it’s for the bass. But you tell us it isn’t worthy of inclusion.