Last week, helping my co-host and cohort Andrew The Giant move to a new house he gave me a relic from our early 20’s past, Guitar Hero: World Tour. I’ve always had a bizarre relationship with videogames; I had a Genesis, a PS1 and PS2, but I was never at any point a serious gamer, and I’d tend to latch on to a series and stick with it rather than explore different games. Because of that I’ve played myriad WWF games, Twisted Metal, GTA, and not much else, but after being destroyed by a girl at GH2 in college, I made a solemn vow to be awesome at the game, and awesome I became. I went back to GH1 (terrible), played GH3 at Andrew’s Mom’s house and made Guitar Hero my latest (and last) videogame obsession. Expert? I got that. I’m not the supershredder who can do Dragonforce on expert or anything, but I did well enough to not-really impress people at parties. Without further adieu, I present my Top 5 favorite Guitar Hero songs:
1) Go Your Own Way – Guitar Hero World Tour. Fleetwood Mac’s seminal tune isn’t the hardest song, nor does it have the “coolest” GH track, but getting World Tour from Andrew and being able to play this song again inspired this article. I think it’s just the right amount of strumming and shredding, attainability and difficulty.
2) Cult of Personality – Guitar Hero 3. GH3 is probably the best of the series, with a wide variety of songs and slightly tweaked game engine that hit the sweet spot. Honestly, I think GH3 is the reason Cult of Personality, with it’s snazzy riff and relentless shredding, has made a bit of a comeback in recent years, including being wrestler CM Punk’s theme.
3) You Really Got Me – Guitar Hero 2, Guitar Hero Van Halen. A cover of a Kinks song, You Really Got Me has the killer riff that feels so good to (fake) play on a (plastic) guitar. Leave me never.
4) Bathroom Wall – Guitar Hero Rocks the 80s. GH’s 80s game was maligned, and rightly so, for not adding much to the game beyond a (relatively) small selection of new songs. That being said, picking it up for a few bucks a few years after the fact I had no such qualms. There are some decent songs on the game, as if it were DLC for GH2 before that was a thing. Faster Pussycat’s latest (and likely last) contribution to pop culture is having a song that wasn’t even their most famous (House of Pain) covered in a video game. This actually inspired me to go out and pick up Faster’s Best Of CD, and I can honestly say of all the forgotten hair bands, they’re not the worst.
5) Avalancha – GH3 returns to the list. One of the great things about GH2 and 3 was the inclusion of some indy or offbeat songs that were instantly launched to a much larger audience. Whether it’s Bang Camaro in GH2, or Heroes Del Silencio in GH3, those two games had some songs that made you feel like you weren’t only a rock god for wailing on a plastic guitar controller, but also a music nerd for having heard of Count Zero. I chose this one because, much like Fleetwood Mac, it’s the right combination of rhythm and shred.
Guitar Hero: Metallica – not for any of the songs (heck, “Trapped Under Ice” and “One” were favorites of mine on the other discs), but for being a hold out at $40 as the PS2 game library sunsetted out of retail. I remember walking through Wal-Mart, seeing virtually every other PS2 game at like $20, and there was GH Metallica, holding steady at full price. I wouldn’t be surprised if Metallica had some ridiculous thing put in their contract that their game could never be sold at a discount. Oy vey.