Game music of the day: Guitar Hero

Game: Guitar Hero

Song: Even Rats

Composer: The Slip

Above: Even Rats from Guitar Hero

In just five years there have been 14 (!) console and handheld Guitar Hero games. I can't imagine a more shameless grab for cash and disregard for anything resembling brand value, but the current state of the series (including today's Warriors of Rock) doesn't diminish the fond memories most of us have for the very first entry, when all the songs were covers and Harmonix did its best to make it look, sound and feel like a real rock game. Case in point - asking several local bands to flesh out the roster with legitimate underground acts. So, for Guitar Hero's five year anniversary, I'd like to point out my favorite unsung track from the game that kicked off a billion-dollar franchise.

Ever heard of The Slip? I sure hadn't prior to Guitar Hero, and even if you beat the game you still could have missed the band's bonus song, Even Rats. I can barely use adequate terms to describe game music, and attempting to do so with "real" music would be awful for you and for me, so all I want to convey here is the "new nostalgia" feeling I get while playing this song. The first time I played/heard Even Rats, it instantly felt familiar, as if I'd been listening to it for years and it already meant something to me. In fact, it was brand new and I'd never heard it in my life. Despite this, the combination of sad yet oddly positive lyrics and the two minute instrumental ending almost brought a tear to my eye the first time through. No idea why - but that's effective music and a big thanks to Harmonix/Red Octane for including it.

Above: Even Rats on Expert in Guitar Hero

Hearing the song today now reminds me of 2005, which was one hell of a transition for me (moving from the midwest to San Francisco to toil in the GamesRadar sweatshops), so naturally Even Rats has a stronger personal effect. But I think there's a wider feeling we can all sense - that new-genre innocence where a game isn't just a great idea, it's a brilliantly realized experience that has to be shared with everyone you know. That first Guitar Hero game was a staple at every single party I went to for a full year, eagerly shown off as the fun new thing and met with smiles all around.

Above: The kind of stupid, hyperactive fun you can only have when everyone's flipping out about a new game

Sure, it's way easy to rip on Activision for grinding Guitar Hero down to its bones, but don't let that cloud your once-great times with a truly remarkable piece of gaming history. What about you - any song from the first game (or any of the bonus songs) that stuck with you all this time?


Game music of the day: Battletoads in Battlemaniacs
Ragnarok Canyon by David Wise



Game music of the day: Amplitude
Everyone Says Hi by David Bowie



Game music of the day: Batman
Level one by Kodaka and Hara


Game music


  • Aforextreme - September 30, 2010 7:43 a.m.

    "Jordan" by Buckethead always stuck with me as one of the best songs in the series, even though it's pretty much impossible, the solo is incredible and hits me right where it should every time I hear it. It's definitely one of my favorite songs. If I were to mention any others (from 1 and 2, because those are the only games in the franchise that matter), I'd say "Push Push (Lady Lightning)" by Bang Camaro, "All of This" by Shamius, "Gemini" by Brian Kahanek, "The Light That Blinds" by Shadows Fall, and "Six" by All That Remains. ...Oh, and the Freezepop songs. The Guitar Hero 1 version of "Get Ready 2 Rokk" is insanely superior to the original.
  • MayorOfAmerica - September 29, 2010 7:30 p.m.

    Great song! Keep it up, loving my daily dose of Game Music!!!
  • wittynickname - September 29, 2010 3:11 p.m.

    When I bought Guitar Hero in '06, I then immediately sought out and bought "Eisenhower," the Slip album with this song on it. I didn't feel the rest of the album captured the magic of "Even Rats," but I was glad to support the band in my small way with a purchase. It seems like each of these rhythm games introduces me to a group or song I might otherwise have never heard of. "Even Rats" began that trend, and I concur with Kreative Assassin above that my first thought was "Ooh, I hope he picked 'Even Rats,'" when I saw which game you'd picked. Well played, Mr. Elston.
  • philipshaw - September 29, 2010 2:30 p.m.

    Excellent choice, I had the exact same feeling when I heard/played this song back in 2005
  • FanofSaiyan - September 29, 2010 12:27 p.m.

    Even Rats was an excellent choice, Stellar and Sail Your Ship By had the same feel, but none proved to be as satisfying as Even Rats. It's a shame more of their music wasn't in GH. Some of my favorite songs happen to be bonus tracks: All of This, Sail Your Ship By, Story of My Love, Eureka I've Found Love, etc. The game itself was an obvious choice for this topic, and is just as good as it was in 2005.
  • shadowreaper72 - September 29, 2010 5:57 a.m.

    FREE BIRD!!!!!!
  • batmanboy11 - September 29, 2010 1:21 a.m.

    I'm suprised it took this long for a GH game to be on GMOTD.
  • Aeshir - September 29, 2010 1:18 a.m.

    This song came on my (awesome) MP3 player I got for Christmas 2008, and I have to give you a big ol' ditto for this bit: "The first time I played/heard Even Rats, it instantly felt familiar, as if I'd been listening to it for years and it already meant something to me." Well said, Brott.
  • BoltActionRevolver - September 29, 2010 12:33 a.m.

    I loved that song and no one remembered it but you!
  • KREATIVEassassin - September 29, 2010 12:30 a.m.

    I saw that Guitar Hero was the game music of the day, and I clicked on it. As it was loading, I said out loud, "It needs to be Even Ra-" and saw that, indeed, it was Even Rats. This song was a party staple. I would always make it a point to play this song at the end of the night. Even Rats is completely magical. Everyone loved it. Good thing it's in Rock Band now.
  • awsomemaster - September 29, 2010 12:27 a.m.

    wow! i never thought i would hear this song again, when i got a ipod knock off mp3 player last winter this song was already on it and but i lost the mp3 player a long time ago and never thought i would hear it again. thanks gr!
  • Gorillaman23 - September 29, 2010 12:17 a.m.

    Despite what people say, I'm still gonna get Warriors of Rock. Though I would have to agree that they should stop the series here. Just keep delivering tracks through DLC and I'll be happy. Great article, although I didn't learn about this song through Guitar Hero. I did learn about Freezepop, though, one of my favorite bands ever.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - September 28, 2010 11:32 p.m.

    Awesomeness. I remember when people cared about Guitar hero... ahh..
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - September 28, 2010 11:22 p.m.

    If you're complaining about it not being from a game, you're kinda missing the point of the post. Plus it's from a game. No one complained about Amplitude!
  • NdIGiTy - September 28, 2010 11:17 p.m.

    God I love this song. So many memories...
  • Phazon117 - September 28, 2010 11:10 p.m.

    It's music from a game, these features aren't called "Game OST of the Day", now are they? I dare you to fight this logic.
  • Tenfey - September 28, 2010 11:02 p.m.

    This doesn't really count as game music.
  • CH3BURASHKA - September 28, 2010 10:09 p.m.

    Isn't this technically cheating, seeing as how it's not music made specifically for a game? I'll be keeping my eye on you, Elston...
  • BlackMantis - September 28, 2010 10:07 p.m.

    The one that immediately springs to mind for me is Get Ready To Rokk by Freezepop. Even Rats is an excellent choice too, though.
  • GayforGilbert - September 28, 2010 10:05 p.m.

    That song is really good. The first time I played it was from the Rock Band Network, and it really was fun.

Showing 1-20 of 24 comments

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