Rock Band DLC Breakdown

Arranged alphabetically by ranking

All Over Again | Locksley | 80MSP, $0.99 PSN
A hyperactive little rock song – have fun finding a spot to breathe. The vocal melody works a singer’s range nicely, and the triplets and pairs in the tambourine part make tapping the mic slightly more interesting than it usually is. ****

Bad to the Bone | George Thorogood & the Destroyers | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
One of the most perfect blues rock songs of all time, plain and simple. The vocals may be more growled speech than singing and the stuttered “ah-b-b-b-b-baaad” may sound like you have a speech impediment, but there’s still just no way to sing this without feeling like a total ass-kicker. Even the double-tapped tambourine hits are testosterone-y. ****

Cream and Bastards Rise | Harvey Danger | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Who knew Harvey Danger had a song that wasn’t Flagpole Sitta? It’s great fun to sing too, with a breathless vocal line that’s both fast and high, almost like hyperactive Cheap Trick, with lots of vocal acrobatics to keep you paying attention. ****

Gone Away | The Offspring | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
This one’s a real workout, stupidly high but sung with real power. It’s simple, but everytime that chorus hits, you’ll be carried away by it. Aside from the original version ofLast Kiss, this has to be the happiest “you’re dead” song ever. ****

Limelight (Original) | Rush | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Zip up the nard-hugging tight pants boys, we’re going in! This is the most regular, straightforward rock song on Moving Pictures by a mile, and probably the best for singers. You’re busy all the time, and the poppy chorus lyric is about as hooky and infectious as Rush gets, thanks in large part to the high-pitched vocals. ****

Rio | Duran Duran | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
The timing and cadence is quick in the verses, but with a slightly lazy, almost lounge-singer style. And then the chorus kicks in with a great melody that will test your upper range a bit. A great oldie. ****

She Sells Sanctuary | The Cult | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
These notes are higher than they sound when Ian Astbury sings them, but the parts are simple and not hugely varied. It’s still fun though, for the soaring, anthem-like power of the melody. Note: Reviewer is a known ‘80s rocker, so your mileage may vary. ****

Devil’s Island | Megadeth | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
This is probably the toughest Megadeth song for vocalists. The verses are packed with rapid-fire words and an atonal melody, but you still have to hit the right notes. The simplicity of the chorus is a welcome, hooky break. Three stars, but only if you’re up to a serious challenge. ***

Girls on Film | Duran Duran | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
People dont realize how good Simon LeBon was, but anyone hitting these high notes will understand. Making the player also sing the ad-libbed background lines in the chorus adds challenge - that's where you'd normally be catching your breath. ***

Hands Down | Dashboard Confessional | 80MSP, $0.99 PSN
Can a song still be emo if it has balls? Singer Chris Carrabba has a madman's range, from softly whispered normal-voice verses that actually aren't musically redundant (are you listening, every other band in the world?) to soaring choruses you'll have to strive to deliver with even half as much clarity and power. ***

Love Spreads | The Stone Roses | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Won’t work your range a bit, but the smoothness and just plain coolness of the vocal line is still worthwhile. At least, until it gets hellishly redundant during the shoe-gazing section near the end. That cost this song a star. ***

Nearly Lost You | Screaming Trees | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Calm and smooth, with mahogany-voiced vocalist Mark Lanegan doing his trademark “I’m so calm and mellow you probably think I’m on valium” thing. There’s not a lot of challenge here, but the groove is nice, so it’s still fun to sing. ***

One of THOSE Nights | The Cab | 80MSP, $0.99 PSN
Nice! Quick verses have enough adrenaline to rock a little and enough movement up and down the scale to keep you interested, and the chorus is just shy of being anthemic. ***

Red Barchetta | Rush | 160MPS, $1.99 PSN
There are some chunky instrumental sections in this one, but the singing bits are pure and celebratory enough to make up for that occasional down time. If you can’t hit the squeaky stuff, don’t sweat it – Geddy Lee’s voice is so high you can just drop down an entire octave – that strategy actually works with most Rush tunes. As with Tom Sawyer, add a star if you’re a serious fan.***

Self Esteem | The Offspring | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
A great Offspring tune that shows why Dexter Holland is such an underrated vocalist. The melody is super high – most male singers will need to drop a full octave just to keep from screeching – and gets even higher as he goes, but he never loses his vocal power. It’s kinda redundant near the end, but it’s also effortlessly catchy. ***

She’s a Handsome Woman | Panic at the Disco | 80MSP, $0.99 PSN
A could-have-been-throwaway voice part becomes subtly brilliant by refusing to stick with a single tempo. Talk-sung, "is this poetry or just random crap?" verses downshift cleverly into a Joe Jackson-singing-Green Day-style chorus kicked off by two lung-emptying long notes. Too bad the song itself never really cuts loose. ***

Shhh | Darkest of Hillside Thickets | 80MSP, $0.99 PSN
A straight ahead rock punk song with an almost Bad Religion-y feel to the chanted, monotone chorus. Plenty fun, with a ton of energy. ***

Shoot the Runner | Kasabian | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
It’s tough to get excited about yet another mid-tempo indie song with a snarling chanter instead of a true singer. That said, this vocalist tends to slide from one note to another as he trails off at the end of a word, and the note maps try harder than usual to duplicate these subtle acrobatics. The resulting vocal line is unique, different than Rock Band’s usual note patterns, and legitimately interesting. ***

Skullcrusher Mountain | Jonathan Coulton | 80MSP, $0.99 PSN
This is the guy who wrote Portal’s “Still Alive,” and even without the computery-yet-cute female voice of GLaDOS doing the singing, it turns out okay. It’s simple to pick up and won’t get stuck in your head quite as easily, but it’s fun and the lyrics are clever. Seems a tad too easy on Hard, though. ***

Stop! | Against Me! | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Love this guy’s voice – it’s somewhere between The Who’s Roger Daltrey and the late Kevin DuBrow from Quiet Riot. The song itself is catchy and the vocals challenging, with lots of quick spoken words leading into the notes. But it does get redundant. ***

This Calling |All That Remains | 80MSP, $0.99PSN until 10/9/08; 160MSP, $1.99 after 10/9/08
If you’re cool with hardcore, this is totally worth checking out. The choruses are sung with a cool melody, and while the verses are mostly growled and screamed (meaning you’re just worrying about rhythm and not hitting notes) some of them are held forever, which is a great test of your lung capacity if you’re actually screaming properly. Plus, there’s cowbell. ***

Tom Sawyer (Original) | Rush | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
A perfect introduction to what every singer will either love or hate about Rush: Geddy Lee’s chirping, pseudo-falsetto vocals. If you’re into breathing helium, you’re home free. If not, your mileage may vary. It’s a nice challenge, it’s interesting enough melodically, and Rush fans can add an extra star to this score because the song is so damn cool. ***

Two Weeks |All That Remains | 80MSP, $0.99PSN until 10/9/08; 160MSP, $1.99 after 10/9/08
This has a much more melodic feel than the other All That Remains tunes. The vocals are all actually sung, with only a little shouting, and the pace is brisk. Have fun managing your breath when the chorus starts looping at the end, shortly after what may be the most aggressive tambourine sequence Rock Band has yet seen. ***

Vital Signs | Rush | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
There’s a nice bounce to the vocal melody here, and this song doesn’t have those huge instrumental breaks that make some prog rock songs a poor choice for singers. As with most Rush tunes, the ladies will have an easier time hitting these notes than the fellas. The words are really technical and jargon-y though, so it’s tougher to “get into” than something with simpler language would be. ***

You’re No Rock N Roll Fun | Sleater-Kinney | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Infectiously bouncy and bright, the funky cadence during the verses goes from annoying to fun when you figure out the timing. There’s also a kicky high note that starts repeating near the end. Simple, catchy fun. ***

All Right Now | Free | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
This may be a classic mellow-out tune, the vocal line is full of ad-libbed burble like “wooo”, “yeah”, and “mmmm”, keeping things from being too straightforward. It’s fairly fun, if laid back, but the extended instrumental bridge will bore you to death. **

Bad Omen | Megadeth | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
This one is mostly a shred-fest for the rest of the band, but there’s still enough to challenge the sucker left holding the mic. It’s more melodic than most Megadeth vocal lines, but it’s still Dave Mustaine whining the words, so your mileage may vary. **

Charlene (I’m Right Behind You) |Stephen and the Colberts |Free
Not very long, is it? It’s funny how well it parodies those cheddar-filled, earnest ‘80s ballads. It’s not a stretch to imagine this being sung by Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark. Totally worth the price though. **

Chiron |All That Remains | 80MSP, $0.99PSN until 10/9/08; 160MSP, $1.99 after 10/9/08
This one seems more geared toward the instruments. The vocals alternate between snarled verses and sung choruses, but neither are terribly catchy or challenging. **

The Conjuring | Megadeth | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Not even Dave Mustaine would call his trademark nasal snarling “singing,” but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to hit these notes. The strange tune of the lyric lines and odd timing of both the vocals and even the cowbell taps makes this a peculiar experience. More clinical than rocking for a singer. **

Don’t Make Me Wait | Locksley | 80MSP, $0.99 PSN
Poppy and wordy, with a lot of bounce and the chance to use a tiny bit of falsetto in the chorus. The stuttered lines in the chorus are lame, but it keeps you busy. **

Get Your Rock On | The Janitors | 80MSP, $0.99 PSN
A bit of quick wordplay, but not very dynamic and therefore not much of a workout. But fun to sing in that generic, teen anthem kind of way. **

Girl U Want | Devo | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Devo don't really sing so much as they do speak-chant to the beat, so this is rhythmic, but not too dynamic. Catchy song, though -reminiscent ofMy Sharona by the Knack. **

Good Mourning/Black Friday | Megadeth | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
There are a few overlong pauses, but the quick-shouted lyric lines will make up for that. They’re breathy and busy, though not terribly tuneful or musically interesting. Oh, and subtract a star or two if you don’t want to sing that you’re a mass murderer who chops people into pieces. **

My Last Words | Megadeth | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Catchy and fast, with a fairly straightforward song structure (for Megadeth) and more melodic than usual phrasing. Though again, we should remind you this is Megadeth, so it’s not singing so much as it is attempting to sound like an alley cat tied to a ceiling fan. **

She Does | Locksley | 80MSP, $0.99 PSN
This remarkably short song sooo wishes it was Jet or Wolfmother, but the guitars are too jangly and the singer doesn’t quite have the balls. He does get high, though – be ready to drop down an octave for some of these screeches unless you want alley cats to start lining up outside your window. **

Natural Disaster | Plain White T’s | 80MSP, $0.99 PSN
Cheery and catchy, but also typical, bland and ultimately forgettable. Would be better if the lyrical melody or the song itself were more dynamic. **

Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) | The Offspring | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
This one isn’t terribly interesting for a singer; the verses are rapped and the chorus isn’t fairly typical. Fans of the song or of rapping in general might get a little more mileage out of it, though “serious” rockers will likely find the novelty humor wearing thin quickly. **

Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear) | Rush | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Vocals take a back seat to the instruments during this ominous, almost dirge-like tune. This one is a slow burner, and both verses and chorus straddle the line between fun and somewhat monotonous. Not as interesting or challenging for a singer as most of the other Rush tunes. **

The Camera Eye | Rush | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Ugh. This lumbering prog rock opus barely even acknowledges the vocalist’s existence over the course of its eleven minute (10:58) run time. There’s almost no singing at all, and what there is isn’t terribly interesting. The developers have tried to fill in the gaps with literally 200 or so tambourine/mic taps, but that just drives home the point that there’s basically nothing for you to do. *

I Ain’t Superstitious | Megadeth | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Should metal bands cover blues standards? Probably not, in this case. The vocals are pretty unremarkable, neither odd or challenging enough to be interesting nor typical blues enough to be basic fun. *

Livin’ on the Corner of Dude and Catastrophe | MC Frontalot | 80MSP, $0.99 PSN
The Beck/Sugar Ray-style chorus is okay, but 95% of the song is spoken rap lyrics that have no pitch values. Thus, as long as you’re making some sort of noise more or less in time with in the rhythm of the song, it loves you. Nice Airwolf reference, and rappers may be more forgiving, but for rockers it’s far too easy and just not that much fun. *

Push It | Static X | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
The good news for your vocal chords is that you don’t have to try to imitate all the screeches, angry whispers, and flat-out screams in these vocal lines – 80% of the song lacks note values, so as long as you make some noise in time with the words, you’ll ace it. The bad news is that this makes it really easy and just not very much fun. *

Through Being Cool | Devo | 160MPS, $1.99 PSN
Another mostly monotone vocal part, but with more of an Oingo Boingo sound. Not much for vocalists here. *

Wake Up Dead | Megadeth | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Love the song, but there just not much for a singer to do here, other than tap the wood block one beat per measure. *

YYZ | Rush | 160MSP, $1.99 PSN
Guess what? No vocals! *