Best of RBN 1.0

Rock Band Network is among the most innovative features a video game has ever had and Harmonix actually added it to a game we had already bought a year later, free of charge.  Authoring groups, labels, and independent bands jumped at the chance to get their music into the game.  About a year later here we are with over 1,000 new songs to play from a huge variety of genres and styles and we’re now ready for Rock Band Network 2.0.

Rock Band community superstar @SebastianSB pulled together a collaborative “Best Of” list for RBN 1.0 both to honor the names that have stood out the most to us and to show people what they may have missed.  A number of Rock Band community personalities, RBN authors, and Harmonix employees  contributed their favorite songs to the list and a panel of judges voted to determine which songs would make the final list and what order they would appear in.  I’m very happy to see a great amount of variety in the final list.  You won’t agree with all of the choices, but there should be something here for everyone!

#20. Texas in July – Hook, Line, and Sinner

“Another one that’s perfect for drummers. If you like hard-as-nails metal and you love get your ass handed to you by incredibly tough drum charts, “Hook, Line and Sinner” is the song for you. It’s all over the place, a relentless four minute assault on your limbs with some of the craziest drum fills imaginable (but unlike a lot of those sorts of songs , these are actually humanly-possible!).  For other instruments, you know what you’re getting. Vocals get scream-heavy yelling, bassists get fast, consistent strumming and guitarists get the same, with some added fast HOPOs cropping up along the way.” – zigs00, TrueAchievements News Manager

#19. iwrestledabearonce – Tastes Like Kevin Bacon

“I’m not normally a fan of this sort of metal, but iwrestledabearonce is anything but your usual band.  Krysta’s vocals alternate between the expected screams and some haunting, drawn out tones while the guitar is constantly throwing triplets, chords, and some pretty absurd trills at you.  The song often feels like it’s jumping genres, and there’s even a vocal Easter Egg of sorts and a harp solo in there just to make sure you’re paying attention.  This one ain’t for the kiddies, and few are going to make it out alive.” – SebastianSB, Fish Out of Water

#18. Quartered – Africa

“Africa, not to be confused with the very famous song by Toto. The song is introduced by a two minute intro with chanting and a very fun drum solo.  That intro will either make or break you. The guitar and bass make a subtle transition between the intro and the rest of the song, and don’t think it ever gets boring. The rest of the song is a gorgeous relaxing metal track that is just fun to listen to.” – tsunamishadow, TrueAchievements Community

#17. MC Frontalot – Bizarro Genius Baby

“Oh, MC Frontalot, I do love you so very much. Just reading the lyrics on the web page gets me to LOL. “Bizarro Genius Baby” has some deceptively tricky guitar bits … hilariously funny if you are a geek, nerd, gamer, or a parent.” – HMXMisterGame, RBN Senior Producer

#16. Rodrigo y Gabriela – Buster Voodoo

“Hey, guitarists – want a challenge?  I’m not looking at the latest metal offerings from the RBN, but at “Buster Voodoo”, an acoustic instrumental rock piece with devil heads on both of the only available parts.  (Note: the “bass” part is rhythm guitar, not bass.)  At first, it doesn’t sound all that scary, but trust me, you won’t be falling asleep.  If you’re on Expert, it’ll rip your fingers off and feed them to you in a friendly, courteous kind of way, especially around the second guitar solo.  Have fun!” – HMXLachesis, Web QA Tester

#15. Super Gravity – Makeup/Breakup (Original Version)

“If you’re a drummer, you NEED this song. It is without doubt the best, most enjoyable and fun song I’ve ever played behind the kit; an absolute blast from start to finish. It’s frantic, fast and all over the place, and god is it amazing!  But don’t think this is just for drummers! Oh no, this song is brilliant on every instrument: loud, powerful vocals, a really strong bass groove and awesome, chord-heavy guitar with a kickass solo. A perfect song for any four-piece band.” – zigs00, TrueAchievements News Manager

#14. Alchemilla – Bleeder

“I’m a big fan of female vocals paired with powerful rock instruments, and Alchemilla has just that. This song won’t be challenging the elite Rock Band players, but it more than makes up for it with crisp female vocals that superbly compliment catchy and memorable instrumentals.” – RockBandAide

#13. Rainbowdragoneyes – Creatures ov Deception

“I recently and randomly (okay, it was probably because of VVVVVV) got on a chiptunes kick. And I found out there’s rock bands that use chiptunes as the core of their sound. And then Rainbowdragoneyes appeared and I found out there’s metal bands that do the same thing. And I found out that it actually works. And I found out that it’s really really tough to play. So if you like those really really tough songs, here you go.” – FairwoodStudios, RBN community

#12. RX Bandits – Bled To Be Free (The Operation)

“This band is listed as being reggae, ska, progressive, and alternative, so all you know going in is that this isn’t going to sound like anything you’ve heard before.  The notes come flying at you at a frantic pace from the very beginning and the timing just keeps changing and changing as the song goes on.  The drums are absolutely insane and are bound to make sure that you don’t forget about them any time soon.” – SebastianSB, Incomprehensible Rambler

#11. Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies (Live)

“Who doesn’t love having a bit of banjo here and there?  It leads to a pretty interesting chart with tons of tricky HO/POs and strumming patterns that should take you quite a while to master.  The drums are simple but pretty fast, and there’s a nice solo waiting for you in there.  If you haven’t given Celtic punk a shot in the past this is the perfect time to do so!” – SebastianSB, Pseudoceltic

#10. Fake Problems – Soulless

“Super jangly guitars, almost like a slightly poppier Gaslight Anthem with these little doo-woppy “oooooh ooooooooohs” and Town Called Malice style ‘bapbapbaddabap’s in the backing vocals.” HMXHenry, Community Manager

#9. Me Talk Pretty – Wake Up

“From Julia Preotu’s first savage, beautiful cry – “Wake up, wake up, I’m losing control!” – it’s obvious that Me Talk Pretty is not here to mess around.  “Wake Up” is a tribute to Julia’s mother, who died of pneumonia a few years ago.  It’s haunting, hypnotic, and driven with a furious rock beat.  Though I personally loved the vocals, I’m confident no one in your band will be bored playing it.” – HMXLachesis, Web QA Tester

#8. The Main Drag – How We’d Look On Paper

“Remember John Drake? He’s that guy from Harmonix that you see on Youtube all the time who looks like he’s managed to somehow replace his entire blood supply with Red Bull.  Now picture him with a pair of drum sticks.  It turns out that when he’s not dressing up like one of the Dixie Chicks he does a pretty good job at creating one of the most interesting drum charts that’s ever graced the platform.  If you want a sampler, Jagged Gorgeous Winter is available for free as a part of Rock Band Free Pack 01.  If you like that song, How We’d Look On Paper and the rest of the songs from The Main Drag’s two albums are only 80 Microsoft points each!” – SebastianSB, Nights Filled With Longer Hours

#7. Govt’ Mule – Broke Down on the Brazos

“If you’re a plastic guitar enthusiast, you’ll be sure to appreciate the fun charts here on guitar and bass. The guitar (excellently performed by none other than Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top here) has multiple solos, rivaling songs such as “Train Kept a Rollin’” and “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight” for pure value. The bass part is a finger-twistingly good time, filled to the brim with HOPOs galore. If you dig down and dirty bluesy rock, you’d be remiss to not pick this one up!” – S1ckH4nds, RBN Community

#6. Reverend Horton Heat – Indigo Friends

“The rockabilly stomp by way of lounge lizard crooning combine to form the rowdy mix of psychobilly that Reverend Horton Heat have been spreading across the land for over 20 years. “Indigo Friends” packs a punch on all instruments, with guitars full of twang, tricky swing drums and thick and steady bass that makes me wish we could package the track with an upright bass peripheral.” – HMXHenry, Community Manager

#5. Scale the Summit – The Great Plains

“Every now and then, a song is released that you can see yourself loading up over and over and over again without ever getting bored of hearing or playing it. This is one of those songs.  Vocalists are sorely out of luck with this instrumental, but it’s a real winner for bassists, guitarists and drummers. Sure, it’s not the hardest of songs for any of them, but it’s a gorgeous, stunning song littered with amazing guitar work, incredible basslines and some of the most unique and distinctive drum parts I’ve ever played. With heaps of variation and transformation throughout, it doesn’t get boring for even a second.” – zigs00, TrueAchievements News Manager

#4. Jonathan Coulton – Betty and Me

“Are you disappointed that the JoCo songs in your library aren’t challenging enough on guitar? Well buckle up, buckaroos. It turns out that banjo translates really well to Rock Band, with a fast devil-tiered guitar part that’s going to make your wrist ache, a foot-stomping drum track, and hilarious lyrics.”  – HMXMister_Game, RBN Senior Producer

#3. Fang Island – Daisy

“This is easily the happiest song on this list.  It’s still going to give you a strong kick between the legs, but at least it’ll smile while it does it.  Guitarists are confronted with a somewhat standard but fast chart that begins and ends with a keyboard-on-guitar section that might give you Visions flashbacks.  Drummers slapped across the face with a chart with ever-changing styles that smells of flowers and confetti as it humbles all but the mightiest.  Just turn on No-Fail mode and sing along with the ‘a-woah-woah’s as a group.” – SebastianSB, Pretentious Fool

#2. Bang Camaro – Swallow the Razor

“With their frantic drums, kick ass guitar riffs, solid bass lines and catchy choruses you know that Bang Camaro deserves a spot on any Rock Band Network or even ‘normal’ DLC list.  They were in Guitar Hero, they were in Rock Band, and they’ve always been a blast to play.  Bang Camaro brings that cheesy 80’s rock sound back from the dead and teaches it how the big boys do things.  The hard question wasn’t whether they would make the list or not, but which song would be used.  This is simply not a song (or band) to be missed!” – SebastianSB, Shameless Fanboy

#1. Children of Nova – The Complexity of Light

“Children of Nova seem to be one of the biggest successes that the RBN has seen, so I imagine most RBN users are aware of them by now. And despite now having six songs available, their first release is still the best. Like all great DLC songs, “The Complexity of Light” is fun for everyone playing and offers a huge variety across its near seven minute length. Starting with a drum solo, finishing with two guitar solos and some insane falsetto vocal screams and a complex walking bassline near the middle, there’s nothing this song doesn’t have!” – zigs00, TrueAchievements News Manager


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