Guitar Hero 5: Thoughts from an actual guitarist

Like many guitarists, I’m somewhat bummed by the trend in popular music whereby hip hop has supplanted rock as the dominant genre. There’s still great music out there on both sides of the fence, but music driven by electronics just doesn’t speak to me quite as much as guitar-based rock. So I’m happy to see games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band raising the profile of the music I love, if nothing else. Said another way, there’s no such thing as bad publicity for guitar rock.

More specifically, I have noticed the phenomenon be song-oriented, in the sense that many people now know certain songs “from Guitar Hero” rather than the original artist. Granted, this is a somewhat shallow way to appreciate the music, but not everyone needs to become a rock historian for there to be a positive net effect. I’ll take what I can get.

Hence, I find the set list from Guitar Hero 5 oddly fascinating. It’s a tiny glimpse into the future of relative to the songs/artists that will see their profile raised. The songs that caught my attention have organized themselves into a few categories:

Artists That Deserve More Acclaim

  • The Derek Trucks Band, Young Funk (Always tasteful)
  • Rose Hill Drive, Sneak Out (A great young band)
  • Jeff Beck, Scatterbrain (A living legend. Practice up, kids…though I prefer the version on Blow By Blow)

Songs That Will Be More Fun Than You Think

  • What I Got, Sublime
  • American Girl, Tom Petty
  • Hungry Like The Wolf, Duran Duran
  • Bullet With Butterfly Wings, The Smashing Pumpkins
  • You Give Love A Bad Name, Bon Jovi
  • Superstition, Stevie Wonder

Guitar Classics

  • Spirit of Radio, Rush
  • Do You Feel Like We Do, Peter Frampton
  • Sultans Of Swing, Dire Straits

I’m tempted to grab my guitar just thinking about these songs. I bet you will be too.

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