Guitar Hero Best Of: Millennial Edition
Ok, disclaimer right off the bat. I only looked at North American releases of Guitar Hero. Everything released as a DLC or for the Gameboy version was excluded from consideration. I also cut things off at Guitar Hero 3. If you were an avid fan of the series after GH3… well… sorry? I hope you understand.
With that out of the way, I sat down and plucked 15 songs out of the series to throw anyone who was a teen during the 2000s right into a pit of nostalgia. If you didn’t know these songs before Guitar Hero, there’s a 99% chance you fired up your Limewire and downloaded as many virus riddled illegal versions of them as your parent’s desktop could handle.
And if in 2019 you don’t know these songs? Ohhh buddy. Let’s plug you in.
“Dead!” by My Chemical Romance
Honestly, if you haven’t listened to “The Black Parade” front to back a million times, you have a lot of catching up to do before you die. And if you go the rest of your life without ever hearing “Dead!” then I’ll be left here wondering, did you get what you deserved?
“Fat Lip” by Sum 41
This might be before some of your times if you’re not already making your way through your 20s (In 2019, in case you’re reading this in the future). But for us 90s kids, this was a punk anthem that inspired all of us to avoid being a casualty of society.
“Beast and the Harlot” by Avenged Sevenfold
If this song were a demon, your ears would/will definitely be its dwelling place. The third single off A7X’s “City of Evil” really showcased how the band were finding new ways to make metal fun and accessible to the masses.
“The Light That Blinds” by Shadows Fall
If you were into the faster dirtier side of the metal scene in the 2000s, you probably knew Shadows Fall. If you wanted to prove to your friends you weren’t about to get punked in Guitar Hero, you also probably knew Shadows Fall thanks to “The Light That Blinds”.
“Do What You Want” by OK Go
I’m going to toss some of my bias into the mix, but that’s the beauty of writing my own piece… Doing what I want. “Oh No” was a stacked album with this groovy choppy punk jam playing a big role. And actual guitarists out there? Learn the riff from the intro if you want to have a new go-to lick.
“Before I Forget” by Slipknot
Here to remind you all before you forget about this genre jumper from the 9-piece Nu Metal legends out of Iowa. Off “Vol.3 Subliminal Verses”, “Before I Forget” riffs a track for a much wider audience. The music video gave everyone a look inside the band without their masks, as an added bonus.
“Knights of Cydonia” by Muse
I didn’t know about Muse before Guitar Hero III, but I definitely don’t want to paint the picture that they weren’t already one of the biggest international acts in the world by then. This Prog-Rock trio will forever be linked with the insanely catchy and playable guitar groove on “Knights of Cydonia”. Play this on EXPERT and go for 5-stars if you dare. Be warned… you (and I) will fight to survive!
“Miss Murder” by AFI
Emo royalty cracks the list with “Miss Murder”, also off GH3. There’s something special about this touchdown off the legendary “Decemberunderground”. “Miss Murder” combines elements from a self-destructive scene-kid fever dream, and the dance energy of a pop song. Simply a listen could break your heart.
“When You Were Young” by The Killers
Well, it certainly doesn’t sound a thing like Jesus, but it jams like a rock anthem, like you imagined when you were young. You have to know this one, right? Those recognizable pipes that are right at home, when at home, in Las Vegas. I appreciate The Killers more than you’ll ever know. We don’t have time to talk about the album “Sam’s Town”, and it’s a shame.
“Can’t Be Saved” by Senses Fail
I highly recommend that if you’re stuck in a coma and/or never-ending sleep to put this song on loudly. These Post-Punkcore (now we’re just making up labels, right?) legends out of NJ really jumped into everyone’s playlists if they weren’t already there with “Can’t Be Saved”. Having opened for Senses Fail before in Cleveland, I can promise that this is definitely their most fun song live, also.
“F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X” by The Fall Of Troy
This one may not be for everyone… but… I don’t know a single person who doesn’t love this song! Progressive heartbreakers The Fall of Troy broke up way too soon, leaving entirely too much on the table. But not before dropping “F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X” on the trio’s haymaker “Doppelganger”. I’ve put this song on rewind and rewind and rewind!
“My Curse” by Killswitch Engage
What made lead singer Howard Jones so unfair during his time in KSE was how he could effortlessly juke between an absolutely brutal buffet of screams, and opera quality depths-of-lungs belting across a range of keys. Why does that matter? Because much like “My Curse”, Killswitch Engage were kings of combining the melodic and finesse side of metal with dropkick-to-the-face shredding and blast beats. This song is burning to find you. Will you wait for it?
“Prayer Of A Refugee” by Rise Against
Everyone I knew loved Rise Against by the time GH decided “Prayer of a Refugee” needed to be part of the mix. Everyone I knew that had no clue who Rise Against was, were definitely asking out-loud by the time they got to the chorus. Not the hardest song on the game by a longshot, but this track doesn’t need held up now (or then). It stands its own ground as a mid-2000s punk anthem.
“Ruby” by Kaiser Chiefs
Ok, so I left room for the casuals in the crowd. I’ve heard this song in elevators, malls, department stores… but not before I heard it on Guitar Hero! If you bottled up mid-2000s indie-alt and sold it as a body spray, it would smell just like “Ruby”. Catchy as all hell, I don’t think the Kaiser Chiefs had any idea what they were doin’ doin’ doin’ to us.
“Take This Life” by In Flames
Sweden and northern Europe are the “Compton” and “ATL” of all Metal that came from the turn of the century. In Flames is no exception. You could make the argument that In Flames simultaneously paved the way for both Melodic Death Metal as well as Metalcore. Chugs and shreds belong together. And I’m right here for it.