Every Rock Band Game, Ranked By Song Choices


During the 2000s, Guitar Hero and Rock Band were all the rage. So many guitar and drum peripheral controllers sold extremely well so players could play their favorite songs or discover new ones. The set lists for Rock Band games are the main, and frankly only, attraction. A good set list can make a game great, while a bad one can make fans wonder why they bought the game in the first place.

A great track list for a Rock Band game should feature memorable songs that are fun to play across multiple sub-genres of rock or other music genres in some cases. Recognizable artists for rock fans, as well as the casual audience, are a must. If a Rock Band game can introduce gamers to new music as well as give them their current favorites, all the better.

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10 Rock Band Reloaded

Rock Band Reloaded was a mobile game for iOS that was released in 2010. As one might expect, this mobile version of Rock Band paled in comparison to the console version. The core set list is the smallest out of all the games. Even with the DLC songs, the song choices jusy don’t measure up.

“Bodies” by Drowning Pool is a fun song to play, and the game has Blink-182 included in its paid DLC, but outside of a few songs, there isn’t much that is memorable. Also, “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down takes the crown as the most generic song in Rock Band history.

9 Lego Rock Band

Lego Rock Band barely has what fans play Rock Band games for. It has a few fun tracks like “Ghostbusters” and “The Final Countdown,” but overall, Lego Rock Band‘s set list just seems like it was hastily thrown together.

Lesser known David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix songs that not many players want, combined with baffling additions like Korn’s cover of Kameo’s “Word Up,” make this set list one of the worst ones. Also, the less said about the band behind “Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast),” the better.

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8 Rock Band 4

Critics tend to agree that Rock Band 4 had one of the weakest set lists of them all. It does have Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” and some stand-outs from The Cure and Avenged Sevenfold, but many of the songs are from some not-as-famous artists (like one-hit wonder Spin Doctors or Lightning Bolt) or lesser-known songs from big acts (like Ozzy Osborne’s “Miracle Man”).

Some inclusions, like “Uptown Funk,” were just baffling. It would obvsiously get the casual music crowd in, but there isn’t much overlap between classic rock fans and Bruno Mars fans.

7 Green Day: Rock Band

Green Day became a household name with American Idiot, much to the chagrin of punk fans. The version of Rock Band with exclusively Green Day songs puts more emphasis on the group’s more well-known albums: American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. This wound up hurting the game’s set list as, while American Idiot has a few good tracks, 21st Century Breakdown was disappointing.

Green Day’s early work wasn’t well-represented. Insomniac only lent out two songs in the whole game, and while “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” and “Welcome to Paradise” are featured, the game needed fewer modern songs and more Nimrod.

6 Rock Band 2

A step up from the fourth iteration, Rock Band 2 does have some fun tracks, such as “Down With the Sickness” by Disturbed and Tenacious D’s “Master Exploder.” Classic rock fans likely got a kick out of playing “Carry On Wayward Son.” This game was, however, lacking in the casual music department.

“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette and “We Got The Beat” by The Go-Gos does serve the casual audience, but there isn’t much beyond that. Rock Band 2 is mostly a rock enthusiast’s game. The game is just about stacked, but players are sometimes left wanting more when playing Rock Band 2.

5 The Beatles Rock Band

As one of the biggest musical acts in history, it’s not hard to see why The Beatles get their version of Rock Band. The game explores The Beatles’ discography through the years, from their big break on The Ed Sullivan Show until their final concert on the rooftop of Apple Records. Famous songs like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “Get Back” are featured, as well as lesser-known songs like “Taxman” and “Octopus’s Garden.”

The Beatles Rock Band loses points for its lack of variety, however. The Beatles are considered musical legends, but the tone of most of their songs is the same. If a player didn’t like The Beatles, they’re out of luck, as the entire set list reeks of Beatlemania.

4 Rock Band Blitz

Some people say “quality over quantity” is best. That’s exactly what players get with Rock Band Blitz. This spinoff game has a short set list, but almost every song packs a punch. From “One Week” to “Cult of Personality,” the songs of this game are usually fun to play.

There are classic rock songs like “Jessie’s Girl” and “Shout,” more modern fare like “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More ‘Touch Me'” and “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom),” and even chart-topping pop songs from Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5. The biggest complaint is, again, that the set list is so short.

3 Rock Band

The original Rock Band game featured a great set list. Contemporary hits from bands like Fall Out Boy, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Killers appear. Also listed are Smashing Pumpkins, Deep Purple, and The Who.

Plenty of songs are fun to play. Playing “Here It Goes Again” by OK GO while gamers imagine themselves in that viral music video with the treadmills is priceless. The set list falls just short of the top as it’s not quite long enough.

2 Rock Band Unplugged

Rock Band Unplugged was a rhythm game released for the PlayStation Portable. This game was kind of a greatest-hits game for Rock Band. The game features classic songs from Boston, The Police, and Bon Jovi, as well as newer acts like Queens of the Stone Age and Black Tide.

The DLC was superb as well. The songs range from “Typical” by Mutemath to “Black Sunshine” by White Zombie. Plenty of songs have already been in Guitar Hero, such as the aforementioned “Black Sunshine,” “Kool Thing” by Sonic Youth, and “Pride and Joy” by Stevie Ray Vaughn.

1 Rock Band 3

Rock Band 3 undoubtedly has some great songs on its set list. Classics like Dio’s “Rainbow In the Dark” and John Lennon’s “Imagine” are just the tip of the iceberg. 2000s standouts like Paramore and Amy Winehouse give the contemporary section a much-needed oomph.

There are quite a few fun songs here, like “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Rock Lobster.” From Phish to The Doors to Marilyn Manson, there’s more variety than there’s ever been. The game even highlights 2000s indie artists. Rock Band 3 is a fantastic game, and it has the best set list in the whole series.

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