How Rock Band 2 Ignited My Love of Rock Music

Back in 2008, my siblings and I received Rock Band 2  as a Christmas gift. Initially, I didn’t want to play it; quite honestly, I was unfamiliar with rock music because I’d barely had any exposure to it. All I had known before playing the game was anything from my mom’s music collection, which was largely pop, R&B, and country, with just a few rock songs sprinkled in here and there. So, as silly as it may sound, Rock Band 2  opened up an entire new world of music to me.

Fast forward a few months, and Rock Band 2  had quickly become my siblings’ and my obsession. Although the game initially had us feeling a bit intimidated, we got over our hesitation to the play the unfamiliar songs as we bonded over jamming out together. We were gradually yet surely improving and eagerly progressing in the game.

The game started off with easier songs to play, of course; these songs mostly fell into the alternative genre. “Float On” by Modest Mouse was one of the first songs I took a liking to; at first, it sounded weird to me—namely the singer’s voice and the guitar melody—but after playing it many times, it really grew on me.

The more I played guitar for the song, the more I came to appreciate the song’s composition; this newfound appreciation made Rock Band 2  all the more enjoyable for me. In hindsight, I realized it was only weird to me because it was so different from anything I’d listened to in the past.

“Feel the Pain” by Dinosaur Jr. and “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins are two other songs every player encounters early on in the game. These songs stood out to me back when I first started playing—personally, I found them to be the scariest songs from the game’s easier categories due to their eerie feel (and Dinosaur Jr.’s album art didn’t help either).

“Feel the Pain” – Dinosaur Jr.

However, somewhere along the way, this fear grew into love. I went from absolute refusal to play these songs alone to developing an affinity for them. I was able to change how I viewed these songs by playing them more often. Once I got comfortable with playing the guitar for each song, I learned to appreciate them in the same way I’d learned to appreciate “Float On.” Even to this day, I still go back to these songs because they bring back memories of the first time I really experienced rock music.

There were also songs from the early part of the game that I loved right off the bat. Panic! at the Disco’s “Nine in the Afternoon,” Paramore’s “That’s What You Get,” and Social Distortion’s “I Was Wrong” were three songs that I immediately got hooked on. These songs were the least intimidating, both in terms of difficulty and their overall sound. They were light and catchy and had the pop sound I was already accustomed to hearing in music.

“Nine in the Afternoon” – Panic! at the Disco

“Nine in the Afternoon” and “That’s What You Get” also played a huge part in my subsequent teenage obsession with all things pop-punk. These songs led me to fall in love with the bands they came from, and they also played a role in my discovery of other “emo” artists, such as Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Linkin Park. These bands’ songs really spoke to me at a time where I had a lot of angst and would look to the lyrics to express my feelings.

As we progressed further into the game, the songs’ difficulties increased as well. By this point in time, I was hungry for more musical discovery. I wanted to see what other songs this game had in store for me; at this point, I saw each newly acquired song as a challenge of my guitar “skills” and as new potential favorites. There were nights where I’d refuse to stop playing until I unlocked the next set of songs available.

The most notable songs from the “moderate” and “challenging” difficulties for me at the time were “Alex Chilton” (The Replacements), “Alive” (Pearl Jam), “A Jagged Gorgeous Winter” (The Main Drag), and “Everlong” (Foo Fighters). Today, these songs are the ones that get me feeling especially nostalgic, and are now the ones I choose whenever I get the urge to play Rock Band 2. “A Jagged Gorgeous Winter” and “Everlong” both have a calming effect on me, “Alex Chilton” always leaves me in a jubilant mood with its fast-paced guitar and upbeat tune, and “Alive” was the first grunge song I’d come to love (and later introduced me to more of their songs and other grunge bands as well).

“Alex Chilton” – The Replacements

Then came a time where the game progression slowed down. My siblings and I were almost done unlocking every song in the game, and the only ones left were the absolute hardest to play. Such songs were reserved for the toughest categories in the game, the “nightmare” and “impossible” difficulties.

When I heard these songs, I reverted back to my old self that was so afraid of playing the game in the first place. Not only were most of the songs scary-sounding, but they were also tough to play. Nevertheless, I took the same approach as I did when the game was brand new—I kept at these songs and took the time to learn to appreciate them.

Songs from these categories that I instantly took a liking to were “Lazy Eye” (Silversun Pickups) and “Ramblin’ Man” (The Allman Brothers Band). Despite their difficulty, I genuinely adored both of these songs. I distinctly remember each of these songs having quite a significant impact on me.

These songs are very different from each other, but they both had the same captivating effect on me from the first time I heard them. I particularly enjoyed the slide guitar in “Ramblin’ Man”, which gives the song a country vibe, since I already had a compatibility for country music. This was the song that introduced me to Southern rock. The combination of country and rock just blew my mind; to me, it was the best of both worlds.

“Ramblin’ Man” – The Allman Brothers Band

Meanwhile, “Lazy Eye” was the song that started off slowly, took me to a place of transcendence, and then ended in the same way it began. What struck me most about “Lazy Eye” was its ability to make me feel a whole slew of emotions in a span of just a few minutes. Playing this song for the first time and every time after was a truly immersive experience—it always left me feeling like I’d just woken up from a dream.

While some of these difficult songs were instant hits with me, there were definitely others that took a long time for me to warm up to them. I had never listened to metal, nu-metal, prog, or anything along those lines before. So, “Painkiller” (Judas Priest), “Panic Attack” (Dream Theater), and “Battery” (Metallica) all came as a shock to me.

“Painkiller” – Judas Priest

I can recall how I was almost too afraid to even play through any one of these; it was definitely a lot to take in for me. Just as I had with every other song I originally found scary, though, I told myself to give them each a chance, and I’m so glad I did. I ultimately became more open to metal music, and came to really appreciate it as well.

Although I’ve only been able to mention a select few, every song on the game ultimately influenced me in one way or another. Rock Band 2  holds a special place in my heart, and I honestly don’t know if I would have the attraction to rock music that I have now had it not been for this game. 

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How Rock Band 2 Ignited My Love of Rock Music

Back in 2008, my siblings and I received Rock Band 2  as a Christmas gift. Initially, I didn’t want to play it; quite honestly, I was unfamiliar with rock music because I’d barely had any exposure to it. All I had known before playing the game was anything from my mom’s music collection, which was largely pop, R&B, and country, with just a few rock songs sprinkled in here and there. So, as silly as it may sound, Rock Band 2  opened up an entire new world of music to me.

Fast forward a few months, and Rock Band 2  had quickly become my siblings’ and my obsession. Although the game initially had us feeling a bit intimidated, we got over our hesitation to the play the unfamiliar songs as we bonded over jamming out together. We were gradually yet surely improving and eagerly progressing in the game.

The game started off with easier songs to play, of course; these songs mostly fell into the alternative genre. “Float On” by Modest Mouse was one of the first songs I took a liking to; at first, it sounded weird to me—namely the singer’s voice and the guitar melody—but after playing it many times, it really grew on me.

The more I played guitar for the song, the more I came to appreciate the song’s composition; this newfound appreciation made Rock Band 2  all the more enjoyable for me. In hindsight, I realized it was only weird to me because it was so different from anything I’d listened to in the past.

“Feel the Pain” by Dinosaur Jr. and “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins are two other songs every player encounters early on in the game. These songs stood out to me back when I first started playing—personally, I found them to be the scariest songs from the game’s easier categories due to their eerie feel (and Dinosaur Jr.’s album art didn’t help either).

“Feel the Pain” – Dinosaur Jr.

However, somewhere along the way, this fear grew into love. I went from absolute refusal to play these songs alone to developing an affinity for them. I was able to change how I viewed these songs by playing them more often. Once I got comfortable with playing the guitar for each song, I learned to appreciate them in the same way I’d learned to appreciate “Float On.” Even to this day, I still go back to these songs because they bring back memories of the first time I really experienced rock music.

There were also songs from the early part of the game that I loved right off the bat. Panic! at the Disco’s “Nine in the Afternoon,” Paramore’s “That’s What You Get,” and Social Distortion’s “I Was Wrong” were three songs that I immediately got hooked on. These songs were the least intimidating, both in terms of difficulty and their overall sound. They were light and catchy and had the pop sound I was already accustomed to hearing in music.

“Nine in the Afternoon” – Panic! at the Disco

“Nine in the Afternoon” and “That’s What You Get” also played a huge part in my subsequent teenage obsession with all things pop-punk. These songs led me to fall in love with the bands they came from, and they also played a role in my discovery of other “emo” artists, such as Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Linkin Park. These bands’ songs really spoke to me at a time where I had a lot of angst and would look to the lyrics to express my feelings.

As we progressed further into the game, the songs’ difficulties increased as well. By this point in time, I was hungry for more musical discovery. I wanted to see what other songs this game had in store for me; at this point, I saw each newly acquired song as a challenge of my guitar “skills” and as new potential favorites. There were nights where I’d refuse to stop playing until I unlocked the next set of songs available.

The most notable songs from the “moderate” and “challenging” difficulties for me at the time were “Alex Chilton” (The Replacements), “Alive” (Pearl Jam), “A Jagged Gorgeous Winter” (The Main Drag), and “Everlong” (Foo Fighters). Today, these songs are the ones that get me feeling especially nostalgic, and are now the ones I choose whenever I get the urge to play Rock Band 2. “A Jagged Gorgeous Winter” and “Everlong” both have a calming effect on me, “Alex Chilton” always leaves me in a jubilant mood with its fast-paced guitar and upbeat tune, and “Alive” was the first grunge song I’d come to love (and later introduced me to more of their songs and other grunge bands as well).

“Alex Chilton” – The Replacements

Then came a time where the game progression slowed down. My siblings and I were almost done unlocking every song in the game, and the only ones left were the absolute hardest to play. Such songs were reserved for the toughest categories in the game, the “nightmare” and “impossible” difficulties.

When I heard these songs, I reverted back to my old self that was so afraid of playing the game in the first place. Not only were most of the songs scary-sounding, but they were also tough to play. Nevertheless, I took the same approach as I did when the game was brand new—I kept at these songs and took the time to learn to appreciate them.

Songs from these categories that I instantly took a liking to were “Lazy Eye” (Silversun Pickups) and “Ramblin’ Man” (The Allman Brothers Band). Despite their difficulty, I genuinely adored both of these songs. I distinctly remember each of these songs having quite a significant impact on me.

These songs are very different from each other, but they both had the same captivating effect on me from the first time I heard them. I particularly enjoyed the slide guitar in “Ramblin’ Man”, which gives the song a country vibe, since I already had a compatibility for country music. This was the song that introduced me to Southern rock. The combination of country and rock just blew my mind; to me, it was the best of both worlds.

“Ramblin’ Man” – The Allman Brothers Band

Meanwhile, “Lazy Eye” was the song that started off slowly, took me to a place of transcendence, and then ended in the same way it began. What struck me most about “Lazy Eye” was its ability to make me feel a whole slew of emotions in a span of just a few minutes. Playing this song for the first time and every time after was a truly immersive experience—it always left me feeling like I’d just woken up from a dream.

While some of these difficult songs were instant hits with me, there were definitely others that took a long time for me to warm up to them. I had never listened to metal, nu-metal, prog, or anything along those lines before. So, “Painkiller” (Judas Priest), “Panic Attack” (Dream Theater), and “Battery” (Metallica) all came as a shock to me.

“Painkiller” – Judas Priest

I can recall how I was almost too afraid to even play through any one of these; it was definitely a lot to take in for me. Just as I had with every other song I originally found scary, though, I told myself to give them each a chance, and I’m so glad I did. I ultimately became more open to metal music, and came to really appreciate it as well.

Although I’ve only been able to mention a select few, every song on the game ultimately influenced me in one way or another. Rock Band 2  holds a special place in my heart, and I honestly don’t know if I would have the attraction to rock music that I have now had it not been for this game. 

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