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DLC Week of 11/17: Beastie Boys, Boston, Fall Out Boy, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Smashing Pumpkins

“The Purrfect Playlist”:

This week’s Rivals Challenge: “The Purrfect Playlist” celebrates 15 years of Rock Band with Cherie the cat, a kitty with the most excellent tastes. Cherie’s musical personality is borne out in this week’s DLC: Beastie Boys “Sabotage,” Boston “Foreplay/Long Time,” Fall Out Boy “Dead on Arrival,” Queens of the Stone Age “Go With The Flow,” and The Smashing Pumpkins “Cherub Rock.”

The lead single off of the Beastie Boys’ 1994 album Ill Communication instantly became a defining track of both the ‘90s and the hip-hop trio. “Sabotage” is peak rapcore with Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz taking lead vocal duties (“tuneful yelling” is maybe more on point) over a hard rock musical foundation augmented by well-placed record scratching. The Boys, themselves, handle the instrumental performance, with MCA’s maxed-out, distorted bass introducing the track’s signature riff alongside Mike D’s spartan-yet-powerful drums and Ad-Rock’s strident guitar stabs before the whole thing explodes at full force around the 15-second mark. Aggressive, blow-your-speakers loud, and full of attitude, this straight-up and no-frills rocker speaks to the Beasties’ own musical foundation in the punk and hardcore scenes of late ‘70s and early ‘80s NYC. You and all of your friends, family members, teachers, and co-workers know this song; you’ve laughed along to the massively influential music video; you’ve seen countless movies and television shows that feature “Sabotage” in their soundtracks – this one is an unqualified legend. Strap in and prepare yourself for a high-energy, good-time play-along!

“Foreplay/Long Time,” from Boston’s record-breaking 1976 self-titled debut disc (Boston ranks as one of  the best-selling debut LP in the U.S.) is another pleasing slice of accessible hard rock – precisely what the band is revered for by millions. Written by multi-instrumentalist and engineering whiz Tom Scholz (No, really. He started working on what would become Boston while studying at M.I.T. and he holds several patents), the track features an instrumental introduction segueing into the primary song. Said intro (“Foreplay”) features Scholz handling organ and Clavinet duties, as well as providing his signature, epic guitar crunch and “spacey” effects with Sib Hashian’s quiet/subtle drums erupting into arena-rattling bombast and Fran Sheehan holding down the bass. For “Long Time,” Scholz assumes the role of bassist (as well as guitarist, organist, et cetera) and passes the lead-guitar reins over to the capable hands of Barry Goudreau, whose soaring, sustain-rich lines are etched into the brains of anyone who’s turned on a rock radio station in the past quarter-century. Of course, a signature component of the beloved Boston sound is both Brad Delp’s angelic, powerful pipes and the impossibly rich multi-layered backing vocals. This is the type of song that you can’t help but sing along with. Get ready to take the deep dive into one of rock’s truly essential cuts!

Lead single to Fall Out Boy’s debut LP, Take This To Your Grave, “Dead on Arrival” quickly establishes the characteristics that made the Chicago four-piece a favorite to many back in the early aughts: urgent drumbeat, emotive lyrics, buzzsaw guitar riffs, punchy hooks, and inescapable melodies. The track leaps out of the gates and really never lets up, with a driving, pulsing energy that propels ever-forward for what winds up feeling like an all-too-brief three minutes, 14 seconds. Lyrically, “Dead on Arrival” may throw a few FOB fans something of a curveball, as they’re provided by frontman Patrick Stump, rather than bassist Pete Wentz, who’s most commonly recognized as the group’s primary wordsmith – but it absolutely works in the song’s favor with Stump injecting a believable sincerity into his strong vocal performance. Andy Hurley provides an unshakable rhythmic backbone, which is bolstered by Wentz’s solid four-string work and guitarist Joe Trohman’s punky, crunchy, riffage. Impossibly catchy, with youthful energy in spades – it’s easy to understand how “Dead on Arrival” was instrumental in setting FOB on their path to superstardom and why it’s so much fun to play!

Queens of the Stone Age hit mainstream paydirt with 2003’s Songs For The Deaf, and “Go With The Flow” is one of the standout singles from the album, receiving a Grammy Award nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance and reaching number 6 on the U.S. Alternative Airplay chart. This banger is three minutes of non-stop, hard-driving, throbbing, singable hard rock perfection. Call-and-response vocals weave in and out of fuzzy, chugging guitars and bass, and masterfully powerful drums (The latter courtesy of one Dave Grohl. You may have heard of him…). Leader Josh Homme provides his distinctive stylings to the absolutely killer main vocal hook, while Nick Oliveri’s bass growl locks in step with Grohl. Did I mention the absolutely killer vocal hook? I did? Well, it bears repeating. This is the song that most convincingly answered the question “Can stoner metal be catchy, as well as heavy?” off of an LP that offered plenty of supporting evidence in the affirmative already. “Go With The Flow” is awash in raw power as urgent as it is unforgettable and showcases songwriting and performances as adventurous as they are approachable. If you’re not already familiar with this QotSA masterpiece, welcome to your new favorite rock song!

It could be argued that the anthemic “Cherub Rock” is the spark that lit The Smashing Pumpkins’ rocket-propelled success at the beginning of the ‘90s. The song is simply a blistering master-class in alt/hard rock craftsmanship and execution. When composed and performed, The Pumpkins were in a deep creative groove that made them one of the most important and popular bands of the decade (and beyond). Billy Corgan’s uniquely nasal croon carries more aggression and danger on this, the lead single off of 1993’s Siamese Dream, than on some other, less scrappy SP outings and his and James Iha’s lethal twin guitars dance between the explosive rhythmic foundation laid by drummer Jimmy Chamberlain and bassist D’Arcy Wretzky. “Cherub Rock” climbed to number 7 on the U.S. Alternative Airplay chart and, in the years since, has come to be one of The Smashing Pumpkins’ signature recordings. Somewhat ironically, Corgan assembled the cut quickly, as the band’s record label was pressuring the group to add more songs to the album. “I wrote ‘Cherub Rock’ in half an hour,” he has explained. “The thing is, there’s parts of me that wonder what would have happened if I’d spent four hours writing it, and not done something else. How much better a song would it have been?” A totally reasonable speculation, but as the saying goes: Don’t mess with perfection. You’re going to have fun with this one!

Beastie Boys “Sabotage,” Boston “Foreplay/Long Time,” Fall Out Boy “Dead on Arrival,” Queens of the Stone Age “Go With The Flow,” and The Smashing Pumpkins “Cherub Rock” are available for $1.99 each or you can get them all in the Rock Band Rewind Pack 01 on Xbox for $8.49.    

  • Beastie Boys – “Sabotage” 
  • Boston – “Foreplay/Long Time” 
  • Fall Out Boy – “Dead on Arrival” 
  • Queens of the Stone Age – “Go With The Flow” 
  • The Smashing Pumpkins – “Cherub Rock” 

VIDEO: Rock Band 4 DLC Week of 11/17: Beastie Boys, Boston, Fall Out Boy, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Smashing Pumpkins



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, November 17th.