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Does Guitar Hero III have a “White Boy Soundtrack?”

November 1, 2007

Chris Buffa over at GameDaily thinks so:

“The soundtrack consists of 71 tracks in all — 46 on the main set list and 25 bonus songs. This is probably one of the most diverse soundtracks to date; the more guitar-driven songs of the ’70s have been updated with tracks from Sonic Youth, Sum 41 and Metallica. While playing through the songs — one question stayed at the forefront of our minds – what’s up with the white boy soundtrack? We would have liked to see more from legends like Jimi Hendrix and Prince in the mix.”

In a way, I see Chris’ point because I feel that diversity is important in video games. Minorities exist in the real world and this should be represented in the virtual world as well. However, this is not the only kind of diversity there is. Any good music game should have a soundtrack that includes a wide range of genres and styles regardless of the artist’s race. Guitar Hero has always done a mediocre job in this department. That’s not to say that they haven’t tried — but they could do better. I could easily mention a dozen music/rhythm games that have an infinitely more diverse soundtrack than the GH series.

My girlfriend (who I mention a lot in my posts because she has such a different perspective/opinion on these things) simply cannot enjoy Guitar Hero because the music does not speak to her. And she LOVES her white boy music. I believe GH enjoys mainstream success because the mainstream loves the music selection and also because the game is just that good. Still, this series could only benefit from the inclusion of artists like Jimi Hendrix and Prince. Not only because they are both men of color, but also because their “sounds” are so different from the rest of the game’s library.

On a side note, I can’t get enough of Guitar Hero. I’ve actually been dying to attend one of Piano’s Guitar Hero Parties that they hold every Tuesday night. Hey Rollin, what do you say to an Intendo-Meet one of these days?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. drewmg permalink
    November 1, 2007 2:52 pm

    I have very little interest in most of the songs on any of the GH games, but I own and love all three. A mediocre song becomes amazing when you’re playing it.

    That said, I’d *kill* for the ability to put my favorite band in the game and customize the guitar tracks.

  2. Ruben permalink
    November 1, 2007 3:20 pm

    That’s how I feel about a lot of the songs. Which is why I can still enjoy the games so much.

    A point that I should have made in my post is that Harmonix also developed Frequency for PS2 which has a MUCH more diverse soundtrack than Guitar Hero.

    Run DMC’s Rock Box would have been a good choice for GH.

  3. November 1, 2007 4:56 pm

    Tuesday night Guitar Hero at Pianos is a whole lotta fun, you should definitely make it out some night. It’s usually not very crowded, so you get to play a fair amount, the average player skill level isn’t intimidating (it won’t be hard to be one of the best there), and you get a free shot every time you win!

  4. November 2, 2007 12:44 am

    I think the reason that those forementioned brothas aren’t in the game is more a result of their masters costing Activision too much bank. Those are some very big names, and the tracks of each, even the permission to cover them, would be hard to attain. Prince has a reputation for being a hardass/stingy motherfucker. I imagine the estate responsible for Hendrix’s archive is equally financially demanding.

    Also, i’ll be super-legal soon, so i’ll give you a big fat “maybe” on that proposition, Ruben. (Congrats on things working out with the wife as well!) 🙂

  5. Ruben permalink
    November 2, 2007 1:10 am

    You’re not 21 yet!?

    Hey Albo, one night very soon…
    Intendo meet @ Pianos!
    The free shot every time you win sounds great! I’ll play on easy! hehe.

    Oh, and thanks Rollin. She’s actually on her way over right now.

  6. November 2, 2007 9:21 am

    Rollin makes a good point, the licensing fees on those songs might be a bitch. This is why Rock band has a bit of an edge, seeing as MTV’s already got all sorts of licenses going on with music folk. I’m not sure what’s on their soundtrack though, I must admit.

  7. November 2, 2007 11:19 am

    I remember catching a song from Mexican band Héroes del Silencio in the roster for Guitar Hero III… Other than that, I tend to agree with the “white boy soundtrack” feel.

    This reminds me of that sketch from Chapelle’s Show where he is testing which instruments “speak” to each ethnicity. In the sketch, the electric guitar made the average white American go into a trance but did nothing to the African American testers. Then they brought in a drum set, and the party got started.

    Could it be that there is a grain of truth in that sketch, and that the developers simply catered to the stereotypical taste of the target audience based on the type of instrument featured in Guitar Hero? What kind of song roster would be included when they release Drum Hero?

  8. November 2, 2007 11:51 am

    Oh, and I should scratch the comment about Héroes del Silencio not being a “white band”: they are as middle-upper white middle class as you can get, even in México!

  9. ksdofuhj permalink
    November 19, 2007 10:49 pm


  10. Bunbury permalink
    December 7, 2007 8:58 pm

    Heroes del Silencio are from Spain, not from Mexico.

  11. December 10, 2007 12:17 pm

    Ooops! You are absolutely right, Bunbury!

    (Hey, you are not the real Bunbury, are you??)


  12. Sonia permalink
    March 22, 2008 5:53 am

    Yeah Heroes del Silencio is a Spanish Band (From Spain)

  13. March 24, 2008 2:20 pm

    So is Bunbury…


  14. April 13, 2009 12:09 pm

    hello! Can I ask what theme are you using in your blog? thanks!

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