In ye olden times, we used to play Charades at Christmas. Or at least a round of emotional Buckaroo, in which extended families, locked into a house together for the time time since last year’s pain game, take on as much repressed anger and psychological torture as possible before someone flips out and goes postal while Still Open All Hours play in the background.
But now we have Guitar Hero , a game that must have saved countless lives since its release in 2005. Simply plug into your chosen games console, play a plastic instrument along to your favourite face-melting guitar rock song and all those feelings of disappointment and frustration at your rotten family tree will evaporate.
Yet something strange happened to our nation’s Guitar Hero adventures this year. Guitar Hero developer FreeStyleGames has compiled a list of the 20 most-played songs on the game over the recent festival period – “defined as 4th December through to 3rd January” – and they’re a little… surprising. As you’d expect, Green Day’s frantic ode to post-9/11 paranoia ‘American Idiot’ ranks pretty high, as does teenage anthem ‘All The Small Things’ by Blink-182. There’s some Queen, some Kings of Leon and a hearty slab of White Stripes. So far, so Guitar Hero.
And yet. You don’t have scrutinise the list below for long before an alarming trend emerges. Ed Sheeran’ acoustic R&B number ‘Sing’ is at number three. James Bay’s sleepy strum-along ‘Hold Back The River’ just misses the top 10 at number 12. Passenger’s insipid ballad ‘Let Her Go’ is at number nine and pub singer George Ezra clocks in at number 13 with the shimmying, barely-there ‘Budapest’.
Are these guitar anthems? Are Ed Sheeran, James Bay, Passenger and George Ezra guitar heroes? They are not. Slash is a guitar hero. Jimi Hendrix is a guitar hero. For the love of God, ‘Feel So Close’ by Calvin Harris, a dance track that features barely any guitar at all, is at Number 15 on this list.
What the hell happened this Christmas? Peruse the list below and marvel at its peculiar, haunting wrongness.
1. ‘Tribute’, Tenacious D
2. ‘American Idiot’, Green Day
3. ‘Sing’, Ed Sheeran
4. ‘The Lazy Song’, Bruno Mars
5. ‘All the Small Things’, Blink-182
6. ‘I Want to Break Free’,Queen
7. ‘Sex on Fire’, Kings of Leon
8. ‘B.Y.O.B.’, System of a Down
9. ‘Let Her Go’, Passenger
10. ‘Nightmare (Live)’, Avenged Sevenfold
11. ‘Before I Forget’, Slipknot
12. ‘Hold Back the River’, James Bay
13. ‘Budapest’, George Ezra
14. ‘Eye of the Tiger’, Survivor
15. ‘Feel So Close’, Calvin Harris
16. ‘Stacy’s Mom’, Fountains of Wayne
17. ‘Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down’, Fall Out Boy
18. ‘Chop Suey!’, System of a Down
19. ‘Tears Don’t Fall’, Bullet For My Valentine
20. ‘Seven Nation Army’, The White Stripes