Sequel doesn't really get talked about all that much, but if you're just starting, Steinberg's beginner-friendly music production software might turn out to be very appealing.
Not simply a cutdown version of Cubase (if that's what you want, check out Cubase Elements 7), Sequel has a look and feel all of its own. It enables you to record both MIDI and audio parts, and comes with the obligatory library of sounds and loops.
The feature set is bolstered by some big hitters from the Steinberg stable: the HALion Sonic SE workstation (which chips in with more than 500 sounds), and the Groove Agent One drum beat production tool. Guitar players, meanwhile, will appreciate the VST Amp Rack SE.
Another option of note is the Performance mode, which enables you to define sections of your song and then assign each of them to a key on your MIDI or QWERTY keyboard. You can then trigger these live, and the fact that your performances can be recorded means you've got a nice on-the-fly arranging tool at your disposal.
On the downside, only VST 3 plugins are supported (which means many older ones won't work) and some of the icons aren't as clear as they could be, but Sequel 3 does a good job of making music production fun and accessible.
Buy Steinberg Sequel 3