May 282010
Rock Band DLC

Two new artists in Rock Band next week as Harmonix gives us a four-pack from Spoon and a single from christian group P.O.D.

Unrelated to the DLC at all, but it was the non-stop blaring of P.O.D.’s “Youth of the Nation” by my hideously discourteous neighbors that gave me the final shove I needed to run far, far away from my apartment and find my own house. So thanks for that, P.O.D.!

• Spoon – “Trouble Comes Running
• Spoon – “Don’t You Evah
• Spoon – “I Turn My Camera On
• Spoon – “Got Nuffin
• P.O.D. – “Alive

Seems no love for LEGO again this week which is weird because most all of these would sit perfectly well there, especially “Alive”. Maybe they just forgot to mark them.

First up, if you don’t know Spoon you really should. They’re probably one of the best – and more, one of the most consistently fantastic – indie bands out there. Do yourself a favour and go listen to Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and Gimme Fiction.

“Trouble Comes Running” is from their latest album Transference. It’s just a really catchy, hooky, solid rock song, bottom line.

“Don’t You Evah” is actually a cover (originally by The Natural History) but Spoon take the song and make it their own, turning it into something uncertain, kinda snarky and a little sexy. The song has a great depth to it, and who can’t love that slinky little bass groove?

“I Turn My Camera On” is Spoon at their minimal best, allowing Britt Daniel’s vocals to be the primary instrument while everything else just weaves a delicate net around song to hold it all in place. It’s a great song, but I have to admit that within the plastic realm I’m not sure how it would be to play; I can’t imagine it being a go-to song in the game for anyone but the vocalist. (Unless, of course, Keepon is visiting, then how could you pick anything else?)

Then there’s “Got Nuffin'”, which is a little odd for me in that it’s one of Spoon’s few songs that never quite grabbed me. It’s a darker and flatter song, which is only enhanced when you look at it within the context of this pack. It’s seemingly lacking that “it”, that thing that leaps out at you immediately and declares itself to be a great song. Instead it sounds like the broody cousin of shoegazing, with a bitter edge that makes it a little too self-aware. Still all that said, it stands out in the pack because it’s so different, and from that standpoint alone I think it’s a great inclusion, even if it wouldn’t have been my first choice.

Finally we have “Alive” by P.O.D. It’s almost comical to me that this is included alongside Spoon – going from a group that actively works to keep their sound to its minimal core to something that practically wallows in its own over-production. For me, this is a pass. It was hideously overplayed and just doesn’t stand the test of time very well in my opinion.

  • JawaKing

    I don’t know if I should be thanking Harmonix or not for giving me three weeks of stuff I didn’t really want. I mean, I did get “Touch of Grey” and “A Girl Like You” but I could have lived without either. I did save some MS points, I guess. But the last two weeks have been “meh,” to say the least. Not that I was really expecting a whole lot with Green Day: Rock Band on the way. But these past two weeks have really confirmed something I’ve always thought about them. They always seem to not give you what you really want from a band. The three main songs from that Pantera album? Missing. In my opinion, the best Spoon song, “The Underdog”? Missing. Any of Green Day’s excellent pre-Dookie songs? That’s right, missing. Hell, Nirvana’s Nevermind was missing the 3 big singles when the album was released as dlc. I know they have their reasons. Saving for later releases, missing masters, can’t get the rights, etc. whatever. It just leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth of disappointment. *sigh* It’s not like that’s going to stop me from buying songs though.

    • Jet Wolf

      That’s a complaint I’ve heard a few times, so you’re definitely not alone in it. I’m just not entirely sure where I stand on the issue. I mean, I still have to go pick up stuff from the Hendrix week, you know?

      I guess for the most part I figure that there are a lot of forces at work that come together for the releases we get. Stuff like you mentioned and a slew of other things that we simply wouldn’t think of, not being part of the process.

      I’m sure that in many cases there are things outside of Harmonix’s control. Take the “missing” tracks from Nevermind. If I remember right there were rumours of Courtney Love holding out on “Teen Spirit”, and I think the fact that neither Rock Band nor Guitar Hero has “Come as You Are” (I think it’s that one) is a big hint that there’s something wrong with the master to that song. Nothing much anyone can do here apart from word with other song versions and pay off the crazy bitch her weight in heroin.

      With Green Day, I have to wonder how much those sort of “outside” issues played into the setlist decisions. Did the group maybe not want a whole lot from Kerplunk or Nimrod? Was it a masters thing again? As I’m not the hugest Green Day fan I admit that I haven’t paid much attention to the game, and I certainly don’t know the group’s feelings on it or their attitude toward their older music.

      But I do think there’s a lot of definite decisions being made by Harmonix too, again with a lot of factors playing into what they choose to release and when. Are they deliberately keeping the DLC sort of “dry” at the moment so as not to overshadow Green Day? (A move which could be seen as damaging future collaborative efforts with bands.) Are they holding out for E3 and Rock Band 3 info to be released and then using a stream of awesome DLC to keep the crowd whipped into a frenzy? Are there gameplay mechanics that dictate choices?

      I think another good example is the exclusion of “Bohemian Rhapsody” from the Queen pack. A lot of people were screaming that it was some grave injustice, but me, I could see it. From a game standpoint, as the game stands right now, I think it’d be pretty darned boring to play. The bloody thing is like 85% vocals and piano (which is why I think it would be great in RB3 with harmonies and keyboard, but that’s another conversation). So in my view, I think Harmonix made the right decision in leaving it out. But, of course, it was a “big hit” that “everyone wanted”, so there was much gnashing of teeth.

      I think “The Underdog” is the same sort of thing. It’s a great song, no doubt, but how much fun would it actually be to play?

      But whatever my standpoint and however understanding I try to be, I do have to agree that nothing has given me that “Wow!” feeling since … actually, I think since that aforementioned Queen pack. And I wonder how much of that is due to Harmonix’s choices and simply my own over-familiarity with DLC? I remember back to those first few weeks of RB1 DLC and how happy I was, how THRILLED I was, to have some of them available, and how now they’d probably just be “Meh, it’s alright.”

      I think our expectations are now so high that unless Harmonix hits just the right button in just the right spot we’re simply not going to be wowed anymore. I’m not sure how much blame we can fairly lay at their feet for that.