This is it. The last week of Rock Band 2 DLC.
Starting 26 October, Rock Band 3 will be out, and a new era of DLC will begin. That first week’s DLC has already been announced (The Doors, including three tracks completely for free), but before we get to the new stuff, next week says goodbye to the old.
So what will see us out? A six-pack of alternative/hard rock staples Stone Temple Pilots and a three-pack from pop-punkers Jimmy Eat World.
Stone Temple Pilots – “Big Empty”
Stone Temple Pilots – “Crackerman”
Stone Temple Pilots – “Creep”
Stone Temple Pilots – “Dead & Bloated”
Stone Temple Pilots – “Huckleberry Crumble”
Stone Temple Pilots – “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart”
Jimmy Eat World – “Bleed American”
Jimmy Eat World – “My Best Theory” +
Jimmy Eat World – “Pain”
+ = LEGO compatible
Kicking off the STP pack is “Big Empty”, which if you don’t know as a song in and of itself you might remember from The Crow. It’s a great song that highlights the band’s strengths of thoughtful lyrics, a catchy chorus, and melancholy instrumental interspersed with explosive moments. Purchase without hesitation.
“Crackerman” comes from their debut album, and drips with much of Core‘s overdriven harshness. It’s a relatively straight-forward hard rock song, with a punishing drum line and relentless riff. If you’re not a huge STP fan and you already have “Sex-Type Thing” for the game then you may not get a whole lot out of “Crackerman”; musically, they’re very similar.
“Creep” is probably one of STP’s biggest hits. I’d be willing to lay good money that if you think you don’t know it, you’ll recognize it by the time they’re in the chorus. Again we come back to the despondent side of Weiland and Robert DeLeo; “Creep” is not going to win any awards for being the feel-good song to get the crowd fired up at your Rock Band parties. Its slow nature means that it probably won’t tier too terribly high for most of the instruments, but vocals should be a nice challenge.
Another from Core is “Dead & Bloated” (they should’ve just full-albumed the bloody thing), and we flip the switch back to the harder side, although less frantic this time around. This song is extremely heavy, but that opening lyric is one hell of a memorable line. Overall this song is very overshadowed in the body of work from STP, but I think it may be one of their best, particularly Scott Weiland’s vocal performance.
“Huckleberry Crumble” isn’t one of my favourites by STP (their eponymous album by and large didn’t do much for me). It’s probably because I can’t get over the fact that this is an Aerosmith song. I mean, Aerosmith didn’t write it or perform it and possibly have never heard it, but this is an Aerosmith song. And I like Aerosmith okay, but when I want to hear them, I have no shortage of places to turn, you know? I could (and likely will) happily pick up everything in the pack so it could very well be that this will wind up coming into our library by virtue of DLC pack bonus, but I personally wouldn’t buy it on its own merits. I must confess, I’m sort of stunned that with so much coming off of Core that Harmonix included this song over “Wicked Garden“. I dunno, I’m at a loss there.
But back to the pack, and we close it out with a personal favourite and Guitar Hero 2 revisit, “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart”. Not only is it a fantastic song on its own merits, it also has a much different sound from the other tracks in this pack, making it a great inclusion. It’s got some seriously catchy guitar work, and I absolutely love the flow of the lyrics.
On to Jimmy Eat World, and my disclaimer that I really don’t care for this band. I don’t recognize any of these songs by name and I’m not expecting much, especially not on the heels of the killer STP pack. Still, let’s see what we’ve got.
I start with “Bleed American”, which Wiki tells me is the album that also gave us the horrifically-overplayed-in-Rock-Band-2 “The Middle”, as well as “Sweetness” (which we also have because Mike liked it). Hm, okay this sounds vaguely familiar. It can’t say it’s doing much for me though. It suffers from my main problem with this genre, in that it’s mostly the same bloody thing over and over. I think there are about five chords and three notes, all played in a predictable manner with no varying rhythm. And it sounds like the bassist has it even worse. Sure, it’s a little catchy; that’s the genre. But like previously mentioned, we already have “The Middle” and “Sweetness”, and thus to me we already have this song as well.
Moving on to “My Best Theory”, which Wiki says is from their latest album. Yeah, that’s a bit better. Quite a bit better, actually. There’s something actually going on here; there’s a complexity to the music that I found utterly missing in the (admittedly few) songs I’ve heard from them previously. I’m not sure how much I liked it, but I didn’t dislike it, and that’s worth something. I could see it growing on me after a few listens. There are other songs from previous weeks and a slew of tracks more fun and cheaper in the Rock Band Network that I’d much rather pick up before this one, but it was a lot more than I expected from the group.
Finally we have “Pain”, which looks like it comes from an album somewhere between the previous two tracks. Ugh, no thanks. It’s musically the same thing from before, but with the bonus of pretension. In my very limited Jimmy Eat World scope, this is easily the worst song I’ve heard from them. No.
Not the way I wanted to end my look at the final week of Rock Band 2 DLC. Let’s just pretend that “Trippin’ on a Hole” is actually the last one. Yes. That even brings it all full circle. I like that.
So in summary: Jimmy Eat World. If you like the group then you’re probably already pretty stoked to see the three-pack and what I have to say is of zero consequence. For the rest of us, I’d say skip. You already got “Bleed American” on the RB2 disc, “My Best Theory” isn’t bad but there’s so many other songs out there way better, and no one should have to listen to “Pain” again ever.
Contrary to that is the Stone Temple’s Pilot pack. This is a phenomenal offering, even despite the puzzling inclusion of “Huckleberry Crumble”. It touches on several of STP’s styles and almost every song is a big hit. A great way to wave goodbye to Rock Band 2.