Jul 012011
Rock Band DLC

Singles singles singles, that’s what we have this week. Three that are pretty awesome additions, and two from the band that I detest more than any other musical act in the history of human existence. So that’s a thing. But the rest? Awesome!


The Songs

* Buffalo Springfield – “For What It’s Worth+
* R.E.M. – “Man On the Moon
* System of a Down – “Aerials+
* System of a Down – “Hypnotize
* The Vapors – “Turning Japanese+

+ = pro-guitar/bass chart available.


The Thoughts

As indicated above, I absolutely loathe System of a Down, almost beyond my capacity to loathe things. I won’t be reviewing those songs. I won’t be listening to those songs. I had to fight a deep emotional battle with myself to even link to those songs. If you’re interested in them, you’re on your own.

But the other three, ahh sweet music.

We’re starting with “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield, and if you don’t think you know that song you’re probably wrong, unless you’ve never seen a movie set in the Vietnam War era. “Stop hey what’s that sound, everybody look what’s going down”? That one. It’s a very haunting song, with a simple but memorable two-note riff that shadows you throughout the song. This isn’t a song for challenge – even the harmonies, while prevalent, aren’t overly complex. Instead this is one to add to your library for mood and variety. This should be just easy enough to make anyone comfortable enough to sing while playing any instrument, and would be perfect as a breather for any intense Rock Band session. Also, how awesome is it to get songs this old for the game? I love it when Harmonix can pull that off.

R.E.M.‘s “Man on the Moon” was a track a lot of people were missing in the big R.E.M. pack we had back before RB3 came out, so there should be a lot of happy about this one. And with good reason, as it’s a great song. Relatively slow and thoughtful, it’s a song that’s not in a hurry to make its point. It unfolds gradually, building to the chorus then easing back again, like steady breathing put to music. Much like “For What It’s Worth” this song offers some stylistic variety to the game, and that coupled with plenty of action for every instrument – including keys and especially harmonies – should make it a welcome addition in any library.

Finally there’s a long-awaited refugee from Guitar Hero ’80s, “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors. This right here is the sort of thing Rock Band was created for. It’s pure fun full stop, the sort of song you want to bounce around the room as you play. It’s the very definition of catchy, from the oriental riffs to the rapid almost nonsense lyrics. Also as GH80s showed us it’s a bit trickier to play on guitar than you might first think, making it a nice choice for the pro-charting this week.


The Summary

As far as I’m concerned there are only three songs releasing this week (if you feel otherwise that’s between you and your deities of choice), and all three are a win. What’s more, they’re each so different yet coming in at the casual end of the gameplay spectrum that you could just pick whichever one song you prefer the sound of most and not make a “wrong” choice. If you’re just totally indecisive though, my pick is “Man on the Moon”. Whereas “For What It’s Worth” is slanted more toward vocals and “Turning Japanese” is the shining star for guitar this week, “Man on the Moon” is all about balance. It’s less about its parts than it is about the whole, and should provide the most satisfying full band experience.

  • queuemark

    I’m pretty psyched about this week (it’d have to rank in my top 5 weeks of DLC ever). I personally do enjoy The Band Who Shall Not Be Named, but only Aerials of the two.

    Man on the Moon is an all-time favorite and who could resist Turning Japanese?

    “For What It’s Worth” will be a nice ego-boosting pro guitar song, I’m thinking.