Aug 122011
Rock Band DLC

I am so not the target audience for this week’s DLC, but given that I’m still soaring high on the waves of last week’s Def Leppard pack, I am so fine with that.

It’s a pretty short week by comparison, with a three-pack by pop-punk-emo staples Fall Out Boy, randomly accompanied by a lone single from Deep Purple.


The Songs

* Fall Out Boy – “Dance, Dance
* Fall Out Boy – “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down+
* Fall Out Boy – “Thnks fr th Mmrs
* Deep Purple – “Child in Time

+ = pro-guitar/bass chart available


The Thoughts

The first track from Fall Out Boy is “Dance, Dance”, a song with parts that I presume are so boring and unnecessary that the group made the artistic decision to not even let you hear them during the video. The song itself, well. Not impressed. I actually did like the flow of the lyrics during some of the verses, but the whole thing feels like a directionless jumble to me, like snippets of several songs just kind of mashed together. I didn’t hear much of interest here, except possibly drums. But remember playing them in “Dead on Arrival” from RB2? This sounds like it could be much the same, so tailor your tastes accordingly.

My first exposure to “Sugar We’re Going Down” was via this video version and this is all I can see when I hear it. This could potentially be a decent song, but it’s impossible for me to take it seriously. Again drums stand out, and for all my irritation with the group I must be fair and say that I really do like how they string their lyrics together in places, however nonsensical and unintelligible those lyrics may be. But otherwise I don’t hear much going on. Pro-chart or no I don’t hear anything even remotely interesting with the guitar, and if there are keys they’re pretty hidden in there. But hey! Goin daaataa in a lulehlurah!

Finally is “Thnks fr th Mmrs” and it hurts something deep in my soul to type that. Listening to the song didn’t fare much better. Man it even manages to lack the hook that the other two had. Wiki tells me it was a big hit and a steady concert fixture for them, but I didn’t pick up on anything appealing or interesting here that wasn’t drums.

And in a bizarre pairing, this week we also have Deep Purple with “Child in Time”, an epic 10-minute Vietnam War protest song. I’ve been quietly lobbying for a full-album release of In Rock, so it’s of little surprise where my happy lies this week. The song is relatively simple with a series of riffs repeating with greater and greater intensity, building to a two-minute instrumental solo that I can’t help but view as Ritchie Blackmore saying “THIS is how you play the sodding guitar!” Then the whole thing slams into a wall of silence and we start again. Ian Gillan is out on display and making full use of his massive range, while Jon Lord’s organ is the glue holding the whole song together. It’s not a song for everyone, to be sure, but it’s a dramatic and welcome counterpoint to Fall Out Boy this week.


The Summary

Here’s the thing about Fall Out Boy. By this point in the Rock Band life cycle we have over 3000 songs to choose from, and long, long gone are the days where you’ll pick up anything you don’t hate because you’re dying for a new song to play this week. Choice surrounds us, and thus the audience for Fall Out Boy was likely already set before the songs were even announced. If you like the group (and a lot of people certainly do), then you’ll be buying the pack no matter what. If you have a preconceived idea of them (and a lot of people certainly do) then you know these songs will never, ever, ever make it into your library. To those of you in the middle, in my opinion those songs don’t have much to offer that aren’t already available for the game and done better. The lyrics are wordy and come together well, but then the same can be said for the Beastie Boys from earlier this month, or the ever-entertaining “Dude & Catastrophe” by MC Frontalot from a few years back (still only a buck!) or a dozen songs in between. Guitar and bass? Nothing here remotely memorable.

But of the Fall Out Boy songs, I’d probably say “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” is best. It’s the most emo out of the pack, but it’s also the one that’s the most catchy and consistent.

But drummers? You really need to take a hard look at the Fall Out Boy pack. The beats are tough but perhaps more importantly they’re different. While I find the song stew that is most Fall Out Boy songs to be off-putting, the drummer uses that to his full advantage and does some really interesting things that deserve a close look if that’s your instrument of choice.

Even still, I have to make “Child in Time” my pick of the week. Length alone is giving you a tremendous value, and it’s rocking for every single position. Keys players, not only is this your only real option this week but you should be falling all over yourselves to be Jon Lord. Vocalists, you can either be the lulehlurah dude from Fall Out Boy or Jesus Chris Superstar; is that really a choice?

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