DLC this week is all Nirvana to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Nevermind, which by the way doesn’t make me feel old at all. All of Nevermind is already in the game of course – at least in some form or another – so the new tracks are from In Utero and a single from their eponymous collection. Also included are ten pro-guitar upgrades for songs already in the game, all Nirvana so basically all Nevermind.
+ = pro-guitar/bass upgrade available
* Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” +
* Nirvana – “Breed” +
* Nirvana – “Polly” +
* Nirvana – “Territorial Pissings” +
* Nirvana – “Lounge Act” +
* Nirvana – “Stay Away” +
* Nirvana – “On a Plain” +
* Nirvana – “Something in the Way” +
* Nirvana – “Lithium (live)” +
* Nirvana – “Come As You Are (live)” +
“Heart-Shaped Box” is the stand-out for me this week, as I never quite got into In Utero. It’s a great blend of tones, going from grim verses to aggressive chorus and back again. The harmonies are here the way I like them best for Nirvana, subdued and used heighten the emotion of the song. All the instruments are clear and present, and while lacking in the crazy abandon of higher tiered songs should still provided a decent mid-range difficulty in the game.
I’ve always found “Rape Me” to be an average song at best. The repetitious nature of Nirvana’s music can’t be denied, but in “Rape Me” it’s particularly noticeable. I get where Kurt’s coming from in this one, but neither the melody nor the emotion in it is strong enough to distract me from the fact that you’ll be playing/singing the same damned thing for three minutes.
I’m somewhat torn between wishing we had the Unplugged version of “All Apologies” and being glad HMX went with studio. I suppose ultimately the studio version is going to play better in the game, but here’s no denying that going minimalist on that song that night created something magical. At any rate, this is the version we have, and it’s a good addition to the game library. Like “Heart-Shaped Box” it won’t be killing anybody on difficulty, but the Pixies-esque quiet/loud/quiet breaks should settle nicely into the lower-mid tier. The riff that runs through and stands apart from the “noise” around it is really quite beautiful and I’m a little sad that it didn’t get the pro treatment this week. I suspect this song could provide several opportunities for great little plastic band moments.
Finally is “You Know You’re Right”, one of Cobain’s last known songs. It got a ton of attention so it’s certainly familiar, but what I find most interesting about it is how chilling it still is after all this time. Recorded just a few months before his death and not released until long after, this is less a rock song and more a rock dirge. The lyrics are bitterly sarcastic, and the chorus nothing less than a banshee’s wail. It’s an important song, but I’ll be honest, I don’t care to listen to it much, and I can see me playing it in the game even less. Still, vocalists and drummers, make sure to check it out, as those parts are standout in the song; bassists and guitarists, I wouldn’t really bother with it.
With no keys and few harmonies this week we’re back to basics. Given that, I think “Heart-Shaped Box” is the best choice for everybody on individual instruments and as a band (with “All Apologies” a close second). Even if you already have a several tracks from Nevermind, this one is different enough in sound and a little more controlled in its angst that it could easily fit alongside them but not be a duplicate.