Jan 062012
 
Rock Band DLC

It may not have escaped your notice that I’ve been absent from my entire blog of late, let alone Rock Band posts. I talked a little about that in another post, suffice it to say that it’s a new year, I’m feeling better, and it’s time to once more talk about this stuff, a lot. Not only that but I return to Rock Band DLC with a three-pack of Hall & Oates? Someone sure loves me.

 

The Songs

* Hall & Oates – “Private Eyes^ +
* Hall & Oates – “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)^
* Hall & Oates – “Maneater^

+ = pro-guitar/bass upgrade available
^ = keyboard part charted

 

The Thoughts

“Private Eyes” is a smooth song with a simple melody and effective hook. This song – like the others this week – is definitely not one for the devil-tiered challenge-seekers. What it does have to offer though is a fun full-band experience. All the instruments are kept busy enough that no one should feel bored, left out or tacked on, and with plenty of backing vocals there’s ample opportunity for voxtaring, encouraging players who don’t usually sing, and/or audience participation. Plus, you can sway like G.E. Smith or try to be as cool as the bassist guy also from the Saturday Night Live Band!

By contrast, I think that “I Can’t Go For That” will be dull on anything that isn’t vocals (where it may well be a surprising challenge), and I suspect the lazy tempo will be more likely to suck energy out of a room than infuse it. Keys at first seem like they’ll be A Thing, but I think it’s going to sit in an odd difficulty level that’ll be frustrating for novices but quickly become much of a nothing for those with more practice on that instrument. The drum beat is perfunctory at best, and unless they chart sax to a guitar, I can’t see much there either. Obviously Harmonix know more about what songs are best for the game than me, but as it stands right now I’d actively avoid adding this track; it feels destined to become one that I’d inwardly hope nobody picked.

I’m actually kind of surprised to find that I’m also not all that over the moon about “Maneater”, though I do think it’d be leagues better than “Can’t Go For That”. I think my memory had given this song a faster tempo and a bit more involvement from the other instruments. (I must admit that at the moment I’m not sure what exactly Oates adds to the group side from a rockin’ ‘stache … but then, does he need to add more?) Drums have got an interesting beat to kick out, but I’m not sure it changes even once in the entire song, so while there might be a little bit of satisfaction from it, I think most drummers will wind up asleep at the wheel. The same can be said for the backing vocals, since there’s only so many times you can invest heavily in “whoa-oh here she comes”. Bass actually was the only instrument that seemed it might be provide something more interesting, though my speakers are pretty crummy on my laptop where I’m writing this so I’m not sure if that can be said for the entire song. All told I do still like the song, though nowhere near as much as I did at 7.

 

The Conclusion

I came into this thinking I’d be enthusiastically recommending the entire pack. Not so much, which just reinforces the idea of always listening before you buy now that the Rock Band library is so massively huge that you don’t have to grab every single song that stirs a memory. “Can’t Go for That” and “Maneater” were just too slow, repetitive or straight boring for anybody who would like to do more than sing them. This leaves “Private Eyes”, which I think will be a real asset to the game. This song, while far from a major challenge even for casual players, promises a lot of mileage on every instrument and should be a major hit at parties.

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