Mar 162012
Rock Band DLC Logo #2

My favourite DLC announcements are the ones with the pleasant little surprises, and that’s what Harmonix is delivering next week. Santana! Men at Work! How have we gone this long without Men at Work?



The Songs

* Men at Work – “Down Under^
* Men at Work – “Overkill^
* Santana – “Smooth^ +

^ = keyboard chart
+ = pro-guitar/bass upgrade available


The Thoughts

“Down Under” by Men at Work is undoubtedly the song they’ll be remembered for, and with good reason. It’s catchy as heck, has a sing-along chorus, and not since Jethro Tull has a flute rocked so well. Plus, when can Americans turn away from the opportunity to glorify all the stereotypes of another country? I’ve had this as my ring tone for my Australian best friend for about four years and it’s still funny. It should be a blast in the game too. The instruments won’t be too difficult but the song’s rhythm has a sweet groove that should still make it fun. Vocals may be a surprise challenge, and the harmonies will provide that extra bit of flavour. A fantastic choice for the game and will I think be a high seller.

Men at Work’s “Overkill” is also out next week. This is an incredible but much lesser known song, I suspect in part because it feels so much bigger than the group ever did; compare it side-by-side with “Down Under” and you’ll see what I mean. Men at Work were known for having a generous helping of quirk, and that’s entirely missing from “Overkill”. The result is a song that’s almost bluesy with incredible lyrics and imagery. It’s not necessarily going to be the go-to hit of every Rock Band session, but will add depth to anyone’s library. Bonus: Remember Colin Hay from that episode of Scrubs?

Finally we have Santana with “Smooth”. It features the lead singer from Matchbox 20, but don’t let that stop you from giving the song a try; it still drips Santana from every pore. The song has the latin beat you’d expect and Rob Thomas’s vocals actually work really well here, folding naturally into the song as another instrument rather than forcing a spotlight. That’s reserved for Carlos Santana’s guitar. It is indeed smooth, grabbing your attention with every note and pouring over you. I can’t wait to get my hands on the pro chart for this one.


The Conclusion

This is a full sweep week for me as I heartily welcome each song into my Rock Band. Every song has something different to offer, from the fun party vibe of “Down Under” to the subdued introspection of “Overkill” to the rocking challenge of “Smooth”. Picking just one is a difficult choice this week.

Not for guitarists though. Santana. Get “Smooth” and say no more.

Keys players have Men at Work as their options, and I think that of the two “Down Under” will be the most fun. I had trouble consistently isolating the keys portions in either song, but given “Down Under”‘s feel and what I could pick out, I think it’ll be the better choice. They’re an early 80s pop/new wave group though, so let’s face it, you’re unlikely to go wrong with either choice.

Bassists too I think will have more fun with “Down Under”. “Overkill”‘s bass mostly just keeps the beat and in “Smooth” the bass doesn’t sound distinct enough from the guitar. In “Down Under” though you have the riff to work with which should happily see you through but still leave you with enough attention to be able to sing along.

For drummers, most of the beats this week sounded about the same rock standard. I suspect “Smooth” may be a little bit more energetic in parts, but mostly you’re not getting much you haven’t gotten before.

Vocalists, I say “Overkill”. There’s some meaty stuff here to sink your teeth into and the harmonies wonderfully compliment throughout.

A great week though, and narrowing down to just one does a great disservice to the other two. Really, why choose if you don’t have to? Do yourself a favour and get them all.

  • Matt

    Oh *that*’s the proper name for the Ghosts Appear And Fade Away song!

    • Jet Wolf

      Knowing is half the battle!