Since my friend Sparky got a job at Harmonix Thursday night games has frequently involved playing Rockband. I was never very good at Guitar Hero, and I was never a huge fan of the songs it came with but Rockband is awesome for two reasons:
- Lots of great songs as downloadable content, which Sparky picks up for us.
I have never been very musical. DDR and Guitar Hero proved that rhythm is not my thing. We’ll, the amount of concentration it takes me to clap in rhythm proved that long ago, but they reinforce it well. I’ve also never been good enough at singing to earn any sort of accolades for it. Thanks to my elementary school drama teacher for making me an understudy every year to get that little lesson across. But I still enjoy it, and I can apparently fake it well enough to make a machine happy, which makes me happy.
But I’m only any good on songs that I’ve heard before, so I have added the Rockband 1 & 2 songs to my usual playlist, so that I get used to them and learn what they sound like. I’ve been consequently paying more attention to all of the songs on my playlist and thinking about them in the same way as the songs that I’ll someday have to perform in from my friends to the satisfaction of the machine. It’s a lot of fun. I just wish that you could take any old song and play it in Rockband, as there are pleary of songs I already love to sing that aren’t options (pretty much all of Avril).
The other good thing about Rockband is that its introduced me to some new music. Avoiding advertising really cuts down on access to music pop culture. Well for those of us too cheap for satellite radio, and whose musical tastes are not well captured by Pandora. Anyways so lots of the new songs on the latest revision of my car mp3cd are from rock band. You know, i should really put my car mp3cd under subversion control. Anyways some of them are:
- Panic at the Disco – Nine in the Afternoon
- Weezer – Say it Ain’t So
- The Main Drag – A Jagged Gorgeous Winter
- Silversun Pickups – Lazy Eye
But my two favorite songs these days, both oldies from the ’90s, that I really wish were in Rockband are:
- Alanis Morissette – That I Would be Good: I’ve had a cropped short version of this song for a long time, but the full length one is even better.
- Aimee Mann – You Could Make a Killing:This is the only Aimee Mann song that I even approach to liking, but it is great. She was in an episode of Buffy and even that association couldn’t make me like the song she sang in the show.
Speaking of oldies, Beatles Rockband. I’ve always had an issue with the Beatles. I love the parts of their songs that I remember from my childhood, listening to oldies radio, but the songs I never heard, and even the non-choruses that I don’t remember I don’t like very much. A couple weeks ago I went to Beatles Rockband night at Improv Boston, entirely because of a girl, but while I was there I noticed that I like a lot more of the Beatles catalog than I realized. Last week at Thursday night games we had an actual singer, Ethan, and so I eventually settled into providing some harmonies while playing the drums. I can actually drum to the Beatles with some sort of competence on easy mode! It was way more fun to drum when I didn’t suck at it.