Supplementing Harmonix's 58-song set list
When Harmonix introduced Rock Band, the video game that takes the concept behind its popular Guitar Hero one step farther by enabling players to perform along with popular songs not just on guitar but also on bass, drums, and vocals, the locally based company promised that a wealth of downloadable additional songs (for $1.99 each) would be forthcoming. By giving players access to a growing pool of material to supplement the 58-song set list that comes with the game, Harmonix hopes to ensure that Rock Band won’t go stale. It has yet to come through with the full albums it promised, but it has begun to offer weekly downloads of new songs for the game. Here’s a cross-section of the tracks that have been going up for sale since January 15. . . .
Oasis, “Don’t Look Back in Anger”
This is just the kind of song Harmonix should be offering — each instrument gets its moment to shine, with a sweet guitar solo that's followed by a sick drum break, and the chorus is easy to sing, even after a few beers. Would more Britpop be too much to ask?
Smashing Pumpkins, “Siva”
This one is challenging — Jimmy Chamberlin and Billy Corgan can both play — and it’s one of the deeper album cuts Harmonix has offered up so far. A bold step, and one that bodes well for the game's future.
The B-52’s, “Roam”
I was hoping this song would reveal that the B-52’s were awesome, that they were more than just a timely, playful novelty act. But Rock Band doesn’t do them any favors. The game is geared to harder-hitting anthems, and for all its hooks, “Roam” just seems shrill. In fact, it’s embarrassing to play in a room with other people, and it’s long and repetitive to boot.
Faith No More, “We Care a Lot”
One valid criticism of Rock Band’s downloadable content thus far is that more than half of the songs being offered are by bands who already have songs in the game. “We Care a Lot” is the kind of big-guitar, fist-pumping headbanger that works great in Rock Band. But why play it (and pay extra for it) when “Epic” is already available right out of the box?
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