A refreshing week on the Rock Band Network (as always!) brings us the return of geek chic, a French song about ducks and an internet meme about horses – it’s a veritable melodic menagerie. Only on the Rock Band Network could you find such a concoction of music. This week is particularly odd but eminently satisfying – these might be songs that skew towards the strange but they are still well worth picking up for the instrumentation alone.
First on the list, returning after releasing the brilliant MMOde (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar, The Guild bring another song celebrating geek chic with (I’m the One That’s) Cool. Felicia Day – practically an honorary Whedon by now – sings lead vocals on the song which has a more traditional ‘rock’ sound than their last release. Combining triumphant lyrics that send out the message ‘the geek shall inherit the earth’ with numerous pop culture references, lead vocalists have a lot of cover, including a slow bridge, assorted talkies and some fairly rapid lyrics. There’s a small bit of censoring that doesn’t diminish the song in any way. Check out the music video (also featuring everyone’s favorite music rhythm game) to learn the full lyrics, in case you hadn’t already guessed them.
The focus on more traditional instruments translates well into Rock Band charts – the drum beat isn’t difficult but is pleasantly quirky while the guitar and bass charts play off a catchy riff that continues throughout. The chorus throws up some interesting chord transitions on guitar while bass takes on a synth-like sound later on. To top it all off there’s a keyboard part that is subtle but consistently entertaining – the subtle keyboard tracks often turn out to be some of the best, as you notice details of the track you might have missed. The keyboard really comes into it’s own in the spacey bridge part with the drop in tempo making the held chords easy to judge.
Both songs by The Guild are welcome additions to the Rock Band library and (I’m the One That’s) Cool even brings some interplay between the show and the game thanks to the great music video. Plus, at 80MSP, it’s a no-brainer for a fun song for parties!
Sounds like: A more rock-like sound from The Guild
Perfect for: Vocalists, keys, full band parties
This song is just odd and brilliant at the same time. Although it’s one of the (few) songs in French to hit Rock Band, understanding the lyrics isn’t particularly necessary, especially when the quacking harmony begins in the last quarter.
The song has a pop-punk sound to it, at least up until the rather bizarre last third. Whimsical, upbeat verses segue into slower choruses – guitar features a lot of power chords and single notes, sounding at times like anthemic Weezer guitar parts. Drums maintain a steady beat and there’s a lot of double bass pedal (uncharted) that accompanies each snare and cymbal hit. Faster parts utilize a traditional punk beat – these are the most challenging parts so it’s unlikely to cause you much trouble. Compared to guitar bass probably has more to do overall; it’ll require some alt-strumming for the faster parts and also features a few nice flourishes to spice up the chart.
Vocals are far and above the best part of the song – the quacking not only teaches us all what French ducks sound like (‘coin, coin, coin’) but there are also some fantastic harmonies. From held ‘ahhs’ during the bridge that sound amazing, to the final, comedic phrase of defeated quacks, Ultra Vomit really know how to entertain.
Je Collectionne des Canards (Vivants) is a real find on the Rock Band Network. Compared to our other recommendations for the week it scores pretty highly on the strangeness scale but it’s guaranteed to make you smile. Nobody can deny the power of a quacking French duck.
Sounds like: Pop-punk that doesn’t take itself too seriously
Perfect for: Vocalists, bassists, ducks.
Throwback: Weebl’s Stuff – Amazing Horse
And finally, a truly madcap little ditty from the internet meme machine – Amazing Horse. It’s strange, it’s catchy, and it has some left-field and somewhat disturbing lyrics – perfect to cause funny looks during Rock Band party shuffle.
Harmonies are the standout again but drummers can attempt the constant disco beat for some stamina busting challenge. Bass is also pretty challenging thanks to the rapid alt-strumming that you’ll need to perfect to keep the note-streak going. Guitar is brief but adds power and emphasis to the middle of the song (and it’s a short enough song to forgive it the brevity of the part). Keys feature prominently, playing the techno melody over the top of the madness.
Though some may dismiss the song for being ‘just another novelty song’ on the RBN, the harmonies are actually fairly diverse. Despite the very odd lyrics there are some really intricate melodies for vocalists to attempt. It’ll take a few practice runs to nail the ‘sweet lemonade’ bridge… God, that was such a strange sentence to write.
That pretty much covers the entire week – strange. But at the same time it’s also ‘amazing’. The sheer diversity of RBN content allows songs like these to move beyond the constraints of a Youtube video and become something a great deal more interactive. Amazing Horse, at 80MSP, is a good example of the madcap treasures nestling amongst the metal and rock in the RBN.
Sounds like: Glorious Euro-techno
Perfect for: Vocalists, bassists, weirding out friends at RB parties.
As always, post your suggestions for RBN Highlights! There’s so much to choose from and a little direction is always appreciated…