Rock Band 4 DLC - Week of 10/11: Andy Grammer & Shawn Mendes

It's the return of the 2010s pop singles this week! But only one more week until Rivals comes out, it's just a pre-order away. It's just a download away. Let's see what we've got in store.

Andy Grammer- Honey, I'm Good.

Guitar is mostly alt-charted synth, with some tricky patterns involving Yellow-Orange chords, and some single notes. The choruses will have basic chord sustains, with a nice alternating Green and either Yellow-Blue or Blue-Orange pattern. Later you'll play some fun stuff revolving around Red-Yellow and Green-Red chords. This chart rarely does the same thing twice, which for a pop song, is a nice surprise. 

Bass is pretty basic, including about 50 (rough estimate) measures of waiting throughout the song. The only riff is anchored around single Orange notes with some single notes up and down the fretboard before hammering on back to Orange. Honey, I'm good with skipping this one if you're a bassist.

Drums have a lot of clapping (even more than HandClap which I thought was impossible :P) charted to Red-Yellow flams, and short tricky Red and Yellow alternating rolls. The verses have a Bass, Hi-Hat pattern that keeps a nice groove with some Blue tom hits thrown in as well. The last chorus switches between an open and closed hi-hat/snare combo to make for a decent drum chart. Those that are interested in checking this song out may want to put in some time with Practice before attempting just for those few tricky fills. Otherwise, you might be surprised by this one.

Harmonies, rich harmonies everywhere on Vocals. The chorus is quite catchy on its' own (even if its' about trying not to flirt with a woman at bar because his girlfriend's at home waiting for him) but the backup parts may make it tricky to distinguish what you should be singing. But if you don't care about score, go for it. The verses are simple in pitch, not going too high in the register; watch out for the post-chorus bits; lots of short but tough runs in there. Actually a lot of fun for a song I had forgotten about until this week.

Most instruments will have some fun with this song, unless you play Bass. Stay true, and maybe give this one a shot.

 

Shawn Mendes- Treat You Better

Ah, it's another song from a Canadian! We sure could use more of those...

Guitar starts with descending chords down the fretboard, before giving way to descending single notes? No HO/POs here though, you'll have to strum them all. Choruses are single notes and three-note chords (which from the sounds of it, is on an acoustic guitar. Hard to tell from the RB mix). The post-chorus offers a cool descending HO/PO riff for 8 bars before it's back to Chordville; but ascending this time. Somewhat repetitive, but more fun than Stitches so it has that going for it.

Bass starts out with an 8-measure break and then it's single notes, sustains and more waiting. You can guess what my verdict is on this one, right? Good, let's not waste any more time here.

Drums rarely use cymbals (only a few hi-hats in the bridge), and are mostly an alternating pattern of Red & Yellow pads, with some toms thrown in. Practice is a must for this song, you will need it to keep up with the main beat.

Vocals has some good Harmonies that have some high 'Ooh pa ooh ooh pa" parts. The main line is pretty easy to get a grasp on, but those lyrics. If you thought Stitches was cheesy and lacking imagination, you found the sequel here. This guy can treat you better than your own boyfriend, so screw the boyfriend right?! At least it sounds catchier than a song about some girl ignoring this guy so it's like he'll need stitches because of how bad it is. It's amazing that pop music can get away with having songs about this sort of thing being so huge. If you like his music, get the song. Otherwise, plenty of other songs can give you a better time than Shawn Mendes.

Final Verdict:

Andy Grammer- Honey, I'm Good.

Some decent Guitar and Drums with a strong Vocals presence which you may want to look into further. Bassists, avoid this one. 

MAYBE BUY IT

 

Shawn Mendes- Treat You Better

An above-average Guitar part with a tricky Drum pattern. Unless you're the jealous type, skip this on Bass and maybe consider trying this on Vocals. Just mind the lyrics.

MAYBE BUY IT

 

Gotta say, a kinda underwhelming week after last week's double-dose of '90s action.

But, while I have your attention, here's the plan for next week:

Since Rivals is coming out soon, that means an additional 10 (and possibly 2 more) songs will be released next week. I can't review 12 songs in a day plus I have several exams that week, since school's the priority for me.

So the plan is the following:

1) Review ALL THE PREORDER SONGS (save for the 2 Amazon exclusives, as I want to let those who didn't preorder on Amazon a chance to get those tracks and play them for themselves) NEXT WEEK ON THE PODCAST. It'll also make for better discussion, as we'll have multiple opinions going.

2) Written reviews will resume when Cheap Thrills and Closer (the 2 remaining pop singles) get released presumably on the 25th, but keep an eye out. 

3) The 2 Amazon exclusive preorder tracks will ALSO  get reviewed ON THE PODCAST. Once that's all taken care of, expect reviews to stay in the written form unless another special occasion happens.

So, I hope you guys can understand why I'm taking a short break from writing these, but you'll still get to hear our opinions on the show.

Thank you all for checking out this week's review! Let me know what you thought about this week's DLC in the comments below, and if you'd like to see more great podcasts and content, check out the rest of Dacespace.com.

I'm JC, and October 18th CANNOT come fast enough.

See you guys next time, and let the party begin!

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Rock Band 4 DLC - Week of 10/4: Harvey Danger & Jane's Addiction

Well, here are two songs we've been waiting to see come to RB for quite some time. It's been quite long enough, so let's get into it.

Harvey Danger- Flagpole Sitta

Guitar on this one is simplistic, but very enjoyable. The intro riff starts with two-note chords (and some HO/PO chords) around the fretboard before a simple chord structure in the verses takes over. Same in the choruses (and last verse) only with three-note chords. The bridge is a bit slower, while still keeping the same energy throughout. Is it really easy to FC because it's Tier 1? Yes. But is it still a really fun guitar chart? Yes. Yes it is.

Bass is rather slow, with single-note sustains for most of the song (Green-Yellow chords show up near the end of the bridge though) .It does change things up in the bridge, but only for a short while. If you like keeping the rhythm, get this one. But if you solely play bass, you might want to consider skipping this one; or get it for your friends.

Drums are an easy hi-hat snare beat for about 95% of the song with some short easy-to-hit snare rolls. But then the bridge comes in and HOLY ROLL LANES BATMAN!!! The ride cymbal lane is already super fast, but then there’s the alternating Yellow-Blue and Yellow-Green lanes. It takes an otherwise easy song and gives it some challenge, but also kind of ruins the momentum you would’ve had up to that point. But it’s already been FC’d, so if you’re not a score chaser, pick it up. It’s fun to nod your head to.

If you were around in 1997 when this song came out, you should remember this one pretty well. The main melody doesn't change up a lot, and the bridge is really fun to get down as well. Flagpole Sitta's a must-buy for parties, score-chasers and '90s kids alike. Especially the Harmoneis; the backing "Ba ba ba" parts are so fun.

Not sick but not well? So hot cause you're in hell? This song will cure what ails you, though strictly Bass players may want to skip it and Drummers may want to practice the bridge a few times.

 

Jane's Addiction- Stop

Ok, so technically the song is labelled Stop! on the album and in Guitar Hero 2 and GH: Smash Hits. But RB4 labels it without the exclamation point, so that's we gotta go with. 

Oh, speaking of GH2, can you believe it's been 10 YEARS since that game came out? How many of you guys feel old like I do? It shouldn't take long for you to remember this song. One of the first songs to use master recordings in a North American music game, it's so good to see this one return to Harmonix's hands.

Oh wait, we got charts to review! More waxing nostalgic later.

Guitar is in my Top 5 for DLC this year. No exaggeration or joking here. After the 9-measure break (with the awesome Spanish spoken bit) it kicks in. The intro and post-verse riff (combining two-note chords and HO/POs) is so iconic and a blast to play along with the main verse riff that just moves all around the fretboard. Dave Navarro doesn't get much love, but this song should change all that. The breakdown mixes some single notes with Green-Yellow-Blue chords and slows down the frenetic pace of the song long enough to relax you. 

And then the solo hits. The first 20% is a Yellow-Blue chord strum lane, and the rest combines HO/POs, single notes and sustains with a chord-strumming section at the end to finish one of the most fun and groovy solos I've played in quite some time. 9 measures to let your hands recover, and then the intro riff one more time. Nothing else can sum up how much I love this song, and this chart. Fucking amazing. 

Bass has some really good riffage going on, after the 13-measure break for the intro. The intro riff mirrors Guitar, but once the verse kicks in there's an awesome riff based around the Red, Green and Blue notes with an ascending HO/PO chain. While some may not like how repetitive and tricky it gets, I enjoy it immensely. You'll be playing that riff mostly until the breakdown, where it's mostly sustains and some single notes before the guitar solo pops up and it's back to the verse riff until the end of the solo, where there's bass chord strumming alongside the guitar.

The other notable section is right before the last chorus (after another short break) with bass chords and some HO/PO chords. Not as crazy as guitar but just as groovy. If you're intimidated by the solo and main riff of the Guitar part, try the Bass out. You might be surprised.

Drums have a main beat centered around the hi-hat snare with open hi-hat for the verses and the guitar solo (and some nice closed to open hi-hat transitions and some craziness at the end). The intro and post-verse section throw lots of short fills in to keep you on your toes, plus the killer ride groove.  The breakdown is your standard hi-hat beat with some cymbals thrown in every 4 beats. 9 measures after the solo, and then the intro part once more.  Awesome drum chart with lots to keep you entertained, and some stuff you probably remember from the Smash Hits chart if you played it in there.

Perry Farrell is one of the more dynamic frontmen of the alt-rock scene. The Vocals here are somewhat sparse compared to the other instruments, but the breakdown is when they really take hold. Sure, the verses are a bit higher in the register but nothing too tricky. The breakdown lowers things a bit, and with Harmonies really adds a lot of ambience to the chart. It doesn't last long before the guitar solo, but right after it's done you get the best part of the song.

What sounds at first like a stream-of-consciousness combining of words together, ends with "and that _ damn radio" (yeah, I know the "god" is censored; they can't all be swears). Some "Ohhh" lines and then you're good. Tier 5 seems a bit overtiered, but the fun factor is through the roof. 

What else is there to say? Guitar is flawless, Bass is super fun, Drums have lots of little things that you wouldn't necessarily notice and Vocals are fun to sing to. No....one....gonna......STOP your fun.

 

Final Verdict:

Harvey Danger-Flagpole Sitta

Fun on everything, though Bass is repetitive. A must for any gathering of people that like Rock Band

BUY IT

 

Jane's Addiction- Stop

Fun on every instrument,  a great returning song from the old days of Guitar Hero, and a great way to start what I'm dubbing "Rivalstober". Because Rocktober's already taken. A must for anyone that likes music, and making rectangles disappear.

BUY IT

 

This week has been my favourite overall week of DLC since Toto/The Killers to end June earlier this year. But judging by the rest of the month, it may be an anomaly.

The rest of this month will see the Rivals preorder songs (includig the Amazon exclusives) be released and most likely next week, we'll see the following songs (which were announced on Monday) come to the Music Store: (some are speculating in another Off the Charts pack):

Andy Grammer-Honey I'm Good

The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey- Closer

Shawn Mendes- Treat You Better

Sia ft. Sean Paul- Cheap Thrills

Whether that happens or not, be sure to leave your thoughts on this week's DLC in the comments below, and consider supporting Dacespace on Patreon! EVery bit helps make things like this column and podcasts like Living Room Clutter possible.

I'm JC, and while I don't mind cheap thrills, I'd rather forget about the price tag.

See you guys next week!

 

 

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Rock Band 4 DLC - Week of 9/27: Disturbed & Fitz and The Tantrums

This week sees a cover that took YouTube by storm, and a pop song with a good amount of soul. But will September end with a bang or a clap (you'll see as we get into it)? Let's find out!

 

Disturbed- The Sound of Silence:

...Well, this is interesting. Allow me to explain: so, we got the original Sounds of Silence (aka the one with more instrumentation) by Simon & Garfunkel in 2009 and that was great. 7 years later, one of the most requested bands in this franchise cover the song and because metrics are metrics, here we are now.

Guitar on this song is mostly alt-charted piano, though there are some nice acoustic flourishes in between. Some three-note chords during the “fools say I you do not know” section and then again during the last big moment (“And the people bowed and prayed”). The easiest Disturbed song we have, yet still one of the best.

Bass starts with a 34-measure break. And once you DO play, it’s alt-charted strings. Fairly easy single-note sustains with a few single notes to break up the monotony. Also two-note chords near the end. Boring chart, but it fits with the tone of the song.

Drums are...decidedly tame. Once the 48-measure break is finished, all you have are cymbal swells and timpani rolls. They’re charted all across the kit so you have a lot more variety than expected (though timpani rolls on the snare? Feels off personally) and some single hits in between. Can you handle roll lanes? You can probably FC this then.

And now the most debatable of the instruments, Vocals. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel could harmonize like nobody else. David Draiman sticks to the haunting tone of the original and while some Disturbed-isms (mostly the way his voice sounds in the higher registers) still remain, this is a beautiful rendition of an all-time classic. Only one Harmony phrase, but it’s in the most poignant spot, so it fits wonderfully. If you like the original, consider picking this cover up as well.

Vocalists should definitely try singing this song. While the other instruments don’t offer a lot, they’re easy enough that you could do Voxtar or Voxbass at the same time and still pull it off.

 

Fitz and The Tantrums- HandClap:

Guitar starts with a synth riff, and then promptly a 14-measure break. While there is some actual guitar in the pre-choruses, you’ll mostly be playing the keys and saxophone parts (which reminds me HMX, how ‘bout that there King Crimson?). Kinda….sorta….repetitive.

Bass has a nice main riff (even mixing in a few chords), though I hope you like that riff cause you’ll be playing it a lot. Not a lot of blank space, but some ascending single notes in the choruses. Toe-tapping, but easy.

Drums are pretty varied, but you’ll soon see WHY this song is called HandClap. LOTS…OF…. CLAPS…. CHARTED….TO…. THE SNARE. And sometimes as Red-Yellow flams.. Enough to almost seem obnoxious. But the main beat is pretty consistent, even mixing in some cowbell to switch it up. The end turns the beat into a slight disco beat (Bass, Hi-Hat, Snare+Bass, repeat) for a few measures, and that’s pretty fun. If you can get past the claps, this is a great song to groove to.

Vocals are pretty hooky, with the main line being backed up by some nice two and three-part Harmonies. The pre-choruses add some nice range before the choruses hammer in that this band can make your hands clap. Which as true as that may be, I think I want a break from doing anything with my hands for a while now.  Good stuff, but I hope someday we’ll get The Walker or Out Of My League.

Vocalists and Drummers will have a good time with this, but you don’t even know. RIP Clappers everywhere.

 

Final Verdict:

Disturbed- The Sound of Silence:

It’s honestly a very faithful cover of a song that while we’ve had the original for years, is a blast to sing and offers some unique instrumentation even if it’s not hard as balls. Worth the purchase.

BUY IT

 

Fitz & The Tantrums-HandClap:

Vocalists and Drummers will have a good time. Guitarists might want to skip out on this, Bassists might want to try it, but the riff is pretty repetitive so exercise caution.

MAYBE BUY IT

 

And that does it for the first full month of Behind The MIDI Notes! Thanks to everyone for reading these things, and I hope you’ll join me for more reviews to come.

Next week, we’ll find out the DLC artists for October  and have another week of freshly charted DLC. Judging by the fact that Rivals comes out in 3 weeks’ time, it may be a smaller list than expected. Or not, and my prior hunch was right after all. But the world may never know….

I’m JC, and I’ll see you guys next week, with 10% less hand-clapping.

 

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Rock Band 4 DLC: Week of 9/20 - Ozzfest Meets Knotfest 2016 Pack (Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne & Slipknot)

Are you anxiously awaiting the return of packs to the Rock Band DLC library? Are you a fan of metal music? Do you enjoy fun?

If you answered yes to 2 out of 3 of those questions, then this week’s DLC is for you!

 

Megadeth-Dystopia:

Well, it’s Megadeth. Guitar’s going to be a highlight for sure. The verses are mostly patterns of single notes which carry the melody and is a breath of fresh air compared to tracks like Holy Wars…The Punishment Due or Wake Up Dead (which if you haven’t gotten the Rust In Peace and Peace Sells albums, please consider grabbing those). Then the choruses grab your fingers and nearly rip them off your appendages. Would you expect anything less from Dave Mustaine though? Three solos, all of them get crazy at times, great groove in the bridge. I can’t do anything else to convince you this isn’t a great guitar track, because it is!

Bass is mostly single notes with sustains for most of the song, though with some good movement throughout. As soon as the bridge groove hits, that’s when this bassline gets REALLY fun. Mixes of single notes, HO/POs and movement all around (especially in the outro) make it a great recommendation for those looking to do more than carry the backbeat. David Ellefson proves why he’s one of the chief exports of Minnesota (howdy HMXOwl, how ya doin’? :P).

Drums: What else to say? It’s friggin’ Chris Adler. His playing style really melds with Megadeth’s more straightforward but thrashy tendencies.Little spurts of double and triple kicks (especially in the bridge, which is so much fun). The outro especially will be rewarding with a mix of cymbals, bass pedal, switching between toms and so much more. One of the easiest devil-tier songs you’ll play this year, but definitely in my Top 10 favourite drum tracks for 2016.

Vocals: Much like most Megadeth songs, the vocals are probably the weakest point. And that’s not including the 33-measure break at the beginning. They’re fairly simple, but the backing Harmonies at least help them gel a bit with the awesome instrumentation. Problem is, once you get to the bridge you’re done. So, don’t get this if you play solely Vocals, as there’s not enough here to warrant a purchase,

 

One of the best overall instrument-oriented tracks this year for DLC, and with the bridge/outro reminding me of a re-imagined Hangar 18, this is a must-buy for any string shredder or drummer in YOUR life. It’s Vic Rattlehead-approved!

 

Ozzy Osbourne- Road to Nowhere:

Guitar is rather mellow for an Ozzy track, but it’s another Zakk Wylde-filled solo fest. This time, with FOUR SOLOS (ah ah ah; yep, Sesame Street jokes. What a time we live in!). Each one gradually building on the challenge and HO/POness, if I may use that as a word. The verses are mostly strummed single notes mixed with sustains, and the choruses throw in some two-note chords but they’re manageable. While it’s not nearly as hard as tracks like Seventeen or Redneck, four solos. That’s all you gotta know.

Bass is a lot of sustains and single notes, mostly driving the song forward. Once the outro hits, there’s a bit more movement. The nice Red-Yellow-Red-Blue single note riff is one of many fun bursts, really making it feel like you’re not just doing the same general patterns until the songs ends. Easy, but not boring.

Drums are pretty standard with a lot of dead space in the first verse (only hitting the hi-hat or ride every 4 measures) but the main beat switching between the ride and crash cymbal is serviceable. While the outro switches up some cymbal movement, and there’s some slow but nice rolls across the pads, this song DOES kinda go down a road to nowhere after a while.

Vocals: You got 27 measures before you come in, so you’ve got time to grab a drink or a bite to eat. Then you’ve got the Prince of Darkness to deal with. The vocals on this track are a more melodic side to Ozzy and rather reflective of his past, which definitely gives this song a power ballad feel. The three-part Harmonies really give the song a lot of power and strength, quite surprised by how fun this one was.

Guitar and Vocals are both really enjoyable on this one. Bassists and drummers may want to avoid getting their kicks on Route 666, but it’s Ozzy. I like Ozzy.

 

Slipknot- The Devil in I:

 Orange strum lanes. Ok, but let's be real. This one's an aggressive monster from start to finish, with lots of fast strummed single notes (most of the buildup to the chorus riff with its' Red, Green-Green pattern chugging along), some chords and some quieter moments in between . Then the bridge with its' chord alt-strumming hits, and it's a nice break before going back to the strummy choruses. Step inside, and only try this if you're skilled on the strings. This one may hurt.

Bass is nearly identical to guitar (and then SUDDEN THREE-NOTE CHORD). That happens a few times, but other than some strummed single notes going down the fretboard in the verses and bridge, it's about the same. Slightly less strums in the chorus, but same rhythm and everything.

Ah, Drums. Jay Weinberg, you may be a bit of a dark horse here. Combining the standard drum track with the percussion elements from Chris and Clown, the choruses would be tricky enough. Then throw in double bass every few measures. That alone would probably push this song to a Tier 6 EASY. Sure, the verses are simply switching between the hi-hat and rack/floor toms but that can't be too tricky, right? RIGHT?

Then the entire post-2nd chorus section full on RIPS YOUR ARMS AND LEGS FROM YOUR BODY, then proceeds to laugh as you try to keep up with the fills, double bass pedal, and constant snare roll. And then, IT GETS EVEN BETTER.

BLAST BEATS. JUST....BLAST BEATS.

YOUR APPENDAGES HAVE NOW JUST BEEN THROWN INTO THE RIVER. GOOD LUCK FINDING THEM NOW.

Constant Snare, Ride with bass underneath plus short fills in between before going right back to blasting. Devil tier all the way. You want a challenge? Look no further, this will do. For most, a lifetime's worth. And it's already been FC'd on Expert, so truly Rock Band knows no limits.

Corey Taylor's a vocalist with a lot of range, as seen with the haunting verses of The Devil In I. Granted, you have to wait 52 measures before singing a note, but between the good use of Harmonies here and the screams in the choruses and bridge, it's well worth the wait. And even for a nearly 6-minute long song, it's got enough to keep you entertained even when you're not singing. 

What other way would Harmonix round out a pack full of metal songs than with the most brutal Drums chart (tongue fully in cheek) since Nevermore by Symphony X? No, I do not make that sentiment lightly. Maggots, you don't need me to tell you to grab this one. Everyone else, see the devil in this game. He's waiting for you...

 

Whew, that was a thing. Apologies for how long this week's review is, but it's a pack. OF METAL SONGS. I think you guys understand :) Now where were we? Oh yeah!

 

Final Verdict (If you absolutely HAVE to cherry pick this pack):

Megadeth-Dystopia:

Lot of fun on Guitar, Bass and Drums. Skip if you're on Vocals, but even then, you have an excuse to rock out. Might have you Sweating Bullets, but it ain't no Head Crusher.

BUY IT

 

Ozzy Osbourne-Road to Nowhere:

Again, need I remind you: FOUR SOLOS. Vocals are great to really belt out at parties, and the other instruments are a decent bit of fun! Still waitin' on A.V.H. and Believer, HMX. Well, and for the 2nd Ozzy pack to be fixed, but beggars can't be choosers.

BUY IT

 

Slipknot: The Devil In I:

Guitar and Bass will certainly be easier than most Slipknot songs we have in RB, but Drums will seriously make you question your devotion to this franchise. Vocalists will get a kick out of this one too, just make sure to practice your screams beforehand.

#BLASTBEATSFORDAYS

BUY IT

 

Wow. This week is definitely the best overall week for Rock Band DLC since at least June or July, and that's really saying something. Sometimes, you gotta love when you get thrown a curveball. Thanks everyone for reading this week's review, and be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on this week's DLC and if there's any legacy DLC you'd like me to review in the future.

Disturbed and Fitz & The Tantrums are coming next week, so be sure to stay tuned! Now to draw an ice bath to heal my legs (blast beats will be the end of me, I just know it).

I'm JC, and I'll see you guys next week right here on Behind The MIDI Notes. Please shred responsibly.

 

 

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Rock Band 4 DLC- Week of 9/13- Jason Aldean & Sister Hazel

Jason Aldean-Dirt Road Anthem:

Of the (now) three Jason Aldean songs in RB, this is probably the most slow-paced one of the bunch on Guitar. The acoustic part of the chart has mostly three-note chords mixed with single notes during the choruses, but the little bits of slide/electric guitar sprinkled in the chart and the short but somewhat fun solo make it alright. Not worth playing more than a few times though.

Bass has some movement during the choruses, mixing single notes, some HO/POs and sustains for an easy time. The verses are strings of single notes followed by a HO/PO to the next one, adding some much-needed fun to what would otherwise be a slow Tier 3 chart.

Drums have a similar pattern with Wrong Side of Heaven from last week: A slow main beat but with lots of ghost snares. Also a roll lane or two just for funsies! The second verse mixes a constant 8th note hi-hat pattern with some snare mixed in and there’s a nice fill before the guitar solo that could throw you off, but the ghost snares are the real tricky part. Surprisingly fun stuff (though I still like Crazy Town more).

Ah, vocals. This isn’t the remix of the song (featuring Ludacris; and probably a good decision there :P) but there is rapping in here. RAP AND COUNTRY IN THE SAME SONG? WHAT A WORLD!!!! The choruses are where the catchiness factor comes in, especially with Harmonies; Country’s got a tendency to have pretty rich harmonies (see Little White Church and Fancy by Reba McEntire for examples). The rapped parts during the verses are certainly funny, but the cadence and tempo of it doesn’t throw things off in the same way that an act like Florida-Georgia Line would (and I have this strange feeling they’re next in the country DLC train). If you know some people that are into this stuff, they’ll have a good time.

This song doesn’t really make you want to swerve like George Jones, but it may spark an interest in his music (RIP Mr. Jones, you were a legend). Mudding skills not required for this one.

 

Sister Hazel-All For You:

Ah yes, the song that was fun in Rocksmith 2014 earlier this year now comes to the plastic guitar equivalent. And man is the acoustic part of this song fun; just make sure you’re ready when the intro hits! Verses are mainly two-note chords with some single notes in between them and some electric guitar interspersed to add some challenge. The choruses though are where the overall vibe of the song really adds to the pure fun factor.  Two-note chords and single notes (with a Green-Red-Yellow chord) make for a nice rhythm, couple that with TWO (yes, you read right) fun and not overly challenging solos and you’ve got a great chart worth playing again and again. Maybe not so much the 9-measure break before the 3rd chorus, but you get to come right back in with the chorus again, so yay turnabout!

A 12-measure break to start the song on Bass; don’t worry, it picks up from there. A small opening part with sustains and a small string of Orange notes leads to a bouncy chorus alternating single notes between frets. After the solo, there’s a 7-measure and 9-measure break within 30 seconds of each other. But you can use it as an excuse to clap your hands! Despite the breaks, a fun bassline you’ll find here.

Drums mix a standard hi-hat beat with rim hits on the snare during the verse to a constant yet head-bobbing ride cymbal beat during the choruses. The best thing about this song are the transitions, little hi-hat flourishes, buildups and rolls/fills; the one right before the 3rd chorus.  If you’re looking for a fun song that isn’t too challenging but changes up a lot, you’ve got your choice right here.

Vocals on this one depend on how well you know the song. Personally, I didn’t know it a ton when I started, but man does that chorus hit you with an “Oh, THAT song” moment. Especially with how fun the Harmonies are during that part. The verses are lower-pitched (and therefore, harder to pick up on) but the overall feel of the song makes up for it and it’s another ‘90s track to add to your playlist.

I can’t do enough to prove this song may be“All For You” but it’s another fun ‘90s track in a year full of them.

 

Final Verdict:

Dirt Road Anthem: While the drums have some fun moments and vocals have the rapped verses, there isn’t a lot I can do to recommend this one to anybody outside of those who like country/Jason Aldean in particular. And even then, Crazy Town and She’s Country are more fun and varied too. Pick those up first if you’re considering this one.

SKIP IT

All For You: Not only is this fun on everything, but the Harmonies are rich and fantastic. Not to mention the whole two guitar solos thing. Now if only Hootie & the Blowfish can fulfill their destiny and make their way here (We got a Darius Rucker song, so it’s not impossible). Get this one, you won’t regret it folks.

BUY IT

 

Well, All For You was a track I’m happy to say delivered on its’ promise. As for Aldean, there’s better about dirt and/or roads to be found in RB and in general.

Next week is most likely Disturbed and Fitz & The Tantrums, so be sure to come back next week for my review of those tracks! Be sure to comment below with your thoughts on this week’s DLC, and if you have a DLC song or pack you'd like to see me review sometime in the future.

This was Behind The MIDI Notes. I’m JC and this has been more than just a dream.

See you guys next week!

 

 

Rock Band 4 DLC- Week of 9/6: Five Finger Death Punch & Good Charlotte

Five Finger Death Punch- Wrong Side of Heaven:

Well, this song is certainly a different tone than Got Your Six from back in February (side note: finally played that, and it's....alright for what it is, I suppose).

A more melancholy track about the mental strife soldiers go through in the heat of battle, the vocals really do a decent job of putting you in that mindset. Mixing Ivan Moody's clean vocals with some screams as well, it's an average "storytelling" track (with decent Harmonies).

The drums start off with a standard 16th beat on the hi-hat with lots of double-hits on the snare for the verses, and the choruses throw in a bunch of different variations with toms, short rolls and some double-bass thrown in to spice up an otherwise standard Tier 4 chart.

Bass was actually a pleasant surprise, if you don't account for the total 58 bars of blank space in this song. Most of it's at the beginning, but when you do play, it's a mix of single notes, sustains and some nice movement around the fretboard. Nothing hard, but by 5FDP (as the kids say) standards, it's much more manageable than their RBN offerings and Got Your Six.

Guitar is the standout instrument for this one. While the song is generally slow in the verses (and starts with a lot of strummed single notes around the fretboard) and mixing two and three-note chord sustains, the solo kicks right off with a flurry of HO/POs that's bound to throw a lot of you off. It slows down after about 15-20 seconds though, so you've got enough time to regain your bearings before the 3rd chorus kicks in. But have some Overdrive ready.

If you're looking for a song to take you to the righteous side of heaven, it might do the job but only if you're a Guitarist.

 

Good Charlotte- Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous:

Ah, this music video: Only in 2002 could you get a member of *NSYNC and Kyle Gass from Tenacious D in the same space. 

I was very much looking forward to singing this song because of how catchy the vocal line is. The chorus works great with harmonies. Even if it mentions someone using drugs would probably still get elected mayor of Washington D.C. Yeah.....given what happened with Rob Ford a few years ago, I'll move on. 

Drums have a pretty standard 4/4 beat in the verses with kick underneath, and 4/4 on the crash cymbal during the choruses. Some short snare rolls break up the monotony otherwise. The bridge and 3rd chorus (when things slow down a bit, and with the hi-hat variations before that) is pretty fun though. 

Bass is mostly single notes during the verses and choruses, the bridge changes things up with a Yellow, Orange pattern (and a slow HO/PO trill that's not too tough to get down). 3rd chorus picks up the beat, but still a slow groove for what's supposed to be a fast song.

Guitar's really not much to speak of. Mostly some single notes with some HO/POs after a pattern of two three-note chords then dead space for 3 bars then repeat for 8 bars. The chorus features the standard "three-chord" formula; that is Green-Yellow to Red-Blue, then from there to Yellow-Orange and back to Green-Yellow. The bridge adds a Green and Orange single note-slash-HO/PO riff that changes it up; that's certainly welcome. Some sustained chords in the "punk" pattern are added during the 3rd chorus but otherwise a basic song that's kinda fun but only for a few plays. I can't believe the chart of this in GH: Live is more difficult (but that's the button layout for you).

If buying DLC is such a problem and you've got 2 bucks (or 3 if you're a Canadian like myself), think you should grab this.

Final Verdict:

Wrong Side of Heaven: 

This might be worth a purchase for Drummers or Guitarists. Bassists and Vocalists could probably stand to skip this one. MAYBE BUY IT

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous:

Definitely would be a good song for parties, and especially with Harmonies, this one's great for vocalists. Players looking for a challenge on Drums or an easy song on Guitar/Bass will be pleasantly surprised. BUY IT

 

So this week was bit of a toss-up, but Lifestyles was a song I'm glad to see come to RB (now where's The Click, Harmonix? More people need to know about Undergrads! ) . With next week's DLC having been leaked, come back next Tuesday for my review of Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean and All For You by Sister Hazel.

Also coming this month to Rock Band are songs by Disturbed (my money's on either The Sound of Silence, Ten Thousand Fists or The Night), Fitz & The Tantrums (c'mon The Walker....it'll probably be HandClap) and some mystery artists. Be sure to leave your predictions to who and what songs we'll see this month down in the comments below!

I'm JC, and I'm off to find me a decent-sized cowboy hat and acoustic guitar. Maybe a truck to practice my mudding skills...

I'll see you guys next week.

 

 

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Rock Band 4 DLC - Week of 8/30: Heart & Winger

Heart- What About Love?

Anybody else remember this song from a Swiffer commercial? No? Just me?

Ok then….

The guitar on this one is pretty straightforward though it does have a pretty nice solo in the middle (though if you’ve played some of Heart’s other songs in RB, it’s nothing challenging). Other than that, you’ll be treated to single notes and sustained chords (of which the synth part is a big component of the chart). Bass is pretty easy with simple sustains and a lot of orange single notes in the outro, you should FC this no problem.

Drums aren’t too tricky, the outro is the closest it comes to being challenging, switching between a snare-ride, snare-crash combo with more constant bass pedal underneath. Just be careful of the ride swell lane at the beginning of the song.

Vocals are the real highlight of this song; Ann Wilson is known for being a powerhouse, and even in a short song such as this, there are some nice runs going on and is even more impressive with Harmonies to hear Nancy Wilson’s backup. You’ll want to keep your lighters (or phones if you’re a young’un) nearby for this one!
 

Overall, if you want a song to care about you, don’t let this one slip away.

Winger-Seventeen:

If you played Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The ‘80s at all, you will know just how DIFFICULT this chart is. But 9 years sure can teach you a few things, as the guitar is just as fun and ridiculously tough as before but with some added parts and variations that make it one of the best Guitar tracks since RB4’s release.

The claim of this song being as tough as Symphony X’s Nevermore is certainly warranted once you look at the solos: lots of HO/POs at crazy speeds and in the second solo, both a sweet HO/PO chain that moves all around the Red fret with Green, Yellow and Blue thrown in zigzagging Red, Yellow, Blue riff near the end that will throw you off among many other fun parts. And this is the original version of the song, so that second solo goes on for quite a bit longer, save your Overdrive for this one. Pick this song up if you like a challenge, because you’ll find plenty here.

For a Tier 4 bass chart, Seventeen’s actually quite tricky with some descending HO/PO riffs (Orange, Blue Red to Yellow then Green) that are legitimately awesome to nail in succession. Though it also repeats itself quite a bit, so fair warning. The main chart mirrors the Guitar in the verses, and it’s a good time. Get the rhythm down and it’s a blast.

Drums have a nice swing to them with lots of short two to four note fills in between during the verses. The chorus has a nice ride pattern that also tosses in some short fills to keep you on your toes. It may drag on near the end, but it’s glam metal that actually keeps things interesting.

And now for the Vocals….. the cringey lyrics are certainly one thing, and it will never not be awkward to sing this song around a group of people. But despite that, there’s some good melodies in this one and it will definitely take a few plays to become familiar with it (if that’s your thing). Some nice Harmonies but once the second solo hits, you’re done singing so you’ll have a few minutes to wait around until the song ends and the stats screen pops up.

If Blurred Lines wasn’t a weird enough way to start the month, this is an equally odd way to end it.

Final Verdict:

What About Love?: Vocalists will have a blast with this one. BUY

Seventeen: Get this for GH nostalgia, full-band goodness or to kill your fingers during the solos. BUY

 

This week brought us a great Guitar part and some good vocals from a decade we ‘ve seen a lot of this summer: the ‘80s. On Friday, we’ll most likely find out the first DLC for September (coming on the 6th) and the rest of September’s artists as well. Who are you looking forward to seeing announced for next month?

Feel free to post in the comments below, and if you’re interested, consider supporting us on Patreon. Every bit helps make shows like this possible.

I’m JC and I’ll see you all next week.

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