It’s a little cross-cultural experiment this week. As you may have heard, European editions of Rock Band have a handful of tracks that haven’t been available in the US edition. This week we’re making a batch of those tracks DLC, making this more of a global party: Now you can jam with the French and Japanese folks you’ve met online and let them pick the songs. Or you can just take your band on a world tour, armed with songs to please the continental crowds.
Not that it’s all exotic stuff you’ve never heard: The UK is represented by three bands that are well-loved on both sides of the pond. You already know the three Oasis songs we’ve offered, but so far we’ve featured the more sensitive side of their repertoire. With “Rock & Roll Star” we go back to their beginning (first song, first album) and find the Gallagher brothers in swaggering pub-rockin’ mode. And now that Oasis are a fixture in Rock Band, it’s time to hear from their main competitors for the Brit-pop throne: “Beetlebum” led off the self-titled album that put Blur back on top; as the song title hints, it’s a homage to a certain British band from the '60s…the very same British band from the '60s that Oasis always get accused of sounding like. (Though we’re largely about original master tracks on Rock Band these days, “Beetlebum” is an accurately-rendered cover version).
This week we’re making a batch of those tracks DLC, making this more of a global party.
Completing our Brit-pop trifecta, we bring things more up to date with “Hysteria” a 2003 track by Muse. With its loopy Radiohead-like verse and fist-pumping arena-rock chorus, this is just the track to bring together the classic-rock fans and the modernists.
On to the more exotic offerings. If you have any German punk-rock friends, they probably know Die Toten Hosen (yes, that’s the “dead trousers”) like you know the Ramones or Green Day. Like those bands, DTH have been around a long while with a proudly old-school punk sound, “Hier Kommt Alex” was one of their bigger hits abroad. Proving that punk is universal, H-Blockx proves that you find surf-punk wherever you find waves. And Les Wampas is a long-running French band led by one Dieter Wampas, a subway technician who’s led the band for 23 years without quitting his day job as a subway technician. The band recently stirred up some controversy for a hit single claiming that former French President Chirac should go to prison. Further Gallic madness comes from Pleymo, a French band whose “New Wave” puts a Euro spin on nu-metal. Laugh at the accents at your own peril.
Moving into poppier territory, the German band Juli scored a mid-'90s hit with “Perfekt Welle”, which made a star out of lead singer Eva Briegel. The song was hugely successful despite being banned from radio when that year’s tsunami disaster made a song called “Perfect Wave” a little suspect (though it was released beforehand). From there it’s a short jump to Germany’s current punk-pop sensation, Tokio Hotel. “Monsoon” is one of the English-language tracks that’s put this all-teen, all-cute band on the map in America. Their album is currently near the top of the US emo chart. And if soulful German teens can’t be emotional, who can?
“I Want My, I Want My DLC!”
The songs in Rock Band are only the beginning. Each week we’ll be rolling out more downloadable songs, essential tracks (and sometimes whole albums) from every era of rock history. Check the Rock Band website to find out what’s new.
Tracks will usually sell for $1.99 each; with three-pack specials costing $5.49. (On the Xbox 360, that’s 160 Microsoft Points per track and 440 per three-pack). Occasional special or discounted tracks may cost a dollar more or less.
Downloadable content for the Xbox 360 is available through the XBOX LIVE marketplace. Downloads for the PLAYSTATION 3 version of Rock Band are available through the PLAYSTATION Network Store. In each case, the songs are downloaded onto your hard drive.
If you’re playing solo, you can start rocking right away. For head-to-head or multi-player online, all players will need to download the song.