September 3rd, 2010

Ear Worm

Green Day's The Static Age sounds an awful lot like another popular song by another popular band and I can't for the life of me figure out which one.

It's on the fucking tip of my brain, but just not getting there!

This shit is driving me fucking crazy.

Rock Band: Green Day

As I sat here trying to work out why The Static Age sounds so familiar (and why I can get really, really close to five staring it at Hard, but can't quite get there) I realized that I never did a review of Rock Band: Green Day.

This is probably because I'm not really "done" with the game yet. I managed to beat all of the songs on Hard two months ago but I'm still working through the challenges which are seriously fucking hard on Hard.

Anyway, the game is very good and very well done. I'm glad they didn't include other bands (the way Metallica did) because it would defeat the most interesting point of the game: It shows you how Billy Joe Armstrong developed as a song writer.

Unlike the other Rock Band/Guitar Hero games the songs don't unlock in order of difficulty. Instead they unlock in roughly the order that Billy Joe wrote them in. This creates a real challenge the first time you go through it because when a new song pops up you have no idea at all if it's going to be fairly easy or - OMG! SO! FUCKING HARD!

Those caps are not being used in vain. "Jesus of Suburbia" and "21st Century Breakdown" are more difficult than anything on Guitar Hero: Metallica including "Creeping Death." (Interestingly they are also difficult in a different way. Metallica songs are hard because they are freaking fast. Those two songs are very hard because they change the beat and chord progressions multiple times within the songs and it's hard to at two seconds notice switch up your entire rhythm.)

Anyway, because of the structure what you end up seeing is just how Billy Joe evolved from singing mostly about a geek who couldn't get laid and was also struggling with his nascent bisexuality on the first two albums, to someone who was trying to write some love songs and some mock political songs on the next albums, to raw political anger on the "American Idiot" album to a mixture of anger and despair on the "21st Century Breakdown" album.

It's fascinating.

It also shows how ridiculous video game censorship is, since, yeah, they bleep out "mother fucker" and "faggot" but leave in lines that, I'm guessing, a lot of parents would find considerably more offensive than those words.

What's clear is that, like me, Billy Joe blames the baby boomers for a lot of the shit in the world today (at one point screaming about being raised by "The bastards of 1969.") He also rejects our generation being called "Generation X" and instead suggests "Generation Zero." Make of that what you will.

In a lot of ways he sorta started out as just a pretty boy geek and is somehow turning into Jello Biafra. This is not a bad thing - particularly in the song where he says that Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are "murder on the airwaves."

The bonus material in the game that I've been able to see is excellent (you have to beat a challenge to get a video and the challenges are challenging so I've seen maybe a third of them.) My favorite so far is an outtake from 120 minutes where they are totally high and not holding it together at all. Tres Cool tries to tell the camera that they are "completely straight" and Billy Joe responds "as straight as the lines I've been shoving up my nose" and they all burst into laughter.

Anyway, all and all a very good contribution to the franchise, even if when you get done playing it you may want to, as Billy Joe suggests start a riot.

P.S. I can't believe I forgot to mention that the guitar solos that parody The Beatles are hysterical. Hippy Trippy happy Beatles sounds while he's screaming about overthrowing the government. Rock on!

Though, Rome Girl points out that if Lennon had lived til 2010 he might be writing similar shit. She may be onto something.