One thing people learned fast after picking up the Abbey Road DLC for The Beatles Rock Band was how amazing of a job Harmonix did picking out the perfect songs for the retail game. Sure, many people (including yours truly) griped about the small setlist, but it turns out it may have been for a reason. Most Beatles songs simply don’t fit in a four-person instrument format.
The rest of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released as downloadable content for the 360 and Wii yesterday (PS3 gets it tomorrow) and it’s very similar to the last album. Diehard Beatles fans like myself will absolutely love it, but will it work for everyone else? Let’s take a look at all the songs included.
“Fixing A Hole”
Fun to sing and harmonize, but the guitars play the harpsichord for a bit. Get used to that, as not many of these songs were just not made for guitars or bass. It’s a very simple song bass and drums both don’t change around too much throughout.
“She’s Leaving Home”
Probably the weakest of the DLC. It’s obviously completely vocals driven but slow enough to bore the rest of the group. Guitar and bass aren’t actually playing their instruments, they’re playing violins, violas and cellos. There is no drum track, either. Makes sense, since this is one of the few songs where the Beatles didn’t actually play their own instruments, but it’s never good to have to play a violin in Rock Band. Besides feeling unnatural it can also sound strange, as a bow gives you a much smoother motion than plucking strings. If you don’t hit the notes exactly right they get this strange staccato feeling to them.
“Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!”
The trippiest song of the group- just wait till you see the kaleidoscope visuals when the waltz kicks in. While the guitar is the hardest of the album (and dips into the organ occasionally) the bass is simple and fun. The singer will have a lot of fun trying not to trip over his words, as it’s quite the jumble. Very fun song to play, it’s just a shame more people aren’t familiar with it.
“Within You Without You”
Never fear about buying the same song that’s already in the game, as this version plays completely different than the Love version, and while it’s a lengthy song it’s well worth playing as a group. The drums are full of triplets and you will constantly be playing all over the set. It’s easily one of the trickiest and most fun drum songs in the entire game, in fact. Guitar and bass once again force you into playing stringed Indian instruments which isn’t the best option, but it’s worth it all just for the little “dueling sitars” section in the middle of the song. Ton of fun.
“When I’m Sixty-Four”
Going to be a favorite to sing but it’s a fairly slow song for the band. You play the clarinet throughout the song on guitar. Ugh. The bass is a simple back and forth track and the drums are of course just as slow- but it’s weirdly satisfying to hit those bells.
By far the best bass track in the bunch. It might be my favorite besides Hey Bulldog, just a constantly moving and pumping track that doesn’t let up and has a ton of fun pull-offs. It’s probably the most straightforward rock song of the group. Simple enough beat for the drums that doesn’t really give you any surprises, and same with the guitar. It’s a helluva lot of fun to play, and sing.
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”
Here we go! The song is very short but it’s as rocking as you’d hope, an absolute blast on every instrument. It’s a very solid guitar song and Ringo’s fills are great. It’s a good thing that the song is so short because you’d break your damn set if this song went on any longer.
“A Day In The Life”
Get ready for the longest ending note in Rock Band history. You fingers might cramp up by the end. The guitar parts take over that orchestral cacophony in the song and threaten to deafen the other tracks, but bass and drums can get by. The visuals absolutely flip out during those parts! The drums have a very slow beginning and end section but it picks up during McCartney’s part in the middle, along with the rest of the song.
If I had to recommend just a couple of songs to buy, I’d say Lovely Rita and Sgt. Pepper’s (Reprise). The latter’s probably not too much of a great value for two bucks but it’s sure to be played over and over again.
The whole pack once again seems overpriced at $13.50 but fans will love being able to play through the whole album in one setlist. Remember, Rubber Soul hits next month. Nowhere Man, Michelle… lots of great songs are still on the way.