Top 20 Phish Songs for Rock Band DLC (extremely long)
WE DID IT!
WILSON CAME OUT AS DLC ON 6/2/09!
UPDATED: 11/4/08 - Added Top 5 Live Phish Songs - http://www.rockband.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1528941#post1528941
Harmonies, Keys and Live songs have all joined Rock Band since I originally wrote this post. All three are phenomenal reasons to add more Phish to the game!!!
Original Post: 1/03/08
I am obsessed with Rock Band.
Every song I hear I imagine how it would play in Rock Band; I stay up all night on Monday waiting for DLC announcements; every conversation with a stranger quickly turns into “have you played Rock Band yet?”
As a casual Guitar Hero player who was planning to finally buy my own guitar with GHIII, I was absolutely blown-away when I heard the announcement for Rock Band. You mean I can also play drums and sing? You mean I can pretend to be Jonny Greenwood, Keith Moon or Ozzy Osbourne in the same game? This game was made for me and I couldn’t wait. I bought a 360 so I’d be ready for release.
Then it came: HMX struck a deal with The Grateful Dead for 18 songs. Now let me be clear that I would’ve bought the game anyway and enjoy a diverse array of music (just last night I was shocked by how much fun Move Along was to play) but when your bread and butter whose been largely ignored by other rhythm games announces they’re on the Rock Band bandwagon you get excited. The Dead was coming to Rock Band and my friends and I were stoked.
This isn’t a post about “where are the Dead songs?” however, but about the logical question that follows from any late-20’s fan of jam music: “where are the Phish songs?”
Phish would be unequivocally great for the game Rock Band. They’re musicianship is first rate, Trey plays a killer guitar solo on virtually every song and unlike many other jam bands, they took studio recording quite seriously and have recorded some phenomenal studio tracks that would translate perfectly to the game.
For awhile I accepted that Phish probably wouldn’t be in the game but then I came to my senses. They have to be in the game. They’re one of the most successful touring bands of all-time, they write amazing songs and most importantly, they are one of the only bands that could literally sell consoles with their inclusion. Outside of Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, how many bands could truly claim that sort of fan obsession? For evidence see this post!
Adding to that, that the game already has a built-in reference to Phish under the clothing feature, where it says “you can feel good about this hoodie” a blatant reference to my favorite song of all-time, Harry Hood, it is officially time for Phish to join the band roster of Rock Band.
Since I’ve seen a few casual requests for Phish before, but nothing huge, I have decided to truly breakdown their music and detail one fan’s opinion of which songs would best fit the game.
I have spent countless hours listening to their albums and discussing with friends what songs should be included and I feel confident in my choices. I plan to send these to HMX as well, but figured I should also post them on the boards for discussion.
I say that because I would love for this thread to become grounds for other Phish fans to voice their love of the band and their hopes of getting to play Phish live at ESG just once.
So without any further adieu, I’m going to strap on the old developer’s hat and truly breakdown Phish’s studio recording and decide which make the most sense for the game.
Obviously, with a band as musically unique as Phish, I needed to set some ground rules and here they are:
(i) The song has to be a studio recording to be considered. In order to have original mastered versions, which we all prefer, this simply has to be a rule with no questions asked. Along those lines, I’ve also outlawed non-official studio recordings, such as the Bearsville Session, the Wendell Studio sessions and Trey’s Senior Thesis, just because I have no idea the state of those master recordings.
This disqualifies many would-be great songs including: NICU, Runaway Jim, Mike’s>Hydrogen>Weekapaug, Halley’s Comet, Suzie Greenberg, All of Gamehendge, etc.
(ii) As painful as it is to say, instrumentals or near-instrumentals are highly penalized. As much as I’d like to say that David Bowie, Divided Sky, Run Like An Antelope, YEM, Harry Hood, Slave to the Traffic Light, First Tube, Piper and Guyute are all in the top-10 (wow, this list is more daunting than I expected), they simply wouldn’t work for Rock Band. They would be great for Guitar Hero, but not Rock Band. What is the vocalist supposed to do during these songs? Unless you’re playing/singing, these would be painfully boring, and a huge disappointment for non-phans.
Yes, you could say that non-phans shouldn’t download them, but that just doesn’t work in a commercial market. Many people buy all the DLC and after two plays, would be extremely disappointed every time Divided Sky or Slave came up in BWT.
Even songs like Reba that have enough phrases to make a vocal track, have huge sections with no lyrics that would bore everyone who hasn’t shared a tent with you at Deer Creek. If you don’t agree with me, throw in Lawn Boy, and honestly listen to Reba with a discerning ear for Rock Band. It just isn’t ideal for the game.
I’m sorry fellow fans, but these songs are either outlawed or penalized harshly (some of them, still might make the top 20, just not top 5) simply because I would expect HMX to do the exact same thing when selecting songs.
(iii) Page McConnell is my favorite member of Phish. Always has been and always will be. He has the best voice, is a phenomenal pianist and nothing hits me emotionally harder at a show than the end of Coil, Strange Design or the tearjerker that was Coventry’s Velvet Sea.
That said, songs where you feel like you’re truly missing his keys get docked. Obviously, he’s on every track and I actually like when he has isolated sections to relax to but sometimes it will just be too frustrating that you can’t play as him. The game is supposed to make you feel like you’re playing the song, not make you long for Rock Band 2 when you can play the piano sections. Listen to Bathtub Gin for the best example of what I refer to throughout this post as the “Page Penalty”.
(iv) Vocal harmonies also caused penalties of varying degrees for certain song, as I didn’t feel they’d translate well to the game. Songs like Rift and Limb by Limb were hurt badly by their responsive Trey/Page verses that I felt would hinder gameplay.
(v) The following rule was the most difficult for me but something I had to follow while making the list: throw out all baggage and misconceptions about the songs and just listen to them for Rock Band.
I spent twenty minutes the other night trying to convince my buddy Piper was in the top-5 songs for Rock Band. I mean, it has great drums, enough lyrics, and is one of my favorite songs, right? People will love it. Not so fast.
The next day I listened to it again and realized he was right. It takes forever to build, is partly mixed from a live version and even if I want to sing it most people won’t. No matter how much I prefer one song against another under different circumstances, this list is simply regarding the game and what would fit best. Nothing else applies.
So on that note, let’s start this bad boy off.