General Option: Awesome
Review: Having been raised on a strong diet of the Beatles and having vivid memories of my parents arguing over the Paul is Dead symbolism on the cover of Abbey Road, I have about 95% of the Beatles catalog committed to memory. I was a little iffy going into the game because the music is such a part of my DNA but I really do enjoy being able to play guitar and sing the songs. The selection of songs was a little puzzling at first — why Taxman instead of Eleanor Rigsby from Revolver, for instance — until I realized the song choices were heavily weighted to George Harrison songs because his son was the one who brought the project and worked to get the licensing. That’s why you get songs like Within You Without You instead of something easier to sing like Lovely Rita from Sgt. Peppers.
I find playing through story mode to be very interesting. I don’t usually listen to the albums in chronological order, and playing through gives me this sense of a band who went from being this bar-blues-band/rip off of Chuck Berry to a group with their own unique sound that still built all the pop songs over a 12-bar blues sequence to a group that tried to push what they could do musically (which culminates with Dig a Pong in the Rock Band collection, in my opinion).
I have mostly played guitar and done a little singing, although the singing is more on par with “what I do in the truck alone on the way to work.” Generally I find the songs well balanced although the guitar is a little picky about being late on hitting the notes. We haven’t explored the harmony option because we need another microphone. Also, Katie is insisting on singing the songs, so we’re happy for No Fail mode. I need to get off my butt and start mastering songs in Hard.
I actually don’t feel dorky playing the songs on a plastic guitar instead of my perfectly good real guitars, surprisingly enough, despite owning piles and piles and piles of Beatles guitar tabs. Maybe because a) I cannot play the harder songs anyway and b) the singing is about the same if it’s car-signing or if it is rock band singing.
Best Songs in the Collection: Something and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / With a Little Help from My Friends. We haven’t played yet Dig a Pony but it’s one of my favorites. Katie loves to sing Yellow Submarine, but then again, who doesn’t?
Notable Songs Missing: Help! Penny Lane. Your Mother Should Know. I wish Because was on there but it’s a little more obscure. Most of the 1st album of the White Album. However, the albums are all coming out, starting with Abbey Road, then Sgt Peppers, and Rubber Soul.
Entertaining Easter Egg: There’s a special reward for playing the 32-bar guitar solo on While My Guitar Gently Weeps on Expert without missing a note. I joked this was the special Eric Clapton award since the White Album recording is a Clapton solo.
Random Comments: Twist and Shout and Boys are both covers played by the Beatles of other bands.
I will probably make more comments about Maxwell’s Silver Hammer being the stupidest pop song in existence after Abbey Road is downloadable and I can play it. Who writes an ironic happy pop song in a major key about stalking and double murder?
I found musty live 1964 Beatles concert footage on YouTube this morning. For some reason I cannot remember the song but Ringo is just going crazy on those drums. He looks like a mid-70s punk drummer with that stripped down set. It was awesome.