Friday, 27 August 2010

Yes Harmonix - You Win

Fragile Five Come To Rock Band

Well, of course I knew it would happen eventually, but today they've finally snagged me. The full playlist for Rock Band 3 has just been announced, and in includes the 1971 classic Yes track Roundabout.

Trouble is, I am and have always been a total Yes completist. To the exclusion of anyone else for some years, in fact, until Steven Wilson brought me back to muso-diversity with Porcupine Tree's Deadwing (yet I only heard them when they toured supporting Yes). Of course many of us have bought multiple copies of our favourite artists' albums to replace worn out ones over the years, but the true completist always owns multiple mint copies in various editions of each favourite work, and like a master of Pokémon, has to collect them all. I've written here before about my old trading website and its extensive collection of bootleg Yes concerts, but I also bought things like the 5.1 DVDA remix of Fragile (see below) immediately on release, even though I had no facility to play it, nor any immediate intention of acquiring one.

I am delighted beyond the capacity of any delightometer to register and measure, that the Yes track chosen to pop their Rock Band cherry was not their only ever number one hit, Odour Of A Homely Fart, but instead the magnificent Roundabout. From the equally groundbreaking, trailblazing, genre defining and otherwise utterly, uniquely object-verbing Fragile album (which alone in their back catalog features the perfect lineup of Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Squire and Wakeman, inevitably known to fans as "The Fragile Five"), this is a composition that marries classical sensibilities of structure, melody and progression, with perfect jangly pop singalongability and an optimistic though typically abstract lyric. Which just happens to contain coded references to driving along the banks of Loch Lomond. In an altered mental state, yeah.

Yes Harmonics

The track is also a favourite with new guitarists because of Steve Howe's use of open-string harmonics in the introduction. I wonder how those will be handled in the execution of the game version? And will it be the full 8½ minute version? And what about those rapid keyboard arpeggios? They're trying to flog the keyboard peripheral, hence the choice of music, but (on the other hand, as it were) you shouldn't have to be Rick Bloody Wakeman to play it! So expect some simplification there too.

The full list of 83 tracks announced for Rock Band 3 makes an impressive arc, spanning rock and pop from the 1960s to the 2000s. Here are my top eleven choices:
  • Avenged Sevenfold, The Beast & the Harlot
  • The B-52's, Rock Lobster
  • Big Country, In a Big Country
  • The Cure, Just Like Heaven
  • Echo & the Bunnymen, The Killing Moon
  • The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1
  • John Lennon, Imagine
  • Queens of the Stone Age, No One Knows
  • The Smiths, Stop Me if You Think You've Heard This One Before
  • Them Crooked Vultures, Dead End Friends
  • Yes, Roundabout
Then of course there's another tranche of hits that just seem to fit the format so perfectly, it's hard to imagine not giving them a go after a small sherry:
  • David Bowie, Space Oddity
  • Deep Purple, Smoke on the Water
  • Elton John, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting
  • Golden Earring, Radar Love
  • INXS, Need You Tonight
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd, Free Bird
  • Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Ramones, I Wanna Be Sedated
  • Slipknot, Before I Forget
  • Steve Miller Band, Fly Like an Eagle
  • T. Rex, 20th Century Boy
So now, sadly, I must have Rock Band 3. And all of the peripherals that can be used on the Yes track. It's out in October. Not too long before my birthday. Linda! Linda? Come back here! Santa? Anyone?

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