Friday, 26 June 2009

Rock Band Wish List #3: Phoenix

A lot of the songs I want made available as Rock Band download tracks appeal to me as possible challenges, probably because many of the tracks I looked forward to most have turned out to be depressingly easy. That's not the worst problem in the world, but just as some gamified songs have revealed levels of songcraft that I hadn't fully appreciated, simple songs make some of my heroes seem like charlatans. This is a mistake on my part, as Nirvana's talent often lay in the oppressive atmosphere and visceral impact of their sound, not in intricacy. Only when repurposed for acoustic did their songs become nuanced. When in their raw form, they were often a barrage of sounds, which is not as much fun to play, though still great to listen to. (N.B. I'm not just picking on Nirvana because I'm impatient for a future release of Lithium, Come As You Are, and Smells Like Teen Spirit, plus all of In Utero. Not at all.)


Nevertheless, when I spend precious Space Dollars (© Warren Ellis) I want the songs to tax me. That's probably why I play Blue Sky by The Allman Brothers Band so much. That enormous solo is pure joy from start to finish. A lot of Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction is a test of dexterity, and my current favourite purchase is Texas Flood by Stevie Ray Vaughan, where all of the guitar tracks are difficult to finger-annihilatingly hard. Coughing up the big bucks for that whole album is the smartest frivolous purchase I've made in a while.

And then there are the songs I want just because they are outrageous fun. We recently fell in love with Green Day's Know Your Enemy after seeing them play some blistering versions of it on The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien and Saturday Night Live. This would definitely have been on the Wish List, but we don't need to now that the imminent release as part of a three song track pack has been announced. And this excitement from someone who never took Green Day seriously? That's how much fun that song is. So, with that sorted out to our satisfaction, I'm exhorting Harmonix and MTV Games to make 1901 by Phoenix available as soon as possible.


I never got the appeal of Gallic popsters Phoenix before, but their latest album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, is undeniably the album of the summer. It's a multi-hook pile-up on the joy highway, and I'm begging all readers to chase it down immediately. Just like previous summer albums from my past, like I Should Coco, Ill Communication, and Dig Your Own Hole, it feels like it's made of pure sunshine, and 1901 is the track that immediately caught my ear on first listen. Buy that album and you get a free suntan just by standing in front of your speakers. It's that good. Here's 1901 as a taster.



Gamify this immediately, gaming people, and I'll be playing it as often as other grin-inducing uplift-providers as Nine in the Afternoon by Panic At The Disco, Use It by The New Pornographers, and Dead on Arrival by Fall Out Boy. And that's a promise.