Faking the Band – A farewell to covers? [7/8/08]

Faking the Band is a weekly feature detailing the latest in downloadable content for Rock Band.

In the beginning of the Rock Band DLC odyssey, there were quite a few covers: “Fortunate Son,” “My Sharona,” “Juke Box Hero,” the infamous “Cherry Bomb” – all well-played, well-produced, worthy substitutes, but never as charming as the originals. Now, nearly eight months later, they’ve all but disappeared; the last cover I can remember is “Beetlebum” at the European launch. In fact, out of the total 156 songs now available for the game, master tracks outnumber covers roughly 6:1. That’s an impressive ratio, indicative of the rapidly growing popularity and lucrative possibilities of rhythm games.

Of course, let’s be honest here: we might never bid a fond and permanent farewell to covers. But recent news would certainly suggest otherwise. After all, according to the latest press, Rock Band 2 will have over 80 songs on disc, all master recordings. And that collection of 12 Who tracks coming next week? Also masters.

Today’s DLC is no exception to this fantastic trend. The songs being served up are from familiar bands who, in my humble opinion, deserve a lot more downloadable love. For the funky alternative rockers, we’ve got “Snow ((Hey Oh))” and “Tell Me Baby,” two hits from Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Grammy-nominated double album Stadium Arcadium. Finally, for the crowned prog rock princes in all of us, I’m very happy to write the following words: RUSH MASTERS. Yes, that’s right: two genuine, honest-to-god Rush tracks, “Closer to the Heart” and “Working Man (Vault Edition).”

Insert screeching tire noise! “Whoa there,” you say. “I already bought ‘Working Man’ months ago, and it was a cover! What a rip-off!” I thought so, too, at first. But take a closer look at that parenthesis. “Vault Edition” makes this admitted retread very special indeed. You see, for whatever reason, Harmonix now has access to Rush masters, and they were able to get their hands on a very rare version of “Working Man” from the original ’73 sessions, complete with an alternate solo! New gameplay, tried-and-true Rush sound and the opportunity to hear a classic take never before released? Two dollars never bought you so much!

“Snow ((Hey Oh))” – Red Hot Chili Peppers [160 MS points / MASTER]

“Tell Me Baby” – Red Hot Chili Peppers [160 MS points / MASTER]

“Closer to the Heart” – Rush [160 MS points / MASTER]

“Working Man (Vault Edition)” – Rush [160 MS points / MASTER]

Obviously I don’t have access to this new-and-shiny “Working Man,” but I bet it will sound a lot like the one I’ve linked!