This is a first for me. No, not the review; I’ve been reviewing games here for months & in my head for as long as I can remember. What’s a first for me is reviewing a track pack for a music game. I don’t mean those disks with 20 or 30 songs on it. I mean a DLC track pack. With new packs coming out each week, I just didn’t think it was necessary considering that it typically won’t change the the gameplay all that much. The only real change is the notes you play. So I figured it would have to be something special for me to actually sit down & review something like that.Queen falls into that category for me…
As a child of the 80’s, I came into my musical awareness of Queen on the tail end of their career. But, from the first time I heard Another One Bites The Dust & We Are The Champions, I was an instant fan. Between their Live Aid performance in ‘85 & their work on the Highlander soundtrack (Princes of the Universe & Who Wants To Live Forever) in ‘86, my perception of them went from rock fan to rock gods. During my short 34 years, I have seen 5 different music formats (records, 8-track, cassette, CD & mp3). Queen is the only band that I have had music from in every format. Even today, 26 years after I discovered who they were, I can listen to their music & find it’s relevance in my life as it is now. That’s a testament to how timeless the sounds & subject matter was.
Needless to say, I was pretty excited to find out that a 10 song set of Queen would be hitting Rock Band. I actually would have rather seen their whole discography made available, but 10 songs is a good start…sort of. When reading through the list, the songs missing from it will stick out right away. Where’s Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, or the previously mentioned We Are The Champions & Princes of the Universe? (note: We Will Rock You & We Are The Champions will be featured in the Lego Rock Band set list. I just hate the idea that I have to buy another game just to get those songs)
Missing favorites aside, this pack is a blast anyway. There is a wide variety of sounds here. I Want It All has that arena rock feel to it that’s just a joy to hear & play. I Want to Break Free is quirky little tune. Killer Queen is a bouncy sing-a-long that a lot of people I know don’t realize what it is until they hear it. Under Pressure, the Queen/David Bowie collaboration, has been so firmly embedded in pop culture that it will be hard for someone to hear it & not recognize it from somewhere. I always think of the film Gross Point Blank & of course, Vanilla Ice’s early 90’s rap phenomenon, Ice, Ice Baby. One of my personal favorites, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, is a rock-a-billy ditty that’s very reminiscent of a ‘Hound Dog Era’ Elvis Presley. Rounding out the rest of the pack is Fat Bottomed Girls, One Vision, the swing sounding Tie Your Mother Down, Sombody to Love, & the fan favorite Another One Bites The Dust.
All in all, this set should be in every Rock Band music collection. Sure, there are a few missing from the bunch that I would have rather seen in there, but the variety of sounds & eras make this a must buy. Then again, that was the beauty of Queen’s music. They covered just about everything from rock-a-billy to gospel-infused to swing to arena rock. As time passed, they evolved their sound to keep up with the changes in the industry. Playing through this track pack reminded me that regardless of what current bands I like (Seether, Red, etc…), there will always be room on my iPod (or Zune) for Freddie Mercury & crew.