I’ve been a big advocate for The Beatles: Rock Band since the moment it was announced. I trusted Harmonix with a music game based on the career of arguably the greatest band of all time after their fantastic work with the first two Rock Band games. After playing it repeatedly at E3 last year, I was even more confident that The Beatles: Rock Band was really going to be something special, and it was. It wasn’t perfect, and it didn’t have the longest track list, but it was definitely something magical. For proof of this, I only needed to watch my friends and family play the game for hours on end. The Beatles: Rock Band brought people I know together like no other game, something I used to say about Rock Band. It had my brothers, friends, Beatles-hating boyfriend, and non-gamer parents sitting in front of the TV for song after song, venue after venue, until we reached that rooftop. After all was said and done and I had played “The End”, I felt a twinge of sadness. Yes, I could (and did) go back and play through the songs again, but the experience of playing them for the first time was over.
Then came the DLC.
It started in October with Abbey Road, a fine choice. Abbey Road, the last album to actually be recorded by The Beatles (though not the last released), is probably my favorite. I can listen to it every day for weeks on end, and sometimes I do. In between the obvious hits like “Come Together” and “Octopus’s Garden”, there are some beautiful George Harrison-penned tracks, an upbeat medley, and a couple of slower, trippier songs. It’s a good variety, but of course, taste is subjective. Some people prefer Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the second album available for DLC. This came out in November, and it was if Harmonix was delivering this content just for me—Sgt. Pepper’s is my second-most-listened-to Beatles album. The whole record is great, but finally being able to experience “A Day in the Life”, one of my top five favorite Beatles songs, in The Beatles: Rock Band was incredible.
Lastly, Rubber Soul came out for The Beatles: Rock Band in December. Unlike Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s, Rubber Soul wasn’t exactly an obvious choice. Rubber Soul comes from earlier in The Beatles’ career, and is an album full of sweet songs like “In My Life” and “Michelle”. What I like about Rubber Soul as downloadable content is that it can introduce some lesser-known, but still wonderful, Beatles songs to a new generation of listeners. It also adds even more variety to the game’s playlist, which is always a good thing.
There’s just something about the music of the Beatles that affects people like no other. Speaking for myself, it makes me happy. When I’m driving to work and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/A Little Help From My Friends” comes on the radio, I’m in a good mood for the rest of the morning. That can be said of other songs by other bands, but it’s not exactly the same. It’s hard to explain, but like I said, there’s just something about The Beatles. I know I’m not the only one who feels like this; it’s this feeling that has made The Beatles one of the most prolific and beloved bands of all time.
Now it’s a new year, with no announced Beatles: Rock Band DLC on the horizon. That doesn’t mean Harmonix isn’t working on it; I really hope that they are. When it came to the previous downloadable content, picking and choosing songs was never even a consideration. I needed the whole album, every time. If I had a say in what came next, I’d vote for Let It Be or Magical Mystery Tour, but it’s unlikely that I would be dissatisfied with any additional content for one of my favorite games of 2009. I just hope that the magic continues into 2010 with more downloadable classics.