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December 11, 2007 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-12-11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 - 5

The, Eden of

TV time to
brush up on bio

Success through better
song choice and an epic
multiplayer platform
Daily TV/New Media Editor
You might want to take a seat.
Ready? OK - don't say I didn't
warn you.
EA's "Rock Band" is the greatest
multiplayer video
game of all time.
There, I said it. Rock Band
Just mention- Xbox 360
ing classics like
"GoldenEye 007," EA
"Mario Kart 64,"
"Halo"and "Super
Smash Bros." will generate mildly
embarrassing, nostalgia-enhanced
responses from loyal players, but
"Rock Band" is a beast on a different
level. It's "Guitar Hero" times four
- literally - and it's one of the most
entertaining gaming experiences I've
ever had.
At its most basic level, "Rock
Band" is "Guitar Hero" plus drums,
vocals, bass and a superior track list.
For instrumental simulation, colored
rectangles flow down from the top of
the screen and players hit the corre-
sponding buttons to "play" the music.
Vocals are more or less karaoke, with
lyrics scrolling across the top of the
screen and players matching their
pitch to a moving horizontal line.
But to judge "Rock Band" as merely
a sum of its parts would be a mistake.
Played alone, each instrument offers
an experience comparable to "Guitar

Hero," but when combined to create a
fake four-piece band, the game enters
a new realm of co-op playability. All
players are equally involved, and
unlike "Mario Kart" and "Golden-
Eye," everyone is working toward a
common goal: rocking the fuck out.
Maybe you'd be better off learn-
ing a real instrument, and playingthe
game could look a little ridiculous to
onlookers, but this kind of fun just
doesn't need an excuse.
FAKER: "Rock Band's" guitar is mod-
eled after the Fender Stratocaster and
looks borderline real from across the
room. "Guitar Hero" regulars may
be put off by the guitar's strum bar,
which doesn't click when pushed up
or down, but most players will grow
accustomed to it. It's actually more
conducive to fast, repeated notes.
The only real drawback is the guitar's
lack of wireless connectivity, but
both Xbox 360 "Guitar Hero" guitars
- including "GH III's" wireless Les
Paul guitar - are compatible with
"Rock Band" on the Xbox 360 and
can serve as either the bass or guitar.
SEACREST: "Rock Band" is bundled
with a wired USB microphone that
has a nice, weighty feel to it. The
mic works surprisingly well, broad-
casting vocals through the TV while
accurately judging pitch. This may
or may not be a good thing, though,
which you'll discover the moment
your male roommate attempts to
belt out the sky-high backup vocals
on "Gimme Shelter." Let's just say
Let it Bleed has been taken out of

regular rotation for a while.
"ROCK BAND 2": The drums are the
unequivocal star of "Rock Band." The
kit comes with four pads and a pedal
simulating a bass drum. According
to EA, playing the game on expert is
like playing a song on a real kit, and
it doesn't feel too far off. Playing the
guitar in "Rock Band" is nothing like
playing a real guitar, but while play-
ing the drums, I feel as if I'm learning
an instrument. Legitimate musicians
will likely dispute this, but if nothing
else, it's one hell of a good time.
each instrument offers its own career
mode where players can burnthrough
the game's 58 included tracks in a
methodical manner similar to "Gui-
tar Hero," the real meat of "Rock
Band" is in the multiplayer world-
tour mode. The world tour includes
two to four players and involves play-
ing various venues around the world.
Each venue offers new songs to play,
but also includes a combination of
pre-set and self-determined set lists
of varying length. Band members can

Radiohead's simpler triumph

For the Daily
Two months after unveiling its
lauded seventh studio album, In
Rainbows, Radiohead has released
eight bonus tracks that continue
to develop the band's sound and
Like In Rain-
bows, the bonus
disc is simple Radiohead
and bare, but
satisfies with In inbows
impressive pro- CD 2
duction, experi- Self-released
mentation and
creative ways of
addressing relevant political and
social issues.
The albumopens with a continu-
ation of "Videotape," the final song
on the first disc, and then flows
smoothly into "Down Is the New
Up," a song frontman Thom Yorke
recently recorded himself and put
out on iTunes. The track's cut-
ting piano changes, coupled with
high-energy drums, makes for an
upbeat dance-along though, ironi-
cally, the song is about the demise
of unskilled workers in the face of
globalization. Yorke's attempts to
champion socialism with lines like
"Ladies and gentlemen, without a
safetynet," "I shall now amputate"
and "Because down is the new up"
are reminiscent of activist songs
by The Clash and The Jam in the
'70s and '80s.
The last track is similar in its
juxtaposition of touchy issues and
pleasant melodies,
"4 Minute Warning" is a beauti-
ful, featherbed lullaby addressing
the dire consequences of global
warming. A muted bass backs

choose to play at a comfortable level
of difficulty, but to gain more fans,
everyone has to step up their diffi-
culty level.
IES ... : All have a presence in "Rock
Band" and are noticeably absent from
any "Guitar Hero" title. Plus, most of
the artists on both "Rock Band" and
"Guitar Hero" have lent their bet-
ter tracks to EA's game: "Suffragette
City" over "Ziggy Stardust," "Gimme
Shelter" over "Paint It Black" and
"Won't Get Fooled Again" over "The
Seeker," to name a few. And this isn't
even including "Rock Band's" already
robust downloadable catalogue,
which is adding new content on a
weekly basis, including full album
releases promised in the coming
$169.99 FOR A VIDEO GAME?: Yeah,
and it's worth it. For that price you
could buy three regular games, but
you'll have a lot more fun with "Rock
Band." It's the perfect game for a col-
lege house and will quickly put your
month-old copy of "GH III" out of
A night of
rotten and
Managing Arts Editor
In an act of mass catharsis, the
University community will slip and
slide across campus in an effort to
ase into Winter Break with all the
ubtlety of an anvil
falling from the sky.
)n your car. Right Zombie
efore you're about Carival
to drive home.
While I'm not not Night
:ondoning run-of- Friday at
:he-mill "school is 9:30 p.m.
>ver!" parties/bar At the Blind Pig
:rawls, you have
it least one killer $818+/$521+
>pportunity to
encil into your
schedule. It involves zombies. Clown
ombies. And a burlesque troop. Fire
;pinning, too.
This Friday, The Blind Pig will
01st "Zombie Carnival Night,"
od it's every bit as titillating as its
tame implies. It will consist of three
>ands and three carnival acts, and
>nce it gets started at 10 p.m. (which
See ZOMBIE, Page 8

What's not to
love about the
arrival of winter?
Everything is covered in salt.
Finals are eating up your life.
And seasonal affective disor-
der is kicking in just in time
for the holidays!
OK, so _
wasn't the
word I
was look-
ing for, f
but winter r l
isn't a
total bust. SMA
Time off for
the holidays is definitely
welcome. Winter sports are
a nice diversion if the condi-
tions and location are right
and holiday-themed TV
episodes can be fine in mod-
But typically TV takes a
backseat to the film industry
this time of year for a mix of
generally crappy Christmas
movies - "The Santa Clause"
not included - and Oscar
hopefuls fill up theaters. In
recent years, the biopic in
particular has been increas-
ingly popular this time of
year, with at least one land-
ing an Oscar nomination for
best picture every year in the
past decade.
While some genuinely
good biopics have emerged
recently, the genre often fails
to capture the minutia of its
subjects. This is understand-
able - complicated people
can't be boiled down to 120
minutes very easily. But who
says they have to be?
Television has made sig-
nificant strides in exploring
new territory in recent years,
but somehow the television
bio-series has been largely
ignored. ESPN's forgettable
"The Bronx is Burning" is
a pseudo example of this,
but was just eight episodes
long. And "Rome" and "The
Tudors" of HBO and Show-
time, respectively, key on
real figures, but they're more
historical fiction than biog-
Still, there's huge poten-
tial in the TV bio-series
genre, as long as the right
subjects become the focus
and the right network devel-
ops it (read: HBO and no one
else). Logistical roadblocks
aside, here are my three
surefire TV bio-series hits.
Feel free to steal these ideas,
suits; I want to see these
"THE BEATLES": This would
be too perfect. No one is
willing to tackle a Beatles
feature. And for good reason.
There's simply too much
to cover, so why not give
an ambitious show runner
four seasons to lay it out.
Each season could highlight
a different era of the band
and use a unique cast, aila
"I'm Not There," but let's
stick to white, middle-aged
dudes - a 12-year-old Afri-
can-American child playing
mid-'60s Ringo could be
problematic. Ideally, the
first season would cover the

band's preparations for their
trip to the United States in

the early '60s and would end
with the band walking on
stage at "The Ed Sullivan
Show." Subsequent seasons
could tackle the band's other
eras/haircuts and include
episode titles like "The One
Where Bob Dylan Made
Them Smoke Pot in the Del-
monico Hotel."
"THE FAB FIVE": We've got
the Fab Four covered, so now
it's time to move on to the
Fab Five. According to my
Michigan Basketball media
guide, these guys might not
exist, so we may have to
write this off as historical
fiction, but whatever. Season
one will tentatively tackle
the "recruiting" process and
end with the team coming
together in Ann Arbor just
prior to their freshman cam-
paign. Season two will cover
their freshman season, and
the third and final season
will document their sopho-
more campaign and end with
Weber's gaffe. This could
be based on Mitch Albom's
book "Fab Five: Basketball,
Trash Talk, the American
Dream," with some of the
Why the
biopic craze
would work
better on TV
extracurriculars he didn't
cover thrown in. But his ego
doesn't need another appear-
ance on "The Oprah Winfrey
Show," so maybe we'll just
give it to one of Weber's
former confidants who has
stories to tell.
(1975-1979)": Yeah, this is
kind of similar to "Studio
60 on the Sunset Strip," but
that show didn't work for
two reasons and they won't
come into play here. The
"Saturday Night Live" bio-
series won't premiere at the
same time and on the same
network as "30 Rock," and
it will focus on real people
that audiences already know.
NBC would never go for this,
so HBO would probably have
to change the show's title but
keep everything else authen-
tic. There are a lot of stories/
drugs to cover here, and fol-
lowing the early days of the
show through the spring of
'79, when Dan Aykroyd and
Jim Belushi left, would be a
dense four-season arc.
These shows might not be
entirely feasible - at least
at the moment - but if done
well, they have the potential
to offer a lot more than their
film counterparts.
Spielberg's upcoming
Abraham Lincoln biopic
sounds good, but a David
Milch Lincoln bio-series
sounds even better. Someone
make this happen.
- E-mail Passman at
mpass@umich.edu. Especially

if you have a job lined up
for him. In the TV biz.

Perfect in the studio, perfect in silhouette.
Yorke's vocals and the ethereal lyr- sounds like a David Bowie track
ics suggest we all need to wake up in its climb from minor to major,
and stop ignoring our responsibili- along with its use of only piano and
ties as human beings. acoustic rhythm guitar.
The edgy "Bangers & Mash" The band is experimenting with
relies heavily on aggressive per- more conventional songwriting,
cussion. It never abandons its in- while at the same time letting fans
your-face attitude as a post-punk know it's still Radiohead. Yorke's
electric guitar creates noticeable background hums are cut off and
changes in tempo. Other than somewhat uncharacteristic as
"Down Is the New Up," this is the leading tones, but they do mesh
only track that might elicit danc- with subtle synth rushes to mark
ing, so it acts as a breath of fresh air changes in moods. Lead guitarist
despite building unresolved antici- Jonny Greenwood rarely solos, but
pation for a harmonic chorus. his thick, prominent sound is the
The album's transitions are foundation for several tracks.
nearly seamless. Although in no Radiohead continues to trans-
way one long song, there's a peace form itself by making new sounds
and tranquility to its production with purpose and unique form.
that can't be ignored. Diehard OK Computer fans may
Some tracks, however, use no be disappointed with these eight
advanced mixing and production bonus tracks based on their sim-
techniques in order to establish plicity, but Radiohead fans in
a primary focus on Yorke's voice general will be happy to hear fur-
and the roles of traditional instru- ther innovation and an effective,
ments. "Go Slowly" features only a hauntingly beautiful approach to
quiet, echoing electric guitar and the idea that less is, almost always,
cushyvocals, while "LastFlowers" more.


The Qdoba ad in the Dec 6
Michigan Daily contained
an error. It should have
read: "Chicken Burrito
& Regular Drink $5.00.
Queso, Pesto, Guac extra.
Valid thru Dec 23, 2007.
2252 S. Main (near
Busch's). 3279 Washtenaw
(near Whole Foods)."
Please see today's paper
for the correct coupon. We
apologize to Qdoba and
their customers for any
-TMD Display

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