“Subway steam like silhouettes in dreams…”
Back in the ’90s, slightly before the internet splintered the musical monoculture into innumerable pieces, FM radio was our benevolent ruler. All who received gifts riding on these corporate airwaves knew the same songs, for better and worse (I’m looking at you, Macarena). Bands came and went, typically offering up one hit and then melting into the ether (Hello, Breakfast at Tiffany’s), but some groups graced our ears a number of times, showing staying power in unfriendly airspace. The Wallflowers and Counting Crows are two alternative rock acts that thrived in the last years of the millennium with thoughtful hits still well-known and well-received decades later. Today my collaborators and I bring you a Wallflowers tune featuring backing vocals from the lead singer of Counting Crows.
This Rock Band 3 custom song, 6th Avenue Heartache by The Wallflowers, is my sixty-seventh release and has been a long time a’comin’. I was always baffled Harmonix didn’t release this classic, which I used to chalk up to licensing issues, since it was a collaboration between two of the more successful bands of their era. But when Harmonix snuffed out my custom release of Caution by The Killers, a song that features Lindsey Buckingham on guitar, well, I guess we’ll never know…
So, since Harmonix has forsaken me, it’s my pleasure to bring this custom to the database. Like the majority of my releases, this one was a big group effort. BornGamerRob supplied the tempo map and drums chart, grubextrapolate authored the guitar, and Emotional Flight provided the pro keys and keys charts. And along for the ride was Chainsaw Octopus, the unwavering Dylan to my Duritz.
Instrumentally, this song has something for everybody. A mellow but moderately difficult organ part, a bass line that gradually ramps up as the song goes on, drums that’ll keep you surprisingly busy, and a folksy, crying guitar just begging to be played while standing at the microphone. Check out all the charts below!
- Fully custom venue from scratch
- Vocal chart from scratch
- Dryvox lip sync for both vocal parts
- Vocal tonic note
- Reductions for all instruments
- Numeric ID for Wii leaderboards (Song ID 1649200067)
- Tempo map by BornGamerRob
- Drums by BornGamerRob
- Guitar by grubextrapolate
- Pro keys and keys by Emotional Flight
- Special thanks to Chainsaw Octopus and Linos Melendi
To me, the coolest part of this release is also the most subtle… and something I suspect only authors might notice. Since lead singer Jakob Dylan isn’t particularly emotional when he sings and Adam Duritz is the exact opposite, I really wanted to rig the venue to have Duritz going nuts with his passionate backing vocals while Dylan tows the line with his subdued performance. To do that, I used Magma’s MIDI override function to swap the main part with the backing part, resulting in the game engine thinking Dylan is the lead singer while also strumming the guitar. Meanwhile, there’s Duritz standing at the microphone singing harmony. Immersion!
Speaking of immersion, I put a fair amount of effort into reversing the fade-out at the end to give the song a nice, crisp ending. Shout-out to Linos Melendi who helped sort all that out. No matter what I did on my end, I was never one-hundred-percent pleased, but Linos provided me with something satisfying. It ain’t perfect, but it gets the job done, and you probably wouldn’t even have noticed had I not just pointed it out!
If you’d like to contribute improvements or animations or if you have suggestions for how I can do better, please contact me. Thanks for reading! Now go sing songs you know complete.