Did you know that Carrie Brownstein has a blog? If you did, why on Earth didn’t you tell me? I found out only because she–a genuine guitar goddess–tried out that newfangled Rock Band video game for Slate, and quickly discovered what Stan’s dad figured out in an episode of South Park: being a good musician doesn’t do you a lick of good while playing the game. In fact, technical chops may in fact be a detriment to your conquering the game. Her prose is sly, cranky, and funny, just like her guitar-playing and singing. A taste:
I had some friends over to play Rock Band a few nights later. We didn’t cluster into formal bands but instead took turns on the various instruments. The allure of Rock Band seems to break down not by people’s interest in music or their skills at playing it, but by people’s love of either karaoke or video games. One friend stayed on the vocals for a number of songs, scoring 100 percent on a Queens of the Stone Age tune, and, at one point, calling out for someone to grab him a beer. Feeling like obsequious roadies, we obliged. The roles do go to one’s head after a while. But after a few hours, most people’s enthusiasm for the game diminished. When I looked carefully, I realized I was having a party where people were sitting around playing video games. And, really, if you are going to play the game with a group of friends for more than a night, shouldn’t you just form a real band? There is something sad about the thought of four teenagers getting Rock Band for Christmas and spending all of their after-school time pretending to know how to play.
Go read it.
RELATED: I raved about Brownstein’s former band Sleater-Kinney and its final album here.