The song that has been stuck in my head for a couple weeks is Maps from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This is going to be another of my tortured analogies relating a song to gaming, and not just because the song is in Rock Band.
Let’s note first that the song is very repetitive. Other than “Oh say, say, say,” “Wait, they don’t love you like I love you,” and “Maps,” the song has 21 words. MMO grinders, start your engines. But the amazing thing is that it works. It is a great song, and it was a huge hit for them. How can something with so few moving pieces work that well for that long?
They are good at what they are doing. Each of the three is doing one thing and doing it well (which is tanking?). I know a lot of my good times in game have been with a good small group, when everyone knew his or her job and everything meshed. A small, simple thing, done very well, can remain very good through many repetitions. Like cookies, mmmm.
If you liked the song the first time, you will probably like it the twenty-first time. If it is done well and the repetition works at the end of the song, you can keep repeating that. Hence how you have spent the last few /months or /years.
The song is not really about much. I have seen many comments about the specific relationship for which it was written, or from people who really feel like they can relate to it, but there is almost no verbal content there. Two lines repeated, 22 other words. Most of what you are getting out is what you put in. You are supplying your own experience. The music and the simple sentiment catalyze your reaction, but it is not as though we are putting those lyrics in the annals of literature.
Did you watch the video? Maybe it is just me, but it looks stylishly horrible. They are not made up to their best advantage, the light washes things out, and the colors frequently overwhelm and distort. In one sense, this is you half-way through your set pieces. You look horrid with odd colors, but you are performing beautifully. In another, it is how we become used to looking at things. WoW and EQ2 launched around the same time, and people tended to hate one type of graphics or another. The colors here remind me more of WoW’s zone color schemes. Look, she’s blue! Look, she’s green!
But then it’s not about the visuals, is it? Except when it is.
The other thing, again feeling WoW-ish, is that it is self-awaredly a video. The video is of them making their video. The production crew is on-camera, or at least someone looking like them. The camera focuses on the lights as they change. Immersion is broken. We are not in someone’s story, but consciously in the song/video/game. I think that works against the video, but to the strength of the song. You can lose yourself in the song, but not the video. You must close your eyes to dance with the video on.
Also, doing the video that way lets you point at the performers performing. No one is pole-dancing or dealing with animals or experiencing great drama. You look at the performers hands and faces. The video is actually about the song, rather than trying to tell the story of the song (or tell some other story entirely).
Or maybe I am just being silly and making things up. I could have stopped with, “Repetitive song for the MMO grinders. LOL!” But as those of you who read the book blog know, I ruminate.
My wife just hopes this finally gets the song out of my head. She is tiring of the refrain and my seeming inability to keep the 22 words straight.
Heck with it, go eat some turkey or tofurkey.