Songsmith Rewrites the Classics
Anyone who's got some musical background probably sees the current music oriented video games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero as having little musical value. I'm crippled in those games by having a smattering of musical know-how, but what bothers me most is that the games are intended more as a stage-antics trainer rather than as a creative tool.
I don't usually look to Microsoft for music software, but their new tool Songsmith makes it easy for anyone to front a band and create original music. It's not a game, in fact it's a lot easier than most games. Songsmith lets you sing into your PC's microphone, and the program immediately produces (sorta cheesy, but impressive) backing instrumentation based on your recorded vocal. You can choose from a number of styles, and it's a great tool for sketching out your own original music, or simply noodling around.
Ah, and what great things come from such noodling... someone out there (I'll call him "the internet") had the idea to isolate the vocals from famous recordings, and then input those into Songsmith. The results are both surprising and hilarious. Why wait for The Eagles to reunite so they can cash in on their new dance mix of "Hotel California"? Finally hear "We Will Rock You" as it was always intended, as a sauntering salsa. C'mon Survivor, what's it going to take to get you to release your new optimistic ballad of "Eye of the Tiger"?
Simply search for "Songsmith" on YouTube to find dozens of these rebooted songs. It's an easy way to waste an entire workday or bring any party to a dead stop. Sure the brooding and spare original version of "Roxanne" by The Police will live on forever, but don't tell me that you don't have room in your heart for this new version that's been Casio-fied with "Latin Beat" set to 10.