#101 – “Crushed By Dust” (2011)

Misc
L.K.: Oh god, I forgot how much I hate this. This is a total non-song. This makes me long for the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song.
A.S.: Whoa, watch what you say there. See, having not heard it in a while, and taking it out of context from the Adventure Quest Worlds thing, it just sounds like a stupid one-minute long thing.  I think it’s pretty harmless. The cheap Casio keyboard sound is pretty charming.
L.K.: I have nothing positive to say about this song at all.
A.S.: Oh, it’s fucking stupid, but nowadays, it makes me smile at least.
L.K.: Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I actually made an account in this Adventure Quest thing to see what it actually was and how much TMBG was in it.
A.S.: Did you really?
L.K.: Yeah, and it’s even worse than I thought it would be! I mean the art is terrible, that much can be clearly seen, but gameplay-wise it’s pure grinding without even any sort of reward.
A.S.: I hardly know what it is.  I’m pretty much as far from being a gamer as a 22-year old dude in 2012 can be.
L.K.: Like you can buy weapons or outfits but they don’t even alter your stats any. They just change your appearance. Gameplay literally consists of just clicking continuously. Like I mean, I guess the creators must make a ton of money off of a bunch of stupid kids with it somehow, but even shit like Neopets has more depth than this.
A.S.: Okay I do remember Neopets. Vaguely.
L.K.: Adventure Quest makes Mafia Wars or Farmville look like advanced tactical RPGs. I’ve been too lazy to play video games much over the past couple years, but I do have a considerable background as a gamer, having logged (literally) hundreds of hours playing everything from Pokemon to Metal Gear Solid, so I feel semi-qualified to comment on poorly designed games. But anyway, yeah, the Johns do not have that big of a role in this subplot/sidequest, except that supposedly their voices were stolen by some guy who…I don’t know. He collects stuff. So the plot is that the Johns had their voices stolen and you have to recover them.
A.S.: Ah.
L.K.: I find it pretty ironic that it’s their voices that are supposed to be the big thing that needs to be recovered, given than TMBG is pretty widely mocked for their super-nasal, nerdy singing. The Deranged Millionaire bit where he steals their “songwriting talisman” at least makes more sense.
A.S.: Yeah, I mean I guess it’s noble to try and seek out an audience in an area where literally no other band ever decides to seek out an audience – 10 year old gamers. But you gotta wonder if they really care.
L.K.: Well I mean, they probably aren’t the paying sort of audience, if you know what I mean. TMBG is getting their music out there to a bunch of stupid little boys, but I don’t think that’s necessarily going to translate into sales for them.
A.S.: I don’t know if sales are necessarily what they’re going for.  Or 10 year olds now = future sales later?  But who knows.
L.K.: The weird thing is, I guess Paul and Storm and Jonathan Coulton both did work for a special story on this game/website the previous year, but it hasn’t seemed to have any effect on people’s awareness of them online. Both of them are more nerd/internet-skewing performers than TMBG are to begin with.
A.S.: Maybe the game’s designer is a fan. I don’t really care enough to find out.
L.K.: But I haven’t ever run into anyone on twitter or YouTube going “i luv you from AQ”. Oh, oh, oh, another complaint about this dumb game. So the whole plot is that the Johns have lost their voices, right?
A.S.: Right. I guess.
L.K.: So they’ve got these super-digitally fucked up ones in the songs and in the dialogue.
A.S.: Good ol’ autotune.
L.K.: On the forums for this game, all the stupid little kids were complaining about “how poorly their voices were recorded”. Like they completely missed the fact that that was the whole point. I think that was the point where I realized that this really wasn’t an audience I wanted TMBG to be pursuing…
A.S.: What sort of music does the average AQW player even listen to? Skrillex?
L.K.: Oh jesus. I don’t know. Do people still listen to Linkin Park?
A.S.: I read that they’re working with Owen Pallett(???) of all people on something new, but I have no idea.
L.K.: They probably listen to brokeNCYDE.
A.S.: Who knows…
L.K.: Anyway, the point is this is a dumb song and a dumb game, etc. etc. I know TMBG have done silly songs for things aimed at children before, but at least those songs were more enjoyable (i.e. “Courage the Cowardly Dog”).
A.S.: “Crushed By Dust” is more inconsequential to me than anything else, but yeah, it’s really dumb.  That’s sort of the point too, I think. Thankfully they put a lot more effort into the rest of their music that year.
L.K.: I guess I’m glad they didn’t waste any melodic/harmonic ideas on it, true.
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