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DLC Week of 11/16: Beartooth and Charlotte Sands

With both Beartooth “Riptide” and Charlotte Sands “Six Feet Under” you get full-tilt rock energy and introspective, relatable content. Danceable beats? Colossal riffage? Melodic hooks that will stick with you for days? Yes to all three – and then some! These DLC scorchers are available this Thursday in the Rock Band Music Store.

In the summer of 2022, American rock quintet Beartooth released the single, “Riptide,” which was later featured on the 2023 LP, The Surface. Widely considered a heavy, metalcore/hardcore band for much of their career, with “Riptide,” Beartooth mixed things up (more than) a bit. The song is both lyrically uplifting and decidedly danceable – a pointed departure from the band’s previous material that was consistently a darker, bruising brand of hard rock.

Singer, multi-instrumentalist, and overall Beartooth mastermind, Caleb Shomo noted at the time that his songwriting had been heavily influenced by recent changes to his lifestyle and, consequently, mindset: “I wanted to make something really fun, that makes you happy and isn’t really fucking sad." Without a doubt, “Riptide” succeeds in conveying an upbeat – but still musically heavy rock – vibe. “It was an incredibly emotional experience, for sure,” Shomo added. “I think I wrote it about a week into me quitting drinking, which was pretty nuts. It was the first piece of music that I had written without alcohol being involved in… I don’t know, probably 10 years, which was really interesting. There was just like a lot of stuff coming up – a lot of, ‘Wow, there’s other things to talk about.’”

How exactly was this new layer of Beartooth’s musical expression achieved? First off, the song starts off with a hypnotic, repeated guitar figure married to layered, muffled vocals and swirling EQ effects before things get started for real. That true beginning doesn’t take long to land, however (all of seven seconds, to be precise), and we’re suddenly awash in grinding bass and four-on-the-floor, disco-ready drums. After that initial rhythm-and-vox salvo, the intensity progressively ramps up with colossal guitar work and ever-more-complex drum parts. Then, at :30, we reach the first chorus with Shomo singing a highly melodic line over beats and instrumentation that would be equally – if not more – suited to the dancefloor as to the mosh pit. Hooky and grooving for sure, but this is nonetheless unquestionably hard rockin’ stuff. Following the refrain, it’s all detuned distorted guitars, scream-sung vox, and unhinged rhythms until we settle back into a more traditional dance-pop arrangement. Then it’s time for the second verse – this time segueing into the song’s bridge at 2:08. It’s in this section, replete with thunderous drums and punishing bass/guitar interplay, that the listener is reminded in no uncertain terms: “Riptide” may represent new territory for Beartooth, but we’re still dealing with a *heavy* and aggressive musical force. From there, the track rides an enjoyable wave that’s equal parts danceable and brutal, through to the satisfying conclusion at the 3:31 point. 

Shomo shared when “Riptide” dropped: “I’m starting to realize now that there are better ways for me to function, that I think just make me a lot happier. And it’s cool! And that’s where ‘Riptide’ came from.”

It’s cool, indeed. Nicely done!

Released in March of 2023, “Six Feet Under” showcases the strengths that have made singer-songwriter Charlotte Sands a rising star to keep an eye on. Bouncing with punky energy while delivering instantly addictive, poppy, melodic hooks, it’s an emo-rock masterclass – an angsty, upbeat banger as vibrant as Sands’ electric blue hair.

A repeated arpeggiated guitar “broken chord” starts the track off, soon joined by distant, chirping synth in the background. At 11 seconds in, both Sands’ voice and a treated/electronic kick-and-snare are added, slowly ramping up the intensity of “Six Feet Under.” At the 45-second mark, all additional instrumentation pulls back, leaving just vocals and guitar defining the pre-chorus. It’s both here and the muscular, full-band chorus, which ultimately kicks in around 10 seconds later, that the listener comes to terms with Sands’ unassailable vocal chops. She effortlessly glides from head voice to chest voice, falsetto to full-throated belting – whether this is natural talent, or a result of hours of meticulous training, or both, her skill and vocal range is something to behold. 

Following the instantly unforgettable chorus, the song segues into the second verse, which is now a wide-open, full instrumentation affair. Thrumming bass, arena-worthy guitar, and powerful drums capably support Sands’ moody, heart-on-sleeve vocals. It’s these qualities that drive the remainder of the song, with occasional changes of pace and arrangement keeping things interesting all the way through to the epic, tear-jerker conclusion at 3:11.

Speaking of those vocals, that catchy-as-heck refrain, and those passionately empathetic lyrics – what’s “Six Feet Under” *about*? Well, it doesn’t take repeat listens or a thesaurus to pick up on the notion that the song deals with the topic of mental wellness (or lack thereof).

“‘Six Feet Under’ is a song about having the impulse to sabotage your own life whenever it feels comfortable and the addictiveness of having highs and lows instead of balance and stability,” said Charlotte, when the song was released. “It’s for anyone that finds themself having self-destructive tendencies and constantly struggles with embracing solidity. I hope you love this song and I hope it brings you some kind of peace knowing you are not the only person who feels more at ease when surrounded by chaos.”

It's a safe bet that this genre-blurring, lyrically dense banger has brought peace to many listeners – and to those who don’t necessarily relate on a personal level to the subject matter, if nothing else “Six Feet Under” is a powerfully catchy and emotive rocker to play over and over (and over)!

Beartooth “Riptide” and Charlotte Sands “Six Feet Under” are now available as DLC. Both can now be yours for $1.99 each.

  • Beartooth – “Riptide”
  • Charlotte Sands – “Six Feet Under”

VIDEO: Rock Band 4 DLC Week of 11/16: Beartooth “Riptide” and Charlotte Sands “Six Feet Under”



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, November 16th.