Muse
Showbiz


3.0
good

Review

by Ross Delany USER (35 Reviews)
December 10th, 2006 | 14 replies | 4,591 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The roots from which a great tree grows, Showbiz is the prologue to Origin of Symmetry

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

It’s been 7 years since Muse burst onto the scene with Showbiz a statement of intent from 3 young men from Teighmouth, Devon with a lot of talent and a lot more potential. Consisting of Matt Bellamy as the band’s vocalist, lyricist, pianist and guitarist. Chris Wolstenholme as bassist and backing vocalist, and Dom Howard as drummer; Muse were built as a trio with an intricate understanding of each other’s strengths, and weaknesses. So far, so good, so generic, but what makes the band so unusual was that even at this early point in their career, they had the uncanny ability to move all the energy from their live shows, on to those pieces of plastic 12 cm in diameter known as compact discs.

However, that’s not to say that this CD is flawless. There are songs on this that, for some bewildering reason, are so mind-bogglingly boring that it beggars belief that the band managed to record them without falling asleep. Songs like Overdue have a combination of boring lyrics and uninspired, bland instrumentation (that is, bar the intro) which, try as it might, fails to leave any sense of satisfaction. Escape is a little better, having lacklustre verses reduces it’s stature slightly, but the chorus exhibits some of the qualities that Muse would take and refine to for songs like Megalomania on Origin of Symmetry. As well as this, the album exhibits a flaw that would become intermittent, a weak finishing song. Hate this and I’ll love you while exhibiting some amazing lyrics, along with some aesthetically pleasing guitar and strings, just fails to gel and leave the song as a whole, disjointed and disappointing, despite having all the right ingredients.

Fortunately. The good is more prominent than the bad. Bellamy and company show that they have a ability to pull off a stellar song when the chips are down. and while the album holds three or their lesser songs, it also contains some absolutely brilliant and beautiful songs. Opening track Sunburn is a prime example of this. Focused mainly on Bellamy’s piano arpeggios with a simple drumbeat and bass riff, the song quickly switches to a chorus which is built from the bass riff upward. Add to this a solo which exhibits the beginnings of Bellamy’s guitar skills. On the other side of the coin, Muse show off the sensitive side of them that they rarely show in their music with Unintended, which is built up of a few picked chords, a quiet drumbeat, and Bellamy’s vocals which, when placed against the background of the acoustic guitar and drums, gives an impression of a ghost professing undying love for their partner. However, the album has included a vitriolic attack on the band’s hometown of Teighmouth, Devon. Falling Down acts as the bands outlet on to a town which they felt lent them no support. The lyrics, a thinly veiled attack on the town are set against a conflictingly peaceful, lightly distorted guitar for the most part, except for the final chorus, where, for a moment, the guitar lets out a screech like sound matching the pain and agony portrayed in Bellamy’s voice.

The other songs on the album are formed in a similar sort of mould, with Bellamy’s voice an a state of fluctuation between singing, screeching or hitting the upper ranges of his vocal range, behind a backdrop of simple yet effective guitar and bass riffs, which are reinforced by Dom Howard’s drumming, which, while remaining simple, doesn’t detract from the song with dullness, but rather, adds a contrast to the more chaotic sides of bellamy’s playing. It’s a shame then that an album, with an approach which, at first glance is formulaic but eventually reveals the complexity involved in keeping things simple, has it’s overall effect reduced by three songs which, unfortunately, are a little too boring or in the closing track’s case, I little too disjointed. That being said, the album is still, in no uncertain terms, good, but it leaves a feeling of “aww, is that it, I expected more” which, unfortunately, effects it more than three songs which could have been tweaked a bit ever could.

In Genre: 3.5/5
Out of Genre 2.5/5
Overall Rating: 3/5

Recommended tracks:

Unintended
Cave
Sunburn
Falling down



Reccomended album justification

The Bends: similar in genre and like Showbiz, was a precursor of what was to come

A Rush of Blood...: like Showbiz, good album with some glaring weak spots

(): Use of sounds that are only noticed after a few listens



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user ratings (1505)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
December 10th 2006



4827 Comments


Cool, nice to see reviewing again, this was very good.
The few tracks I've heard off this are good, but I think I'd like to hear Absolution first.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
December 10th 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, although I don't like Unintended or Falling Down. I think the title track is fantastic.

innerdark
December 10th 2006



749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

showbiz goes through phases for me (the track i mean) somedays it's gfreat, other days, 'tis pants

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 10th 2006



15727 Comments


Wow, never thought I'd see the likes of you again. Excellent job.

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

innerdark
December 10th 2006



749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thanks. I've been away thanks to a lot of thiings, the most irritating being intermittent writers block, which was so bad i had to get extensions on essays from my english teacher, i also have a band on the horizon,which it looks like i'm going to be guitarist an vocalist, not to mention i have exams in february.

so, fun fun

Hatshepsut
December 10th 2006



1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hey it's you.
I'm not a big fan of this album either. Nice work too.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 10th 2006



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You hit the nail on the head. Good album but Absolution and Origin of Symmetry kill it.

Sepstrup
December 11th 2006



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Absolution sucks (a little). This is definitely better than that.

innerdark
December 12th 2006



749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Personal Preference i suppose, but i think abso's better than this now

Neoteric
December 15th 2006



3243 Comments


HEY I READ YOUR REWRITE AND IT WAS GOOD, HAPPY NOW?

Ephex
December 17th 2006



730 Comments


It's reviewers like you that prove sputnik isn't dying

PayneTiger777
December 14th 2008



4388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

How could you review this and not mention Showbiz anywhere?

Phantom
December 14th 2008



8930 Comments


Good review, this is the only Muse album I've not heard.

Ironpriest
December 14th 2008



403 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah the tree line is so true. whilst this album has some incredible work, it ultimately can't be listened to in one sitting, unlike evert muse album since.



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