Review Summary: An album that combines outrageous rock bombast with an operatic tragedy that can be both incredible and ridiculous in equal measures.
Is it possible to enjoy a band's musical output whilst reserving judgement on their political stance? That's the conundrum I face every time I listen to Muse. They have produced music of grandiose magnificence and still remain one of the most outstanding live acts on this planet, but I simply can't agree with frontman Matt Bellamy's trenchant view that 9/11 was a Government inspired "con job". I struggle with his reasoning that ultimately Capitalism, corporate conglomorates and dictatorial, manipulative leaders of the Western world will bring earth's bloody destruction. And yet, for all the misgivings I listen to "Take A Bow" from 2006's "Black Holes And Revelations" and increasingly admire its musical energy, anger and brutal power. Bellamy's views may be provocative, but undoubtedly they feed his ability to create inspired music that deservedly draws support from an avid fanbase who probably care more for his output than his causes.
"The Resistance" further expands the bleak apocalyptic meltdown that threatens our world. Bellamy is the paranoic harbinger of authoritarian manipulation, surveillance and repression. His fears are conveyed in a music that combines outrageous rock bombast with an operatic tragedy that can be both incredible and ridiculous in equal measures. For all his overwrought tales of doom he manages to bring a central theme that will overcome our destruction; love. Taking a lead from Winston and Julia's story in Orwell's "1984", the belief in the power of love over all drives many of the songs from this collection, all encapsulated in the outstanding epic "I Belong To You (Mon Couer S'ouvre a ta Voix)". What starts out as a genuinely invigorating pop song drifts into a melodramatic aria drawing inspiration from Saint-Saens "My Heart Belongs To You" from the 19th Century opera "Samson And Delilah" and then inexplicably returning to the original song via an unexpected yet inspired Oboe solo. The song will undoubtedly bewilder many, but for me Bellamy's bleeding tenor, the overwhelming vocal and lyrical commitment to the object of his affections makes it a most memorable moment.
The vivid space age atmospherics of "United States Of Eurasia", where Bellamy extols the virtue of a state that combines Europe with former Communist countries to make one "super continent" may be questionable, but the music is threateningly literal. The simple piano balladry bursts into Queen like extravagance leading into a rhythm heavy Eastern anthem that fades to a gentle Chopin styled orchestral movement (with added sounds of jet engines in the background) and makes for a stunningly sweet conclusion.
Matt Bellamy and Muse will one day write and perform an album of contemporary classical music. The mainly orchestral "Exogenics" suite of three songs that close the album are extraordinarily elegant in their scope and lead one to assume that at some stage they will pursue an album that fully embodies their skill in creating an impressive opus that doesn't tie them to modern rock music.The title track is probably the most immediately gratifying piece with its melodic piano refrain and powerful chorus that maintains Muse's ability to create strong singles to support their long players. "The Resistance" does contain mis-fires though, which includes the Timbaland styled rhythm that negatively affects "Undisclosed Desires". It's a point where Muse overstretch themselves in an attempt to remain current. They don't need to. That's not why people buy their records. "Guiding Light" tries manfully to buy your attention but genuinely requires an injection of pace.
For all my reservations concerning Matt Bellamy's political intentions, I have to bow to his level of ambition, his fearless pursuit of some overblown musical individuality few other artists have the courage to even think of. "The Resistance" is a definitive statement of Muse's honesty and commitment to make something uniquely memorable. In that, they have ultimately suceeded.
I never really understood the hate that this album got.... i thought most prog rock fans would've been more open-minded and accepting of this, but i guess i was wrong. Nice review, btw. Very well-written.
I've only heard about half of Origin of Symmetry. Absolution and Black Holes are both great, though. I played the hell out of Black Holes not long after it came out. Been too long since i've listened to either of them, though....
I like this a lot, mostly for Exogenesis. It'd be great if it was about rebellion in general, but it turns out the "resistance" mentioned in the title is love. Guess I'd better stick with Say Anything when I need some anti-love.
Muse has been one of my favorite bands for a long time...and i must say that i really dislike this album considering the albums that came before this one. Absolution and Orgin Of Symmetry are so amazing and blow this one out of the water. Good review though