Muse
The Resistance


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ryan Munthe USER (7 Reviews)
February 23rd, 2011 | 64 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Waking up the out-of-touch hipsters, courtesy of Matt Bellamy.

Muse. The Illuminati’s best kept secret.

No, I’ll take that back; Muse probably isn’t much of a secret anymore. Everyone knows them now. The Resistance acknowledges they aren’t a secret anymore. I mean, here’s a band, selling out 70,000 seat stadiums but yet go relatively unnoticed across the pond, as the Brits say.
The Illuminati is a myth, anyway; but the amount of media coming from their rumored membership is enough to skyrocket their fame to even greater heights.

And now that Muse hit it big “across the pond” the die-hards turn their back on them.

Just because they attempted something a little grandiose.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with The Resistance; just that it’s commercial. The fans from the Origin of Symmetry era jacking off to pictures of a red-haired Matt Bellamy with the spiky hair throwing his guitar at their bassist’s head (Chris Wolstenhomme) are gone. What’s left, then, is a band that’s been commercial from the very beginning acknowledging their commercial status and releasing a commercial album true to their roots.

Some say it’s selling out.

In a way, it could be construed as selling out; Uprising is a massively commercial song, and that tour was a commercial money-grub, let me tell you. Yet, a three part symphony isn’t commercial, nor is a synthpop song on a rock album, nor is a song about a covered up government conspiracy, nor is a song sung halfway in French.

So whether or not you say The Resistance is commercial is beside the point; Muse has at least tweaked their sound slightly to get popular in America. And I, for one, welcome Muse’s commercialization in America. Muse managed to bring progressive and experimental to the mainstream once again, something not accomplished since the days of Pink Floyd (like to argue that Muse isn’t progressive? I’ll go toe-to-toe with you in the comments section). Muse brought rock music that isn’t recycled riffs like American Idiot to the pop world. Muse brought rock to the bull*** that is the Grammys. The best part is that they sacrificed very little.

To the people who say The Resistance was sell out: I can admit it, they made commercial strides. But they didn't sell out completely. So to the people emphatically declining Muse didn't strive for commercialism, I'll say that if you can honestly tell me that Uprising, in all it’s basic, simplistic glory, isn’t fist-pumping gold meant for sports games similar to Queen’s "We Will Rock You", I’ll be the first to call you a flat-out liar. Uprising is a basic mishmash of influences with an undeniably catchy chorus, infectious synthesizer, and a galloping drum beat that won’t go away. And much like Queen’s News of the World (the album featuring "We Will Rock You"), the stadium anthem is the most basic song on the album.

But the rest of the album skews things. The rest of the album isn't sell out material, or commercial in the least bit; because when Muse return to their technical, hard-rocking roots, they still do it better than their contemporaries. "MK Ultra" is the best song they’ve written since "Stockholm Syndrome", the piercing guitar line (yes, that’s a guitar line distorted to oblivion) counting down to one of Matt’s best vocal performances. Then there’s the gritty "Unnatural Selection", the hinging point of the entire album; a cluster of Muse’s many styles and phases riding on an organ and shredding guitar riffs.

Then what's confounding are songs like "Guiding Light" "Eurasia", "I Belong to You" or "Undisclosed Desires". The mainstream isn't going to bite on the cheese 80s anthem "Guiding Light" or the utterly ridiculous Queen rip-off "United States of Eurasia", both of which are alright songs. But it takes some balls to throw in the Maroon 5-in-French "I Belong to You" (yeah, that's a clarinet solo) or the Depeche Mode sound-alike "Undisclosed Desires". When the album is marketed as prog rock, pop songs like these may confound or irritate mainstream audiences looking for songs like "Uprising". But they don't get that, they get the cluster of influences that The Resistance is. Then to end it all, you have a fifteen-minute three-part closing suite that is reminiscent of what Rush used to do back in the day; sparse vocals, extended introductions, lots of piano, and a setup like a symphony. That doesn't seem very commercial.

I, for one would much rather see the public listening to Muse than Ke$ha. And that’s what’s happening, Muse is bringing rock back to a mainstream audience. They're a household name everywhere. Now, once again, whether that’s good or bad is up to you. For the album’s length Muse combines, very loosely I might add, pop, rock, metal, and progressive into a concept album surrounding love and a dystopian future. When is the last time the mainstream bit into something this thick?

I don’t think it’s fair to say that Muse is turning their back on who made them, the old fans, because the live shows are more than friendly to the old fan and The Resistance has enough to keep the old fan hanging around; but in the process creating a moderately commercial, ridiculous concept album that is exactly everything what rock was thirty years ago; bombastic, pomp, ridiculous, and fun. Look at their stage set-up, Bellamy’s attitude and their outfits. They don’t take themselves too seriously; there’s a video of them laughing in studio at the vocal effects in The Resistance. Isn’t that what Queen did in their day? Is it fair to call Muse the Queen of our day? It’s fair; because as they’ve progressed, they’ve come under the same fire, the same controversy, but remained a public phenomenon that is a live force to behold. It sounds similar, I know.

That’s because it’s true.

The Resistance is an undeniably catchy, rousing, challenging, progressively included pop/rock album that brought something new to the mainstream. Whether you think it’s good or not is purely subjective opinion, but I can point out what makes The Resistance good, and a success. Can you?



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user ratings (2325)
Chart.
2.8
good
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
rjmunthe
February 23rd 2011


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Flame on.

This was meant to be confrontational. Because it's true.

vanderb0b
February 23rd 2011


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Some really great songs on this (like MK Ultra), but so much of this is absolutely pointless, like the superfluous use of Chopin and Saint-Saens (I think it's S-S, not sure, as I haven't listened to this in ages). Review is nice.

Knott-
Emeritus
February 23rd 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

but I can point out what makes The Resistance [...] a success. Can you?


definitely

but I can point out what makes The Resistance good[...]. Can you?


no because it isnt

rjmunthe
February 23rd 2011


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Go ahead, then.

Knott-
Emeritus
February 23rd 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

nah im ok

rjmunthe
February 23rd 2011


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Because the only thing you can't properly back up your opinion with any real reasons; which doesn't bother me, because I respect opinions; this is mine, that people who rag on the album simply are blinded by the fact that it's commercial.

I see what you did there.

KILL
February 23rd 2011


72131 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Exogenesis: Symphony Part I (Overture)

are these fuckers trying to be rush? no one can do rush except rush fucking twat band god this band SUCK

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

spillingmercury
February 23rd 2011


877 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I feel like this review contradicts itself a lot. Nevermind the fact that it talks for way too long about Muse and their success, but you keep teetering about as to whether they're commerical or not. At one point, you say that their sound is not commerical at all, and yet before you argue that from the very beginning that they've been commerical.

I don't care either way, but it makes your review feel very cluttered.

Your review of their actual music also feels rather...lacking? You put down their music as silly copies of other major mainstream rock groups, yet you praise them for exactly that without completely elaborating your point.

I also really can't stand when a review points out that music is subjective, when the whole point of music review is to explain your point of view on the album.

Been commenting on Muse a lot lately. Makes me feel like I'm a bit too concerned with this band.

Knott-
Emeritus
February 23rd 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

It's a good job I don't listen to commercial music otherwise that argument would collapse almost immediately.

Wait a minute.

rjmunthe
February 23rd 2011


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really?

Because I point out that Muse's music, per se, isn't commercial; but they are a commercial band.

And I realize that my review of the music was lacking; it was more of a Pitchfork styled review. The goal of the review was to portray the music without necessarily saying "this is good rock music". That makes a review boring to read.

CelestialDust
February 23rd 2011


3156 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

muse trolled us. they just wanted to show how easy it was to win rock album of the year

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 23rd 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was reading this review, and then one thing jumped out at me: why the hell do people seem to think that "Guiding Light" has U2 influences?!

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

Scoot
February 23rd 2011


17887 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

boring as hell

Digging: Renounced - The Melancholy We Ache

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 23rd 2011


16789 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

After hearing Origin of Symmetry and Absolution, it is just too damn hard to take this album seriously. Muse is a shell of what it used to be, I hope they go back to making decent rock music instead of this twilight pop

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

Jethro42
February 23rd 2011


12551 Comments


I've only heard Uprising here. Sounds like some classic Muse.

fr33convict
February 23rd 2011


11698 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Really it's not that this album is more commercial or accessible. It's just that most of it is really shitty.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 23rd 2011


23976 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

this album is poop

Digging: Marketa Irglova - Muna

fr33convict
February 23rd 2011


11698 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

But then you have the oddities like "Guiding Light", a mediocre 80s U2-inspired anthem that is far too cheesy to take serious, the utterly ridiculous Queen rip-off "United States of Eurasia", or the Maroon 5-outtake-in-French "I Belong to You". Or the pop-dosed synthpop "Undisclosed Desires".
I'm not understanding how you can justify a 4.5 having this in your review.

spillingmercury
February 23rd 2011


877 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I've never read Pitchfork. I actually only realised it existed because of this site. Anyways,

Like I said, you teeter on calling the music "commercial" or at the least "mainstream". I don't have a full grasp as if there's a difference, so enlighten me on that. But comparing them to U2, Queen, and Maroon 5 doesn't seem to help at all, and neither does noting that the album has a variety of "anthem"-like songs, which tend to get such a quality due to its simplicity and catchiness. You also separate the album and Muse with qualities of being commercial, so I assumed you were referring to the sound itself as commercial as well.

As for the band, you do the same but in lesser doses. You consider them a band that has always been commercial, but then you note that people regard them as sell outs. Maybe its because I don't really see how a band could have always been commercial and yet "sell out," or because you're trying to show the how irrational the fanbase is being in the, "they've always been mainstream, who could they've possibly sold out to?" way, but I feel as though the clarity of your points are lost. They all revisit one another, but in a way where it becomes confusing as to what you're trying to prove.

aok
February 23rd 2011


4457 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

'After hearing Origin of Symmetry and Absolution, it is just too damn hard to take this album seriously. Muse is a shell of what it used to be, I hope they go back to making decent rock music instead of this twilight pop ' -- agreed



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