Disclaimer: neither I nor sputnikmusic can be held responsible for this never leaving your cd player. A bold statement, but a true one
Muse, hmmm, if I was to describe them just now I would fail miserably as muse are one of those ďspecial" bands that lets the music do the talking. Theyíve done it with showbiz and they done it with absolution but this album, this album blows the two of them away.
Everything works SO WELL! From Mattís piano playing sending you into a trance-like state to Dom Howardís drumming to Chris Wolstenholmeís amazing bass playing. The album takes you and MAKES you listen.
a good way to describe this album is, like an onion, it's got a lot of layers and despite what it looks like on the surface, it's very complex
Anyway, thatís enough description of the bandís sound. Letís get to the review!
The opener on this album is the highly infectious New Born
. This is where you get a small taster of Matt Bellamyís piano skills, itís just him, a piano and Dom on drums for 1:20. Then you get the inevitable transition to guitar and what a sweet transition it is too. This is where Matt exhibits his guitar ability, ok, itís an easy riff but remember, heís playing this through the whole song, which takes stamina. One noticeable thing about a lot of Muse tracks is the melody is played by the bass while the synth work is going on. Domís Drumming on this song isnít particularly anything to write home about except in the choruses. 5/5
The intro to Bliss
is Matt on his trusty Synthesizer, this synth loop carries on throughout the whole song. One thing that is truly noticeable is Mattís songwriting skills, in this itís worshipping/ stalker lyrics ďeverything about you is how I want to be", tell me that doesnít sound a bit creepy. Chrisís bass playing skills add a lot to this song, Iíve always said, if Mattís the brains of the operation the Chris is the backbone. Sure, Matt can play really well, but where would he be without Chris on this and many other songs? Up a creek, thatís where. Domís drumming still isnít anything special, in fact, this album isnít his best for drumming but the rhythmís kept really well and I suppose thatís his job. 3.5/5
Hey! Did anyone in the room ask for a piano epic from Matt? If they did (I know I certainly did) then Space Dementia
is their song. This song is Matt on piano (almost) all the way, from intro to outro. The intro to this is Absolutely Beautiful, the best Matt has ever done on the piano, then, he slips into the piano ďriff" (can you get a piano riff?) which is dramatic all the way through. Domís drumming just happens to pick back up again of this song and Mattís songwriting skills are still golden.
the synths in the Chorus are a rather nice touch to the song as are the violins in the background., the ending to this is a lot of guitar distortion and feedback and what not 5/5
HmmmmÖ crazy pick scratch intro? Cool lyrics? Muse? I can only be talking about Hyper Music
, which is a great song. The intro to this is so distinctive and so impressive and Mattís hmmmmmmmmmms at the start of the song only increase that sense of awe. The guitar in this track is just amazing, thatís the only way I can describe it, as is the bassline which runs through the song. Itís at this point that you truly realize that Muse are taking you on the Musical equivalent of a rocket trip and itís not going to stop anytime soon. The riffs they can make are awesome.
Testament to their ability to pull you in with an amazing riff is their most famous track Plug in Baby
. This song truly made them the superstar phenomenon they are today. The track starts off with wailing feedback which then gives ways to one of the 21st centuryís most recognizable hooks. Domís drumbeats are nice on this song but again, Matt and Chris overshadow him. Chrisís bassline is quite possibly the 2nd nicest off of the album and Mattís Lyrical brilliance along with his soprano vocal abilities makes this a great song.
Here it is, the jewel in this albumís crown, the piece de resistance. Citizen Erased
is the masterpiece of this album, with it flowing through all of Museís signature styles and techniques it truly is, a classic song. Itís a monster at 7:20 but that just adds to the charm. Itís basically a combination of 2 or 3 songs but itís done in such a way that they fit with each other so well. The first two minutes of the song demonstrate the heavier side to Museís Music. with a pounding bassline throughout this first sector, it doesnít need the guitar as the bass carries the melody along so well. Mattís vocals in this song are the best on the whole album especially in the chorus in the first part, where he goes from singing normally to his soprano pitch with an amazing fluency.
If you listen carefully in the second part you can hear the synth, drums and bass in the background but in the verse theyíre so quiet you may not notice them in the background., after the chorus in the quiet part of the song, we get treated to a minute long instrumental and I tell you, it enhances the songís enjoyability by a factor of 10. After this we get another normal to soprano chorus which then descends into a peaceful guitar, synth and drum combo for the last two minutes. This only helps to increase the diversity of the song and make it more enjoyable. In the last 30 seconds Matt sings, and it closes the song extremely well
I regret that ratings donít go past 5 because this song is so much better than anything else Iíve ever heardÖEVER
The song which was given the next to impossible task of coming after Citizen Erased was Micro Cuts
, not an admirable proposition for any son, but micro cuts pulls it off. With a gloriously simple guitar riff and Matt using his soprano part of his voice to itís full extent, the song gets on fine. The bassline in this is gloriously simple as well. The true high point of this song is the pre-outro, which consists of Matt reaching notes that any soprano would be proud of, the end riff is amazing and finishes the song ever so well
Unfortunately, every little run has to stutter somewhere and this album is no exception. The stutter in this case is Screenager
. Being the only acoustic song on the album makes it stick out like a sore thumb anyway and the rather aimless lyrics donít help matters. Itís not usual that Muse do really bad on a song but this, unfortunately, is one of those rare occasions, it is still average though.
Fortunately, this blip in the run of great songs stays as exactly that, a blip. Normal service is resumed with the undoubtedly great Darkshines
, which begins with a nice guitar riff. Mattís lyrics in this album freak me out, they just sound kind of like a serial killer/serial rapist/ stalker. Sends shivers down my spine with every listen. The chorus in this is the real star though, with Matt screaming ďDarkshines, BRINGING ME DOWNÖ" . This is NOT a song you would want to listen to on your own with the lights off. It just does what it sets out to do amazingly. 4.5/5
The penultimate track in this piece of musical goodness is a cover of Nina Simoneís Feeling Good
. this song is really different to the other tracks on here. Muse manage to keep that slightly Jazz theme in the song even with their guitar, bass and drums giving it a heavier ďtwist". Mattís vocals in this song make it their own though, the distinct vocal style of Matt Bellamy is what makes Muse wellÖ Muse. The bass in this song does really well in mixing with the piano and guitar. Quite possibly, the most calming song on the album, bar none. 4/5
Here we are, at the end of this amazing album. Youíre just expecting this to trip up on the closing track; they canít have only made one mistake, can they? The answer to this is simple. Megalomania
is the perfect album closer. Taking the same street as Hate this and Iíll love you, this track is a quiet, retrospective end piece. There is no guitar on this track, itís drums, bass, violin and pipe organ and it works like a charm. The lyrics have a very political twist, much like ruled by secrecy from absolution. Matt has demonstrated, throughout the entire album, (not including Screenager) that his lyrics are some of the best that could ever be written
In retrospect, this album is definitely the best muse have put out so far, it has the rocky elements of showbiz (compare hyper music and plug in baby to fillip and Uno respectively) and the political elements of absolution (compare megalomania to ruled by secrecy). This is worthy of a place in your album collection. Be you emo, metalhead, or any other genre worshipper you MUST buy this, it isnít a case of must hears because they all are.