If albums sum up stages in a bandís career, what can be said about the discography of Muse? Showbiz gave them a radiohead clone tag that they have so unfortunately been difficult to shake off. Origin of Symmetry set them on the path to critical acclaim. The Hullabaloo Soundtrack established them as a great live band. But what about this particular album, Absolution? What tag does this album earn itself? To me, it earns itself the title of Ö Iím not sure how to say it. On one hand it has the greatness of OoS, but on the other it feels like theyíve been a bit lazy in their work. It has a feeling of incompletion, like thereís something missing, and itís a shame since the album could be better than Origin of Symmetry but instead, it ends up being the worst of their discography.
Thatís not to say the album is a ďbad" album, the musical talent is still there but in comparison to their previous albums, it just doesnít work as well. The songs have Mattís haunting voice on the mellow songs and have him screaming his heart out on some of the others. It worked last time round, but keeping it like that just seems lazy. What can be said is, while lyrically, Muse haveÖdeteriorated, musically, they have become a little more adventurous. Orchestral string instruments have been used to a greater effect and the synth has been utilised better than previous efforts. Both of these changes, along with drumming that sounds good and great bass, could very possibly be attributed to Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme being more involved in the songwriting process. The piano is also utilised a little bit better, instead of only appearing briefly as a complimenting instrument
The moods of each song compliment each other quite well, with each little piece of Museís musical flexibility being shown. The mood can shift from fast and angry to quiet, soothing yet powerful. This is one of two traits from their other studio albums which is carried on in this album. The other, is the general flow of the album. Each track has been placed extremely well so that the song is complimented by the previous and the latter song. Something Muse have always done and thankfully, is on this album as well
The albumís lyrics follow the vein of Origin of Symmetryís closing track Megalomania, in that they have a strong political meaning if you look from the right viewpoint. The three most blatantly political tracks are Apocalypse Please, The Small Print
and Ruled by Secrecy
, which all carry strong, political messages in a very subtle way, apart from The Small Print, which has a political message that has all the subtlety and delicacy of a brick!
The said tracks are also, by far the best tracks on the album along with Hysteria and Stockholm Syndrome. Those tracks show Museís music in a better light; the other songs however, are all more or less borderline filler. Not quite filler but not quite as good as they could be.
Now returning to the point we began with, the albumís tag. The sheer amount of songs that donít live up to their full potential is rather disappointing. However, on this album, when they deliver, they deliver well. The album does have the unfortunate problem of being Americaís first taste of Muse, Origin of Symmetry in no uncertain terms, tears this to pieces. So in short, if youíre looking to get into Muse, get Origin of Symmetry on import, (as far as I know, it wasnít released apart from in Europe) then, buy Hullabaloo, then Showbiz. But donít buy this to start; youíll only put yourself off.
highlight tracks (top 3)
The three best tracks on the album are Ruled by Secrecy
and Apocalypse please
1.Ruled by Secrecy, the closing track of the album, the mellowest and the most thoughtful. Just Matt on piano and Dom on drums, the melody and the lyrics will make you think about society today. Matt uses the more haunting range of his voice and it really brings out the best of the song. Should have been released as a single instead of sing for absolution.
2.Stockholm Syndrome is the heaviest track on the album and could quite possibly be called this albumís Citizen Erased, except without the mellow parts. The song is ALL Matt, he really does take all of the limelight, from his guitar work to his vocals, this song is Mattís show. Was released as a download only video which is a thermograph video of the band
3.Apocalypse Please sets the whole lyrical tone of the album, with Matt screaming and this is the end, of the world!! The piano is also used here to great effect, it just makes the whole song seem so much more dramatic than it would be with the guitar, a great display of Mattís piano skills but not enough to save most of the album from mediocrity.
Dom and Chris have more to do
Piano and synth used better
they've tried something different
Seems a bit lazy
Has a LOT of filler
Wonít appeal to most people who are just getting into Muse
Pales in comparison to rest of discography
If you havenít got origin of symmetry, get it. Otherwise, this IS the further listening
In Genre: 3.5/5 ( would be given credit for trying a little bit to change their sound)
Out of Genre: 1/5( would think it would suck
Which roughly averages out to: 2.5/5