Review Summary: Interesting…or is it just madness?
Muse has recently had the ability to be trashed by its listeners and yet it can still be praised. That’s the result we got from The Resistance: the mixed reception. And Muse is not a group to stick its head out of the hole they dug themselves into. Suddenly, lo and behold, Muse makes some collateral efforts to get out of the hole they dug into with the ratings they received, and get the same reaction. But somehow, maybe the depths of despair aren’t as dark and doomful as further looked at first.
To support that, let’s put it lightly that Muse had good ideas in mind to start with Supremacy. It’s a decent start to the album, with the fanfare-style orchestrations added in the background. As usual, Matt Bellamy sounds indulgent with his singing (no surprise, I saw that on The Resistance as well) While it may be one step from pretentious, it keeps from going there with the calamity heard in parts of the song.
However, the 2nd Law definitely has weak-points, like Madness. For one reason, the style of music deeply contrasts what was heard in Supremacy, something not normal for your average rock album. In fact, this song is almost rather polarizing and out in the open as some sort of open kill…not intentionally, though. It’s just that the efforts of this song kind’ve hurt the album.
Again, Muse is something out the normal. Just constantly contrasting its style with each as it goes. Panic Station doesn’t quite speak that, though. It’s really just a combination of the styles taken from Supremacy and Madness, put together in some clash type tune. Matt Bellamy is definitely being overindulgent in this song, but this time around, it might be the worst.
Prelude/Survival may perhaps be the group’s attempt at an epic. What starts out seemingly grand and almost glorious scale in Prelude is just screwing around with your mind that carries into the pop ballad, Survival. But wait….maybe this is not a pop ballad. After a while, it turns into some postmodern metal tune with some random backing choir (unless Matt Bellamy had it in him to sing all the voices, which wouldn’t surprise me). However, Bellamy is less indulgent, and more just crazy.
Muse has a specialty of changing the feel of the album and it’s constant. Follow Me, is almost like a return to a Black Holes and Revelations type song (if you don’t count the electronic dominance to this song). However, unlike some songs like Madness and Panic Station, this song is only making up for some of the other botched up works from earlier.
After hearing about half the album, this one has a constant pattern of genre type that doesn’t change. Animals is pure proof of that. It constitutes some of the softer, early 00s style it inherited from some of its previous albums. It’s also more enjoyable, more rock oriented, less indulgent, cohesive, and carries a style almost lost in the past.
And now to the calamity of space, which is what Explorers feels like. It gives your mind a rest from the insanity of Madness, Supremacy, and Survival, lets your mind for the next few tracks. It almost feels like an attempt to imitate a past prog rock band, Yes, but not as classic, though. However, it’s definitely a worthy piece.
There is still a shocking fact about this album: it’s more electronic than its past efforts. It’s almost scary. Take Big Freeze for example. Like Madness and Follow Me, the rock sound heard in each of these pieces is enhanced, just a little too much to an electronica feel. It’s not bad, but this not normal for a band like Muse either.
Another return to calamity wouldn’t hurt the album. Maybe that’s what Save Me is about. This may be the only song where the other vocalist, Chris Wolstenholme shows some actual emotion in a track on the whole album. And, it seems pretty well balanced, in contract to some of the past tracks, another decent track of well up-to-the-grade proportions.
Muse can surprise its listeners, sometimes. And Liquid State might’ve just done that. It starts with a metal type music feel, having the listener thinking the last big sound might impersonate the prog rock efforts from Absolution and Origin of Symmetry. That’s how Muse works.
Again, Muse still has the element of surprise. The 2nd Law is a shocker to the listener’s mind, which heard lots of electronica rock, which seemingly dominates the album. And then the more shocking, it returns back to electronica (ah….the element of surprise). So in other words, this final track is just some great epic of unpredictable proportions. It continues to work that way when The 2nd Law dives into part two, Isolated System. Unlike most album epics make, this one has no set feel to it, which is almost strange. Perhaps, this is an attempt at getting to electronic avant-garde. Don’t be surprised if the song doesn’t stay that way (which by the way, it doesn’t). It’s back to the plain old electronica, which grew slightly more boring as the album progressed. And to end so, where was the vocals of Matt Bellamy? That was one of few bad things about the final title track.
And so, I can conclude that Muse, the band that seemed to start as a prog alternative rock band took a dangerous turn. Was it fatal? Not quite. It’s just unknown boundaries that should be discovered with caution. That means Muse should’ve left the electronica efforts to Dubstep, and continued the original effort. But I digress, this wasn’t the worst I’ve heard from albums. One thing you can’t do is compare it to other artists, but only to its past albums. Because Muse is the unpredictable movement of music, into the mysterious beyond, it is to be commended for trying to get out of the pit of despair. It will still be tough to get back out having known the damage was done, though.