Review Summary: The last line of the album sums it up perfectly: "Let's start over again..."
Since its release in 2009, Muse's The Resistance
began to split Muse's fanbase down the middle, and has been rather touchy of a subject among fans of the band. This is really Muse's first attempt at creating something meant to seem symphonic, blending in elements of heavy metal, electronica, Britpop, classical music, and even classic Queen. And sadly, it falls flat on its face by the time the album reaches a close- a first for Muse, if anything.
Depending on who you ask, The Resistance is either one of Muse's best albums, or one of their worst. The way I see things, listening to The Resistance is almost like running for 10 KM, only to finish it by running face-first into a wall... sure, you feel as if you've managed to accomplish something, but you don't feel like you've gotten anything grand out of it but a wham to the face. There's a lot of landmarks and beautiful scenery to experience along the way, but they never really amount to a climax, or a reward, even. The way Muse blends the said elements above, it's like they haphazardly threw all those elements into a blender with no portion control or creative intent. A lot of the songs start off on the right foot, only for a bad part to come in and ruin everything. A good example is "Resistance". It starts off very atmospheric and grand, but then it's ruined by a completely lame part before the chorus.Â*
One big issue: will someone please teach these guys how to write lyrics? That, or to study the lyrics to some of their older stuff like "Muscle Museum", "Megalomania", "Futurism", "Stockholm Syndrome", "Thoughts of a Dying Atheist", "City of Delusion", and many others? The lyrics on this album are among the band's worst and some of the worst I've ever heard. The lyrics can be divided into two categories: cheesy, corny love song lyrics and conspiracy theory political mumbo jumbo ("It's time the fat cats had a heart attack!
"). Both are nothing short of absolutely cringe worthy. Is almost as if they had a book of love song cliches at hand, and decided to mash them with their typical conspiracy theory BS ("LOVE IS OUR RESISTAAAAAANCE!!!!
"). Category one can be summed up with this cringe worthy refrain from Uprising:
"They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious
Wow, look at that. They rhymed "us" with "us" three times, and showed their general inability to rhyme by rhyming "us" with "victorious". Oh, and who's "us", or "they"? Either way I'm not interested. Which is a shame, because the music, while quite simple and VERY derivative, is pretty cool, despite the corny "Hey" and "so come on" breaks here and there. And then there's the cheesy love song lyrics, which truly have to be heard to be believed:
"How much pain has cracked your soul?
How much love would make you whole?
You're my guiding lightning strike
I can't find the words to say
I've traveled half the world to say
I belong to you
That above stanza is from "I Belong to You", one of the worst tunes on the album. The whole song is full of cutesy love song lyrics that would make One Direction spit their coffee out in pure disbelief. And Matt's lame attempts at singing in French only make things much worse than you'd believe.
As for the music. I've gotta be honest here... what happened? I understand the shift to pop has been happening since Absolution. But where's the pyrotechnics, the acrobatics, the synth soaked bits that climax over and over again, the balance of pure beauty and sheer evil that made Muse so unique in the first place? Even the rather poppy bits that were interspersed throughout Â*Black Holes
were much more fun to listen to. Most of the music sounds depressingly generic; there's some genuinely catchy parts in there but they last for maybe 10 seconds. There's moments that should be thrilling, but just simply fall- in example, "Unnatural Selection" begins with an organ, and it doesn't really feel natural at all. The organ in "Megalomania" feels like it's there for a reason, but here it just sounds like they're throwing music at us. songs like "Exo Politics", "City of Delusion", "Bliss", "Space Dementia", "Shine Acoustic", "Dead Star" are truly unique, and surely this orchestro-pop-metal sound just feels forced and doesn't work here.
Then there's two bits that might be the worst music I've ever heard: "United States of Eurasia", which is just plain dull and over-the-top. There was a time when being the new Queen
seemed like it would be a great idea for Muse, but they seem to have taken it way too literally. The "United states of Eura... SIA! SIA!" part makes me choke every time. Note to Muse: only Queen can sound like Queen. When you try stuff like this, it's pretentious. You're trying way too hard. And then there's "Exogenesis", the three piece symphony, which is the most over the top thing I've ever heard, and not in a good way. Three tracks of Matt whining over strings with occasional few moments that sound really cool, but the rest of the piece really just falters. In fact, when by the end of part 3 strikes, where Matt sings, "Let's start ooooooooover again...", you can't help but agree.
So, are there any good songs? Well, I suppose "Unnatural Selection" is a decent tune. Despite said quibbles in the song's intro, it is a nice and heavy tune that sounds like System of a Down meets Queen. That's all I can think of Â*right now, because too much of the album is filled with songs that have good parts, but then go off into some wild tangent and are ruined. I love heavy metal, I love electronica, I love classical. I don't love however when things are thrown together and come off like flipping the channels on TV.Â*
But every artist is allowed to have a boring moment. And after ten years of a stellar output, it's best to just ignore this album and dismiss it as a boring moment from which they thankfully recovered; as the next album The 2nd Law
was unexpectedly pretty sweet. It sounded like the album this one could have been if it had any sense of direction. Either way, The Resistance
is by no means a classic, and while it aims big, it sadly doesn't hit the target but rather a nearby tree branch.