Muse
The 2nd Law


4.0
excellent

Review

by JosuaJoubert USER (1 Reviews)
January 12th, 2013 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Incredible. Includes a few pointless tracks, but overall a good original effort from Muse.

I'll have to admit, I'm rather new to Muse.

The first work that I heard from this band came from their previous album, "The Resistance", which offered a variety of sounds from the dance styled "Undisclosed Desires" to the rock ballad/eastern "United States Of Eurasia".
I then did some exploration into this band and discovered their earlier music, which falls more under rock than the new, alternative style which can be heard on "The Resistance"

Even so, I don't want to talk about how "The 2nd Law" relates to Muse's older music. I'd rather talk about this album on its own and how each song hit me, track by track.

1. Supremacy

"Supremacy" is quite obviously inspired by previous James Bond film-themes, and drummer Dom Howard even stated that he would have liked to see it involved in the latest installment, "Skyfall". The song starts off with a slick guitar and simple yet driving bass drum, later accompanied by trumpets and other orchestral elements. The first verse, however, offers a contrast and introduces a slower melody with strings.
When singer Matthew Bellamy cries the title word (in an incredible falsetto) the music switches back to the guitar and drum beat, which offers that bad ass Bond side of it. I would've liked it even more if the second verse wasn't made up entirely of a guitar solo, which imitates the melody done by Bellamy in the first verse. I feel like better ideas for the final parts of the song would have improved it even more. 8/10

2. Madness

"Madness" is a good example of a modern-day Queen song, in terms of style. A simple electronic tune stays audible throughout the song, and every now and then as the song builds up another instrument or layer is added. The climax of the song has Bellamy's voice soaring high as opposed to being rather soft for the most of the song.
This disappointed me slightly, because the rest of the album (and other Muse music) is evidence that Bellamy has an exceptionally powerful voice, but intentionally gave a whisper like, hoarse delivery for "Madness". The percussion in this song is pretty much the same throughout, with a strong fill thrown in once or twice. I think that a slightly more complicated or faster pattern should have been used during that climax. 8/10

3. Panic Station

Some Muse fans make it clear that they don't like this song. It's an upbeat funk-rock style song, giving off the image of Michael Jackson-kind of dancing. It's quite interesting and very unlike the rest of the album, and is also responsible for the Explicit Lyric sticker which "The 2nd Law" owns. As a song, I suggest not over-thinking this one.
It's fun and catchy, and offers an interesting side of Muse, not quite seen before. However, the lyrics are still a bit inconsistent, making it difficult to understand just exactly what the song is about. 6/10

4. Prelude

Prelude is actually more of a dramatic introduction for the following track, "Survival", but is still a nice, amorous melody to enjoy.

5. Survival

The Olympic song. To be honest, the song's detached piano beginning lifted my hopes for this song a bit too much. As soon as the first vocal part begins, it feels like the song has turned another way. At first, the choir which joins Bellamy was a bit annoying but eventually it grew onto me. I enjoyed the build up the song gives, and the dialogue between the guitar parts and the choir just before Bellamy's final "Yes, I'm going to win."
The song doesn't start off as a rock song but definitely evolves into one, with the hammering guitar and drum fills which carry the song through to the point where the choir is heard shouting "Five, four, three, two, one...". 7/10

6. Follow Me

This song starts off rather slow, with Matthew Bellamy singing a reassuring lyric above a quiet violin and heartbeat. A percussive, staccato electronic melody is added and looped, sparking a slow build up for the song. More electronic synths and sounds join the pool, and then as the words "follow me..." are first sung, the song explodes into a semi-Dubstep style. The rest of the song stays more or less on that same level.
The song ends with a large wall of of sound slowly echoing away, which sounds very much like U2. I like this type of song; short, energetic yet versatile in style. 8/10

7. Animals

A simple, chilled vibe is given off by the guitar riff and keyboard melody which the song rides on. "Animals" also builds up, vocally and with instruments, to the point where it reaches a climax and abruptly cuts to an audio recording of a rather violent Wall Street Trading Floor. Adding a few more layers of instruments and other elements to the end of this song would have improved it. I like the short guitar riffs which take place at intervals between the lyrics. The song is about greed and selfishness, ending with the harsh lyric: "Kill yourself, come on and do us all a favor." 7/10

8. Explorers

This song reveals yet again how Muse is influenced by Queen, melodywise. Unfortunately, the song never escalates to much more than a piano melody with strings, and some drums. Despite the enjoyable, simple melody the song feels like it should become more than it does. Otherwise, I haven't got much to say about it, because it feels a bit like a filler song. 6/10

9. Big Freeze

I quite like this song. It possesses an upbeat tempo and uses a positive-feeling guitar melody. The song never goes too fast and doesn't become over the top. However, what this song lacks is a better effort at writing more imaginative lyrics, as the message of "Big Freeze" is rather unclear. This is a shame, because musically it needs no improvement. 8/10

10. Save Me

Written and performed by Chris Wolstenholme, the band's bassist. I feel like the album didn't need this song. I like that it is about a slightly more serious topic (Wolstenholme's battle against alcohol), but musically the song doesn't do Muse any justice. The melody is too boring for the song to be as long as it is (over 5 minutes) and although I do like Wolstenholme's calm voice, it doesn't save "Save Me' from being what it is: bland. 5/10

11. Liquid State

Also done by Wolstenholme. "Liquid State" is heavier than most of the rest of the album, being mostly edgy-guitar based. However, Wolstenholme's voice doesn't suit this type of song, and the song could have been something much more if the vocal part was improved. Fortunately it is short, and not certainly not boring. 6/10

12. The 2nd Law: Unsustainable

"Unsustainable" starts off as an orchestral piece, with a large string arrangement. A woman's voice comes to the foreground, explaining how the second law of thermodynamics applies to the economy. "An economy based on endless growth is unsustainable" is the sentence which suddenly throws the song in another direction. A high energy Dubstep (good Dubstep, done with instruments as opposed to a computer program) section follows. The song switches back and forth between these two genres. It is very interesting and I would describe the orchestral arrangement following the Dubstep bit as "epic". 8/10

13. The 2nd Law: Isolated System

This instrumental is a chilled finale for "The 2nd Law", using a consistent piano melody which is eventually accompanied by different elements as the song builds up. I would describe this instrumental as a haunting trans song, thanks to the electronic side of it (bass drum and synths). Its a strangely appropriate ending to this musical story, being unlike and like the other songs at the same time. 7/10


Overall, I think that "The 2nd Law" is a good album to own, whether you like "old muse" or not. It's very rare for a flawless album to exist, especially when there is a large mixture of genres included. However, when putting out an album, the best idea to keep in mind is quality over quantity, and "The 2nd Law" possesses several pointless filler tracks which could have been left out of the record. Still, it's definitely an album which will be played and listened to by me several times in the future.

The 2nd Law: 8/10


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Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2013


31492 Comments


A high energy Dubstep (good Dubstep, done with instruments as opposed to a computer program)


ugh, what an ass

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

Havey
January 12th 2013


9758 Comments


hahahahah

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2013


10362 Comments


"I'd rather talk about this album on its own and how each song hit me, track by track."

We'd like for you too, so thanks!

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2013


21647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Your track ratings are offensive. You give the best song on the album a 5 and the two most abysmal songs an 8/10.

Digging: Soen - Tellurian

sixdegrees
January 12th 2013


17564 Comments


ugh

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2013


3483 Comments


Decent first review, but for your next ones, try and drop the track-by-track. It's better to talk about the highlights and the negative points, but also the atmosphere of the record, because you end up repeating yourself with the track-by-track reviewing. Read staff reviews to see what I'm trying to tell you.

Muse have great albums, but they have gotten weaker with each release. Black Holes and Revelations is their last great record. Unfortunately, it's hard to talk about The 2nd Law without referring to their earlier, better records. There are a few enjoyable tracks, but the result is disappointing.

Digging: Brant Bjork - Black Flower Power

jefflebowski
January 12th 2013


8257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

why do people so much quicker to rip on track-by-tracks these days? 5 years ago, even the staff were doing them...

this isn't exactly a great example of the form though

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2013


3483 Comments


I've read some great track-by-tracks, but usually they're just rushed. I was doing track by tracks when I joined Sputnik and at one point I was just writing less and less for each song just to finish with it.

FearThyEvil
January 12th 2013


12694 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

All the songs suck

slipnslide
January 12th 2013


2640 Comments


Great Review! Pos'd!

climactic
January 12th 2013


19841 Comments


please god no more reviews for this

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2013


3492 Comments


lol "unsustainable" good dubstep

sixdegrees
January 12th 2013


17564 Comments


it's teh good kind with REAL instruments!!!!!!1

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2013


50872 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Track by track reviews are retarded
Have you ever read a movie review that went over every scene or a video game that went over every level? Dat would be dumb, you're supposed to review as a whole

Digging: Bobby Barnett - Little Wounds

demigod!
January 12th 2013


45005 Comments


a scene by scene review would be hilarious and ruin the point of the film

Digging: Autechre - LP5

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2013


21647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I agree track by track reviews aren't ideal but that's a pretty dumb comparison

Gwyn.
January 12th 2013


15272 Comments



Track by track reviews are retarded
Have you ever read a movie review that went over every scene or a video game that went over every level? Dat would be dumb, you're supposed to review as a whole


Actually some people do that, lmao
Well, at least with movies.

That's not a good comparison though, reviewing every aspect about a song does not in anyway mean you know exactly what it sounds like, which is the hole point of music. Lyrics are another deal.

LPFTW
January 12th 2013


188 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review although I would've given Panic Station and Follow Me a perfect score

Digging: Ariel Pink - Pom Pom

Inferis
January 12th 2013


429 Comments


Nope.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2013


3492 Comments


it's teh good kind with REAL instruments!!!!!!1


best kind of real instrument dubstep: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QodrSfsboFk



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