Muse
Drones


3.0
good

Review

by Jordan M. STAFF
June 7th, 2015 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rockist Pomposity.

Muse's critics like to use unjustifiably lengthy blurbs to make it clear they once really did quite like the band, y'know, before they started idolizing Skrillex and writing songs like "Panic Station". The illusion they want to concoct (for themselves, no less) is that Muse really were clever at some stage, and that their newer incarnation definitely does not represent the band as a whole.

That's a difficult task considering The 2nd Law made no qualms in being as massive and retarded as time permit. Perhaps then the biggest trouble with Muse's career has been their marketing difficulties. Rolling Stone and NME abscond from ever referencing Matt Bellamy's clear lineage with Radiohead and other frosty British influences; Classic Rock and Metal Hammer are nervous when handling because they don't sound enough like Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin for them to give the stamp of approval. What we end up with is a group of people who formulate a rather poor narrative around this; everything up until Black Holes & Revelations is sacrosanct, The Resistance onwards has as much content as taint can manage. Undoubtedly, many ran scurrying earlier this year when Matt Bellamy's foot straddled the monitor and he howled, 'your ass belongs to me now!' ("Psycho"). It looked as if it would come down to the wire on release date in terms of a reaction for what Muse could muster next. Would we completely deny Drones as thriving on the grounds of Muse absurdism? Or, would it succeed as an (admittedly undue) apology for everything that wasn't Absolution?

It is clear that Drones sounds like an attempt to justify The 2nd Law as nothing more than an off-the-cuff experiment gone horribly wrong. With that album, Muse seemed intent on alienation where Drones clearly comes across as pander. That's not to say that the key elements of Muse no longer thrive, because Drones sounds as pompous as ever, just now in a straightforward, rockist manner. Producer Mutt Lange is better known for giving Shania Twain, AC/DC, and Def Leppard the studio sheen for their ascent to stardom- here, he strips away a fair amount of business and complexity and reapplies layers of vocals and guitars to create music that is inherently easy to wrap your head around. No, the faux-political meditation of the album cover doesn't present itself as a red herring; this is as easy listening as the diluted alternative rock genre gets in 2015.

Not that Muse are attempting to sweep their collective influence under the rug, as Drones is happy to play up to any number of hard rock clichés Muse feel like employing at the time. Nothing else can justify the stupendous length of "The Globalist" or excessively faux-metal strut of "Reapers", because Muse don't specialize in subtle or nuanced as much as they do big dumb shit. Perhaps "The Handler" is the clearest distillation of Drones' mission, espousing with all of The 2nd Law's experimental posturing for Matt Bellamy's trademark falsetto and riffing. Many will rush to it as solace for the likes of "Undisclosed Desires", but it feels like a red herring because it's still very much in the vein of '10s Muse. This is especially true when they ask, 'not, what your country can do for you' on the embarrassingly joyous crunch of "JFK" with little concern for one of the worlds' greatest leaders. Muse haven't moved away from the supposed fatal flaw of their last few albums, they've merely absorbed it into their ether, stripping away the wallpaper to reveal an intrinsically self-satirical framework.

Resolutely, Drones is a difficult sell to make because it makes the truth of the matter undeniably clear: Muse aren't and cannot be the band you want them to be. It makes itself transparent by admitting to bad habits- juvenile political statements, anthemic choruses to right wrongs- but it never reaches the unenviable heights of self-satire that made The 2nd Law such an entertaining fiasco to behold. Where they would once entrench themselves in faux-James Bond theme songs, dubstep detours, and Olympian parody, they now seem content to let their guitars do the talking. It's not that there's expectations for Absolution (nor should there be), it's that they've gone from pushing people's buttons to being functional cock rock for Generation Z. Drones provides us with the same Muse, just a different lick of paint, one where experimental tendencies are forsaken for generic employment of alt-rock tropes.

It's telling that critics are still unsure of how to treat Drones in the Muse canon. Should we applaud them for not repeating the Caligulan mindset that supposedly ruined The 2nd Law? Or, should we finally admit that Muse have always been nothing more than stadium rock pastiche wrapped in faux-intellectualism? It's going to be difficult if we admit the latter, because the implications- admitting that Muse were never really that clever- will make us writer types look like we spent the last 15 years trying desperately to justify why we would like something that appears so incredibly silly. Drones gladly plays up to its role as dunderheaded stadium rock for the lowest common denominator, and, truth be told, it's pretty fucking satisfying. This is rockist pomposity at its most serviceable.



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user ratings (974)
2.9
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Judio!
June 7th 2015


8456 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Nice review, Andrew Gold ;]

Toondude10
June 7th 2015


14166 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review as always, though I'm surprised that you didn't mention your love for 2nd Law

Toondude10
June 7th 2015


14166 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it might be for the best considering the general consensus of that album

ksoflas
June 7th 2015


1288 Comments


Ace review.

ksoflas
June 7th 2015


1288 Comments


One disappointment after the other.I guess faux is the key word.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2015


16194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A long one for Arcade. Nice review man.

Digging: Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts VI: Locusts

Tunaboy45
June 7th 2015


16967 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review Jordan

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2015


16194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

An improvement on the last two, but let's be honest, that wouldn't have been difficult.

DrJohn
June 7th 2015


1041 Comments


the most interesting Drones write-up so far. prolly more enjoyable than the album itself (haven't checked it other than bits n pieces though so...)

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2015


16194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You jammed this yet tuna?

StrizzMatik
June 7th 2015


3898 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This is a great review and pretty spot on

Tunaboy45
June 7th 2015


16967 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Gonzo I haven't yet, it's out tomorrow though so I'll probably pick it up and give it a proper listen then.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2015


43389 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

epic review jordy but I dunno if I agree

I never liked Muse based off the idea that they were clever, I liked them cos they wrote fucking good songs with great contributions of each band member and a decent amount of passion and that's what they fucked up in the Resistance

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2015


16194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Look forward to your thoughts Tuna.

Tunaboy45
June 7th 2015


16967 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'll let you know once I've listened to it gonzo!

Gestapo
June 7th 2015


1398 Comments


let me know too!

StrizzMatik
June 7th 2015


3898 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I have to agree people don't like Muse because they're supposed to be clever. Never once have I heard a Muse lyric or some of Bellamy's rants and thought "shit he sounds like a smart dude", he's not much better than Billie Joe Armstrong when it comes to his political acumen. Muse is/was good because they mixed exciting catchy rock riffs with progressive songwriting and classical influences, although they're really not too good at that anymore. Just seems like Bellamy has disappeared up his own ass for good, only coming out once in awhile to remind people that this band can be awesome when they actually try.

StrizzMatik
June 7th 2015


3898 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2015/06/muse-drones-review/ lol

Tunaboy45
June 7th 2015


16967 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

kerrang giving this a 5

Mesm277
June 7th 2015


734 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha that gizmodo review is great



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