Muse
Will of the People


3.5
great

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
August 24th, 2022 | 371 replies


Release Date: 08/26/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Oh my gooooddddddddddd!!!

Like a lot of people who grew up on Muse in their prime, I look at Black Holes & Revelations, Absolution, and Origin of Symmetry with an immense fondness. I wouldn’t say I was ever a Muse fanatic, but I can acknowledge the rippling effect those records had on rock music in the noughties. Anything after Black Holes & Revelations though and things start to get a little rocky, don’t they? For reasons I can only surmise, Matt and co. started focusing far less on what made them a global success and instead traded their fuzzy riffs in for a piano and some superficial electronics, laying down a symphonic Queen-wannabe ballad whenever they got the chance. Indeed, Muse veered so far away from the rock sphere, when they finally decided to centre their music around guitars again with 2015’s Drones, they forgot how to write a good rock song with any lasting effect or meaning. That’s because even though a lot of people disliked The Resistance and The 2nd Law for the directions they took, Matt didn’t want to give up the pomp from those records. As such, from Drones onwards, it sees the band awkwardly appropriating disparate styles with the hope something will stick with Matt’s cherished ballad format. It’s not that Drones and Simulation Theory are terrible records either (don’t get me wrong, they’re far from good), the problem is that they feel like compromises to the fans rather than actual attempts at making an LP with a firm direction in mind. Drones was rock with a peppering of prog; Simulation Theory had an artificial 80’s synth aesthetic; and now Will of the People’s clincher is ostensibly metal. All of them have an interesting idea attached to them, but they’re marred and bogged down by Matt’s obstinate obsession with ballads and having them as the focal point.

For the last seven years now we’ve been getting a garbled, directionless mesh of ideas thrown at each record, but Will of the People is a special case because it takes this incoherence to an impressively gargantuan degree. After spending a significant amount of time with Will of the People, I managed to think of two pertinent analogies for the record and where the band is at now. The first is that Muse have now ascended to writing albums with the same schlocky genius of films like The Room, Super Mario Bros. and Troll 2; the second, Will of the People shows vestiges of that episode of Friends where Ross reveals he was once a musician, and proceeds to unveil his talent on the keyboard. As it happens Will of the People manages to fine-tune and amalgamate both of these analogies; assimilating the same level of cringe from Ross’ electronic bile with a trainwreck schlocky B-movie that has unfathomable ideas, but no refrain on how to make them coherent. Unhinged is the pithy way of putting it. The plot twist to this tale, however, is that Will of the People is the best album they’ve made in sixteen years – I kid you not. Initially, I was so stunned by its messy presentations, I set out to fervently mock it, but the more I went back to it the more I found myself unironically cheering it on. ‘You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween’ is a perfect storm of Ross-styled electronic samples, Dracula’s organ, and a guitar solo that sounds like it was played by Brian May! And you know what? The insanity encased within gives it that Tommy Wiseau-lightning in a bottle, ultimately resulting in its own fantastical, awful genius. ‘Kill or Be Killed’ sounds like a homage to ‘Starlight’, only it has an alt-metal-chugging breakdown coupled with Bellamy’s compressed screams to make it pop out, and ‘Verona’ sounds like a track Darren Hayes would have written in his This Delicate Thing We’ve Made phase.

Similarly, Matt Bellamy’s lyrics are laughably bad throughout the album, but when it comes to ‘We are F*cking F*cked’, you have to stand up and clap like Shia LaBeouf at the ridiculous spectacle unfolding in your very ears. It’s as if Bellamy is so acutely aware at this point, he’s just cranking the dial of insanity so hard he snaps the knob off in the process. Of course, it’s not all backhanded praises, because there are some moments on here that are legitimately decent. ‘Ghost (How Can I Move On)’ is a surprisingly smooth ballad with great melodies and, despite the sloppy mesh of styles, ‘Won’t Stand Down’ brings out a really solid rock track – but nevertheless, dear readers, I won’t pull the wool over your eyes, this album is mainly enjoyed for being the gloriously schlocky, over-exaggerated mess it is. This is the most I’ve enjoyed a Muse album since Black Holes & Revelations, but at the same time it’s for all the wrong reasons. There are songs here that will be incredible to hear live, just because the album is so stark staring mad, but this feels like the final transition for Muse. Even though they haven’t made a decent rock album for sixteen years, there has still been an aura of respect for the band, given what they’ve contributed to rock music in the past. With Will of the People though, they’ve crossed the Rubicon and are about to shed their venerable reputation for circus garb – able and willing to give you disposable music with crazy solos, goofy themes, and a non-regional arsenal of styles in which to serve them up.

With that, it all depends on your point of view. If you’re willing to let your hair down and have fun with what Will of the People is offering you, you’ll have an absolute blast with this. Honestly, when you look at how the songs are composed, this record should be utterly irredeemable, and if you think too much about it, eventually the critical part of your brain will consume you. But like The Room, or Ross on his keyboard, the reality of the matter is this: it sucks, but there’s also something metaphysical and endearing about the execution, it’s hard not to enjoy it. With Muse, they have [un]intentionally touched on this form of art. For (mostly) all the wrong reasons, Will of the People is the best, most engaging record to come from the band in sixteen years, and it’s quite possibly the most fun I’ll have with an album all year as well.



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user ratings (257)
2.5
average
other reviews of this album
YadMot (2)
It's that time of year again....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2022


4566 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

We are fucking fucked



That is all...

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2022


17721 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I stand by that Interpol record, it fucking slaps. But this is such a fun listen

Flugmorph
August 24th 2022


28874 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

LETSFUCKINGOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Pikazilla
August 24th 2022


24614 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

simp theory was as low as any band could sink tbh so I can definitely see this being an improvement at the very least

Uzumaki
August 24th 2022


4292 Comments


That new Interpol album was incredibly boring

JoyfulPlatypus
August 24th 2022


493 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah I thought Simulation Theory was hot garbage, but I'm surprisingly excited to hear this one.

JoyfulPlatypus
August 24th 2022


493 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

By the way, is this streaming anywhere? I'd have time to listen to it now while I'm at work if it is.

Flugmorph
August 24th 2022


28874 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

isn't it releasing on friday?

Cormano
August 24th 2022


3803 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

queef band [2]

DatsNotDaMetulz
August 24th 2022


4220 Comments


I always wonder what bands think when people say their album is good but for all the wrong reasons

Shattered_Future
August 24th 2022


1608 Comments


This is the most convincing review I've seen on this website in an INCREDIBLY long time, and has made me want to check this record out first thing on Friday.

If they've graduated from dumpster fire to full on Simpsons Tire Yard fire, lfg.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2022


4566 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yeah, this is a great review.



I was already weirdly pumped to check this out, but now I'm even more so.

DreamAgain
August 24th 2022


2347 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Is everybody just afraid to speak up to Bellamy or what? Will of the people is absolutely atrocious. How that made it on the album much less as the opener.. lord.

Compliance is rather inoffensive, he does sound great on it though. Kill or be killed is one of the best songs they've written in a good while. So basically I can already tell the rest of the songs are going to be a complete crap shoot.

kalkwiese
August 24th 2022


9303 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is going to be such a great guilty pleasure. This review sums up all the reasons why I still greatly enjoy Muse's last few records, even though I know the actually great songs aren't many lol

Flugmorph
August 24th 2022


28874 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"This review sums up all the reasons why I still greatly enjoy Muse's last few records" [2]

JS19
August 24th 2022


7773 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This is so goddamn awful, I can't even describe it

Egarran
August 24th 2022


30294 Comments


What a great review, I almost feel listening to the album would spoil it.

sonictheplumber
August 24th 2022


15964 Comments


snuse

Gyromania
August 24th 2022


35778 Comments


am gonna learn my lesson from Interpol and subtract a corrective 4 points from your score [2]

kalkwiese
August 24th 2022


9303 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mense



The will of the people, the willofthewillofthe

The will of the people, the willofthewillofthe



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