Muse excites with The 2nd Law

I’ll admit it; I’m an anglo-phile.  I love everything to do with England, from Fish and Chips to the Queen.  I love England so much that I’m spending next spring toiling away at UCL in London.  A huge part of my love has to come from music.  Chris Martin, Thom Yorke, and yes, Matt Bellamy, have all had huge effects on my musical tastes.  There must be something in the water over there because they can consistently turn out such great music.

Muse is one of those bands that kind of exploded onto the scene a couple of albums ago.  Their first three were relatively unknown pieces, but ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride to the top for Matthew Bellamy and Co., including a sold out arena tour (did anyone else miss out on tickets to the United Center show?  I’m still a little bitter.) and a headlining slot at Lollapalooza.  They are arguably one of the most popular rock bands to date, and have done so combining powerful guitar melodies with Bellamy’s voice, which is full bodied and rich, just like a fine wine.

Compliments aside, however, The 2nd Law provides much of the same.  There is no clear evolution for Muse here.  Songs like “Supremacy” and “Survival” contain the same rousing choruses that we all know maybe too well.  I’m not saying that these are bad or even that The 2nd Law is a bad album.  It is a good album, it just fails to take any measurable steps forward as far as musical innovation goes.  If you substituted many of these songs for any other songs on Black Holes and Revelations or Resistance, I would not be able to tell the difference.  Maybe that’s just because I don’t have a savvy enough ear to find the nuances, but I definitely expected them to take a leap forward after all of the success they have experienced.  They have a solid fan base…why not try to push the envelope a little?

That being said, there were definitely glimmers in the album.  For instance, “Panic Station”, the album’s 3rd track, sounds very dance-y.  It’s almost equatable to a Michael Jackson record in the way it sounds.  Bellamy’s booming voice feels a little out of place here, but after a coupe of listens, I came around on this track and it ultimately became one of my favorites.  Additionally, the second to last track entitled “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” is an extremely operatic cut which is perfect to be the penultimate piece on this album.  While no, this album is neither revolutionary nor a masterpiece, it is a very solid musical effort from a very good band, and is definitely worth your listen.


Rating: W-P-1/2

RIYL: Arcade Fire,  Doves, and The Strokes

Key Tracks: “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable”, “Panic Station”, and “Supremacy”

Check out “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” below:


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