Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Muse - The 2nd Law Review

For a change, I'm writing about something other than politics. It has been known to happen.

I am writing about Muse - the rock band - for a change.

I like Muse. I think they're pretty much the best 'new' act going these days. And by 'new', I mean not an old school band like Queen, Led Zeppelin, Journey et al. Compared to them, Muse are new. I do not class what generally passes as music these days as proper music. Thudding, droning, repetitive nonsense churned out by transient boy bands in tight shirts or 21-year-old Ibiza girls wearing only their underwear does not qualify as music.

So, Muse are a good band. They have talent. Teh winz.

As such, I was very much looking forward to the release of their new album, 'The 2nd Law'. I like albums, and Muse are definitely an album band. Especially in light of some of their previous work, such as 'Black Holes and Revelations', and 'Origin of Symmetry', the later being, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

So, what can I say about 'The 2nd Law'? Only this:


'Twas decidedly average. The songs were very forgettable - there was nothing anthemic that really stuck in your head. No 'New Born' or 'Plug In Baby' moments on this album. Nothing like 'Starlight' or 'United States of Eurasia'. Hell, I've have even taken a painfully poignant 'Unintended' as a consolation, but nothing.

Probably their worst album to date. Not that it's particularly bad - it's all right, but it pales in comparison to their earlier work. Their albums (excluding live albums), in order of greatness, are:
  1. 'Origin of Symmetry' - Their best album. There's simply not a bad track on it, and it should probably be a crime to skip any of them. 'New Born' is probably the best rock track ever written, 'Plug In Baby' a close second, and their cover of 'Feeling Good' is just immense.
  2. 'Black Holes and Revelations' - a close second to 'Origin', the highlights of the album are the energetic 'Starlight' and the gloriously silly 'Knights of Cydonia'. Epic stuff, with echoes of Queen and Led Zeppelin.
  3. 'The Resistance' - A pretty good all-rounder, the best track is the painfully naive and optimistic 'United States of Eurasia'. If only life were that simple, you can't help but wonder. Although the Doctor-Who-esque opening track 'Uprising' is pretty funky!
  4. 'Showbiz' - Muse's first album was a pretty solid outing in many respects, showing that they were capable of something much more. The highlight is definitely the poignant and beautiful 'Unintended', although the opening track 'Sunburn' features an addictive piano solo.
  5. 'Absolution' - heavy and orchestral, Muse's third album does have a certain appeal, but it seems to me to fall short of the mark it aimed at. By far and away the best track is 'Butterflies and Hurricanes', but unfortunately, none of the others seemed to come close to that grandeur.
  6. 'The 2nd Law' - see above. Meh. Decidedly average and forgettable.