I don’t have a favourite band, but if I did Muse would be a strong contender for my number one. I have loved them ever since I heard the sweet riffs of ‘Plug In Baby’ & ‘New Born’ come sailing out of my big sister’s stereo 11 years ago. As soon as the melody hit my ears, I was hooked.
Despite the love and the bond I feel with Muse’s music, whispers of a “Muse-step” record filled me with much trepidation. I wasn’t immediately blown away by the current single ‘Madness’ and may have even referred to Kate Hudson as Yoko at some stage. I cannot confirm or deny. The song has however been a real grower, so much so that I now have Madness on repeat.
Both the album as a whole and the songs within it move drastically yet seamlessly from genre to genre. Panic Stations for example, begins with a riff and vocals reminiscent of INXS, moves to Scissor sister-esq disco and back again to a heavy guitar that reminds me of, well, Muse. Although the album is stylistically eclectic, sonically it is undeniably Muse. The three mix engineers each impart their signature sound to the record but the band wearing their other hat as producer deliver well conceived and coherent work.
Ironically the thing which at first gave me doubts about this record is one of the things which makes me connect with it. ‘Follow Me’ shows strong dubstep influences but the true overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns (thanks wiki dubstep definition) doesn’t appear until track 12. “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” is an absolute monster of a track and surprisingly one of my favourites.
At this early stage The 2nd Law is not my favourite Muse album but if my reaction to ‘Madness’ is anything to go by it may find itself getting many, many spins. Whether you like the album or not, it’s very hard not to appreciate the heart and soul that has gone into making this record. Muse experiment and make art while also remaining relevant in a world of singles and limited attention spans.
What I’ve always loved about Muse is that their sound is constantly evolving and they commit wholeheartedly to whichever direction they embark upon. They push boundaries and they deliver. This album may not have turned out as fans expected but its combination of synth, disco, powerful vocals, driving guitar riffs, electronic beats, dub step, orchestras, opera singers, choirs, crowd chants and even trumpet solos conflate into a glorious hybrid beast of absurd proportions.
- Zoe B