From a poor mans Radiohead to an indie rock orchestra, Muse seem to be spreading their weight all over the musical spectrum. Yet, with the preview of their dubstep sounding sixth album hitting YouTube, Muse still manage to sound stuck in the past whilst trying to sound futuristic.
Admittedly, I used to like Muse. I think everyone at some point used to like Muse. Having said that, I was stranded on the shores of the year nine ‘emo stage’ that many adolescents go through. They were the band you could listen to to try and make people think ‘oh, he’s not an emo because he’s listening to muse’. Now that I’m well out of that stage of terrible music, baggy jeans and long, unkept hair, Muse seem as predictable as ever. Everything post Origin Of Symmetry, and perhaps Absolution, never really did anything. It has always seemed to me that Muse were trying to shoot off in a different direction with every new release, but only really managed to stay centered around their own arrogance and self proclaimed ability.
Sure enough, individually, as well as collectively, Muse are very, very talented at what they do. I guess that’s why it’s frustrating that they come out with all these different ideas, concepts and musical influences that all end up sounding the exactly the same as the last idea and concept. There’s a fine line between a band having their own individual sound and to making music that sounds exactly the same. Take The Horrors, for example. Their debut album Strange House tinges the chaos and mayhem the post-punk rock era diluted with the shaping and electricity of modern techno. Moving on to the darker records to follow, Primary Colours and Skying, The Horrors maintained their unique sound and mystery whilst adding a whole new texture to their sound. Something, I feel, Muse have never done, despite their wide critical exaltation.
Why the acclaim then? Well, I’ve covered that. They’re all exceptional musicians and instrumentalists that flaunt a sound that encapsulates a broad, religious following of fans. Also, going on the word of others, apparently they sound fucking good live. In regards to their work in the studio, however, the preview of record number sixth, The 2nd Law, justifies the point i’m trying to make. Firstly, the album title fits snuggly into the cradle of arrogance and false modesty that arch the bands public profile. To me, they’ve always sounded like some kind of revolutionary movement declaring war on something. That ‘something’, though, seems a bit vague and I’ve never been sure what it’s all actually about. I doubt anyone knows what that ‘something’ is, to be honest. I mean, album titles like Resistance, and lyrics like “we will be victorious” repeated again and again and written to fit different songs. What is exactly your problem, Muse? Who are you fighting and what’s your cause?
Secondly, the preview for their sixth studio album does not sound good at all. Predictably, they’re doing something ‘different’ and a bit more radical to what they normally do. Instead of writing a three-song symphony, The 2nd Law seems to be sporting a dubstep inspired blend of flat bass and sharp techno timbre. Fantastic. A entirely new way of hating dubstep all thanks to Muse. It’s not the good dubstep either. Oh no, Muse wont be taking the minimalistic sneeze and clap of chillwave, darkwave or stripped down electro house music. They’ll be divulging in Skrillex-esque horror of big beat, robotic explosion of popular dubstep.
To Muse themselves, this is a new sound. A new way of processing their music to their fan base. To me, it’s just the same old shit they’ve always done but with a sub-woofer and a few more synthesizers. Having said that, I have no doubt that The 2nd Law will be receiving rave reviews from every other institution across the country for their sixth effort.
Unfortunately, Muse, you wont be hearing anything else from me. Stick to writing music for year 9’s. It seems to be what you’re best at.