on 28 January 2006
I am an owner of all Muse albums - other than their limited release debut EP's. There is this (Showbiz), Origin of Symmetry, Hullabaloo (Soundtrack), and Absolution. It is Absolution that brought the world wide acclaim. But this album, released originally in 1999 shows why they were kicking up a storm in the smaller venues around south England. The album captivates the audience entirely. Piano and guitar, drums and bass, it all clicks together well. Some songs like Muscle Museum heavy chorus' and lighter verses. Some songs like 'Falling Down' show the other side to Muse, beautiful songs and wonderful lyrics and 'Falling Down' particularly shows off Matt's voice and its range. Never a bad note in this album. Each song has its own worth. 'Cave' shows both sides of Muse's talents with heavy powerful song and piano in other parts to contrast.
If you are a new-ish fan of Muse through Absolution you should try this as there are no bad songs on this album. 'Showbiz' as a song is my own favourite followed closely by 'Sunburn' and 'Unintended'. This album is definately a more raw sound to it than Absolution and sounds absolutely brilliant. Still the best Muse album to date.
on 27 July 2003
Showbiz is the debut album from Muse, which was marred by comparisons to Radiohead upon it's release. Whilst similiarities to Radiohead are visable throughout Showbiz, especially in Matt Bellamy falsetto vocals, this stands as a good album in it's own right.
The album gets off to a brilliant start, with two of Muses finest tracks - Sunburn and Muscle Museum - kicking off proceedings. But after this, things cool off a bit with the OK Fillip, and fairly average Falling Down, which never really achieves what it wants to do.
The middle of the album has a great run of songs. The heavy claustraphobic guitars of Cave, which then goes into the fantastic title track Showbiz, with it's pounding drums and forboding repetetive lyrics, which all comes to a thrilling climax in the final minute. Then comes Unintended, a beautiful ballad, followed by Uno, a short track in similar style to Cave. Sadly, the album starts to lose it's way after this point.
Sober is a track which does nothing to help Matt Bellamys voice, and quickly begins to irritate. Escape then follows, which promises to be something great, but fails to get to the point and never delivers. Then 2 minute Overdue kicks in, a track which features lazy lyrics, and fails to shine when compared to other tracks on the album.
The album closes with the wonderful Hate This & I'll Love You, which builds up into a brilliant climax, and is a fitting end to the album.
Showbiz is a good album, with some fantastic songs on it that sadly lacks consistancy. The trio of Sober, Escape & Overdue really hurt the album, and would have been better as B-Sides, and some of the b-sides (such as Host and Spiral Static) would have filled these places much better. As it stands, Showbiz is an album where you'll find yourself reaching for the 'skip' button on your CD Player a few times.
The album also lacks a distinctive touch, which Muse found on their following record, the brilliant Origin Of Symmetry. This reviewer would have given this album 3 1/2 starts, but it wasn't possible, so I'll give Muse the benefit of the doubt and give the album 4 stars, purely because Muscle Museum and Sunburn are that good.
on 6 January 2002
I vaguely knew Unintended from the radio but had almost no idea who Muse were until friends recommended the album and I went out and bought it. Started off thinking it was a bit weird with some good songs, but not the best album - now its my absolute favourite! The melodies and harmonies are often unexpected, but so good that they make anything else seem boring. As someone who had heard no Radiohead material before listening to Muse, i can see the comparison, but would encourage you to ignore it - the songs are great in their own right, especially as they have an overall optimism that Radiohead lack. They always cheer me up! :)
Matt Bellamy does the vocals, piano and guitar, and the underlying tunes in the quieter parts are lovely as well as non-standard. The thing i like is the way most of the songs flip between quiet and introspective, to loud and angry, and the best songs are definitely Unintended and Sunburn - the second one just has a brilliant piano part. I'm not personally that angst-ridden, but the lyrics are worth it just for the rhythm they provide, and the sound of Matt Bellamy's voice in falsetto is wonderfully pure, but still a bit distorted. The last one, Hate this and I'll love you, is sung so honestly and with genuine emotion that i find myself empathising with Matt!
Basically, this is an amazing album that i could listen to forever, without a poor song on it - every one is unique in comparison with the others. And once you've heard this, you have to go out and buy Origin of Symmetry just to go with it! Although it's not 'quite' as good...
The current musical trend is retro dance-rock, but Muse completely avoids that for their own brand of orchestral music. If you want comparisons, they're equal parts Radiohead and Led Zeppelin, with a unique sound that is both melodic and raw. Few debuts are as intense as Muse's "Showbiz."
A steady piano melody ripples by, followed by some steady drumming. That, in turn, segues into the expansive bombastic rock'n'roll of "Sunburn." Matt Bellamy sits in the middle of the song, singing in a trembly voice, "I'll feel/A guilty conscience grow/And I'll feel/A guilty conscience grow." Then he bursts into an anguished howl: "And I'll hide from the world/Behind a broken frame/And I'll run forever/I can't face the shame..." The music crests with it, a panoramic blend of guitar, bass and piano.
And that's only the first song.
The songs that follow are just as powerful, if a bit lower-key. Muse dabbles first in some truly ominous guitar pop, followed by acoustic ballads, and an angsty lament or two. Then, about halfway through the album, things get loud again -- songs like the title track have a wall-of-sound guitar'n'bass melody. In these songs, Muse sounds eerily like a British version of the Smashing Pumpkins.
Good as their debut was, Muse wasn't at their peak with "Showbiz" -- they hadn't quite perfected the epic-guitar thing, and the production isn't at its best. But they are still a compelling listen -- the climax of "Uno" is the sonic equivalent of being hit with a tsunami. For a band that was still defining their sound, it's remarkable.
Chris Wolstenholme does an exceptional job with the driving bass, while Bellamy pulls double, triple and sometimes quadruple duty, playing everything from Hammond to piano. His roiling guitar riffs are absolutely stunning. It takes a special drummer to have an impact with all of that going on, and fortunately Dominic Howard is up to the task.
Bellamy also is the vocalist, and here he shines. Too often comparisons are made to Radiohead's frontman Thom Yorke. However, Bellamy's vocals are more versatile -- he starts off in a sort of trembly voice, sounding sad and vulnerable. Then he lets rip with anguished howls, purrs, murmurs and much more. And he does it in perfect harmony to the music.
With their epic sound and excellent musicianship, Muse have the makings of a rock'n'roll legend. "Showbiz" was their first album and it shows, but even with its flaws, it's a stunning piece of work.
Having bought (and loved) the Absolution I read feedback on Showbiz and Origin, promptly bought both and can't believe I've missed this band before.
The range I of this band I think impresses me most. They can go from extremely soft, melodic and tuneful ballards to full on rock within a split second. Their creative talent is astonishing.
I fell out with Radiohead post OK Computer because quite simply they seemed to shun that particular direction and go back to their weird, depressing roots. For many, I acknowledge, Radiohead are tops and I respect that completely. For me, I think Muse represent what I think Radiohead were heading towards.
Anyway, I couldn't recommend all three albums highly enough. I'll be at the front at T in the Park pogoing like a lunatic.
on 14 June 2005
What do you get if you combine the melodies and the music skills of Radiohead with the energy and passion of Nirvana.
The answer : Muse
Showbiz is the debut album of what will surely soon be one of the biggest bands of all time. Muse's first album is brilliant and is easily one of the best debut albums ever.
A soft beautiful piano melody begins, singer Matt Bellamy starts singing dark lyrics about "Guilty conscience grows". Suddenly we are thrown into the undeniably epic chorus, where Bellamy screams "AND SHE BURNS LIKE THE SUN", then we notice the excellent bass work of Chris Wolsetenholme and the powerful drums of Dom Howard. Welcome to the world Of Muse.
2:Muscle Museum: 10/10
Possibly the best song on the album, Muscle Museum starts with a great little guitar riff, backed by a groovy bass part. The lyrics are particuliarly great and there is a strong theme of wanting to escape your surroundings. Suddenly we are thrown into the powerful chorus, which has every bit of passion and anger that any band has had in the last decade. The final guitar solo, which is a strange mix of guitar and bellamy's distorted voice, is just about the mosty epic thing imaginable.
While it's one of the worst tracks on the album, Filip is by no means a bad track, but just feels more like normal pop music than most of Muse other songs. The chorus, while still poppy, is very cathy and fun to listen to.
4:Falling Down: 9/10
A soft moving piano driven song, with a slightly bluesy feel to it. The lyrics seem to be about Muse wanting to leave their hometown.
A very catchy, yet heavy, rock song. It has a poppy tune, with great guitar work and the chorus is undeniably epic. Suddenly it all goes quiet, before building into possibly the best guitar riff on the whole album.
Showbiz starts with a simple drumbeat, which bellamy starts to sing moving lyrics over. The general tune of the song is incredibly simple, but as it slowly builds throughout the song it turns into something startlingly epic. In the end Bellamy is screaming at the top of his lungs over another excellent guitar riff.
A simple acoustic love song with beautiful lyrics and a moving chorus.
It starts with the sound of a car revving up. Suddenly muse enter the fray. Uno is a mini epic, with great lyrics and a powerful chorus. But then i suppose that seems to be a granted for all muse songs.
A brilliant rock song with a cool chorus and some absolutely amazing guitar riffs.
A slow but good song overlooked by many Muse fans about wanting to escape.
Again, Overdue is overlooked by many muse fans, as it is slightly forgettable in comparison to some of their other songs. It has a very pop/rock type feel, and a theme of someone feeling neglected.
12:Hate This And I'll Love You: 9.5/10
It starts with the sounds of crickets and birds. Suddenly it begins, with Bellamy singing his usual moving and epic lyrics. Suddenly the amazing epic chorus begins "I was born to destroy you". Hate This And I'll Love You is an amazing epic ending to an amazing epic album. Fitting really.
Showbuz is a fantastic debut that is an essential buy for anyone into alternate rock. While it has some faults, it is overall a great album with some killer tunes. However, possibly the greatest thing about it is that, while it is undeniably excellent, it is improved on by every muse album to date.
on 30 May 2007
"Showbiz" shows the first glimpse of the Muse we see today with it's explosive singles and amazing lyrics. It isn't Muse's greatest works, but does amazingly well for a debut album. "Sunburn", "Cave", and "Muscle Museum" are addicting to listen to. Matt Bellamy's voice stays flawless and beautiful throughout all of the songs. Although some of the non-singles sound slightly similar, like "Sober" and "Escape" the only song I can't listen to for hours on end is "Unintended", because of my own personal dislike of it. If you are just becoming a Muse fan and aren't sure whether or not to buy their old stuff, do it. You won't be disappointed in seeing how one of the greatest bands made their start in the world of music. As when it comes to Muse, prepare to be astounded.
on 10 March 2002
There is no comparison or mistake with Muse, i think they are arguably the best, most inventive and talented musicians in the country. Take "Falling Down", its an emotional masterpiece with one of the widest of vocal ranges, and shows of Bellamy's voice. Then there is "Fillip", an ultimate track with a very catchy intro and an addictive sing-a-long. "Cave" is a rocking legend, this track shows off the inventions of Muse. "Unintended" is absolutely flawless, probably the best Muse track alongside the exceptional New Born(OOS). The album is flawless and very dramatic, its a shame that lots of people aren't interested in them. My advice is buy this album, and listen..... its sensational.
on 30 September 2003
When Muse's debut album Showbiz was released all the critics could say was 'hey, this is just a watered-down version of Radiohead, how dare they?'. Ok, they have a point, some tracks could have leapt straight from Pablo Honey and even The Bends, but to focus too heavily on who Muse sound like does the trio a disservice. There are some corking tracks on this record, and however similar they sound to Radiohead, a causal listener can tell that later Muse albums, particularly latest release 'Absolution' will contain a sound unique to them.
A number of singles came from this album, the first two tracks being good examples. Opener 'Sunburn' opens with rippling arpeggiac piano, soon to be the band's trademark, where vocalist Matt Bellamy starts a vibe of anger and disgust throughtout the entire record ('Come waste your millions here'). A quick look at the credits show that Matt plays a LOT of instruments - everything save bass and drums, in fact - and his guitar playing is throughout of the highest order. That doesn't stop him from vocalising a guitar solo at the end of 'Muscle Museum', incidentally the CD's strongest track, with walls of guitars over a very simple 'oom-cha' bass line.
Naturally, the influences of Sergei Rachmaninov are still clear, through to the sometimes baffling choices of key (both Matt and Rachmaninov seem to love F sharp minor), quicksilver apreggio figures on the piano and a penchant for chromatic basslines. Despite this Muse at times sound like rock's bright white hope, with tracks such as 'Uno', 'Cave', and 'Fillip' favouring catchy riffs, pounding organ, and pretty impressive vocals. While not quite reaching the heights of 'Micro Cuts' here, Matt does hold some very high notes.
The second half is cut from the same cloth, but is not quite as strong. 'Sober' mixes some very strange lyrics with swirling guitar and theatrical vocals (incidentally, Muse are generally lyrically weak - 'Royal Canadian blended...matured for years and imported) but doesn't have the same immediacy as 'Muscle Museum' or 'Cave'. 'Escape' is slower and more thoughtful, to its credit, but 'Overdue' is too short and lacks momentum.
The slower tracks range from average to excellent. At one end, 'Falling Down' is pleasant enough, even if it drags, but 'Unintended' and 'Hate This...'are beautful odes to lost loves, retaining a neo-classical feel, but adding just a little aggressive edge, particularly the closing phrases of the latter. Muse can do slow, even fragile, without sounding mushy or sentimental, and Matt's thoughtful songwriting deserves attention.
Despite the Radiohead/Rachmaninov ear-marks, this is an above-average debut that announced an alternative rock sound and promised, and delivered, a lot more. If you like this you are guaranteed to like 'Origin Of Symmetry' and 'Absolution', and believe me this is an addictive record.
on 1 February 2006
I have owned this album for a long time and am a big muse fan. I concider this album thier best so far becuase it sounds very organic. this album was mostly written in the recording studio and so offers a nice glimps of thier original sound before becomming famous.
the other reviewers have already highlighted the good songs and I'd have to say that unintended is the only week track on the album in my opinion.
If you are concidering buying this album I advise that you buy absolution or Origin of Symmetry first because these are stronger albums with Absolution being thier finest studio production to date.
it's best to visit thier website and check out thier jukebox section to try out the songs mentioned in the other reviews. if you like the songs I can guarantee you will soon become obsessed with muse. just like the rest of us ;-)