on 30 November 2009
I didn't buy this album immediately when it came out. I've been a Muse fan right from the start, when people were saying they were just a second-rate Radiohead. I knew they were all wrong. But when Black holes came out, I found myself really disappointed. The initial listening of a Muse album has always been an event for me, and after my first listen of Black Holes, I felt quite upset that I wasn't blown away by it. I kept giving the album a go, hoping it might be a grower on me, but sadly not. So when news of this album came out, I found myself not feeling enthusiastic. And then I heard the single of Undisclosed desires, was quite impressed, so today I went out to buy the album.
I'm so glad I was wrong in not being enthusiastic. This album is really quite special, and I'm really loving the new direction Muse have taken. Listening to a Muse album can sometimes feel quite all-consuming, and I never really found myself just dipping in for the odd song; it had to be the whole album.
Listening to this new album feels like a breath of fresh air. I'm loving being able to hear Matt's amazing talent on the piano, and the insert of the Chopin Nocturne was such a nice surprise. I can hear hints of Rachmaninov in the Symphony, and I really admire the string arrangements Matt has written. He has used the sound of the strings so well, using each sound a string instrument can make, from quite brutal to the such-loved lush string sound.
My love for Muse is back!
on 26 August 2009
This album is amazing! It appeals to a much larger audience than any of the previous albums. It has many different musical styles and influences clashing together yet it is unmistakably Muse with signature guitar, piano, drums and Matt Bellamy's great voice. It will have at least one track which will blow your mind yet many love all of them!
The 3-part exogenesis symphony is my favourite on the album. Its really ground-breaking and inspiring and while you listen you have no choice but to be in awe of every second and its overall message of "we're killing the earth, we need to stop it, we need to change and we'll have to start again, try and find a new planet, learn from our mistakes" who'd of thought Muse could make climate change cool.
Personally I also adore Mk Ultra, I Belong To You and Unnatural Selection. But for your own sake, get this album, listen to it and discover what tracks you love. :)
on 2 December 2009
I'm a long time Muse fan, and some might say, a little obsessive, I have everything, all the B-sides, all the EP's even the very first demo.
This album generally didn't seem to strike the old hardcore Muse fan's taste, and I'll agree, it's different to the legendary Origin of Symmetry, it's just not as powerful, and more piano based on the whole, it seems the classic Muse riffs have gone missing.
However, this album still receives and deserves the full five stars, it's different, but no less epic, one or two disappointments are easily made up for, by the rest of the album.
1. Uprising - A great start to the album, again, it's different, but there's still a hint of the old Muse in the chorus, and chanting, which really gets you in the mood to shout out Bellamy's revolutionary lyrics. The song features one riff, in a less stereotypical Muse style, one might describe it as a Marilyn Manson glam rock riff, turned to the "light side".
2. Resistance - When I first heard this, I was exited, the strong piano and drum opening, was unfortunate enough end up at a chorus, some might say, below Muse's standards, with a hint of Freddie Mercury, the chorus vocals just lack the power of typical Muse, however, I am pleased to say this follows on to a rather epic ending, as Bellamy screams "RESISTANCE!!!!" The lyrics couldn't be more Nineteen eighty-four inspired, listen and see!
3. Undisclosed Desires - Yeah... This is not Muse, but more of a Depechemode crossed between Timbaland. Catchy enough, but a fan might question the reason for the production of this song, yes unfortunately Muse have commercialization in mind, and this song is designed to hit the market, in the mainstream R&B/Synthpop genre.
4. United States of Eurasia - Epic track! Powerful Mercury style vocals, crossed between expert piano work, created something completely different, Muse are entering the realms of the unknown for themselves, and they succeeded, all I will say is "SIA!!!!!" Listen and you'll understand!
5. Guiding Light - The weakest song on the album, slow, no guitar riff worth mentioning, sounds like something Queen may have produced in the early 1980's but decided not to go ahead with, something which got lost behind a shelf, and required a little dusting, still, most bands would love to have the capability of writing a song like this. Good in the wider perspective, but come on, this is Muse we're talking about!
6. Unnatural Selection - Powerful guitar riffs, strong vocals, catchy lyrics, and a truly Epic ending, as Bellamy pounds the guitar for a little THRASH METAL! It's the days of "OOS" crossed between something completely different, what you might get if you crossed Iron Maiden and Queen together.
7. MK Ultra, now this is the PWOPER Muse! Excellent lyrics/vocals, powerful riffs what more could you ask of Muse, this might be regarded as one of their "modern greats" up to the standard of their old material, any old Muse fan will fall in love with this track!
8. I Belong To You - Rather Maroon 5-esque, but surprisingly catchy, and easy to listen to, not typical of Muse, but not a complete disaster.
This, well and truly makes up for any previous failings or uncertainty in the album. Muse are exploring the fringe of the unknown, and they've never sounded more powerful and epic, this is a musical great, it takes a clever man to arrange an orchestra, it takes a genius to compose a three part symphony, words cannot describe what you will experience when Muse take you on this musical journey, I can only beg you to listen!
Three things to say about this album:-
1. It is completely OTT and preposterous
2. It is the work of musical magpies, indiscriminately stealing from umpteen sources
3. It succeeds in synthesising these elements into something vastly more interesting and vastly more entertaining than anybody else out there at the moment.
In style , the Resistance in closer to the lighter more melodic tone of Black Holes and Revelations than the heavier feel of Absolution.
Track by track,
Uprising sets the stall out for Supermassive Black Hole style cosmic funk before travelling via the BBC Radiophonic workshop (Dr Who) to Supernature-era GoldFrapp style glam stomp.
The Resistance is probably the least interesting btrack.
Undisclosed Desires comes from the early 80s, with an almost Yazoo like vibe.
United States of Eurasia is even more an outrageous Queen pastiche than Knights of Cydonia. The "We are the Champions" homage had me laughing out loud.
Guiding light returns us to 80s synth pop with the "Vienna" beat given extra muscle.
Unnatural Selection is the first real stadium rocker on the album and is bizarrely the illegitimate child of Metallica and Abba. Unlikely? Try listening to it without thinking of "Lay all your Love on Me". Real stand out
MK Ultra is more of an Absolution era rock out.
Can't really get a handle on I Belong to you - I suspect it will be a slow burner. Do I detect a bit of Supertramp in there ?
If Exogenesis is where Muse jump the shark, well so be it, they make damn sure its a gold plated, diamond encrusted shark wearing a feather Boa. Rachmaninov meets the Lord of the Rings Sound track meets any prog/glam band you care to think of.
Its not a perfect album, the lyrics could be criticised as being a bit 6th form common room, but what the hell, it's Muse, it's ridiculous and it's tremendous fun.
Music for trainee space cadets.I loved it.
on 14 September 2009
Black Holes and Revelations was an alternative, progressive metal album. It was all deliberately written, each song felt like it was deliberately written to slot into place in the album. Even the vastly different songs Hoodoo and Soldier's Poem were deliberately placed as a break between songs. The music was a mixture of techno mixed with Bellamy's guitar riffs, Chris' bass lines and Dom's amazing drumming.
If you are looking for that here you might be disappointed. That same song writing is there, the riffs are there, the bass is there and the drumming is as amazing as ever... but the whole album sounds so different. Black Holes was a "loud" album, this album sounds almost "clean", you can hear tom's cymbals, bass notes... not just a wall of sound. This is music for the mosh pit where people can sit down on armchairs midway and mull over the day in their head.
Many fans will see this as a departure into ripping off Queen and Doctor Who, but I see this step backwards as a step forward... discovering a new sound, seeing what they can do without the effects pedal. What Matt can do if he sits behind the piano for three tracks. And what happens when they self produce an album.
I would buy the Resistance because its Muse doing something different and doing it brilliantly :D
on 18 September 2009
A couple of years ago `Prog' celebrated its 40th birthday. While The Beatles was never a Prog band, their Sergeant Pepper's album was perhaps the root from which it would later flower. It showed us that rock could sally beyond 3 minute pop singles, that there was a big wide world of music and technology out there waiting to be explored and manipulated.
Muse also operates in this middle zone: while falling short of Prog with all its grand pretentions and 'virtuosity', it is a band that reaches out beyond the ordinary, invariably extending just a little bit further than an average rock or pop artist. The Resistance goes further than ever before, their most accomplished and varied album to date. Existing fans will find the band's sense of operatic drama still intact, but now enhanced almost to excess with more carefully crafted arrangements full of light and shade, hatred and love. The whole is dressed in a clean uncluttered mix that adds to the music's vitality and driving energy while enabling each instrument to breathe in its own space.
Despite a general preponderance of thunderous power-chords and pounding drums, the band has reigned back a little on bombastic anthems, heavyweight riffs and electronics, while adding a liberal sprinkling of subtler acoustic textures from piano and string ensemble - with a dash of pipe organ as a welcome bonus. We are taken on a boundary-busting journey from conservatoire to Casbah, from sweaty mosh-pit to Parisian Vaudeville, yet never far away from the 02 Arena or Wembley Stadium as singer Matthew Bellamy delivers his powerful exhortations against the mind-control of fat-cats and corrupt authorities that are tearing the planet apart. Even his love songs are bitter-sweet! It may be an emotional roller-coaster, but it is a rewarding experience.
Is it a masterpiece? Only time will tell, but all in all The Resistance is a very fine album that effortlessly marries an unerring sense of a good pop melody with some of the most inventive rock-music-plus around today.