Muse – The 2nd Law Muse – The 2nd Law

Muse – The 2nd Law

Imagine Kashmir updated for the year 2012 – that’s how the new Muse record The 2nd Law begins. It beats you over the face with stuttering drum and guitar chugs that would normally only be recognizable if my right forearm could be musically mapped when I stumble upon adult websites. Hmm – I suddenly regret the face-beating metaphor.

“Supremacy” is followed by “Madness” which feels like the love child of Deadmau5 and Queen. Needless to say this record is continuing the epic electronic hard rock blueprint from Muse’s previous discography, at least thus far. What makes this song even cooler is seeing them perform it on Saturday Night Live. Christopher Wolstenholme’s double neck electronic/traditional bass (a custom Misa Kitara) is pretty badass and watching him recreate the exact album sound illustrates just how far Muse will go to bring their studio sound to the live canvas.

The album continues with “Panic Station” which, and I hate to make this comparison, sounds like a grown up version of the Hoobastank song “Inside of You.” This is followed by “Prelude/Survival” which probably makes Dethklok smile with it’s operatic choir background, screaming guitar licks and boot-to-ground drum beat. Makes me feel strong…army strong.

And then? Dubstep. Well, the transformation begins. “Follow Me” dips its toes into the dial-up kiddy pool and ends up taking a cannibal into the U2 deep end…with decidedly better results than U2 in their own pool (well, at least the last couple albums).

Apparently the dubstep and U2 aquatics center was getting old because Muse then channels Radiohead on “Animals”. Although I suppose this is par for the course for them – they just seem to do Radiohead better than Radiohead sometimes. And that sound you just heard is thousands of Radiohead fans’ foreheads hitting their keyboards. Actually the blustery crowd you hear at the end of the song is very apropos of how I imagine Radiohead fans feel after my last comment. Meh, they’re depressed shut-in’s anyway.

Oh, come on – I kid Radiohead fans!

“Explorers” takes the album into more subdued territory before the U2 comparison comes back in earnest. In “Big Freeze” Matthew Bellamy sounds a lot like Bono and his guitar sounds a lot like The Edge. But much like the previous comparison the end results are more impactful than any U2 song in the last decade. Though I suppose Bono’s been busy curing AIDs and feeding Africa so I suppose I should cut them some slack.

“Save Me” is a trippy five-minute soundscape that doesn’t remind me of any other Muse song before it. In fact I find it somewhat uninteresting in its consistency. It never really strays far from its base. So clearly this is one of Mitt Romney’s least favorite songs. Ohhhh, topical!!

“Liquid State” is one of two songs written by bassist Wolstenholme about his alcoholism and this one is far better than its brother and predecessor, “Save Me”. If other songs were inspired by U2, Radiohead and Queen this song is a like second cousin to Queens of the Stone Age. That said, I think Queens does their sound better.

And then? Dubstep. But for realsies this time, you guys.

The title track split in half starts out with the aforementioned dial-up (and I don’t actually hate it) and concludes with piano, strings, rambling sound bites and a feeling that a musical timebomb is going to go off but never does. Instead it fades away. An odd ending to an album that pulled me in different directions yet kept me entertained. But therein lies the heat of the meat – it kept me entertained. Well done, boys.

Tracklist:
1. Supremacy
2. Madness
3. Panic Station
4. Survival (Prelude)
5. Survival
6. Follow Me
7. Animals
8. Explorers
9. Big Freeze
10. Save Me
11. Liquid State
12. The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
13. The 2nd Law: Isolated System

Muse - The 2nd Law, reviewed by Jason K on 2012-10-19T11:58:26+00:00 rating 4.0 out of 5



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