Sunday, October 7, 2012

The 2nd Law - Muse (does it again).

I've listened a few times, and I think I can safely say that Muse's newest album, The 2nd Law, which dropped in the US on October 2 on Warner, is, well, okay, BOSS. Lots of info here.

A long-time Muse fan, I remember discovering their third album, Absolution, while searching for music on LiveJournal (anyone?) and subsequently played. it. to. death. The lead vocalist/guitarist/maverick, Matthew Bellamy's almost operatic voice just reels me in every single time. I can't ever just cut a song off halfway through. There's always a climax to get to. The songs, much like the albums, require, and in fact, compel you to listen through to the end. Absolution was probably the album that skyrocketed them to their current status as rock heroes here in the U.S. And their followups, Black Holes and Revelations (2006), The Resistance (2009), and now The 2nd Law, have never, ever, even remotely disappointed. Each one seems to pick up where the last one left off, each one seemingly grander than the last.

"Take a Bow," the first track off their 2006 release, was featured in the movie and trailer for Watchmen (2009), and I don't think a featured song in a film trailer has ever made me as excited for something I would otherwise probably have been very non-excited about. 

I love the intense symphonic sound that Muse unfailingly brings to the table. The themes are epic, melodic even when they can be heavy. It's glam, theatrical, but most of all, fun! And great, of course, for wailing along to in the car on high volume (guilty). 

The 2nd Law opens with an exhilarating track, "Supremacy," the intro to which harkens back to Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir." And the second track, and incidentally the second single off the album, "Madness" is extreeeeeemely hard to listen to only once or twice. Or ten or twenty times. (The first single release was "Survival," which was the 2012 Summer Olympics official song.) Another lovely example of a great build is "Follow Me," which throws down some pretty danceable beats that are still thick enough with guitar and arching vocals that at least I'm spared feeling like I've just landed in an alt rock night club, but still kind of want to get out of my seat and move. Track 9, "The Big Freeze," sounds like U2 (I'm not big on U2) as much as they have been compared to Radiohead. I still hear that influence, but the beauty of Muse is that they continually experiment and expand their sound, so they never sound like one thing for long. It keeps me seriously hooked.

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