Muse: The 2nd Law (Warner Bros.) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The 2nd Law

Warner Bros.

Oct 16, 2012 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

There’s a certain difficulty in writing a Muse review: trash them and you risk incurring the wrath of their fans for invoking those same tired (but still entirely pertinent) Queen references; praise them and you’ll be shot down by anyone who has ever sat through one of their records sober. The good news about new album The 2nd Law is that the band has expanded the pool of artists from whom they shamelessly steal ideas. Opener “Supremacy,” for example, is unabashed in practically sampling John Paul Jones’s string section from Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” “Madness,” with its infuriating stutter, might as well have Queen’s Brian May playing the solo from “I Want to Break Free.” And the vocal line from “Explorers” might lead to the band being called out by Freddie Mercury’s estate, so unashamedly does it plagiarise “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

Muse has never been about subtlety any more than they were about originality: “haters gonna hate,” fans will tell you; “it’s fun,” they’ll say. Except it isn’t anymore. Muse have always been a prog rock band at heart, albeit one far more po-faced than their 1970s muses: songs about thermodynamics and vague, badly-defined conspiracy theories they saw late at night on a public broadcasting network populated their earlier, more enjoyable albums too. The difference is that with 2001’s sophomore album, Origin of Symmetry, and 2003’s third album, Absolution, the band created memorable rock riffs and licks like the classic rock bands that inspired them, things that may have been dumb but are remembered by millions today. Songs such as London Olympics 2012 single “Survival,” on the other hand, have all the big swollen orchestration but lurch forgettably from verse to chorus like a drunk crashing a monster truck at 5 mph.

Such previous Muse songs as “Hysteria” and “Time is Running Out” have that same kind of grandiose euphoria that translates well to a stadium of Coldplay fans, akin to many of the Live Aid-era bands. But The 2nd Law is the sound of the band who made Absolution as they continue to disappear up their own collective super-massive black hole: an album full of testosterone but draped in the thinnest veil of superficial darkness and half-conceived ideas about space and government and the band themselves probably don’t know what else. It’s about as much fun as The Darkness without the cat suits. You can say “haters gonna hate” all you like, but when an album is both as precious and lazily tossed off as this, they have every right to.


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October 16th 2012

Jeeze you sound like a die hard fan they once ignored outside a gig! I can think of a thousand different bands more worthy of this utterly ridiculous venom, but hey, you carry on making a fool out of yourself writing God awful reviews like this, and they’ll carry on shifting millions of albums and tickets all over the world. Idiot.

October 16th 2012

I don’t really agree with this, you make it sound like this is the end of Muse, but I think they’ll learn and improve.
I also reviewed this, if anybody’s interested.

Aaron Frigge
October 16th 2012

Yeah, I didn’t care too much for it either. Try getting anyone to agree with you, though…

October 16th 2012

Muse got Hollywood Fever. That’s all it boils down to. Glam and glitter has blinded them, not made them prettier. The name itself, ‘The 2nd law’ is about as contrived and intellectually vain as anything can get. I haven’t listened to the whole album yet, but I don’t really want to. I’ve heard enough to know that it’d be detrimental to my mental health if I entertained it any further.

October 26th 2012

Oh please Muse are great and been a fan of their work for years - they are genuine, talented and artistic to the bone. They are walking legends and sometimes music can sound the same but they’d never copy other artists

October 31st 2012

Been reading all of the 2nd law reviews but this has got to be the worst. Sure, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but this is unfair. Why is it that everyone thinks they’re selling out/going in the wrong direction? Survival’s build up at the end is like showbiz, the accelerating guitar riffs finished by a classic Bellamy falsetto. Animals contains beautiful Sunburn and Screenager licks. Songs like liquid state and supremacy reminisce the heaviness of the Absolution days. Falsettos peaking in everywhere, the “muse-step” in Unsustainable that have been forseen for years at Muse gigs whilst improvising - they haven’t lost their touch. They’re improving on old sound and trying out new material. Oh and tell me, what is a band without inspiring to other artists? There would be no artists on the face of this planet without being influenced by others. And hey, what’s not fun about The Darkness? Anything is more fun than reading this. I am done. :)