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Conor Fynes
1 stars 'Unsustainable' - Muse (Single)

Womp womp womp.

I'll set a foundation first and say that Muse used to be in very good graces with me. The trilogy comprising "Origin of Symmetry", "Absolution", and "Black Holes & Revelations" was- and remains- a solid dose of progressively-inclined alternative rock. By the time "The Resistance" came out, I was enough of a fan to be disappointed. Although it was clear they had attempted to get even more ambitious with their sound, the result lacked the interesting songwriting and emotional depth of their earlier work, and the promise of a full-fledged symphony amounted to little more than a quiet piece of background music. Although it may not have been fair for me to have felt so strongly against them after one disappointing album, "The Resistance" was enough to kill my excitement over the band.

This negativity aside, "The Resistance" was not utter tripe, and though I had the feeling that they would never reach the sort of creative spark they had with "Black Holes & Revelations", I never believed things could fall this low. To mark the coming of Muse's sixth album "The 2nd Law", Muse dropped this track. "Unsustainable" is apparently going to be the first part of a two-bit 'epic', and I can only hope that the second half of this is nowhere near as bad. Muse's symphonic influences continue to dominate the band's sound, and though the band's big budget allows for an authentic orchestra, it's used (or misused) in the least effective way imaginable. The orchestration is graced with all the sound of a cinematic composition, but lacks any of its intricacy or detail.

By the time the tired orchestral idea has reached its zenith, an irritating voice sample comes in, a ramble about energy and the global economy, or something. It's clear that frontman Matthew Bellamy has written this track with a particular political agenda in mind, yet it's never made very clear what it is he's actually upset about. Luckily, a robot voice interrupts halfway through the track and helps to guide us along the right path; society's way of doing things is "Unsustainable". Zing!

Following this comes what I think must be Muse's greatest musical blunder. Up to this point, "Unsustainable" crosses me as an uninspired orchestral piece, but it reaches the threshold for lunacy once Muse unveil their latest style change: dubstep. No, not necessarily dubstep in its original, comparatively legitimate form, but the type that artists like Skrillex and even Korn have excreted from their unholy bowels. This particular deviation from dubstep proper (it's apparently called 'brostep') is very popular nowadays, and though my personal hate and disdain for this particular sound no doubt tempers my views towards it, Muse do not incorporate it well at all into their sound. Keeping in touch with the forced 'cinematic' nature of the first minute, Muse's brush with dubstep feels contrived and virtually laughable.

Whether its Muse's tenacity with half-baked political messages or an increasingly weary symphonic element, "Unsustainable" hits lower depths than I ever thought possible for a band who once won me over with their ambitious take on alternative rock. Regardless, give it a listen for yourself. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this. I often try to be as diplomatic as I can when reviewing music, but this is rubbish.

Report this review (#807492)
Posted Sunday, August 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Originality, want you it or not.

Single "The 2nd Law: Unsustainable" shows a major turn in Muse sound from pompous alternative pop/rock to dance-oriented sound. Despite of all criticism of this track (caused, of course, by shocking dubstep sections), this song ain't bad, it will grow on you.

Actually Muse is always about experimentation, so their music is extremelly bizarre for mainstream world (though it may seem to be poppish for progheads), so this turn should have happened one day ? I guess, if they would continue to work in the same vein as "The Resistance" and "Black Holes and Revelations", it would be the worst thing for them, as it would indicate the lack of orginality.

But no, Muse, as any other good band, doesn't afraid to incorporate new sound into their music.

The song starts a bit predictable for Muse, the first minute or so you will hear only symphonic rock oddity, but it abruptly rolls into dubstep, which is a bit... untypical for old Muse. Actually this is not dubstep at all, because all this noise is maden with guitars. Heavilly distorted robotic voice sings "Unsustainable". After a while, the song turns into more typical for Muse alternative rock, then again dubstep takes over.

Yeah, this song will shock you after the first listen, but it's not bad at all.

It's not the song that will satisfy prog rock fans, but it works well as a pretty original experiment.

Report this review (#809363)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Review Permalink

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