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Muse - The 2nd Law CD (album) cover

THE 2ND LAW

Muse

 

Prog Related

3.20 | 239 ratings

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Kempokid
3 stars After the relative lack of interesting experimentation on The Resistance, it almost feels as if Muse were trying to compensate for that on tto makheir followup album, The 2nd Law, which contained a wide array of musical styles and went into territory that I really didn't expect Muse to go. On the album, you get things like funk and dubstep, while still maintaining something similar to Muse's general sound, although at this point it feels as if their identity is fading, or at least becoming muddled to an extent. As for all the praise I have for when bands try experimenting with something new, there still needs to be a basic sense of cohesion, which this album definitely feels as if it's lacking at multiple points, despite the fact that quite a few of these songs are really well written, or at least are interesting.

Songs like Supremacy and Panic Station show an even more symphonic, bombastic approach to writing music, both with prominent roles of the trumpet, along with a return to their older production style of creating a wall of sound, although it sounds cleaner here. I also love the occasional use of their heavier guitar tone that hadn't properly been used sine Absolution. While Supremacy sounds like something straight out of a James Bond film, Panic Station is just an awesome, funky song. While there are these moments, there are also those like Madness and Follow Me, taking a much more pop oriented approach with application of dubstep that I don't hate, as I find some of it to be quite tasteful, especially the way it avoids just becoming a massive onslaught of 'wubs', always a good thing in relation to electronic music of any sort, as tasteful use of the various elements of them can make the difference between mastery and unlistenable garbage. I also find the song that's essentially Queen (Survival) to be much better when comparing it to the awful United States of Eurasia, as the band definitely injects enough of their own flair to set this song apart, rather than just sound like a bad Queen song. I find the middle section of the album to contain some really great electronics and a very pleasant, building sound throughout, and climaxing well, leading to a few songs that show off some really great electro-pop, along with the occasional bit of rock . I do find both Save Me and Liquid State to be fairly lackluster however, quite possibly at least partially due to the much weaker vocals of Chris Wolstenholme taking away from the usual dramatic nature of the band, making them feel a lot more generic. The album thankfully closes off on an entertaining duo of songs, with Unsustainable taking the dubstep style of certain song on the album, and then making them even more prominent, but doing it in a really interesting way by creating the noises with a guitar, making for a very interesting listening experience, with the following song being a great period of calming down after the onslaught of the previous track.

While I enjoyed the majority of the tracks, I do find the album to have an issue of feeling very disjointed, jumping between styles, but with many of them having the problem of just not sounding like Muse, which causes the album to be a really confused, muddled listen as a whole. Furthermore, despite what I've said about the tasteful use of the electronic moments, I do find quite a few of them to be uninspired. Furthermore, despite the highly experimental approach to the album in terms of how different this is from previous effort, I do find quite a few of the songs, while pleasant, to be nothing more than just standard pop songs. I do appreciate what Muse tried doing, and it works really well in many places, but there are also some which fall somewhat flat. I don't really recommend too much from this album, but I do think it's decently enjoyable overall.

Best songs: Supremacy, Panic Station, The 2nd Law: Isolated System

Weakest songs: Save Me, Liquid State

Verdict: While a very experimental album for Muse, quite a few attempts at experimentation don't go very well, and ultimately feel quite dull. The album ends up being saved by some of the amazing songs, but as a whole, it's patchy and I'd recommend listening to this album a bit later down the line, with their peak 3 albums being much better starting points.

Kempokid | 3/5 |

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