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Muse - Showbiz CD (album) cover

SHOWBIZ

Muse

 

Prog Related

3.09 | 330 ratings

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Insin
3 stars Before Muse released Showbiz in 1999, they had already been playing together for five years, writing about fifty songs. Twelve of these would make it onto Showbiz, a debut that makes it feel like the band wasn't going for popularity, respect, or fame ? they just wanted to get their music out there.

Showbiz has a sound rooted predominantly in alternative rock, with touches of influences like blues and Latin that would not survive to see their later releases, and it lacks the symphonic and progressive elements for which Muse is better known. Some heaviness is present, although in a noisy, punk-ish fashion rather than a strictly metal sound. Whatever experimentation is present on the album seems to come about organically, and it is smoothly incorporated into Showbiz's alt rock foundation, as opposed to the band writing a song purely in a different style (as was done on The Second Law). Escape, for example, starts off mellow and bluesy, then explodes into angry hard rock; Falling Down does the same but retains the bluesy, contemplative feel for most of its duration. Muse showcases some more diversity as well with the inclusion of the acoustic ballad Unintended and piano-based Sunburn, something of a precursor to their later love of experimentation.

Since "traditional" Muse lyrics (conspiracy theories, science, politics, and whatnot) have not yet come about at this point, much of the focuses of Showbiz angsty and na´ve instead. They spend most of their time complaining about small town life, relationships, and overall sounding immature. The song Muscle Museum even includes the quite memorable line "I have played in every toilet." No, I don't know the story behind that.

As an alternative rock album, the songwriting, as you'd expect, isn't particularly innovative or interesting. The riffs are not great, the soloing lacking, the songs only "kind of" catchy. The best thing about the instrumentation is Bellamy's vocal performance. His voice itself does not stand out as above average, but what he can do with it is incredible. Take the end of the title track ? he lets out some absolutely glass-shattering high-pitched screams.

The album's most defining characteristic is its rawness, its unfiltered purity of emotion. Unintended is one side of the spectrum, an innocent, honest love song, while the rage of the title track and Escape are impossible to ignore. Falling Down, which is about wanting to leave town, just sounds so authentic. Muse did not go out of their way to make an experimental album in seven different genres. They wrote the music that came about from their circumstances and made something that captures a genuine feeling of angst. And the actual music isn't bad either.

Insin | 3/5 |

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