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Muse - The 2nd Law CD (album) cover




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3.21 | 233 ratings

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3 stars Well. I have had two days to suck this one in. Although, in that time it has gathered at least 10 plays, so I have safely formed an opinion. That opinion is that the great run of Muse was truly 2001-2009. Four 5 star albums in a row, I don't know many bands that have that, let alone popular alt-rock bands.

What's wrong with this album is what some people said was wrong with the Resistance, but much worse. There is too much plagiarism. I loved The Resistance, and it is actually my favourite Muse album, but I could still hear it. But here, it is more prominent than ever. And it's not just influence. There are direct melodies from other songs that have been slightly altered. I can hear Don't Stop Me Now and Another One Bites The Dust by Queen, Significant Other by Steven Wilson, and even previous Muse song, Invincible. It just becomes annoying.

Muse sound like a teenage band who are trying to find their own sound but can't help but copy their idols. And this would be understandable if this was the case. But it isn't. Muse have had their own style, multiple times, they have even influenced many bands after them. Dream Theater named them as an influence on Octavarium!

Now. That is the bad part. There are no truly great parts of this album, but that does not mean it isn't good in some sense. It is both their most progressive, and most pop release yet. The opener, "Supremacy" has some very prog metal layers, a couple of odd signatures (I think, I'm not great at listening), and a fantastic falsetto hook line. Very Muse. The next song, lead single "Madness" is almost the polar opposite. And once you get past the original copying of "I Want to Break Free", it's actually quite a nice synth rock song.

"Big Freeze" is one of the highlights, and although everyone says it sounds like U2, fortunately I have really never heard U2 and am not bothered by it. "Panic Station" (apparently the next single, ugh) is probably the worst on the album, sounding so 80's that it actually wears sparkly pants.

The majority of the album is weak, electronic inspired stadium rock, with not much to give, but I'm sure you could like them given a few listens, but really not stand-out like songs on previous albums.

But something rather new comes up on the last four tracks, beginning with two without Thom Yorke, I mean Matt Bellamy, on vocals. Instead, introverted bassist Chris Wolstenholme takes spotlight, and pulls out two very countering songs, the slow ballad "Save Me", and the hard rocker "Liquid State". His vocal delivery is good, and he even does the characteristic Muse falsetto very well, and is a good simple alternative to Bellamy's insane vibrato.

The final two songs are essentially a 9 minute instrumental track, with some interviews and spoken vocals intertwined. If you ignore the obvious 'brostep' breakdown, "Unsustainable" is actually a really nice track, with some great dissonance, and Matt's wavering vocals reminiscent of the absolutely astounding "Overture" from The Resistance. The second part, "Isolated System" is much more ambient, and actually nicer. I think that Muse could pull of some really nice post-rock sort of stuff (side project idea?) if they wanted, and this is quite relaxing. I'll admit, the woman's voice is rather annoying, and Bellamy's knowledge of science really doesn't help the apparent concept, but it's still nice. Not perfect as a finale, though.

Overall, ignore the plagiarism, you've got a alright alt-rock album with prog and electronic influences. But there are no absolute stunners. Even in the coldly received "Resistance", pretty much everyone agreed that 7 minute explosion "Unnatural Selection" was brilliant, and the opening riff of "MK Ultra" still stands as one of the best riffs ever in my opinion. The 2nd Law shows Muse developing, but they seem to be without the great songs that got them somewhere.

If you hated the Resistance, you'll hate this too.

If you liked the Resistance, you'll probably be a bit disappointed, but there's some nice stuff.

If you are a teenage girl who worships everything that Matthew Bellamy does, you'll love this.


Gallifrey | 3/5 |


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