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Muse Showbiz album cover
3.09 | 330 ratings | 21 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sunburn (3:53)
2. Muscle Museum (4:22)
3. Fillip (4:01)
4. Falling Down (4:33)
5. Cave (4:45)
6. Showbiz (5:17)
7. Unintended (3:57)
8. Uno (3:38)
9. Sober (4:04)
10. Escape (3:31)
11. Overdue (2:26)
12. Hate This & I'll Love You (5:09)

Total Time: 49:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Matthew Bellamy / electric, synth (9) & acoustic nylon (7) guitars, piano (1-6), Mellotron (2,7), Wurlitzer (3,12), Hammond (4,7,10), Yamaha CS1X synth (5), string arrangements (6), harmonium (10), lead vocals
- Chris Wolstenholme / bass, double bass (1,4), backing vocals (10)
- Dominic Howard / drums, noises (2), percussion (6,8,12)

- Paul Reeve / backing vocals (7,8,11,12), co-producer

Releases information

Artwork: Matthew Bellamy and Tanya Andrew

CD Mushroom ‎- MUSH59CD (1999, UK)

2xLP Mushroom ‎- MUSH59LP (1999, UK)

Thanks to Certif1ed for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MUSE Showbiz ratings distribution

(330 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

MUSE Showbiz reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Showbiz is a strong debut from a band that have gone on to bigger things, and brought the word "bombastic" back into common use. It showcases a band that are bursting with creative ideas and a vision of a sound that is both hypnotic and bone- crushingly heavy, yet balanced with lights and shades.

This album wouldn't be out of place in any collection of Progressive rock - although it would never be considered pure prog. It's not about what Muse do, it's about how they do it.

A piano ostinato kicks off "Sunburn", a piece that might sound like Radiohead if it wasn't for the crunching guitars and crashing drums that are Muse's bombastic trademarks. "Sunburn" drifts between ambience and slabs of power chords in an effortless and seamless manner, until we hit the bridge, where Bellamy tortures the guitar within an inch of it's life. A new piano ostinato coda brings the piece to a close nicely.

Muscle Museum shows Muse's classical pretensions coming forward; clean-cut lines and a real sense of space make for another rock song with a difference - but it's when those power chords cut through, then die back to allow a build-up to another huge chorus that we really know that Muse have already acquired a mature and unique style on this, their debut album. The bridge again demonstrates the powers of Matt Bellamy's invention, with wonderful developing, yet ultimately simple chord sequences.

Fillip is most interesting around the bridge, where Bellamy again drives forward with the piano into an impressive accellerando, but the song itself seems to contain harmonic issues - most of the chord sequence is inventive and contains wonderful momentum, but one or two chords stand out as being "wrong". This is a fault they share with ELP, so they can be forgiven that!

"Falling Down" begins with a kind of blues, deeply reminiscent of Radiohead, but Muse are very keen on angular chord changes that provide a nice identifying stamp. The song progresses with gospel-style piano chord sequences into a passionate rock ballad sung with soul, man. There's nothing partiularly progressive about this song, but boy, is it beautiful!

"Cave" provides the contrast we might expect, an exloding rocker with angular chords and driving bass, seguing into piano-driven sections and those huge power chordal choruses. The second verse, though, feels a little bit of a slog, from a progressive point of view, as the formula is becoming apparent, and we await the bridge. Bellamy takes to the keyboard and the band meander through a slightly directionless ambient section to a great minute or so of prog that makes up the coda.

The title track puts us more firmly into prog territory. Bellamy pulls out all the stops in the passion department for a spine-tinglingly emotional delivery, as the band grow a hypnotic ambience into ever darker and more threatening chunks of rock on an unfolding journey towards more guitar torturing and impossible falsettos that put Justin Hawkins entirely to shame.

"Unintended" begins with more homage to the roots of rock music - the Blues. This develops quickly into a ballad in which Bellamy shows many angles to his voice - some of the falsetto is so pure, you'd swear it was a female vocalist. On the whole, though, I end up wishing Matt would just sing like himself instead of constantly dropping into a Yorke soundalike. That niggle aside, this is another beautiful, almost perfect ballad, with some nice production effects.

"Uno" has Dominic Howard proving that there's life in 4/4 yet, and is probably the first heavy Tango I've ever heard. With flavours of Hank Marvin creeping in, and superb lights and shades, this is a really progressive approach to the old rock song format. My only niggle with this track is Bellamy's inability to produce a decent guitar solo.

"Sober" is a mid-tempo grunge style track with Bellamy once again demonstrating that as a lead guitarist, he's a fabulous rhythm guitarist. The twists and turns to this song are not unexpected by now, and it stands out as being only average, despite the elaborate decorations in the production. Kinda reminds me of something from "The Bends".... until the nice breakdown around 2:30, which sadly doesn't really go anywhere.

The intro to "Escape" also has an atmosphere that is reminiscent of "The Bends", and the overall style of the song is inescapably Radiohead, but there is an odd flow that goes above and beyond the simplicity of the chord progressions and breakdowns. Nothing remarkably proggy about this song, which again lacks the power and direction of the earlier songs on the album.

"Overdue" falls into much the same traps, yet is more inventive than the previous two songs. It'll probably get labelled as "Brit-Pop" by many, but it's very, very different to the bland simple constructions of that genre if you listen with only half an ear. I would say this is progressive even if not overtly so, and despite the short lenght.

Finally "Hate This and I'll Love You". Hark! Are those the crickets from "Club Tropicana" I hear? Actually, I'm fairly sure they're different, moodier crickets. There's nothing much to hate about the song, but Muse go for it with all guns blazing to establish their sound once and for all... a fairly pointless and fruitless excercise, as the first 3 quarters of this album do that very nicely. What I mean is, they put in too much effort - they're trying too hard with the finale, and who could blame them?

Well, me, for one. I think that "Cave" would have rounded the album off better - but that said, on the whole, this is a superb debut, and one that any progger would enjoy as a rockout every now and again - but not an album that would regularly grace the CD (or record) player of the connoisseur.

3.5 stars - A good album that would be a good addition to any prog music collection - not really in the essential camp, but you really should hear it end-to-end a few times (it doesn't impress on the first couple of hearings).

Review by Menswear
3 stars A very dark and strong opening career move.

When I bought that record, I got strucked by two things: the cranky emotionnal level and the age of the musicians.

Good lord, these guys are young to be such skilled players. Since Genesis and Wobbler, never kidz amazed me so much in terms of musicianship. The singer is almost crying, spitting chunks of hardcore emotions and rage...kinda copying Thom Yorke of Radiohead. Got it, this came out soon after Ok Computer.

Okay, I spilled the beans. The whole musical package is STRONGLY influenced by Radiohead and it's magnificent Ok Computer. The songs are still good, but I frankly don't think that kidz this age suffered that much pain in love to cry this hard on the record. Sunburn for instance is trying hard to pull out rage and despair. Well, too much gloom and teenage (overdone) despair is showing, in my humble opinion.

I just couldn't pass the unhealthy adolescence emotionnal level. Dude, you're 18, don't worry losing the girl, it won't kill ya!

Review by sleeper
2 stars Muse are considered to be one of the more creative bands of the modern music scene, not just in Prog. However, don't look too hard for that here on the trio's debut album Showbiz as this tends to be a much more straight forward rock album with clear influences from early Radiohead, songs like Creep.

The opening couple of songs on this album (Sunburn and Muscle Museum) are very much done in the style that is more readily recognizable as Muse to people that are aware of the bands more well known later albums. These two songs put me very much in mind of the following album to Showbiz, Origin of Symmetry, by making quite obvious use of the piano and mellatron, instrumentation that quite clearly shows were this band is likely to head (and did) if they are adventurous enough to use such instruments.

From here on out, though, the music is more straight forward mid to up- tempo rock with only a few small parts here and there that are more what you would expect from Muse. The title track Showbiz could probably be grouped with the first two songs as well, but the middle of this song is very similar to the rest of the album, relatively simple, driving, guitar riffs that you would expect from a popular rock band. The two tracks that do stand out as being unique on this track are Unintended and Hate This And I'll Love You. Both are more of the slow ballad type of song but they work rather well and fit in to the album well enough.

If your looking for a mainstream band that is trying to do something new instead of the usual Indie rock that you tend to get, this album only gives you glimmers of that, something that would really start coming to the fore in latter releases. This is not a bad album but some of the tracks have a samey quality to them that detracts from the feel of the album. I'll give this 2 stars because there's no Prog on this album whatsoever and that the band will do much better latter on. Good for fans of the band and people that are just looking for a rock album that's just a little bit more than the average fair.

On a side note, I really love the alien landscape cover to the album, a really imaginative cover that's quite nice and for gaming fans you might recognise the track Sober from Gran Tourismo 2.

Review by richardh
4 stars Strictly speaking this is not prog but an accomplished collection of pop and rock songs.For me Matt Bellamy is one of the most talented people around being both able to play inventive lead guitar adding rich textures as well as bombastic sounds.He's not bad on the keyboard either! Although this may be the band's debut album its really about Matt.The other two in the band lend able support just like Greg and Carl did for Keith on ELP's debut album all those years ago.You knew then that ELP was about the incredible talent of Keith Emerson and with Muse you know this about Matthew Bellamy.

As a debut album this is as good as you will hear.Not really any weak songs.Don't make the mistake of assuming this is the runt in the litter of Muse albums.Its on a par with everything except the powerfully dark Absolution.The tracks Filip and Falling Down show Muse's abilty to be both bombastic and delicate.A rare thing in music and something bands usually have to learn over many years and many albums.Muse nail it first time off.I doff my hat to the phenomenon that is ...Muse.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars When I started to listen to Muse in 2001, I could hardly imagine that one day they will be considered to appear on a site like PA. In my record collection, they are listed as "Actual Bands" (together with Placebo, Franz Ferdinand, Arcade Fire, Madrugada, The Editors, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah etc.).

Their style is difficult to describe. One thing is sure, Bellamy is a genious in song writing. He is able to deliver superb rock melodies. It seems so easy for him as others would wash their teeth. Muse produce a very dynamic rock. You need to experience them live to feel all the might of this trio. I was a bit sceptical before I went to see them at Forest National (one of our main concert hall in Belgium). Well, after a few notes, there was no question about how they would fill the space of this huge stage. They are so powerful and Bellamy so charismatic that the audience reacted as a single man. Very few times have I seen such a communion between a band and his fans (and I've seen a lot of concerts in my long musical life).

This album is a continuity of strong and catchy songs (at least during the first half of the album) , violent at times : "Sunburn", "Muscle Museum" and "Filip" : these first three songs are extremely dynamic. If you are looking for some energy, you'll get it here. The first break comes with "Falling Down" which is a mellow ballad to interrupt this orgy of vigourous sounds.

But don't worry, Muse comes back full power with "Cave"; another pop number, as sharp as ice. I am really found of Bellamy's voice, but some might find it irritating.

My preferred track is "Showbiz". Simply incredible. So bombastic and devastating. Sounds as a hurricane hitting the land : extremely violent. The acoustic "Unintended" is very much welcome to give us another break. These guys are really not previsible. "Uno" was already a single before joining this album. Another great rock song with both sides of Muse : delicate and rageous.

"Sober" is a heavy song. Maybe the weakest of this very good album so far. We'll be switched back again with a nice melody with the following number : "Escape". But it will turn out to be a very powerful number as well. Very strong bass line and great and emotional melody (but this is true for 80% of their songs). Since I like emotions a lot, I could only be pleased with such an album.

"Overdue" is a short and noisy track for most of it, but still Muse will manage to integrate some pleasant passages but still, it is my least favorite on this album. "Hate This & I'll Love You" will again alternate soft and noisy instants. A good piece to summarize this work.

I believe that this debut album is very promising. Compositions are strong, straight- forward, bombastic at times and rather original but not prog in my conception. Three stars.

Review by russellk
2 stars MUSE is a controversial addition to ProgArchives though I'm not sure why. Their assigned category is prog-related, which means they are not considered progressive. They blend progressive elements with mainstream music. I, for one, are glad the band is here.

Their debut album is astonishingly mature for such a young band. Assured debuts usually come from bands that have been formed from the ashes of other bands, such as LED ZEPPELIN's or THE MARS VOLTA's initial offerings. While 'Showbiz' is clearly not in that category, it is very strong. Disappointingly, however, the album is 'front-loaded: much of the best music comes at the beginning with 'Sunburn', 'Muscle Museum', 'Cave' and 'Showbiz'. Many of the other tracks are either filler or failed experiments as this band tries to find its voice.

And I mean this literally. MUSE is a vehicle for MATTHEW BELLAMY, specifically his raw, angst-laden voice and his dexterous rhythm guitar. On this album they fiddle with a variety of styles, working through a repertoire of rockers and ballads. They will not settle on their sound until their next album. Of note is the relative absence of lead guitar, and I speculate that the high-pitched sound of BELLAMY's voice fills that gap.

Their sound is energetic without the utterly delightful bombast of their subsequent albums. As other reviewers have remarked, it is easy to forget this band is a three-piece. At times the power they exhibit is not sensibly applied, with roaring riffs dissipating into mediocrity, a bit like a mini with a 500 hp engine, all grunt and wheelspin but not much forward momentum. An uneven album is the result. The lyrics are concerned with pop territory - personal relationships - but are very assertive and mature. If this album were MUSE's sole output I doubt they would feature here; however, it is an admirable beginning, if not essential. Perhaps two stars is a little harsh for such a positive review, but their albums get better each time, so I have to start low. Don't start your exploration of this band here.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Muse debut album Showbiz is IMO a Radiohead clone album. This really turns me off. Try and imagine how Radiohead would have sounded if they made an album between Pablo Honey and The Bends, then you´ll know just about how Showbiz sounds. That Showbiz is produced by John Leckie who also produced Radiohead´s The Bends is no coincidence. The choice of producer shows very well how much Muse is influenced by that band.

The music is typical english emotional rock with an almost weeping lead singer in Matthew Bellamy who sounds suspiciously like Thom Yorke from Radiohead. There are not the big experimentation here really, just very average song structures and riffs. The mood is depressive as always with these kinds of bands.

The musicians are pretty good but doesn´t really show much here. I guess it wouldn´t suit the style with long instrumental passages. The emphazis is on the vocal melodies.

This is not an album I will listen to again, and that is not because it is all bad, as the quality in the song writing is high and the production is good too. It´s just that I don´t like the style much and IMO Muse still needed to find their own style on Showbiz. This simply sounds too much like Radiohead. 2 stars from me.

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'Showbiz' - Muse (3/10)

Muse is a notable band for the fact that while remaining progressive, they have appealed to an entire generation of new music listeners, and introduced many to a taste of prog who would otherwise go without. They have released some very credible music in their time. However, judging from 'Showbiz,' it wasn't always this way.

'Showbiz' is not good. Most of the songs are annoying to listen to after a few spins, if it doesn't already grind your nerve on the first listen. However, while it's a bit of a poor release, it's definately not abysmal. There's a little bit of enjoyment to be found here, and theres one song that (coming out of nowhere) is actually fantastic. That song (and ultimately, the sole partially redeeming factor about 'Showbiz') is 'Muscle Museum.' It's a very angsty song, and unlike the other songs on the album, theres proper sonic layering, and a well-developed song structure.

Besides that gem in the rough, the rest of the music comes off as being very noisy, and undercooked. There are parts of songs that are nice, but you can't expect more than a few listens from this one.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Muse's debut album was a modest affair - the classical music influence which would enter into their sound in a major way on Origin of Symmetry had not yet manifested, and the band spend most of the album playing fuzzed out, punkish versions of a particular aspect of Radiohead's sound, occupying a space somewhere between The Bends and OK Computer.

A few flashes of originality manifest here and there - Matt Bellamy was a great vocalist even on this debut, and his forceful guitar work has more muscle behind it than anything Radiohead had wheeled out to this point - and that's just enough to turn this album into an interesting and entertaining listen which builds on the Radiohead sound as opposed to the slavish imitation it's often written off as. Nonetheless, it's still a little rough around the edges and though it does represent a departure from simple imitation, the band still haven't arrived somewhere useful at this point and Origin of Symmetry is where they really start to bring it all together.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars SHOWBIZ is the debut album by indie / alternative rockers MUSE who managed to learn their craft of multi-genre fusion right on their first album. Actually these songs go back a few years and many of them appear on the first two EP s, but here they find a home on a full length album delivering an astounding array of influences and vocalist / guitarist / songwriter mainman Matt Bellamy pulling off his best Radiohead meets U2 vocal performances. Right on the very first track we hear some classical piano snippets that make up little rhythmic packets signifying a long lasting relationship with artists like Chopin in their mostly indie rock structured songs with a highly developed melodic catchiness absent from many acts in that particular branch of rock. Although MUSE is accused of ripping off Radiohead in many ways but especially in the vocal department I would have to slightly agree but really MUSE incorporate a million more influences than Radiohead's non-chalant space folk rock ever did. Matt Bellamy to me sounds like he took the Thom Yorke approach and infused it with a more passionate Bono style that can leave you instantly loving or hating this band. The comparison with Radiohead wasn't helped by the fact the producer of SHOWBIZ also worked on "The Bends."

MUSE is simply willing to try out anything and no influence is too strange or eclectic to throw in when it works. On the title track for example it sounds like Native American drumming that ushers in one of their punky alternative noise rockers as well as ending it, "Uno" starts off with some electronic noise followed by a tango bass line that is the backbone of the track creating a super catchy lead single that was well received in the UK. Although the influences aren't always as well woven together as they would be on the next few albums, this debut album is a lot better than I initially thought it would be coming to it after the following ones. The passionate delivery both vocally and instrumentally is in full force and so are the well written pop sensibilities incorporated into every track. I can easily listen to this entire album time and time again without skipping a single track. MUSE are masters of variety and that is not absent here. There are rockers and ballads. Angry outbursts, tender passages and lots of noise and myriad influences lurking beneath the surface. Overall a great start for this band who may shamelessly plunder the vaults of the sonic temples but at least they achieve interesting results in the end. 3.5 stars rounded up

Review by Kempokid
2 stars When comparing it to 'Muse's' later albums, 'Showbiz' is a considerably less intense and powerful effort, despite being so overtly angsty and emotional. A clear sound for the band is already being developed here, with the extremely rough, heavy guitar tone being balanced with elements such as a piano, making for something that has a unique edge to it, despite the songwriting being extremely standard affair for an alt/indie rock band. The performance is nothing short of impressive, with the instrumentation being able to set tone and emotion quite well, and Matt Bellamy already proving that he is a great vocalist, even if his singing can become a bit overbearingly angsty at times. And this is really one of the main places in which the album falls apart for me, the extremely monotonous tone that each song brings, all being overly emotional without actually being impactful, which causes it to be something boring, rather than what adds extra depth to the album.

Despite what I've said, there are some more positive elements to the album, especially in terms of production, being able to easily provide the right amount of power to sections that require it, along with the mixing being nothing short of excellent. The first song, 'Sunburn', demonstrates this perfectly, along with the fact that this album definitely has some songs which are excellent. The piano that runs throughout makes for an excellent point of contrast once the song becomes heavier, with particular focus on a really great, fast bassline, along with a very scratchy sounding guitar solo, all before Matt adds more power to the chorus through his incredible delivery, which allows for fairly mundane progression of songs to still be elevated to impressive levels. 'Muscle Museum', while slightly weaker than 'Sunburn', is another amazing song, with a more subtle progression with a simple, yet highly catchy melody that displays the more pop oriented side that the band always contained. The riffs are also something truly great here, although they can feel somewhat repetitive by the end, with a less passionate, but still great performance by Matt. After this point is where the flaws begin to show, as this is where one can really feel the strong 'Bends' and 'Pablo Honey 'era 'Radiohead' influence, which doesn't work well in many cases, as it leads to a lot of the tracks sounding quite bland, 'Filip' being a prime example of something that feels as if it could fit right in 'Pablo Honey', being downright cheesy in a way that really isn't fun at all, instead coming across as irritating.

Another problem that begins to show here is the relative weakness of the ballads here (although I do find that to be a fairly consistent issue with the band), with both 'Falling Down' and 'Unintended' bringing nothing particularly new to the table and acting more as points of pure boredom on the album, especially since 'Muse' is a band much better at conveying strong, overpowering emotion, rather the more subtle side of things. I'd probably be less fond of the album than I am if it weren't for the second wind it gets in the three tracks in the middle, 'Cave', 'Showbiz' and 'Uno'. 'Cave' is very intense, with some more chaotic instrumentation and the music becoming a wall of sound, with the piano strewn throughout giving the song some amazing depth, along with the other instruments performing amazingly. 'Showbiz' is the one track which I find interesting from a structural standpoint, with the standard verse chorus etc. being ditched in favour of a constantly building power, with the same few lines being repeated, each time sounding more broken and desperate than the last, escalating to truly harrowing levels. 'Uno' is a song that while 'm not quite sure why I enjoy it, I know that I do. I find the chorus to be simple, yet effective, but do admit that it's nothing particularly special. If the album ended right here, my rating would be a fairly easy 3 stars, due to being patchy as well as very samey in its sound, however, this is where the album becomes far worse in my opinion. At this point, the tone and emotions being displayed are becoming tiresome due to the fact that all the songs feel as if they're covering more or less the same topic in a similar way, making any tolerance for mediocrity become much lower. furthermore, these songs are some of the worst on the album, kicking off with 'Sober', having a climax that feels incredibly similar to 'Radiohead's' 'My Iron Lung' to an annoying degree, as this is a far inferior song to that. The rest of the songs here just sound like rehashes of previous songs, or at least close enough to that for me to not care about them and find it hard to remember anything about them even after a number of listens.

While 'Muse' have made a few great albums, this is definitely not one of them, being quite dull and simplistic in many places, along with repetitive and generally unimpressive bar a few tracks (which do happen to stand out incredibly and salvage the album to some degree). There's definitely some potential that can be seen here, but even so, I feel very happy that I started off listening to 'Absolution', rather than this, otherwise my experience with the band would likely have been very different. As it stands, I'm just not a fan of many songs on the album, and the final 4 all being duds in my opinion makes the experience that much less enjoyable. This definitely isn't worthy of 1 star, as there are a number of things which I consider to be executed well, but I also can't really justofy rating this anything higher than a 2 because of how many flaws I feel it has.

Best songs: Sunburn, Cave, Showbiz

Weakest songs: Fillip, Overdue, Sober

Verdict: I'd really recommend that if you are planning on getting into Muse, you start off with Origin of Symmetry or Absolution, as they'll provide a much better picture of what Muse sound like. As this album stands, it's overly angsty with perhaps a bit too much Radiohead influence bleeding through. This combined with a very patchy tracklist causes me to only recommend this album to those who are already fans of the band.

Review by The Rain Man
3 stars UK rock trio Muse released their debut album "Showbiz" back in 1999 when I was just 15 years old. Many would say the rest is history now and they would be right. Muse have gone on to be one of the biggest rock bands on the planet and if they do headliners, only top of the bill will do. But was it obvious back in 1999 that they would be as big as they have become? Well, I bought the CD, I think around the time the album came out and on the casing, there is a sticker with taglines from various magazines which are listed below:

"Muse will be huge" - The Guardian "Massive angst-ridden anthems" - Kerrang "Impressive" - Daily Mail "The Future of Intelligent guitar music" - Melody Maker

So, there you have it, even in the very beginning of their career, Muse were hotly tipped by the music world to go the distance and my, my did they do that. I remember at the time reading articles about Muse and many mentioned comparisons to Radiohead who at that point in their career had released Pablo Honey, The Bends and OK computer. They definitely forged a path for offering a different type of guitar music and I have no doubt Muse had been influenced by them. But it felt like Muse were creating their own path too. The riffs were heavier, they had more piano and generally felt like it was more upbeat than Radiohead. Although some would say that's not really hard!

Matt Bellamy's vocal range is also something which set them apart and through this allows him to both have the all-out rock songs as well as the slower acoustic songs. When the album came out and during that period generally, I had two favourite songs off "Showbiz" and they were "Unintended" and "Uno". Two, totally different tracks. "Unintended" a slow acoustic number with such a nice rhythm to it. As I make my way going back through Muse albums, I may unearth more tracks like this from Muse. But it feels like they haven't really done anything as good as this in terms of an acoustic song since, as their rockier and more experimental side has come more to the forefront. But I do hope some of Muse's later albums have deep cuts like this as it's clear to see they are capable of slowing things right down and taking it easy with fantastic results.

"Falling down" and "Escape" are other slower tracks on the album which works well. While "Unintended" stays slower these do pick more as the songs go on. But my other favourite track "Uno" was a highlight for me because this is Muse rocking out with big riffs. Wonderful. "Muscle Museum" would probably have been my second favourite in terms of rockier tracks. But I think one of the key differences for Muse was combining piano with guitars within tracks. When listening to this album recently the track which stands out for me is track 5 "Cave" which does this perfectly. The early parts of the song are rockier with the big riff and chorus. But the true majestic part of this song is the piano bridge before picking back up on the riff. It is so well done and when you think of artists and songs generally there aren't many songs that have a guitar then followed by a piano bridge. And as I say this really set them apart at the time. They combined the two again in opening track "Sunburn" but this time led with the piano. First tracks are so important for engaging the listener and really capturing their attention and the piano hook on "Sunburn" really does this.

The album generally goes on quite a run of great tracks and it's not until you get to the last few tracks you feel it slightly loses steam. But the likes of "Overdue" and "Hate this and I'll love you" still deserve and have their place on the album. Although the latter is a decent track it doesn't really feel like a closer is my only criticism. I.e., it doesn't really have that climax or gentle outro. It just feels like it could have been placed anywhere in the middle of the album.

But overall, this is a very good album and even though I didn't realise at the time just what would be next for Muse and what the future would hold. It's clear many did, and they got it absolutely right. "Showbiz" is an album which shows that Matt, Dominic and Chris are hugely talented and between the 3 of them make some mighty fine music.

Latest members reviews

2 stars 'Showbiz' is the 1999 debut album by British alternative rockers Muse. Arguably one of the biggest bands of the 21st century, Muse's sound can best be described as keyboard-driven melodic rock. Although they would go on to worldwide acclaim, this first outing from the trio is pretty lacklustre a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2969134) | Posted by martindavey87 | Tuesday, November 21, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1424824) | Posted by Insin | Sunday, June 7, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8/10 I do not know much of the material of Muse and Radiohead, but I can not help but point out how ridiculous are the comparisons between the two bands. Especially in the debut of Muse, Showbiz, which was hard (and quickly) criticized for sounding similar to Radiohead. But time proved wis ... (read more)

Report this review (#1011114) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, August 4, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Rating: 8/10 A Strange mix (Radiohead + Hard Rock/Proto Heavy + Prog Rock), mixed feelings (at first the "Radiohead clone" sensation could be devastating, but once you pass that there is luckily much more to be discovered). So, mixed results? Fortunately not. "Showbiz" is a great debut fr ... (read more)

Report this review (#458437) | Posted by Mattiias | Thursday, June 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Muse are nowadays in the middle of the mainstream, selling millions of albums and being exhaustly examined when they release each new work by fanatics and critics. It's hard not to notice their leader's, Matt Bellamy, grandiloquent style, so fiery and glam at the same time. Their sound is modern, ... (read more)

Report this review (#352400) | Posted by migue091 | Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars While a fan of a good deal of their work, I really find Muse to be a hard band to break into. Far too much of their work sounds the same. I'll give them credit they know what works for them and lightning has certainly struck more than once. While their singles tend to err on the side of excellent ... (read more)

Report this review (#279420) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Monday, April 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars AN ALBUM! AN ALBUM!!! Showbiz is Muse's debut album after a long series of 3 EPs, called Newton Abbot Demo, Muse, and Muscle Museum, each to its own. Ever since the album's release Muse had been called Radiohead-copycats, and thiefs, but in my opinion, their style is their own. From the ... (read more)

Report this review (#238407) | Posted by The Runaway | Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Muse's First Shot at the big one, the release of Showbiz was a step forward from all the EP works bu re mastering them and releasing them in one full-length album. First of all, let's start with the appreciation of the album in categories. For someone barely introduced to Muse, I would not reco ... (read more)

Report this review (#160573) | Posted by ichigo14 | Saturday, February 2, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I would like to give only 1 star to get the rating little bit down. And I could give 4, 2, 4-example, because this is better than most pop, or indie. I disapprove a bit the "artistic" artificial sound chasing, which Muse is also doing. But it works and compositions are quite diverse inside, at le ... (read more)

Report this review (#109141) | Posted by progressive | Saturday, January 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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