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Muse, - The 2nd Law Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 6.5
Production 6.5
Creativity 9
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 8
Final Verdict: 80%
Member Ratings
Vocals 5.75
Musicianship 6.2
Lyrics 4
Production 7
Creativity 5.9
Lasting Value 4.75
Reviewer Tilt 5.35
Average: 56%

Muse, - The 2nd Law

Reviewed by: Koushyar (09/25/12)
MuseThe 2nd Law
Record Label: Helium 3, Warner
Release Date: 28 September 2012


Muse released The Resistance in 2009. It was quite a shock to many Muse fans. Except on a few tracks, the rock was gone and halfway through the album it started changing to Classical music! Many Muse fans were disappointed that their favorite rock band has changed direction, but the album was mostly praised by critics and later it won the Grammy award for the best rock album of the year in 2011.

Fans were eagerly waiting to see what the next move of the band is. Before the release of The 2nd Law, they released a trailer for the album in June 2012. Now we know that the trailer was a part of the 12th track on the album: "The 2nd Law: Unsustainable". Halfway through the trailer and dub-step kicks in! Dub-step? Really? The Resistance shock was nothing compared to this!

About a month later they released “Survival”; accompanied by a prelude. It was announced that Survival would be the official 2012 Olympics song and a month after that, Muse released the first single for this album; “Madness”. None of these songs was met with positive reaction from the fans and they lowered the expectations of the fans.

But now that album is released, it can definitely be said that neither of those songs can be a good representative for the whole record; in fact, you cannot find a single track that can represent this album! The Resistance experimented R&B and Classical music, but this album even takes it further than that! You will be listening to Funk Rock, Electro-pop, Dub-step, Dance-rock as well as Alternative Rock, Progressive Rock, Hard Rock, Classical tracks – all in one album! So how could that be? I would say interesting as well as surprising.

The album starts with big guitar riffs in its first track; “Supremacy”. For the first time after ten years, Matthew Bellamy - guitarist, vocalist and main songwriter of Muse - has used a seven string guitar, and the previous one was “Citizen Erased” in their fan-favorite record Origin of Symmetry (OoS). Guitar riff is soon followed by the orchestral instruments that would remind you of “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin. Like their past two records, they have opened their album with a song full of hatred towards corrupted politicians and governments, and the lyrics are typical Bellamy style; a very promising song that would surely please old time fans.

The next one is Madness which is the first single of the album. This synth-rock song - especially the short guitar riff in the middle of it - has been compared to Queen. A boring start is ended with a powerful emotional ending, in which Bellamy delivers great vocals. If the people who know Muse haven’t still been surprised, they would definitely be after the 3rd track starts. “Panic Station” is a funky song and isn’t anywhere near what they had done previously. It seems like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” has met with Franz Ferdinand, accompanied by a beautiful Bellamy-ish guitar at the end. It is strange, yet it is great. “Prelude” is a classical piece influenced by Chopin, which is followed by “Survival”. Survival is a bit too much. It is weird and catchy, but it certainly could have been better, especially regarding its lyrics.

“Follow Me” is probably written for Bellamy’s son who was born last summer. Take “Where the Streets Have no Name” by U2 and add some electronic effects to it and you will have “Follow Me”. Bellamy’s singing is emotional, as well as the lyrics, and Chris Wolstenholme has done a nice job as the backing vocal, as well as bassist. “Animals” will probably cool down most of Muse long time fans who have probably been shocked by some of the songs so far! Bellamy delivers great guitar performance on this song and the guitar riff at the end of the song is one of the best moments on this record which will probably remind you of the short solo at the end of “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits. Definitely a great song, especially for OoS-fans.

“Explorers” is a lullaby song which will get mixed reactions by fans. Touchy lyrics and vocals are accompanied by choir at the background. “Big Freeze” is also a strange song. It is definitely influenced by U2’s Zooropa record and you can easily hear signs of Edge’s guitar playing style.

The biggest surprise of the record comes in on “Save Me” where Matt Bellamy is not the lead vocal for the first time in Muse’s discography. Wolstenholme takes the center to sing about his struggle with alcoholism and her wife’s support. It is an emotional track but maybe longer than it should have been. Wolstenholme keeps singing on the next track “Liquid State” as well as doing a great job as the bassist. It is a powerful song, but it really lacks a guitar solo at the end of it.

The last two tracks are trying to depict an apocalyptic environment. “Unsustainable” starts with a nice orchestral piece which is influenced by Hans Zimmer, but halfway through the song, it goes to dub-step! Bellamy said that he wanted to do what Skrillex does by using a guitar, and he does so. But the most annoying part is the robot which keeps repeating the word Unsustainable. “Isolated Systems” is a great ending to the surprise package in The 2nd Law. It starts with piano and other instruments join one by one. A classy ending.

Many great bands have had a point in their life in which they had a radical change from their roots; U2 had Zooropa, Radiohead had Kid A and Queen had Hot Space. Some succeeded in doing so and some went back to what they did before. The problem with The 2nd Law is that it does not follow a structured path; it goes everywhere yet it goes nowhere. Most of the songs are great, but they do not belong to the same album. If Muse are going to depart from their New Prog-Space Rock roots, they really have to pick a path and stick to it.


Recommended If You Like U2; Queen; Muse - The Resistance

http://www.myspace.com/muse/
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 24.
12:05 PM on 10/02/12
#2
tylerschnizzle
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So much better than The Resistance. Wolstenholm's songs were good... but it doesn't seem like a smart idea for them to let him sing lead the next time around. Bellamy's vocals are the most important facet to their sound.
11:35 AM on 10/03/12
#3
Helen Keller.
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I don't think he should have any more songs to himself, but I think it would be a really cool idea to mix his and Bellamy's together in some of the songs. Or have him sing parts of older songs live to give them a new sound. Good review as well, though I'd go back and check the grammar on a few spots. And some of the sentences are a bit clunky. As for the album, I don't think it's fair to compare it to any Muse album, especially not Origin. It's just too different, and that's really not a bad thing considering the album is, for the most part, fantastic.
01:41 PM on 10/03/12
#4
Koushyar
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I don't think he should have any more songs to himself, but I think it would be a really cool idea to mix his and Bellamy's together in some of the songs. Or have him sing parts of older songs live to give them a new sound. Good review as well, though I'd go back and check the grammar on a few spots. And some of the sentences are a bit clunky. As for the album, I don't think it's fair to compare it to any Muse album, especially not Origin. It's just too different, and that's really not a bad thing considering the album is, for the most part, fantastic.

Thanks for your comment, I would be glad if you help me correct the grammar mistakes, maybe you could send me a private message about them (I would appreciate it)
04:49 PM on 10/03/12
#5
Helen Keller.
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Yeah, for sure. It'll be a bit before I get to it though
06:03 PM on 10/03/12
#6
Searos
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I honestly think I liked The Resistance more as an album despite it lacking a lot of big rock songs. The 2nd Law is really good but honestly been listening to all of MUSE recently and really gotta say it really stands out as their worst release yet. Like I said the album is very good but it so wild and directionless and fuses so many elements together that the album as a whole feels like a mess at times. It has great individual songs in places which will probably sound great live. After doing a marathon of MUSE albums to not only get ready for The 2nd Law but also after its release I have came to few conclusions.

Absolution is still their best with Origin of Symmetry following close
The 2nd Law is my least favorite of their work but still very much enjoy it (not my ATOY)
The Resistance is way too underrated because as toned down as it is the album is great at delivering its story and flowing through the different parts of it.
This band has a lot of b-sides.
08:00 PM on 10/03/12
#7
Koushyar
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I honestly think I liked The Resistance more as an album despite it lacking a lot of big rock songs. The 2nd Law is really good but honestly been listening to all of MUSE recently and really gotta say it really stands out as their worst release yet. Like I said the album is very good but it so wild and directionless and fuses so many elements together that the album as a whole feels like a mess at times. It has great individual songs in places which will probably sound great live. After doing a marathon of MUSE albums to not only get ready for The 2nd Law but also after its release I have came to few conclusions.

Absolution is still their best with Origin of Symmetry following close
The 2nd Law is my least favorite of their work but still very much enjoy it (not my ATOY)
The Resistance is way too underrated because as toned down as it is the album is great at delivering its story and flowing through the different parts of it.
This band has a lot of b-sides.

I agree with 99% of your comment, and that 1% is that I personally prefer Origin of Symmetry to Absolution!
08:13 PM on 10/03/12
#8
Searos
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I agree with 99% of your comment, and that 1% is that I personally prefer Origin of Symmetry to Absolution!
Both albums are fantastic so honestly completely understand. I think Origin of Symmetry is a lot more bass driven while Absolution has a lot more guitar work.
For me:
Absolution>Origin of Symmetry>The Resistance>Black Holes and Revelations>Showbiz>The 2nd Law

Its really hard to say actually if I like Showbiz more than The 2nd Law. Showbiz does not have as much charm as their later albums but was a lot less wild and directionless. Both albums have faults but if I had to pick I would pick Showbiz cause I like it more. Granted their is not an album mentioned here that I would not rate at 8/10 and above so yea you could call me a fan of MUSE. Maybe not my favorite band (that's Jimmy Eat World) but they are up there and I love the dynamics in their music.
08:43 PM on 10/03/12
#9
Koushyar
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Both albums are fantastic so honestly completely understand. I think Origin of Symmetry is a lot more bass driven while Absolution has a lot more guitar work.
For me:
Absolution>Origin of Symmetry>The Resistance>Black Holes and Revelations>Showbiz>The 2nd Law

Its really hard to say actually if I like Showbiz more than The 2nd Law. Showbiz does not have as much charm as their later albums but was a lot less wild and directionless. Both albums have faults but if I had to pick I would pick Showbiz cause I like it more. Granted their is not an album mentioned here that I would not rate at 8/10 and above so yea you could call me a fan of MUSE. Maybe not my favorite band (that's Jimmy Eat World) but they are up there and I love the dynamics in their music.

It is really hard to rank Muse's albums, they are really different. I read in one review, that it was nice that they have made this album unorganized and with high "entropy" because that is what the album's main theme is about. It was interesting point of view. But it is really too much in my opinion.

Which album of Jimmy Eat World do you recommend me to start with? (I have listened to some singles but not their albums)

And I would also appreciate it if you take part in rating the 2nd Law ;)
09:21 PM on 10/03/12
Searos
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It is really hard to rank Muse's albums, they are really different. I read in one review, that it was nice that they have made this album unorganized and with high "entropy" because that is what the album's main theme is about. It was interesting point of view. But it is really too much in my opinion.

Which album of Jimmy Eat World do you recommend me to start with? (I have listened to some singles but not their albums)

And I would also appreciate it if you take part in rating the 2nd Law ;)
Depends on your mood. If your feeling Upbeat then go for Bleed American. It is what got me into Jimmy Eat World. If you want something Moody go for Futures. If you want something Hopeful and energetic Chase This Lights hit home. If you want something slow and tranquil Invented is very elegant. Clarity is the best choice for someone looking for an album that is a bit moody and also tranquil (very nice melodies)

The 2nd Law is a 8.3/10 for me. Filled with great songs and its theme comes up from time but like all ventures into new territories not every step will lead you to El Dorado.
11:04 AM on 10/06/12
suicidalmoose
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good review.

I too thought that the album has good individual songs, but, on the whole, seems a bit of a mess. and too bad for me for only enjoying the rock songs
12:46 PM on 10/06/12
Searos
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good review.

I too thought that the album has good individual songs, but, on the whole, seems a bit of a mess. and too bad for me for only enjoying the rock songs
Its funny cause I think the songs that sound like stuff MUSE has done before sounds better than them trying to experiment on this album. I like the big rock songs and the ballads but the weird fusions of genres which normally interest me just come off as forced. Panic Station is the one exception to that but at the same time I really think this is MUSE's worst album as a whole but has some songs that stand out as some of their best. I loved The Resistance despite the hate cause that album was experimental and different yet had direction and flow seamlessly while telling a story. Their earlier albums had big rock songs and slower songs but it all fit the direction of the album. The 2nd Law is like theatrical bsides that could of been a part of other albums for multiple points in their career and 2-3 songs to try and tie a theme together.
02:59 PM on 10/07/12
MasterKenobi
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Say what you want about the individual tracks on The Resistance, but it was a very cohesive album. I totally agree with the reviewer...I'm not really quite sure what rock genre The 2nd Law falls under.
06:57 PM on 10/07/12
Searos
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Say what you want about the individual tracks on The Resistance, but it was a very cohesive album. I totally agree with the reviewer...I'm not really quite sure what rock genre The 2nd Law falls under.
This is what I have always believed. The Resistance is an album that should not be picked apart for individual tracks other than maybe the first 2 tracks but the album as a whole tells a story and is extremely cohesive. The 2nd Law has some awesome songs but is the least cohesive album they have ever released and I am even counting Showbiz in that assessment and that album was mostly stuff from old eps.
01:44 PM on 10/08/12
justbradley
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I bought this album at Target for only $10 (because it was on sale for a few days), and I had NEVER listened to this band before. However, "The 2nd Law: Unsustainable" made me very curious to check it out. I'm not a dubstep fan, but it wasn't obnoxious dubstep to me. Well, I'm glad I bought it, because it's brilliant to me. I've never listened to them before, so I have nothing to compare this to. But for what it's worth, it's fantastic. I don't know what sound or genre I would classify this under, but that's good, because it's different, and I like different. They played on SNL on Saturday, and it was quite good. They played two different songs that had two different sounds on the album, which was cool.

People in this thread are also saying whether or not this record is cohesive, and I don't think it's very cohesive. Every song has a rather different sound, so if this was telling a story, to me, the only downfall is that it doesn't quite stick together in the way that "concept" albums should.

However, I like this album and I'm a new fan of this band, so I can't really complain. It's unlike anything I've heard all year, and that's good to me.
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