Given that this pathetic blog‘s name is taken from an album by the rock band Muse, it would exceedingly poor form to not at least pretend to like the band long enough to crank out a half-hearted review of their latest CD (note: I really like Muse but do not particularly enjoy writing reviews. Be gentle). I finally purchased The Resistance a few weeks ago, and have been spending some quality time with it. If you’re a just-give-me-the-verdict kind of reader, read no further: yay. Here, briefly, are some extra thoughts. Caveats: I am necessarily using language that will make more sense to Muse fans than to those on the outside. I also reserve the right to use audiophile lingo inappropriately. All of these songs are available on Youtube, but I’m not going to link except to the official Muse page.
My favorite song on the album is the album’s titular Resistance, which is true fist-pumping anger-rock of the highest Us-vs-Them persuasion. Its subject matter is very nearly equivalent to the subject matter of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and does a great job of conveying a sense of urgency and anxiety as a paranoid paramour. There are a few really high-energy songs on the album, from Resistance to the record’s first single, Uprising as well as Unnatural Selection and Mk Ultra. All of these songs give off the typical Muse vibe, and it’s great to see they haven’t lost what drew me to them in the first place. Unnatural Selection gets a nod for making me break out Origin of Symmetry for another listen (how good is that album!); it sounds like it belongs with the likes of Megalomania and Plug in Baby (do you appreciate all this name dropping?).
There is a bit of style mimicry going on on this album as well; United States of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage, based off of a Chopin nocturne) sounds more than just influenced by Queen, and I have to say that I think the band is playing a bit too heavily the “We’re the next Queen” card. Watching their H.A.A.R.P DVD at my mother’s house one day, she actually mistook them for Queen (not necessarily a bad thing), and more recently the band promoted “A Seaside Rendezvous,” a concert event lifting its name directly from the Queen song of the same title. I’m not absolutely sure that this association with one of the greatest rock bands of all time is a bad thing, but I certainly wouldn’t want to see Muse attempt to become Queen.
Final thoughts: I know critics were “all up ons” the Exogenesis: Symphony tracks at the end of the album, but I have to say they are just not my cup of tea. Sorry guys. Besides that and Undisclosed Desires (no comment.), this album really delivers a good mix of the aforementioned synth-pop thrash-dancing music as well as some good old-fashioned stadium rock (I want to hear Guiding Light at the SB Bowl) and some new genre-busting stuff (I Belong to You + Mon Coeur s’Ouvre a ta Voix). As one last snippet; I’m going to refrain from commenting on Matthew Bellamy’s tendency to write conspiracy theories and quasi-politics into his songs. You either deal with it or you don’t.
All in all, I am really enjoying this album and if you like Muse then give it a whirl. I will say that I didn’t enjoy it as much on the first listen through as I did with BH&R, so I would recommend that new listeners give that or Absolution a try first.