Sound — 8
The Muse sound is a strange one. Part grunge, part pop and part piano, this album differs slightly from the previous two studio outings, "Showbiz" and "Origin of Symmetry". Don't be fooled by certain mainstream music magazines claiming the album is a lot heavier than it's predecessors. It's really not. True, tracks like "Stockholm Syndrome" and "Hysteria" tread the darker path of Muse's musical range, but for every one of these songs, there's an acoustic number, such as "Sing For Absolution" or "Endlessly". It's not heavier, it just follows more of a controlled pattern. There are no "Plug In Baby"s or other psychadelic riffs, its all just straightforward rock. But, for the most part, it's good.
Lyrics — 8
Matt Bellamy has one of those truly unique voices, and it really works. He has the ability to put out the most high-pitched and whining of sounds, but still make every note sound full of emotion. His constant distorted vocals sound almost haunting. This, however, usually means you can't always hear the lyrics. Muse's lyrics are certainly not cliched, although they tread familiar themes, such as love and death, that kinda thing. They usually make sense, but theyre not the most philosophical writings in the world. The beauty of Muse is that they can produce a great record no matter what they sing about or how they sing it. Overall, the lyrics are similar to previous albums. Not ground breaking, but you can manage to sing along and not feel stupid, put it that way.
Overall Impression — 8
I had the pleasure of seeing Muse live this week, and I was shocked at the omissions of several classics. Despite this, they still managed an impressive show. The giant, white balloons and two confetti dispensers at either side of the stage helped make the experience more than memorable. Most of the stuff they played was from this, their third studio album. It differs slightly from the last two, in the way that it's more mainstream and accessible. There's no doubt about it, Muse are at the top of their game, and this album marks their breakthrough era. My favourite songs are "Tim Is Running Out", "Stockholm Syndrome", "Hysteria" and "Endlessly".