Sound — 10
Wow! This is an absolutely incredible offering from what in my opinion is the best band of all time. The first CD is all B sides from singles, and they show the quirkier side of Muse. The acoustic songs are excellent - offerings such as Map of your Head, a classical guitar song with a really catchy hook, and Nature 1, a song with a really earthy spanish beat are probably the best, but the instrumental piece The Gallery, and the rockier tracks such as Yes Please and Shrinking Universe are also brilliant. The second CD is basically just live recordings of songs that Muse did on earlier albums, but the roar of the crowd and the hiss of the microphones give it an exciting feel, and Matt improvises his guitar parts live anyway so there is a different sound to all the songs. Some songs such as Screenager have been completely changed - on Origin of Symmetry it has a great classical guitar backing, but on this album a complicated Rachmaninov-esque piano part accompanies his screaming vocals. In Your World and Agitated are the only new songs on this CD, and they show a heavier side to Muse. Despite these songs being on the other albums it is really worth it to get this CD as the live atmosphere really comes through.
Lyrics — 8
Matt's lyrics sometimes just seem like a basis for the melody, but they are always good, if not a little predictable. However, the songs are deep and meaningful and the passion in his voice make them worth listening to. Sometimes they can be a bit bizarre, but they always work with the song.
Overall Impression — 10
Muse are possibly the most musical band of today, and I think they are pretty underrated. Their live performances are absolutely fantastic, and Matt never does things by halves. His guitar parts are very difficult but really great to listen to, and the piano parts equally so. This album really shows the extent of Muse's talent, ranging from upbeat acoustic songs to quite heavy emo-metal. After you've listened to it you'll feel like you've run a marathon, but it's worth it!