The 2nd Law review by Muse

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  • Released: Sep 28, 2012
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 7.4 (418 votes)
Muse: The 2nd Law

Sound — 7
Three years later their last effort, "The Resistance", Muse come out with maybe their most anticipated album, as they had expanded a lot their fanbase (this affected the whole album alot). The first thing that comes to your mind (or your ears, or your temporal lobes... as you want) is that the album is very diverse, you get to listen to what some of us like to call "good ol' Muse" in "Supremacy", "Big Freeze" and "Liquid State" but also to their attempt of innovation, which you gotta appreciate as it isn't easy when you are composing your sixth or seventh album. Muse attempt to innovate their own sounds in two different ways: looking at the past and at the future, but always putting their own touch in it. "Panic Station is clearly a reference to 70/80's funk in its Stevie Wonder-ish groove, same goes with the obvious Queen reference in "Survival". "Follow Me", "Madness" and "Unsustainable" obviously look at the future, as they are both strongly influenced by electro/techno. "Explorers" sounds like an "Absolution"'s style ballad while "Animals" is an undefinable song, I really find difficult to correlate it to any of their previous works, maybe it's because of that I like it so much. I only left out "Save Me" by purpose, why? Because it left me nothing, I easily find it the weak song in the CD, it doesn't stand out, either in good or bad, it's just filler.

Lyrics — 6
Apocalyptic scenarios reign again in Muse's last effort much like they did in "Black Holes And Revelations", with some exceptions ("Follow Me" being clearly referred to Matt's son's future). Muse have really never stood up for their lyrics and they still don't in "The 2nd Law", but Matt's singing has always fill that blank and still strongly does. His gorgeous falsetto in Supremacy is maybe the highlight of the whole album, same goes for "Panic Station". The innovation for the vocals was Chris' leading in two tracks ("Save Me" and "Liquid State") which disappointed me a bit; I recently heard him singing in "Hyper Music" chorus at Reading Festival and it blew my mind, it put my stakes too high, he lets down a strong track like "Liquid State" with his vocal which sound boring to me. I think it wasn't really a good idea as in comparison with Matt's mindblowing skills it really feels mediocre.

Overall Impression — 7
This album is certainly a grower, I remember listening to it the first time and wishing I'd never bought it, then I gave it another chance and I wasn't disappointed at all. I blame the fact that it starts with a boom ("Supremacy", easily the best and the hardest track in the album), but it ends on a low note with "Save Me" and "Liquid State", which can't compare to the starting track (I don't consider "The 2nd Law: Unsustainable"/"Isolated System" part as the album as a whole, it's like they are an expansion to it. As you could have noted in the entire review I really didn't like Wolstenholme's songs, which I consider the weakness of the album. "Supremacy", "Panic Station" and "Big Freeze" stand out as the most impressive tracks each one for its own reason (I find it strange that none of them was used as a single) and other tracks are some kind of filler (some more, some less). As a whole I found "The 2nd Law" a semi-disappointment, because it features some of Muse's highest heights but some of their lowest deeps.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I still dont know how to rate this one, have been listening to it a couple of days now. I think i like it, but at the same time i defineately wouldnt rate it among their best. I dont like what Bellamy is doing with his voice in songs like Follow Me, it just sounds weird. And im not too fond of madness, follow me, liquid state and explorers. Though madness and Follow me got some cool parts. I think i kinda miss more songs that goes all in like Survival.
    I think the album is amazing! It certainly isn't a perfect 10, but for me it has way too many good songs to be lower than a 9.
    It's not really a Muse album, but I feel as though this will be my guilty pleasure for the year. I find a decent chunk of these songs catchy by themselves.
    Here's the thing, folks - Muse's own sound is long gone, and it's not coming back. Instead of incorporating other genres into their own style but still being distinctly Muse, they've become a mere cover band. There's no more 'Hmm this has got a bit of flamenco in it', or 'I hear The Shadows in the this one', it's 'Fucking hell is this a U2 cover or what?', or 'Did Brian May write this?'. They've crossed the line between influence and emulation. Now i won't lie, there have been a couple of songs on the past two albums i've really enjoyed. Animals, MK Ultra, even Madness was quite nice, but the rest of it doesn't gel with their back catalogue. If Animals was on Origin of Symmetry, i think it'd fit in quite well, maybe as a back to back with Screenager. MK Ultra is a bit of an Exo Politics twin. They clearly know how to write good music still, but they're lending too heavily from their influences.