Sound — 10
Muse returns after a few years to follow up Black Holes and Revelations. It's difficult to explain the sound of this album because it's so varied. The album has the heavy distorted guitars and massive riffs we're familiar with from the Origin of Symmetry area in songs like Uprising and Unnatural Selection. The trio also incorporates classical elements that are near their Absolution sound, most notably in the three part symphony that concludes the album. Electronic sounds are also put into effect in MK Ultra and others. It's hard to label this as one sound. It's the love child of Chopin, Prokofiev, Origin of Symmetry, Absolution, BHaR, Queen, 80's synth, and Jazz. 01.Uprising: rolls in to a bass line that sets the mood for the record. The song is the first single, and for good reason. It incorporates a Dr. Who type synth over the bass and leads to a nice guitar breakdown through the song. 02.Resistance: starts out eerily and a bit slow, but continually builds up to one of my favorite muse choruses. It's a very solid song which could have started the record as well. 03.Undisclosed Desires: It's hard to describe this song. It may be completely uninteresting to the more edgy side of the muse fans, but it has a very hip hop meets Enya sort of feel. Don't worry, I hate Enya, but this song grows on you the more you heard it and soon you'll be singing along to what at first seems a mediocre track. 04.United States of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage): the most Queen song on the album. It's very Bohemian Rhapsody meets persian strings meets epic vocals. A great song which is ended by a piano piece by Chopin ala Bellamy. 05.Guiding Light: sort of the ballad of the album, it begins with massive drums leading to a simple type chord progression with meaningful lyrics. Probably my least favorite track on the album, but it's still extremely solid and not deserving of a skip by any means. 06.Unnatural Selection: the heaviest song in my opinion. Starts out with a church organ similar to Megalomania, but then breaks into MASSIVE riffs until an eerie bass breakdown. The song ends with another breakdown similar to the outros we've become accustomed to in their live shows. 07.MK Ultra: begins with a synth and then leads to great verses and heavy riffs. One of the best tracks on the album. 08.I Belong To You: I was iffy about this one from the preview, but it's actually an extremely catchy song. Jazzy piano drives the song with a nice drum beat set by Dom. Even the singing in French doesn't bring a section of this song down. 09.Exogenesis I: an epic starter. Strings build to a great "riff" and some guitar and vocals as well. This could easily go in a sci-fi movie. 10.Exogenesis II: a piano solo leads into a verse that builds and builds with drums into an all out masterpiece that ends calmly. 11.Exogenesis III: the perfect ending track. It starts with a soothing piano that somewhat builds, encouraging us to start over. It makes sense, we start with Uprising, and through the whole process of resistance, we deconstruct and restart over again. While the symphony isn't 12 minutes of epicness, it really impressed me by showing Bellamy's composing abilities.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics in the album are generally strong. Some will complain about verb tense usage in United States of Eurasia and other minor details, but for the most part, the lyrics are quite good and with the themes of both resistance and love. Bellamy is back with his tradition singing style. Some will argue it's too whiny, but it's trademark Matt. There's moments of a lower spectrum than we're used to, while there are moments of the signature falsetto.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is probably the most complete muse album in my opinion. It's the perfect blend that should satisfy most muse fans, although it will undoubtedly lose some more rock fans and gain a more mainstream audience. But, that being said, the album is near perfect. It's worth the money to purchase it, for sure. Do yourself a favor and pick up this album.