Sound — 9
So, there I was, sitting at home, nothing to do, nothing to look forward to, and, all of a sudden, I realize that the new Muse album is available. Then and there, I stopped, and had the sudden and inexplicably urge to run outside, grab a firehidrant, swallow it and let the contents underneath cleanse me in a violent spurt of murky liquids - if only to stop myself from going insane that this record is FINALLY HERE. Don't believe the lies the Twilight fangirls feed you - despite what they say ("Muse is good"), Muse is actually good. I've said before (somewhere, I'm sure) that they're one of the few GOOD bands of the 2000's. I won't bother with the history of the band - I'll bring you up to speed, however, on their last couple of efforts, one of which I've reviewed. 2004's "Absolution" was a pretty solid record, with great tracks like "Ruled by Secrecy" and "Hysteria," and was followed by 2006's "Black Holes and Revelations." This was a stylistic step for Muse, especially on tracks like "Soldier's Poem" and "Hoodoo." However, I felt that they didn't take a big enough step, and that some tracks were a little weaker than others - the aformentioned were on the bottom of my list of favorites, topped by "Starlight" and "Map of the Problematique," which were, stylistically speaking, old news. And now, we have "The Resistance." Well, where do I start? The sound is a big step in a smart direction for Muse - much like Panic at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, and My Chemical Romance (just to throw in some more 2000's artists) took steps that were differently stylzied than their previous work, but fit them just as well, Muse has done the same. They've taken a dive into more piano-oriented music, ala "Starlight," but moreso. Instead of just one bit of piano repeated throughout, full songs are accompanied. As well as the piano, it's got a LOT of orchestration, and even a three-part symphony (though constructed less like Beethoven, and more like... Well, Muse). The opening track, "Uprising," is like nothing Muse has ever done before, with sort of a dance feel for the verses, and a nice chorus. The same goes for "I Belong To You," in which there are French lyrics as well as English. "Resistance" has an opening which is probably the best intro to any single song I've heard in a long time. "Undisclosed Desires" has some dance influence, as well - one of the best tracks on the record. They do all of this while staying true to themselves, as the clich goes, never once feeling like any other band. The most traditional Muse song here is probably "MK Ultra." "United States of Eurasia" is simply magnificent, starting with soft (IE, sort of traditional) piano, and going into this epic sort of track that you'll have to listen to before you believe me rave about it. We all know, however, that not since last summer (where I had my insane spurt of reviews purely for the sake of status) have I given any artist a "10" for anything. I will admit, I find it difficult NOT to give this a 10, because this record is simply fantastic. The one thing I guess I'll squeeze a star out of is that parts of the symphony feel more like a regular Muse song than part of a whole. And this is just little parts. The symphony is still fantastic. If I could, I'd give it a 9.5, but seeing as that's not how the rating system here works, I'll move on and give the sound a 9.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are the one place where Muse doesn't necessarily exceed expectations, which is an honest relief to me, because I was afraid I'd have to give this record a perfect score and be criticized by the general masses (except for the obnoxious Twilight people, etc etc). "Uprising" is fairly straightforward, but not so much that they sound like the new Skillet record; "Resistance" is alright; "Unnatural Selection" is pretty good; "MK Ultra" is good as well. I do like the French in "I Belong To You," in which they actually use the word "muse." Singer skills (forgive me if I completely forget the man's name) are exceptional - maybe a bit more operatic than he's shown in the past? And he takes advantage of that low octave "reach" he's got. Sometimes, it gets a LITTLE over the top, which he does sometimes, and while that works with the songs, I don't know that I'd call it a singer "skill." Lyrics, as usual, go just fine with everything else, while not necessarily exceeding my expectations. Lyrics and singing - overall, good, but not as big a step as the sound in general.
Overall Impression — 9
I'd heard raving reviews about this album for the longest time (or what felt like a long time), and I can honestly say that I'm going to take a hike on that (band)wagon. I'm neither a subjective person, nor a Twilight fan (for the record, I read the thing, and thought the FIRST one was OKAY. After that, I was intensely disappointed), and I think it's safe to say that, when I say this record is good, you can trust my judgment just fine. This is one of the best albums to come out in the 2000s. Listening to this made me believe that music isn't actually doomed, an idea I'd concieved as I listened to All Time Low's new album (which wasn't THAT bad, I GUESS, but, despite that I've heard it only once before, it was very familiar - I threw it in a pile with Plain White T's and The Jonas Brothers). "The Resistance" is unique, emotional, musical, and just plain beautiful in some places. I can only pray the upcoming Twilight sequel doesn't misuse (by which I mean use in any form) any of these great tracks. If it weren't for me not believing in perfection (or being a perfectionist? I may never know), I would almost give overall impression a 9 or 10 (points lost to the lyrics), so I guess I'll settle on 9. The album's original, musically stable, and still Muse. Best tracks are that much harder to pick out, because they are all fantastic, for the most part, but I suppose I can pick the best of the bunch - "Uprising," "United States of Eurasia," "I Belong to You," "Undisclosed Desires," "Unnatural Selection," "MK Ultra," and the Exogenesis symphony, which is a rather large collection, but I'm telling you, this album is that consistent with quality. I've just noticed that Muse seems to really like the letter "U" in their titles. Anyway, go and get this album, as soon as it's available for retail, and I swear you'll see me there, as well. Cross your fingers for the Twilight thing.