Sound — 8
Before I begin, I think I should say that I am a hardcore Muse fan, but I will try to review this album without prejudice. Also, this album is being realeased in many countries September 14th, the 15th in the U.S. and Canada. But Muse has given people a chance to listen to all the songs ahead of time. As many people know, the band, Matthew Bellamy (singer/songwriter/guitarist/pianist/many things), Chris Wolstenholme (Bassist/Backing vocals) and Dom Howard (Percussion) is interested in conspiracy theories. This album is based primarily on their suspicions and other subjects like love. Muse takes the classical side of their music to another level on this album. Almost every song involves some sort of strings or symphonic instrument, which is not a bad thing. It compliments each song nicely and makes it sound more refined. They have even gone as far as to put on a symphony broken down into the last three songs composed by Bellamy. Now I'll break down each song individually. 01.Uprising: this song has gotten a lot of airtime on the radio ever since they released it as a single and rightfully so because it's probably the most mainstream song on the album. It starts off sounding like a classic rock anthem with the bass and drums coming in real heavy. The title pretty much explains what the song is about, an imminent takeover of some sort. This song will keep your head banging the whole way through. 4/5 02.Resistance: starts with a sort of space theme then goes into a little piano segue. Before the chorus they do a little harmonizing line recurring(It could be wrong, could be wrong). Very catchy song. It seems like this song is more about the need to hide and keep secrets from the people out to get you. 4.5/5 03.Undisclosed Desires: what struck me is that it's more of a dance song. It sounds inspired by Depeche Mode IMO. Sounds as if he is trying to win over someone and purify them, kind of weird, but whatever. 4/5 04.United States of Eurasia: another song that was fully released a while ago. Starts off with a quiet little piano melody and eventually erupts into a Queen like singing explosion. What follows is an orchestral part that sounds a bit exotic or oriental. The end is a piano piece called Collateral Damage. 3.5/5 05.Guiding Light: no, not the soap opera (why do I know that?), but it is a drama/love song. Begins with a very strong bass drum and snare beat. A lot of strings in this song in addition to a nice little solo with a very distorted guitar. 4/5 06.Unnatural Selection: a very paranoid/angry song. Starts off with an eerie organ and singing and erupts into a riff we haven't really heard since the Origin of Symmetry days that's full of energy. This is a very guitar heavy song which is done masterfully in my opinion. Also, it is quite long (about 7 minutes) and includes a trippy section in the middle. 5/5 07.MK Ultra: this song is straight conspiracy and suspicion. The name of the song is allegedly a secret program of the CIA. The intro creates that sort of paranoid atmosphere and the rest of the song follows suit and gets a little heavy and features a riff similar to the one in Unnatural Selection. 4.5/5 08.I Belong to You (Mon coeur s'ouvre toi): this song threw me for a loop. Starts off with catchy piano then it sounds sort of like an Abba song, but in a good way if that makes any sense. Very disco feeling until the middle. The beat stops and Matt is just singing quite creepily in French. The downfall is that part sort of drags on for awhile. Other than that, I loved the song. 4/5 09.Exogenesis Part I (Overture): beautiful song overall, but once again I feel it drags on for too long, which is what orchestras tend to do I guess. A lot of strings and Matt playing great piano. 3.5/5 10.Exogenesis Part II (Cross-Pollination): more of the same with more piano basically. Features some odd bongo drumming, but it's a nice touch. Still beautifully written though. 4/5 11.Exogenesis Part III (Redemption): this song almost reverts back to the album before track 9. There are actual drums and singing this time and it basically just sums everything up with Matt saying that they should start over and get things right with whatever crazy things were going on in this fictional story. Ends quietly with some piano. 4/5
Lyrics — 8
As always, the lyrics are very deep. Generally, they can be categorized into suspicious/conspiracy inspired lyrics or those about love, or sometimes a combination. Some may say they are ridiculous or over the top but I believe that they just make you think. Sometimes if you're concentrating on the lyrics too much you'll over-think the fact that they are beautiful. Also, Matt's voice flows brilliantly with the music as it always has. It's clear he only puts in what he thinks will sound perfect. His singing is superb, but the one thing he is lacking is falsetto. That has been his trademark for years and he used it very sparingly on this album, appearing in only a few songs. But that is the only thing I can find to complain about with his voice.
Overall Impression — 9
I've listened to the album a few times now and each time it only gets better. It needs a little time to sink in. For example, the first time I heard Guiding Light, I wasn't impressed. After a few listens I find myself having it stuck in my head sometimes. The only album or artist that I can even begin to compare this with is Queen, or Muse themselves which is a stretch. Some songs like United States of Eurasia and I Belong to You undoubtedly have influences from Queen. In general, Muse has taken their music farther than ever before and have essentially created their own genre. The sings that really stood out to me were Resistance, Unnatural Selection and MK Ultra. I belong to you may have been on here if it wasn't for the creepy part. Each of these three songs is packed with energy and creative riffs and beats. I discovered that I enjoy all of the classical influence on the album. Even if putting an entire symphony on here may be a bit much, at least it was original. It gives people who like fast paced songs something and people who like slow songs something as well. If you were to listen to it in order straight through it flows well. After I buy this album on the 15th, if I were to lose it or it was stolen, I would definitely go back out and buy it again or track down the person who stole it and injure them badly. Overall, another excellent record from a band who has once again pushed the limits on musical creativity.