Comparing Notes: The 2nd Law

Felty

Overview:
If Queen, Rush, and U2 were to spawn some sort of faintly dubstep-influenced band Muse would be it. As many times as I thought, “What the hell am I listening to?” throughout the album my ultimate reaction is confusingly positive. The 2nd Law sustains an Action-Movie-Soundtrack ambiance.

This becomes disappointing somewhat seeing as there is no visual accompaniment and makes for discouraging points through the album. But going hand in hand with that, the band’s orchestration and sound dropping provoke an idiosyncratic (in an overall positive way) and pleasing feeling when you listen to the album all the way through. In all honesty it just sounds like it was pretty damn expensive to produce with the instrumentation and electronic sound and all; and I can’t tell if I appreciate it. In a way I guess I do because it can sound nice and cool at times but personally I am just a proprietor for albums that sound like they could have been recorded in a garage somewhere.

So needless to say you won’t find any of the tracks on this album suitable for a campfire listen or sing-along with friends. These songs are enjoyed by thousands in big stadiums or in the background of Ethan Hunt or James Bond scaling a building (or on the SNL stage on Oct. 6 I guess?) It’s not an entirely new band on this album but noticeably different stylistic choices may be a turn-off for avid fans. The somewhat new dubstep influence and, as previously stated, overly-polished expensive sound may unnerve but nonetheless they have held on to the overall sound acquired from their obvious inspirations.

Muse
The 2nd Law
Released October 2, 2012

The Good: What was my favorite song on the album?
TRACK 3: Panic Station
Filled with funky bass, disco-reminiscent synth and horns, and singer Matthew Bellamy’s high and chilling voice; this track is just awesome. Being a huge funk-rock fan I appreciated this track more than any other on the album, not to mention Bellamy just tears through with his intense, hellish screams and in-your-face delivery. I also felt the guitar riffs were more true to some of the band’s older work in sound, style, and effect (or lack thereof.)

The Different: What was a change from the band’s usual style?
TRACK 12: The 2nd Law – Unsustainable
Muse’s attempt at dubstep doesn’t quite cut it for me. But I am biased seeing as my view of dubstep is it belongs in dance clubs and raves, not on albums. But nonetheless this was a significant change from the band’s usual style. You could tell more and more throughout the band’s career this was a direction they were headed in but this is the only track on the album where they really submerged themselves into a different genre.

The Future: What do I hope to see more of in the future?
TRACK 2: Madness
The second single from the album strayed away from the polished sound and presented itself as a more stripped down version of the sound the band was trying to achieve throughout the album. The song is simply beautiful lyrically and musically. I’m not the only one to feel this way either; it has been critically acclaimed since its release. Chris Martin of Coldplay called it “Muse’s best song ever.” NME called it “slinky, soft rock sex music.” Whatever that is supposed to mean, I couldn’t have said it any better.

The Bottom Line: 
Songs like their Olympics debuted “Survival” make me realize that if bands like Queen were still making music today this is what they would sound like. Feelings like that are very reassuring and show the band will continue with it’s already successful and continually promising career. Muse isn’t going away. They WILL progress and change from album to album. They WILL put our some music I won’t like. And they WILL keep me as a fan.

Comparing Notes brings you some of the best rock music just shy of the mainstream. Every week a new album is featured of an Indie, Folk or Alternative band.