Muse, Resistance

We review the new album from the renowned Brit-rockers.

Muse's
new album crashes onto the scene today like Kanye West, interrupting
America's regular rock programming to declare that another kind of
music should be winning the charts race; in fact, that we're losers for
settling for one genre at all. 

But unlike Kanye, they might have a point. For their fifth studio album,

Resistance

,
the British bombastadors twist Chopin, early Radiohead, New Wave and
post-punk into their trademark brand of stadium-shattering arena rock,
and it results in a high-concept, high-noise and deeply compelling
record.

Though their popularity in the

U.S.

is still nascent, Muse is an international sensation, having spent the
past several years playing stadium venues in Europe and thundering out
riffs so huge you can see them from

Mount

Olympus

.
Lead guitarist/pianist/vocalist Matt Bellamy has several tools in his
arsenal: a throaty Freddie Mercury falsetto, influence from classical
composers and a talent for penning apocalyptic anthems.

The
album deploys all of these to continue in the grandiose tradition of
British arena bands like Queen, and its lyrics are also staunchly
soaked in 1984, presenting a futuristic narrative of Winston vs. Big
Brother, man vs. state, humanity against

technology

. Its

space-tunnel

cover art was

even

prematurely

voted

2nd Best Album Cover of 2009 by AOL Radio.

This is not a record seeking to fade into the indie background.

Resistance

isn’t melodically shy, starting off with c

atchy first single "Uprising

,

"

which

brings
to mind Goldfrapp and Sam Sparro soaking in New Wave with its
apocalyptic chorus, "They will not force us/ They will stop degrading
us/They will not control us/We will be victorious."

“Undisclosed Desires,” a similar track, drives on a steady beat mellower than much of Muse’s previous work.

Yet Muse also remain

true to their rock edge. "Unnatural Selection" pummels you with a
pop-punk pluckiness, and on the title track they recall a more gravelly
U2.

"MK
Ultra," named after a covert mind control operation by the CIA, is bold
and swaggering in its hooks and in its warnings: “Invisible to all/ The
mind becomes a wall/All of history deleted with one stroke.”

The
album ebbs a bit in its slower songs like "United States of Eurasia," a
bloated homage to (rip-off of?) Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" that ends
with a sprinkling of a Chopin nocturne. On the sugary

“I Belong to You” and

"Guiding Light

,

"

tepid melodies weigh down the rest of the album’s appealing jagged edge. Bellamy and

Co.

are at their best when they’re letting all of their usual bombastic musical tricks fly out with ravaging force.

After the power-punch that preceded it,

Resistance

concludes

with an indulgent three-song orchestral piece, "Exogenesis," overflowing with

atmospheric synths,

Mozart-esque piano flourishes and Bellamy's plaintive moaning --Thom Yorke, is that you?

Still, the 15-minute opus is a tremendous display of compositional skills

. Pretentious? Yes. But there’s no better way to end a colossal concept album like this one.

An apt follow-up to 2006’s thrill-seeking

Black Holes & Revelations

,

Resistance

dials up the hooks while also cranking the dial on the futuristic drama.

Overall,
the album lacks the sharp brilliance of previous Muse hits like
"Supermassive Black Hole" and "Time is Running Out," but it's an
ambitious concept album that gamely fills Muse's spatial shoes.

Trying not to like

Resistance

is futile.

Jessica Misener can be found online at www.jessicamisener.com.

9 Comments

85,033

NathanSam reviewed…

This review is strangely bent towards making MUSE, and specifically its foreman Matt Bellamy, out to be a con artist. MUSE has endured comparisons to Radiohead ever since their debut, and yet only their B sides "Hyper Condriac Music" and "Con-science" have sounded like Radiohead copies.

Do companies like you and Rolling Stone even listen to Radiohead? It doesn't take much of a listen to realize how musically different the bands are. On a whole, Radiohead is far more intricate and creative, and MUSE has always been more driven towards progressive and orchestral rock. The only similarities between these bands are, of course, the voice styles of their lead singers.

So, my complaint is that MUSE, a very talented, deserving band, falls victim to the game of labeling, especially in this review. I think it's disrespectful and rather lazy. But I understand that this review isn't unique; it's part of the labeling epidemic in our nation, that it's more convenient to let others think for us than to actually make up our own minds.

85,033

DarthUnokidney reviewed…

Though I am a very recent fan of Muse i would have to plainly say that I was very, very disappointed in this album. I miss the days of Origin of Symmetry and Absolution (even Showbiz). The first time I heard the album was coming I almost soiled myself with excitement but after hearing the tracks like Unnatural Selection and MK Ultra I became very upset. It lacks what makes Muse, Muse. Where's the KAOSS? Wheres the Fuzz Factory? Yes I will give Matt credit for being a musical genious but seriously this album was very distasteful and I am sad that we don't have something new. Please Muse bring us back what you are capable of.

audrey

1

audrey reviewed…

I'm gonna have to agree with Dave on this one. My fiance recently became obsessed with the album, and its all he would play. The first time I heard it (also the first time I heard Muse), I thought the guy's vibratto was annoying, and couldn't stand to listen to it anymore. But still it played. and the more I heard it, the more I had to admit it grew on me. Now I really like it. You could say I've been desensitized, or I've seen the light. Take your pick.

85,033

Bill reviewed…

I get sucked in by the stadium sound on Muse albums (have 4 of them), but cringe with their lyrics, which are simply trite. They try to be clever and write about big issues, but come up with obvious and clunky lyrics such as those quoted in the review. Yet i still think knights of cydonia is a ripper of a tune!

85,033

imth3g3st reviewed…

I couldn't listen to this album more than once. How about the obvious Battles rip off track? Maybe they made a decent profit off of it? Who knows. Its does not compare to there older stuff...

Please log in or register to review