Sound Check: Muse’s The 2nd Law
By Morgan Miller
Muse’s new album The 2nd Law is catching their loyal fans off guard. Heading in a completely different direction, it is making listeners question if the band is losing their old sound in place of a new, almost-Dubstep route.
The response to Muse’s new album is about the only part fans cannot agree on. With tracks such as “The Second Law: Unsustainable,” their obvious change of pace is most apparent through their robotic sound and heavy bass. Inspired by a Skrillex concert the band attended, they ditched their alternative rock sound and opted for something more shocking. However disappointed listeners may feel about the “new” Muse, their dedication to making Dubstep-like sounds while still being loyal to their use of guitars and other instruments is hard not to appreciate.
While some fans embrace the direction Muse is headed in, others feel that The 2nd Law is sloppy and unorganized. This is due to the many different directions and changes of pace their tracks go in, resulting in the album lacking a clear purpose. Without a doubt, this is Muse’s most diverse album. Switching between rock tracks, such as “Animals,” that blatantly criticize the economy with lyrics such as “Advertise, downsize and layoff. Kill yourself. Come on and do us all a favor.” Starting out with an orchestral introduction only to shift into an electronic, synthesized sound, “Unsustainable” is a clear example of the impact Dubstep is having on Muse. Even some retro-sounding tracks, such as “Survival,” use a combination of guitar, piano and vocals that resemble old Queen songs.
It seems that Muse is tired of being comfortable. Previously being compared to bands such as Radiohead, they are trying to branch out, even if that means losing some fans. In an interview with The Telegraph, band leader Matt Bellamy explained their risk in creating The 2nd Law, “Were trying to do something a bit special,” he goes on to say, “I don’t know if it’s fashionable. Maybe fashion will have to come to us.”
This may take awhile considering the reaction fans are having to their new sound. Criticizing the bands lyrics as being weak and cliché, as well as fans saying the band has lost their rock edge are just a few of the negative comments on this album. On the plus side, their new take on music is attracting a new type of listener. If one goes into this album with an expectation for Muse’s previous work they will, without a doubt be disappointed. Their new sound requires an open mind; the unique instrumentals never get boring and leave the listener anticipating what will come next.
Surprisingly, politics is a major influence in Muse’s music. Bellamy makes a conscious effort to be informed on current issues and to incorporate that in his lyrics. Although Muse doesn’t hesitate to sing about their viewpoints, it is respectable that they refuse to affiliate their music with a specific political side.
A Muse fan or not, The 2nd Law is something to look into. The band is going out on a limb with their new sound and whether fans are feeling betrayed or enlightened, there is no denying that this album is marking a turning point in Muse’s career.