Friday, September 18, 2009

The Mad Minds of Muse

Ahhh, it is good to be a Muse fan. Every few years we are treated to a jaw-dropping display of ear candy that rushes the bloodstream like a double shot of Jack. As a bonus, we also are reintroduced to that familiar brand of vocabulary that inevitably follows every Muse release – “bombastic,” “epic,” “shamelessly ambitious,” “conspiratorial,” and the new one now popping up, “laughable.” And so with this week’s release of The Resistance, we have another round of critical analysis.

Muse has always proven to be an easy target for criticism because of the grand scale of their sound. The reviews have overall, been pretty positive. Strangely, I think the fans have reason to be proud of the negative reviews; the silver lining - in even the most critical reviews - reveals that, whatever critics think of the new album, they generally feel that:

  • Muse’s talent is indisputable, and there are few bands in the world that can match their skill and creativity;
  • The band pushes boundaries and they continue to evolve with each new album;
  • Their use of genre overlap challenges conventional notions of modern rock and roll;
  • Muse is a one-of-a-kind original in a time where homegrown originality is hard to come by.

I adore Muse, but their albums are not ones I typically love cover to cover, and this one is no exception. If Muse has multiple personalities, I personally prefer the up-tempo, bass-heavy (Uprising) and the spacious, more breathable (Undisclosed Desires) personalities to the operatic personality (EURASIA! – SIA! –SIA! –SIA!). I have a bit of an aversion to Queen, but I have to respect that Muse totally out-Queens Queen on this album. The magnitude of the sound that these three guys produce is phenomenal. I think NME had the best quote about The Resistance when they wrote “when they go unapologetically batshit insane they’re untouchable.” I couldn’t agree more.

Without a doubt, Muse is one of the most compelling bands of our time.


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