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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Not aMUSEd: “The Resistance” album disappoints

Published: September 25, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.

For years I have been drowning my thoughts to the sound of Mathew Bellamy’s stirring yet poetic conspiracy theories. When feeling particularly riveted, I would play “Apocalypse Please” on a loop, or, if I felt like starting a revolution that day, I would blast “Stockholm Syndrome” through my speakers at full force. So when I first heard that my favorite band, the multi-award winning English rock group Muse, was coming out with a new album, well—to say I was merely excited would be a tremendous understatement.

Muse has always stood out from the crowd with a unique sound that blends alternative rock, electronica, and classical music. Their sweeping overtures, “apocalyptic” melodies and generally epic pieces established a worldwide fan base that now runs in the millions. Their latest album, The Resistance, was released on Sept. 7.

I listened through the album and was left unsatisfied. The “epic” sound that I had known and loved before was absent and replaced by songs that sound poppy, radio-friendly, and geared towards an audience that appreciates catchiness as opposed to originality and soul-wrenching brilliance.

A few songs on the album sound like corny Muse imitations. There are only two half-decent songs that I would listen to more than once. “Uprising,” which was released as a teaser prior to the album, is kind of catchy and foot-tapping but the lyrics are lame, repetitive, and unprofound. “Undisclosed Desires” is the same story. “United States of Eurasia” is more Muse-esque in that it has a bit of that grandiose sound I’d expect. It gradually builds to a climax in typical Muse fashion, but then falls flat and is basically unmemorable. The last three songs on the album are part of an “Exogenesis Symphony” that has the makings of an epic piece, but they feel somehow schmaltzy, dramatized and artificial. It is all hype with pointless execution, and will be vastly unappreciated by Muse fans that want pulsing guitar riffs but are met instead by fluttery piano concertos. It was completely unnecessary to devote a fourth of the album to this.

I’m pretty disappointed. The hype for this album was blown way out of proportion, just like many of the songs build up to a lot of fluff with no meaning. I am going to go grumble about this in my room to some real tunage: Black Holes and Revelations (their 2006 album, no less).