Showing posts with label muse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label muse. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

video review: 'simulation theory' by muse

Heh, hot takes galore in this one. Enjoy!

Next up, got some Billboard BREAKDOWN (last episode of this Billboard year!) and then I get to talk about Little Mix, so stay tuned!

Monday, November 19, 2018

album review: 'simulation theory' by muse

Honest question: when Muse rolled out their plan to make a 80s-inspired synth-driven pop rock album, did anybody think it was a good idea?

Well okay, in principle it wasn't the worst idea - I'd prefer Muse do this than try to make reggae or hip-hop or bluegrass - but I've seen this sort of 80s pop pivot a lot in the 2010s and Muse aiming to capitalize on nostalgia this blatantly seemed like a weird move, especially as their experimental tendencies tend to push them in very different directions. Say what you will about the mess of The 2nd Law with its warping dubstep touches or the grinding sludge of Drones, at least they felt contemporary and moves that made credible sense coming from Muse, even if neither worked in their entirety. Going for 80s synthesizers and softening their edge even further for a retro pastiche... look, Muse is too weird and earnest to consider something like this a cash grab, but as someone who has always been hit-and-miss on this band, I was concerned this could get ugly, especially given the polarized critical response I've seen. And my feelings weren't assuaged by the production team: Shellback, Timbaland and Mike Elizondo, are they making an 80s pop rock project or something that would drop in the late 2000s? But fine, what did we get out of Simulation Theory?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

video review: 'drones' by muse

Well, this was better received than I expected it'd be. Hmm, interesting.

Okay, tomorrow I'm going to try to get the Billy Currington review out, but RL might get in the way, so no promises. Stay tuned!

album review: 'drones' by muse

There's no easy way to talk about Muse. Fans of the band love them for their genre-pushing style, their imagination, their technically potent melodic construction, and Matt Bellamy's uniquely powerful voice. Non-fans hate them for their lyrical pretentiousness or outright absurdity, their self-serious appropriation of progressive, alternative and arena rock tropes without getting the substance, their hyperbolic presentation, and Matt Bellamy's shameless caterwauling, especially in his high falsetto range.

In other words, they're a polarizing group - and unlike most, I tend to fall in the middle, in that they're not a bad group by any stretch of the mind, but they are definitely uneven for me. The odd issue for me across their first four records is that outside of the few songs they have on every album that are just goddamn amazing across the board, they tend to fall into an agreeable confort zone that can start to run together a little. This started to change around the mid-2000s, with the broader embrace of styles on records like Black Holes and Revelations, but it was also where my opinion on Muse tends to get more mixed. Yes, I can appreciate the genre-bending and the worship of progressive rock and especially Queen, but lyrically it often felt Muse was spiralling into a rabbit hole that was interestingly sketched but increasingly incoherent, and the band took themselves way too damn seriously to realize it. In other words, it's the exact same path that so much progressive rock took in its heyday, especially around the tail end of the 70s. Credit to Muse for always maintaining a distinctive sound in the face of going over the top in a half-dozen different genres, but by the time we hit The 2nd Law, I worried that I'd lose my ability to take the band remotely seriously, especially when they got political with the subtlety of a tactic air strike.

And on that topic, I can't tell you how sceptical I was about their upcoming record called Drones. On the one hand, I was a little fascinated that Muse was going for a 'back-to-basics' approach of all things, but I wasn't sure grabbing producer Mutt Lange, most known for producing albums from AC/DC's Highway To Hell and The Cars' Heartbeat City to Shania Twain's Come On Over and Nickelback's Dark Horse was the best way to do it. And let's be blunt, Muse does not do subtle or complex when in comes to their political material, and while I dug their populism, drone warfare and modern geopolitics are kind of hard to boil down into anthems for monstrous live sets. So did Muse pull it off?