Muse gets creative on new album


photo courtesy of band's website

Muse’s seventh album “The 2nd Law” clearly shows the alternative trio’s willingness to push the envelope in music with a wide variety of sounds reminiscent of the stylings of Queen, U2, and Radiohead along with their own classic sound.

Michelle Sauer, Staff Writer

Over the past ten years, Muse rocked the alternative music scene with its over the top and futuristic rock anthems. The group’s unique sound returns in their seventh album, “The 2nd Law.” The album’s first single, “Madness,” topped Billboard’s Alternative Songs list, and “Survival” was used as an entrance song at the London Summer Olympics. Impressively, out of all Muse’s successful album releases, this is Muse’s highest charting album with spots at No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200.

This album clearly shows the alternative trio’s willingness to push the envelope in music with a wide variety of sounds reminiscent of the stylings of Queen, U2, and Radiohead along with the classic Muse sound. “The 2nd Law” includes large amounts of dramatic instrumentals, funk beats, soaring vocals from frontman Matt Bellamy, and electronic dance music, including dubstep mixes inspired by Skrillex. Resulting in an album full of interesting sounds and meaningful lyrics.

In the song “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable”, the band explains the origins of the album’s name with a reference to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, stating that with no gain or loss of energy in a system, ”Energy continuously flows from being concentrated, to becoming dispersed, spread out, wasted, and useless. New energy cannot be created and high-grade energy is being destroyed. An economy based on endless growth is unsustainable.” They use this metaphor as a theme for the entire album. The song starts with orchestral music covered by dramatic vocals, which progressively lead into an interesting mix of rock and dubstep rhythms, clearly impelled by the new EDM phase that is sweeping across the music scene.

Lyrically, Muse carries out this theme of wasted energy, often criticizing the capitalist government of the Western world, saying that it is, well, unsustainable. In the albums opening song, “Supremacy”, the listeners are called to become aware that no one is truly free, of the government’s underhanded schemes to brainwash our children, and that the government must not be allowed to control the lives of the public. In the song “Animals” Muse criticizes the savage and selfish tendencies of the stock market investors.

Other songs such as “Panic Station,” “Survival” or “Big Freeze” push Muse listeners to take control of their lives. With thought provoking ideas, vivid images, and direct commands incorporated within the lyrics, Bellamy demands that people begin living the way that they want to, not allowing life to defeat their individual strength and determination or extinguish the sun in their hearts. The songs incorporate a variety of sounds ranging from retro funk, to dramatic choral vocals, chilling violins, and anthem rock.

The album’s most popular song “Madness” strays from the deep criticisms of government structures and insights of human nature. With soft dubstep undertones and Queen-esque guitar solos, the song focuses on the confusion which results from unstable and rocky relationships. Written after Bellamy got in a fight with his girlfriend, he describes his revelation that their relationship was either held together by true love or chaos.

“The 2nd Law” is everything that could have been expected from Muse. Its refreshing and varied beats along with its thought provoking and catchy lyrics stick to the band’s original style while the dubstep beats prove that the decade old band continues to evolve with the times. Muse has struck again with another innovative and impressive work of art.