The arrival of a new Muse album is always met by two things. 1. Hauty derision from critics sharpening their 'they just sound like Queen' daggers and 2. Fans ready to buy the album, millions of them.
Sitting somewhere inbetween here at Gigwise, we know that Muse are kind of silly but love them anyways, we delved into the band's sixth studio album 'The 2nd Law' ahead of its release on Monday (Oct 1st) and have delivered a track by track guide. Read on now to find out just how Bono, Batman, booze and the Olympics have combined on one record.
1. Supremacy. Daniel Craig returns for his third outing at James Bond in Skyfall, facing off against blonde villain Silva (played by Javier Bardem). The Sam Mendes direct… Wait, this isn’t the new 007 movie we have on? Whatever, ’Supremacy’ sounds undeniably cinematic and would surely be blasting out of your nearest multiplex if it weren’t for that pesky Adele and her heartbroken lungs.
2. Madness. The first of the ‘2nd Law’ songs we have heard before and Chris Martin’s favourite Muse song ever, apparently. We’re not sure we agree with the Coldplay man there but ‘Madness’ is a classy and restrained song for a band who often hint that they start every song with a working title of the same name. Reminiscent of former single ‘Time is Running Out’ in some ways, George Michael in others.
3. Panic Station. Is that an episode of Seinfeld on in the background? Nope, just some slap bass from Chris Wolstenholme kicking off this undeniably funky third track. Add Matt Bellamy’s grunting vocals and we’re veering dangerously into Red Hot Chili Peppers territory. Somebody keep them away from the sport socks.
4. Prelude. Strings soar, pianos tinkle. Somewhere in the distance an evil empire comes crashing to the ground and Matt Bellamy is crowned leader of the universe. Alternatively, this is a minute long instrumental between songs.
5. Survival. If you tuned into the Olympics for the music, and lets face it between Frank Turner and Jessie J it was all about the music inside that stadium, then you will know this one. Unmistakably Muse, ’Survival’ perfectly matches Matt Bellamy’s quest to write a song that encapsulates, “being completely determined to win, doing it against all the odds, the conviction and the truth of just wanting to win.”
6. Follow Me. Kicking off with the sampled heartbeat of newborn son Bingham, ‘Follow Me’ is Muse’s first foray into the murky world of dubstep. Clearly, Matt Bellamy favours Skrillex over Skream and Benga if the stadium-sized wobble on this is anything to go by. It’s certainly one to get the heart racing.
7. Animals. Slightly forgettable, mid-album filler track. Neither hit’s the heights of ostentatious melodrama the band are famed for nor shows Matt Bellamy’s underrated ability at writing genuinely beautiful music.
8. Explorers. With Christmas fast approaching (only 88 days at the time of writing) it’s nice to hear Muse embrace the festive period and gently shake their sleigh bells as Matt Bellamy seeks to be freed from the world he finds himself living in. Who knew Muse’s next direction would be Eggnog-rock?
9. Big Freeze. Muse have spoken about the influence of U2 album ‘Achtung Baby’ on their ew album and you ca really hear it on ‘Big Freeze’. In fact, it’s only a pair of wraparound sunglasses away from the full Bono.
10. Save Me. The first Muse song ever sung by someone body else bar Matt Bellamy. Bassist Chris Wolstenholme steps up to the plate and, well we wish he had done earlier. This delicate, serene voice has been hidden for far too long. In truth, however, is that a battle with alcoholism and subsequent sobriety led Chris to this point and Save Me tackles the issue with an assured grace.
11. Liquid State. Wolstenholme again takes lead vocals here, ditching the high notes for an earthy growl which sounds oddly reminiscent of turn of the century UK band Serafin. Both bands emerged around the same time, though one went on to headline stadiums and the other, well, didn‘t.
12. The 2nd Law: Unsustainable. Aka return of the dubstep. First heard in the dramatic album trailer released earlier this year, ‘The 2nd Law: Unsustainable’ combines sobering sound of breaking news footage with a stadium-sized breakdown that would shake the other side of Skrillex’s hair off. Put down your latops, this was all done on guitar.
13. The 2d Law: Isolated System. Matt Bellamy has spoken about the influence of Hans Zimmer on the closing suite of songs and his influence is all over this first track. You can practically see Bruce Wayne transforming into Batman as Gotham City is rocked by yet another villain intent on bringing it to its knees.
The 2nd Law is released Monday, 1 October 2012.