Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Album review, Muse, The Resistance

Few bands, if any, had such a big impact in my life as Muse. Back in the second semester of 2006, songs as 'Time is running out' and 'Butterflies and Hurricanes' were big anthems for me, songs that had effect in pretty much every aspect of my life. I loved, loved 'Black Holes and Revelations'. I lost count of how many times I danced like crazy to the beat of 'Supermassive Black Hole'. And what about 'Starlight'? Well, let's just say it was the the song that represented an important love...
For a lot of reasons, like 'Muscle Museum', 'Stockholm Syndrome', 'Knights of Cydonia' Muse was, for a long time my favorite band. But then time passed and I became more eletronic (and less crazy...) and simply got tired of songs that I heard hundreds of times. Sure, I always came back to hits as 'Hysteria' but it was never again like before.
That's why this year I had high expectations about a lot of albums and bands, but wasn't terribly excited about Muse. Plus when ' United States Of Eurasia' with its ridiculous Queen-inspired part came out, I was really, really disappointed. After this I didn't expect much of Muse. But then came first single 'Uprising' and, while wasn't the biggest song of their career, it had some interesting elements and it was, in the end, a very nice track.
Because of the reasons above, my expectations about 'The Resistance' were mixed. "Is it going to be like 'United States' or more like 'Uprising'?", I thought. Now that the album is out, the answer is: none of the above. There is more than one Muse here.
One is the 'pop' band of Starlight, that delivers an irresistible chorus in the title track. 'It could be wrong, it could be wrong, but it should've been right...' is certainly one of the catchiest lines of the year. Another good example of this more accesible Muse is 'Undisclosed Desires', which could be described as this year's 'Supermassive Black Hole'. Except that the lyrics are much better than in the latter. I think I would say these are the best lyrics of their career. It fits perfectly in the moment that I'm living right now.
But this would not be a Muse album without the difficult and weird sound that was always in many of their songs. And believe-me: there is plenty of weirdness here. 'Unnatural Selection' is a completely paranoid track but one that makes total sense once you remember who wrote it. Isn't it suspicious that human DNA makes us so smiliar to computers? Mathew Bellamy smells something like a conspiracy. And keeps going on and on using 100 different riffs during 6:55 minutes. It can't be more Muse than this.
However, while it's nice to keep the roots of the band and preserve the craziness, there are many times in this album where it just feels too much. Sure in 'MK Ultra', you hear, like 2 or 3 very nice sounds, but in the end, you get tired and just want slow things down a little bit. Plus, while I recognize there is classical beauty in the 'Exogenesis' part, it feels like too much pretension for a rock band. And, yes, it's beautiful, but I really don't care much about the last three songs.
To sum up, there is plenty to love in this album. 'Resistance' and 'Undisclosed Desires' are two pop gems that I'm playing like crazy these days. 'Unnatural Selection' reminds me of the good old 'New born' times and that's a pretty good thing. The drawback is that this band doesn't seem to know where to stop with the experimentations and often embarasses itself with things like 'United States Of Eurasia'.
This happens probably because these three guys take themselves too seriously and think that there is nothing that they can't do. Perhaps they are right. How many mainstream bands have albums influenced both by Timbaland and Chopin? Plus, I wonder where they would be if they hadn't believed in themselves in the beginning of their careers when everybody was labeling them Radiohead copycats.
Probably not selling out Wembley and being superstars in Europe. So while this album is not as good as 'Black Holes...', it definitely deserves a lot of praise for all the risks it takes and for mantaining the band's identity. Long live, Muse. We love you!

Grade: 8 out of 10