Categorized | Features, Music, Reviews

Muse: The Resistance

Posted on 22 September 2009 by Christine


Not all change is progressive.  This I learned while listening to the new Muse album.  Resistance starts out alright with an interesting goth pop vibe in Uprising and Resistance.  The lyrics are fairly typical for Muse, all looming paranoia about some lovely omnipotent “they.”  The chorus in Resistance is a little strangely done and the sound isn’t much like Muse, but nothing terribly objectionable.  Basically some muscicians trying out new things.

And then Undisclosed Desires happens.  I had to double check my computer to make sure Justin Timberlake hadn’t invaded with an army of bad 80’s pop.  And the lyrics!?

“I want to reconcile the violence in your heart

I want to recognise your beauty’s not just a mask

I want to exorcise the demons from your past

I want to satisfy the undisclosed desires in your heart

Please me

Show me how it’s done

Trust me

You are the one”

Desires is followed by an over-the-top United States of Eurasia–heavy on piano and Freddie Mercury-esque vocals.  Love the nod to Chopin at the end, but it seems lack-luster despite all that jazz.

And then Guiding Light happens.  This track is ripped straight out of one of those terrible teen inspirational 80’s movies.  Not going to lie, I appreciate a little synth there and here, but this is overboard.   It’s soaked in synth, and suffers from vapid lyrics and overpowering drums.

But it got better. Unnatural Selection comes off rock’n’roll well with layered guitar riffs and a serious beat.  Though, at one point, it sounds strangely like that ABBA song.  Compare:

“Counter balance this commotion

We’re not droplets in the ocean.”  (MUSE)

“Don’t go wasting your emotion,

don’t go sharing your devotion.” (ABBA)

Anyway.  There’s neat Hendrix-esque breakdown in the middle.  And then it slows down a bit and gets lighter which works really wells, building towards a somewhat satisfying conclusion.

And then MK Ultra happens.  It’s not stupendously awkward like Desires, but it’s heavy on the synth and really just heavy in the way that makes you want to drop it.  So I will.

Then I Belong To You happens.  And, well, that’s kind of a good thing.  It’s fun and somewhat self-referential (“You are my mu-se”).  There’s an enjoyable bounce in that piano and the vocals are tops.  Then Matthew Bellamy turns into a french lounge singer complete with clarinet solo.   And you know what? It was good.  A little odd.  Not really like anything we’ve heard from Muse in the past.  But live a little.

Which brings us to the last act, the long-awaited epic of Exogenesis: Symphony.  The Symphony, divided into three distinct sections, supposedly tells the story of humans escaping to space from a decimated Earth, but I could only tell after reading the lyrics.

The Overture slips us into a menacing world of tension.  It’s almost completely classical symphony stuff with a just a hint of rock and a bit Bellamy’s vocals.  The second act, Cross-Pollination, opens with an entrancing piano number, some synth in the background, and explodes slowly into all-out rock orchestra. Redemption, the conclusion of the album, is quiet.  It starts out slow and mellow, developing into its zenith of complexity and emotion three-fourths of the way in, and then leaves us with a cyclical reflection of the beginning.

On the whole, well actually, I can’t really write about this album as a whole.  While there are some common themes and sounds throughout, it never really ever comes together. Uprising, Unnatural Selection, and I Belong To You work and Exogenisis was a pleasure.  Some experimentations are more successful than others; that is what this album was about–experimentation.  And like with most experiments, we got mixed results.

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