Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Josh: Music: The 2nd Law

Also comes in vinyl edition?!
"A Christian gangsta rap jazz odyssey, with some ambient rebellious dubstep and face melting metal flamenco cowboy psychedelia." Matt Bellamy on 'The 2nd Law'.

Only Muse, the alternative rock band from Devon, could base an album on the second law of thermodynamics. The band's interest in science and willingness to experiment with other musical genres has produced 'The 2nd Law', a possible replacement for my favourite Muse album over 'The Resistance' (which Smith has reviewed previously). Here's some analysis of all thirteen songs on the album;
     1) Supremacy - like something straight out of an action film, perfectly suited for James Bond, we have a exciting, vibrant start to the album that you can't stop yourself from rocking.
     2) Madness - I've adored this song ever since its released. It's obvious attempt to experiment with genres works. It's catchy and generally just an enjoyable song. One of the best by far on the album.
    3) Panic Station - Another different style to Muse that has a great use of guitars and is one of the more upbeat songs. It's riff is funky and easily loveable, its use in the introduction hooks you immediately.
     4) Prelude - a wonderful little piece of music that's pleasantly orchestrated and could be listened to time and time again with a smile on your face.
     5) Survival - uplifting and a truly fantastic joy to the ears. The voices are key here to its brilliance, Matt Bellamy's falsetto is something I continue to love. The riff's excellent, the instrumental mesmerising. Fits nicely after Prelude.
     6) Follow Me - the dubstep bass is a nice surprise after the intriguing slow beginning to the song. Though the said was opening was nicely calm. One of the few that you might forget about though.
     7) Animals - the song feels very much like Muse's original style and doesn't keep in touch with the experimental aspect to the album. Its not a bad song, just its average, slightly disappointing and could be much better. The weird ending is pretentious and ruins the experience.
     8) Explorers - a similar opening to Follow Me but the cute tinkling in the bass puts you into a trance of happiness. I don't have a real stance on this one. Is it trying too hard? Is it just enjoyable?
     9) Big Freeze - its joyous, yes, but it sounds very samey to me. Its definitely not an immediate favourite, nothing really jumps out as really likeable. It's quite an average song for such an album.
     10) Save Me - who knew Chris Wolstenholme (bassist) had such an overwhelming voice. There's great instrumentation and its all very upbeat but the unexpected vocals from Wolsetenholme are steal the show. They're fantastic.
     11) Liquid State - very well written alike Save Me (both by Wolstenholme). More of Wolstenholme's bloody good voice. It's heavy in a cool way. You just want to rave to it.
     12) The 2nd Law: Unsustainable - one of the most experimental and best songs on the album. The beginning might remind you of Resistance's Exogenesis Symphony but the cinematic soundtrack feel with dubstep overtones sees a strange yet beautiful blend of genres.
     13) The 2nd Law: Isolated System - not as good as Unsustainable by a long shot. Still, the use of news broadcast audio bytes is clever and it summarises the album's themes in a reasonably good song.

Breaking the mould of alternative rock
     The 2nd Law is simply just incredible. The beginning and the end of the album dominate the middle in terms of brilliance. It also acts like a yo yo, moving from light, soft and cheery sounds to heavy, bass-filled rock. It's a contender to beat the Resistance in terms of the quality of music. Muse are clever with the themes they use for albums. They use themes that can relate to the world we currently live in. The idea of the 2nd law of thermodynamics (energy is running out) creating fear within the human race is a concept that's believable considering the world we have.  Exploiting and analysing these concepts in wonderful lyrics fitting with higher quality instrumentation is utter brilliance yet something Resistance also brought us. The experimentation in this album is what makes it significantly more adventurous and interesting to listen to than its predecessor. The use of dubstep and other genres is excellently mastered. Matt Bellamy's writing talents and stunning vocals are better than ever. Then, we had the magical experience of meeting Chris Wolstenholme's brave writing about his alcoholism and his glorious voice. That being one of the better, more enjoyable surprises of the 2nd Law. Though its very different in its style to Resistance the middle section of the album feels too familiar. The songs best recommended from myself are; Madness, Survival, Supremacy, Unsustainable and Wolstenholme's two songs. It may take a couple of listens for it grow on you on because of Muse's huge diversion in genre, feel and instrumentation but it's a highly enjoyable album that will probably become my favourite out of all of theirs. An album definitely worth the wait. Intensely innovative and intelligent, the 2nd Law is a triumph that the men from Muse should be proud of.

Thanks, Josh.

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