Muse have been creating bombastic alternative progressive rock for over a decade now and have earned a reputation for sonic diversity and a uniquely grandiose style. “The 2nd Law” does nothing to challenge that perception. In fact, at times it seems like the album was made to uphold it. The words bombastic and grandiose will be used several times in this review, because these words are the most accurate way to describe this album. This is the most bombastic and grandiose Muse album ever.
Some of these songs are so bombastic, so gaudy and preachy that it becomes hard to take them seriously. Sure, Muse have always had that strain of ridiculousness in their lyrics. But here, the strain of ridiculousness has grown into a viral outbreak of silliness. “You won’t pull ahead/I’ll keep up the pace/And I’ll reveal my strength/To the whole human race/Yes I am/prepared/To stay alive/I won’t forgive, the vengeance is mine” Matt Bellamy sings in “Survival” an insane song featuring massive guitar riffs, Greek chanting, Glee-esque piano pop and a full 45-second dramatic orchestral arrangement as an intro.
Almost all songs have some political or current events theme. This is especially annoyingly obvious with the lyrics. The repetition and blatancy of these themes really gets old after a few listens. It’s like hanging out with a friend that only wants to talk about politics and conspiracy theories. I never would’ve guessed that the famous paranoia of Bellamy would drive him to mediocrity. I mean, the guy knows he’s allowed to write songs about other subjects, right?
Despite the lyrical themes, Muse remains musically diverse. The album spans many genres, from the sexy EDM and Queen mixture of “Madness”, to the George Clinton funk of “Panic Station” to the surprising guitar dubstep of “Unsustainable”. The odd mixture seems to work for Muse, like another layer of nutty frosting on the crazy cake.
In the end, this isn’t just another rock album. It’s unabashedly over the top, preachy and bombastic. And you know what? I love it. It’s not often that massive hubris matches talent, but Muse have pulled it off (like they always do) with “The 2nd Law”. Consider yourself warned: This album is bonkers. 2.7/5.
By KRUA Volunteer Max Jungreis