Album Review: Muse – The 2nd Law (2012)
Heavily influenced and subtle like an A-bomb, 4/5 stars
Carl J. Bachus | Collegio Writer
The word “epic” gets thrown around a lot these days, but after Muse’s sixth studio effort, there is no denying that the British alternative rockers’ LP is just that. The new album, “The 2nd Law,” might not be as straightforward thematically as their last release, “The Resistance” in 2006, but it is a similar, yet broader beast, with influences ranging from Queen to Bachman Turner Overdrive to Skrillex.
After the blissful strings composition “Prelude” comes the gospel-influenced “Survival.” Complete with handclaps and operatic chanting, the guitar-heavy track should be a nice treat for those lucky enough to attend the band’s next tour. This leads into the poppy, Skrillex-styled dubstep breakdowns of “Follow Me” and the atmospheric, calypso-influenced “Animals.” The album’s standouts include the Queen-ish “Big Freeze” as well as “Save Me” and “Explorers,” two tracks that wouldn’t sound out of place on (an admittedly more modern version of) Billy Joel’s “The Stranger.”
The album’s final song, the sense-assaulting title track, fits the album’s tone perfectly. Schizophrenic in design and execution, the two-part song is a rapture of keyboards, drum machines, horns and mechanical sound intertwined with news soundbytes and a reading of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The intrusive amount of dubstep in the song’s first part is the only thing I didn’t like about the album. Other than that, the number of genres touched upon in the LP’s 13 tracks can be jarring for those expecting the anarchistic rock antics of “The Resistance.”
Heavily influenced and subtle like an A-bomb, “The 2nd Law” is produced by David Campbell, the go-to magic maker for acts like Radiohead, Adele and Evanescence. Although Campbell’s inclusion might lead some to believe that Muse has gone pop, fans can rest assured that they haven’t. They just went about everywhere else.
“The 2nd Law” may seem like a desperate attempt by Muse to widen its fanbase (depending on whom you ask) but the end result is a huge, bombastic mess of an album that’s all over the place, but fun to listen to.