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The 2nd Law

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Muse faced a creative challenge when following up its immensely successful last studio release, 2009's The Resistance. The trio from southwestern England responded with a concept album, The 2nd Law, that keeps building on its big sound and diverse styles. Referring to the second law of thermodynamics, the ambitious recording tells the story of a resource-strapped planet that can no longer support its inhabitants. “The Second Law: Unsustainable” starts with a dramatic orchestral and choral opening arranged and conducted by David Campbell (Metallica, Sheryl Crow) before transforming into a dramatic techno-rock showcase. Performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, “Survival” presents a more inspiring (and pop-friendly) narrative.

Customer Reviews

2nd Law is EPIC

Let me preface this album review with a note to Muse fans: this is not early Muse. If you’re looking for almost exact replications of their apocalyptic epics Showbiz, Origin of Symmetry and Absolution, prepare to be disappointed. With that in mind, let us proceed.
Going into this album with an open mind, prepare to be amazed. There are so many angles from so many genres, creating so many different sounds within this album’s 53 minutes that it will take you on a crossover typhoon of audio intensity into the depths of Matt Bellamy’s ever-expanding instrumental psyche that will confuse the crap out of you, leaving your head spinning, and making you wonder how this band can continue to evolve so heavily from album to album. The 2nd Law represents Muse’s greatest melodic metamorphosis between LP’s up to this point; even greater than the quasi-abandonment of their ominous doomsday rampages, with examples such as “Hysteria” or “Plug In Baby”.
Vocals soar, drums smash, basses drive, guitars roar, and the music hits you like a river: torrential and vicious at some points, soft and sweet at some, and visceral and emotional at others. The main riff of beginning track “Supremacy” appears to be straight out of a 007 movie, with all of the awesomeness and espionage encompassed within. Combine that with Bellamy wailing, “The time/It has come to destroy/Your supremacy,” and you’ve got a whirlwhind that will leave you undoubtedly headbanging and air-guitaring by the end and Daniel Craig on his knees praying to Bellamy as some sort of Brian May-esque messiah.
A huge controversy with this record is the incorporation of somewhat dubstep elements, according to some. I feel the only true culmination of this label is in “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable”. This is the absolute low point of the album. The conceptuality of a planet being unsustainable and running out of resources works out, but Skrillex would shake his head at this ungodly display of pathetic “brostep”. Other accusations of dubstep are aimed at the initial single “Madness”, and the track “Follow Me”. These songs are not dubstep in the least. Do you hear any bass drops? I don’t think so. Madness is a beautifully executed fusion of electronic and classic Muse. Bellamy’s guitar tone sounds straight out of “We Will Rock You,” as he mourns a failed relationship. “Follow Me” doesn’t reach its electronic peak until the chorus, where there’s just a wub-wub-wub soundscape behind the galloping drums and singing. “Unsustainable” is the only example of actual dubstep on The 2nd Law, and unfortunately it is the low point, but other songs accused of such travesty hold their own fabulously.
Rock opera “Survival” was the official song of the Olympics, and there is no song more epic than this on The 2nd Law. With multiple screeching solos, an unnecessary but totally freaking awesome amount of opera singers, and an octave-diving bassline, this song is the closest thing to Absolution that you’re going to get. Muse doesn’t ever rock much harder than this ballad-turns-blowout, which contains the very essence of competition and will for victory.
Other notable tracks are funky “Panic Station” and milder “Animals”, which cross into genres previously untouched by Bellamy and co. Bassist Christopher Wolstenholme sings about his previous alcoholism in “Save Me” and the intense rock number “Liquid State”.
With the exception of the horrible attempt at dubstep in “Unsustainable”, The 2nd Law is a diverse set of songs that encompasses a wide range of Bellamy’s music writing abilities. Staying a tad more on track may have been helpful in critics’ eyes, but it’s a valiant effort that deserves rewarding.

Rating: 4.2/5
Key Tracks: Supremacy, Madness, Panic Station, Survival

Just cool music

This is just some of the most original, emotional, visually inspiring music I've ever heard. In a time where so much music sounds the same, bands like Muse are a breath of fresh air. The music has an incredible dynamic range you have to hear to appreciate. It overloads your ears with amazing musician talent. The music just puts your mind into a visual place where you imagine whatever place it takes your mind. Only one other band gives me this rush in music and that's Angels & Airwaves. This is best heard with the volume up and in a place you can close your eyes and take it all in. Amazing job Muse! This band must be amazing to see live.

Musings on The 2nd Law

It is important before buying this album to consider that if you fell in love with Muse's old stuff, especially in your teenaged years much like I did, their new stuff probably won't be up to par for you.

This being said, it is evident that The 2nd Law is brought to you by the same geniuses that brought you Showbiz, The Origin of Symmetry, Absolution, and Black Holes and Revelations. Much like past albums, Muse incorporates classical music, rhythm and blues, classic rock, world music, metal, and electronica influences to produce an angst-driven alternative rock 'n' roll album. Here are the things that went well, and things that the album left to be desired:

-The two songs featuring bassist Chris Wolstenholme on vocals are great; they remind me of bands such as Mute Math and Pendulum.
-The fast/slow candence of the album has been called less than cohesive by some, but Absolution was structured the same way, so old Muse fans may appreciate this.
-I found myself enjoying every song from "Animals" through "Liquid State", and "Supremacy" and "Panic Station" were great songs too.
-"Madness" is catchy.
-There is still plenty of drums, guitar, and bass; they didn't go completely brostep.
-It felt to me like there was a fair amount of U2 influence in this album; this may be a con for some.
-It's still Muse, and you can tell!

-The dubstep and the end of "Unsustainable" is just disgusting, and ends the album with a bad taste in your mouth.
-Some of the songs seemed lyrically uninspired. I would cite both of their singles, "Madness" and "Survival", as examples of this.
-It sounds as though Matt Bellamy went through a second puberty between Black Holes and Revelations and The Resistance. This change has made his voice better for theatre, but not as nice and edgy for rock 'n' roll.
-Matt Bellamy's voice is overindulgent at times, and distracts from the music.
-The band as a whole doesn't have as strong an edge, or angst factor, as they used to.

Overall, this album is worth purchasing, but if you're an old Muse fan, please don't get too hyped up about it. Be patient and give it a listen, or two, or three, and see what sinks in.