Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There are very few things in life I adore more than the band Muse. If Jeopardy had just one entire category devoted to Muse, I’d be a rich game show champ. So obviously my first post on this wonderful fan blog is about Muse’s new album The Resistance. Muse has always been clever, intricate, random, and grand with their sound and their fifth studio album is the most elaborate to date. And that’s why it rocks so hard and why I love it so much. And why I hope you will too.

True, I’ve reached a level of Muse fandom where I love anything these three men from Devonshire, England create. Still, my expectations of them remain high. And after a month of digesting and listening to the album (which was released on September 15th) I’m happy that Muse has pleased and surprised me again! The latest album is a welcomed natural evolution from their last two albums. While it’s not my favorite album (Origin of Symmetry is the ultimate gem) it’s still a treasure. The Resistance is another exercise in raw, leftist-political lyricism and sophisticated, polished prog rock music. But unlike Absolution and Black Holes & Revelations, the new album covers not just some but all of Muse’s favorite bases while dwindling down on the galactic references. For some listeners, the album will feel lyrically in sync but musically schizo. The Resistance runs the musical spectrum—you’ll hear some rock (obviously), electronica (“Undisclosed Desires”), jazz (“I Belong To You”), world (“United States of Eurasia”), and classical music (check out the 3-part symphony at the end). I think this album is actually the perfect place for new Muse listeners to start because it demonstrates the band’s incredible talent and range. It also displays their various influences/obsessions. And speaking of influences, let’s drop the obvious Queen and Rachmaninoff comparisons. And let’s never again bring up the tired Radiohead comparison. Seriously, after five full-length albums, two live albums and dvds, and countless sold out stadium shows, let’s just let Muse be Muse. Let's give them their own glorious unique spotlight.

But if you do want to discuss an album influence, let’s talk George Orwell’s 1984. When combining their musical and lyrical style, we find that Muse is a poetically political rock band. It makes sense that Matt Bellamy (the little magical man at the core of Muse) digs Orwell. In an interview for the September issue of Spin magazine, Bellamy explains 1984’s impact on The Resistance: “People overlook how moving the love story is and just talk about the politics. The novel’s idea of love as a political act is all over the album.” Bellamy is insanely worried that people will continue to be abused and controlled by the ever-expanding power of our world leaders and yet he wants to remind us that our capacity for empathy and love can unite us against manipulation and torture.

The Resistance is a musically layered yet lyrically explicit reflection of our arduous times. And when Muse tells us “love is our resistance" we should nod in rhythmical agreement.