I’d rather not talk about Muse – it’s far more interesting than, say, talking about Muse.
But there was a handful of requests for a review of the new album back then in 2015. Then I was told I had to justify feeling that way…vitriol, I was told, was not insight. Fairplay. Here goes:
If anything I’d prefer to have no opinion on Muse, to never think of them. I certainly don’t think a lot of them, and barely think about them. But the band is on its way to becoming a Rush-like act. You know, one where the band’s fans have just given up thinking altogether. Perhaps that’s why Muse’s last album was called Drones. A love-letter to those fans.
I did try. I took the bait, read the press-bs and swallowed just a tiny amount of the advance-hype, just enough to be prepared to give it a go.
And then I remembered that I loathe Muse, they are a big reason why Radiohead decided to move on after its first couple of albums, to try something different, to go somewhere else. Between Muse and Coldplay the old, shrill, faux sound of Radiohead at its preachy worst was covered. Like or love the band, Radiohead went elsewhere. Actually thought about progressing its sound.
With Muse it just feels like the hyperdrive switch has been locked in place. The wheels of the DeLorean are back spinning in the hope that when 1.21 gigawatts of power is harnessed the flux capacitor will kick in. Or something.
I saw Muse at one of the small handful of Big Day Outs I’d been forced along to. Everyone was whispering about how amazing this band was – something special, something different as a live act. I just remember histrionics, annoying vocals and giant big inflatable balls being pushed out over the crowd. They hadn’t been able to get any songs through Customs, clearly. Or they had nothing to declare. Certainly not genius.
After a few albums Muse decided it wanted to be Queen. And now it’s gone over, even further, to the dark side (ie: Green Day). Okay, the band doesn’t sound like Green Day, at least there isn’t that horrible affected punk-kid buzz to the vocals, as if the singer is permanently lit up by his own importance and sure his ghastly-bad faux-British accent is better than when an American talkshow host attempts to talk like The Beatles. But there is that same sort of intention there. The same level of annoyance. And the same smugness in trying to slide under the rug this new idea of what is so easily passed off as a “concept album”.
Muse arrived at the end of Britpop, humourless, devoid of melodic grace, carrying only a giant box of shrill, and then attempted to shill for a passive-pop version of prog; making ‘out there’ music for people who don’t really go out. And haven’t ever checked beyond their letterbox to see what’s there.
And yes, I know I’ve wasted 600 words on them here. And would like to never mention them again as long as this blog shall live. I think they’re fucking absurd. And no, not in a good way!
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