I’ll admit it. There’s a tinge of anxiety in writing a review for this album. I’ve delayed writing my thoughts down because I knew I’d walk a fine line between being a music enthusiast who likes an album and being an uber-crazy fanboy. With that said, if I touch into fanboy territory, please forgive me…
It donned on me about 2 years ago that MUSE would be releasing another album. As their (then) current album Black Holes and Revelations was winding down, I saw them play Madison Square Garden (NY Times review) which easily became the best show I’d ever seen, hands down. Walking out of the venue, it occurred to me that this band who made this brilliant, epic, beautiful album was probably going to take a breather then head back to the studio. The thought made me giddy and from time to time over the following two years, it would occur to me that they were working on their next album. It kept me warm on cold nights; turned my frown upside down.
2 years and a month or so later The Resistance has been released (9/14). Of course, leading up to it, I had their first single “Uprising” on repeat (yes, you can listen to a single song all day long for a week and not be bored of it). I’ve been listening to it since last Thursday, and I’m easily obsessed with it.
I’ll be honest…it took 2 full plays for me to fully understand the scope of the album. Obviously, I had 2 years worth of expectations going into listening to this new album, and once it came, it hit me like a brick. I didn’t know how I felt the first time I heard the whole thing. Was it what I wanted? What I expected? More? Less? I didn’t know. A few hours later I picked it back up and listened a bit closer without the shock of newness, and I haven’t put it down since.
MUSE is one of the biggest European bands. They do pretty decently in the US (last two albums sold over 600k), but not as good as I think they should! They’re considered “progressive rock”, a label that I don’t believe helps (most people that say “MUSE is progressive rock” tend to think it’s ridiculously esoteric). There are obvious comparisons between Radiohead and MUSE, but for every comparison there is an equal difference. They’ve had some commercial success. The singles “Hysteria” and “Starlight” were the closest to chart on Billboard Hot 100 (118 and 101 respectively), and MUSE charted high the US Alt Charts with a few singles. I don’t know if they’ll ever have major success in America, and I don’t think The Resistance will push them over, but that doesn’t matter. MUSE is and will always be a band for the music enthusiast.
While I don’t feel The Resistance is as commercial as their previous releases, I think this album continues the progression of this band to become the greatest band ever (cue the echo effect).
I whole heartedly feel this album requires listening from beginning to end. There is no “filler”; however, there are a few tracks worth pointing out:
“Uprising” – first single, perhaps the most commercial of all the songs. This single nearly perfectly set the tone for this release. It’s strong, aggressive, yet optimistic. It’s a call to action of sorts. Think of a group of anarchists over-throwing social and political institutions for the greater-good. It’s inspiring not only in lyrics, but the composition of the song is amazing.
“Resistance” – This is the first time that you’ll get a clear idea that Queen heavily influenced this album. It’s MUSE’s version of a love song using a page from “Bohemian Rhapsody” complete with an epic symphony!
“MK Ultra” – easily my favorite song on the album.
“Exogenesis Symphony (parts 1,2 & 3)” – This is a full-fledged journey. A journey within the larger journey of the album. Google exogenesis, look up the lyrics, listen closely.
I could go on about every song on this album. Even how the album artwork fits right in with the concept of the album. Like Black Holes and Revelations, there’s virtually nothing I can find wrong with this album. Easily my #1 album of the year, and I knew it would be back in 2007. Not only are the lyrics solid, but the musical composition and its complexities leave bits and pieces to discover as you listen to the album again and again.
If there was ever an artist I would hope you’d take a moment and listen to & actually experience, it would be MUSE.