The mixed responses to Muse’s The 2nd Law do not surprise me at all. Fans were already uneasy with the direction the band had taken with their last album, the heavily classical-inspired The Resistance and The 2nd Law takes even more risks. Has Muse strayed too far from their roots? Perhaps, but even if you don’t like what they’ve done here, you have to at least commend the staggering amount of production that must have gone into this album. It’s easy for any band to lose sight in the scope of a big project, but I truly believe Muse aspired to do something daring and for most part turned out an admirable piece of work.
Sometimes The 2nd Law feels a bit melodramatic, but then hasn’t Muse always been melodramatic? The 2nd Law takes that melodrama and turns it into something reminiscent of a sweeping space-opera that instantly conjures up images of Flash Gordon and dub-step talking robots. I can’t remember the last time I heard an album this grandiose and I think that’s saying something. Some are going to criticize the experimentation with genre, but I was surprised how evenly this album flows. Nothing here feels out of place and everything feels well thought out.
Breaking down individual tracks there is a lot to like. “Madness” thus far appears to be the album’s big single and with good cause. It’s got a chillaxed, electro-beat that moves at a refreshingly mellow pace. The melody bears more than a resemblance to Queen’s “I Want to Break Free” (which has been acknowledged by the group), but it has lots going for itself. “Panic Station” is perhaps the most nostalgic sounding track, harkening back to Queen’s The Game album. It’s a slap-happy, bass driven, funk adventure that would feel just as at home in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ catalog. Early rumors were that The 2nd Law was going to be mostly dubstep tracks, but really that only turned out to be true for about two or three songs. “Follow Me” has a bit of a dubby beat, while “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” goes all out with squealing guitars and robot voices.
Out of all the reviews I’ve read, the one recurring trend seems to be the polarizing effect of the track “Survival”. Originally written for last summer’s Olympics, some like it, but many more have criticized it for simply going too big. Personally, I am blown away by the track. I’ve never felt so in the minority for loving one song. Honestly, I think it’s one of the best songs they’ve ever done, certainly their most ambitious. Though what it all comes down to is how I like this album and I do like this album. I’m just disappointed I can’t share that feeling with others. I like to think The 2nd Law will have it’s following. The question is “Will You Follow?”
Favorite Tracks: “Madness”, “Panic Station”, “Survival”