Must pause here for a moment. A few minutes of silence please, to consider something great…
Its existence was heralded months ago via Twitter and numerous silly tweets and photos, and finally on the huge billboard on the way into town. It arrived in the post early on a Saturday morning, an entire two days before the rest of the world got to hear it.
Muse’s The Resistance.
I’d already been glad to hear the body shimmying grooviness which began in “Super Massive Black Hole” continue in Uprising, but apart from this the rest of this album is quite different, in the same way their other albums have been distinct from the other. Again, they’ve moved on. I found myself humming fragments round the house and becoming puzzled. It seemed very different from the Muse I’d grown to love.
The operatic, Queen suffused, “United States of Eurasia” is an album in its own right, taking us through a whole range of emotions: wistfulness and joy, exhilaration and paranoia, peace. In the rockier tracks, the sound seems sparser, less all out rock, (MK Ultra, Natural Selection,) whilst in other places the totally over blown and romantic, (I Belong to You and the Exogenesis Symphony.)
Best moments? The grandiose, (and fabulous) sonic journey that begins quietly with the hand claps of “I Belong to You” and rises several notches when the beautiful French opera kicks in half-way through, and which continues right the way through, “Exogenesis Symphony” to the very end, where we hear the piano finally fade away into nothing, like stars in daylight. The “could be wrong, should have been right” part of “Resistance”, the notorious (but fantastic) slap bass in “Undisclosed Desires,” the ridiculous way Matt sings “They are turning to dust” in “United States,” the lyrics of “Guiding Light.”
The only thing I miss of old is the gung-ho, go for it, lyrics of “Black Holes and Revelations” and “Absolution.”Apart from the love theme, there seems to be a heck of a lot of despair. “They’ll laugh as they watch us fall, the lucky don’t care at all…” (Unnatural Selection), “A universe is trapped inside a tear… replaces love and happiness with fear” (MK Ultra). Matt is right, the news is depressing! Perhaps he should stick to watching Sky Sports next time.
Yet I love the scope of this album, the sheer audacity and thrill of it. The Resistance sums them up – super talented and bold, joyous, not afraid to be fools. Who else has the gall or the panache, to blend Chopin or Saint Säens with rock? To do out and out rhythm and blues when they’re known for ear shattering riffs?
Keep doing what you’re doing Muse, the world is well within your reach. Whatever will you take on next? The universe?