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The 2nd Law

4.3 out of 5 stars 590 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 2, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Muse didn't set out to make the most gloriously ambitious album of their career. How could they have? The band who dreamt up "Supermassive Black Hole," Knights Of Cydonia and the three-part "Exogenesis" symphony were already well-versed in going One Louder. Any wilder, any further out there, and Muse would risk incineration by a dwarf star of their own making. But you don't become one of the biggest bands on this planet by sitting on your hands.

So when Muse approached the making of their sixth studio album, they wouldn't stint on the choirs, strings and horn sections. And be reassured: guitar-shredding, piano-thumping, orchestra-arranging, book-chewing, big-thinking Matt Bellamy, as the band's chief songwriter, didn't lower his sights from The Big Picture nor ignore The Precious Details. And nor were the trio afraid of giving space to a brilliant new element to their sound - songs written and sung by bass player Chris Wolstenholme.

But what the Devon-born band of schoolfriends did do different was this: they made things easy for themselves. For the first time since the dawn of their career in smalltown England 18 years ago, all three members were living in the same place during the making of an album.

And this time, Muse had the experience born of self-producing The Resistance to apply their studio knowledge to creating the album they really wanted to make.

It was about saving aggro, and conserving energy. And, appropriately, it was about The 2nd Law: an album titled after and thematically influenced by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which concerns the inevitable wasting of energy within a closed system.

It was about letting themselves go and enjoying themselves. Muse, after all, had earned it.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 2, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B008G12ERC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (590 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Muse have returned! The 2nd Law is the 6th studio album by the band who over the last 13 years (officially) have developed a gigantic, rabid fan base and put together an impressive resume and B-side back catalogue. Initially written off by critics as nothing more than Radiohead "lite", they have since far exceeded perceived limitations and expectations from critics and listeners. From sell out stadium shows to having their material appear in blockbuster movies and the Olympics, Muse prove year after year that it is nearly (if not impossible) for the trio hailing from Teignmouth to lose momentum. With each release, their live shows grow increasingly grandiose, their material more complex, orchestral and progressive, and their acquisition of new fans increases (almost)exponentially.

The culture shock of listening to any new Muse album is one of the more difficult parts of being a fan, and with good reason. Every time they release new material, the band finds cunning ways to reinvent their sound and it's as though we're not even listening to the same group anymore. We expect to hear songs similar to their last album because let's face it, Muse are so darn good at planting the seed of attachment and leaving us in disarray when it's over. We beg for more, but instead Muse shatter our expectations when they switch gears and run in the opposite direction.

So what does that mean for The 2nd Law? Which album does it resemble the most? Does it have the chaotic, guitar driven madness safely quarantined in Origin of Symmetry? How about the methodic, visceral rhythms of Absolution? Is there any of that splendor we loved so much about Black Holes?

The answer is: none of the above.
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8 Comments 134 of 162 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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If you thumbs down please let me know why, I am interested in your opinions too. Just don't thumbs down because I didn't give it immediately 4 or 5 stars, that is ridiculous.

I give it a 3.5 stars, not 3 stars.

First off, Wolstenholme, one of my favorite bass players to emulate, has an amazing voice. It's not the voice of Muse though; the two songs he wrote, I believe, should have been released separately from The 2nd Law. Other artists that have done similar things, (i.e. Flea, Serj Tankian) released their own works separately under their name, not under their main bands' name.

I am glad Muse is experimenting, I would not want to be hearing songs that sound like Showbiz and Muscle Museum over and over again. The polarity of change in The 2nd Law in relation to their last albums seems greater than their previous steps in progression. What I mean is, the change in Showbiz to Origin of Symmetry seemed proper, along with the other steps they took leading to The Resistance. The change from The Resistance to The 2nd Law is beyond obvious; if you showed these two albums to someone new to Muse, would they be able to tell it is the same band?

Ask yourself this, would you want this to be the first album of Muse to show to someone who has never listened to Muse before?

I love Undisclosed Desires and I like Follow Me and Madness. But would you rather Muse focus more on this genre of music (this kind of electronic feel)? I guess what I'm trying to say I felt a lack of rock in this album. You can argue that Panic Station is rock, because it is, but it's not about Panic Station, it is about this album's overall feel is so different; it makes me uncomfortable to a degree.

With listening to Muse you have to love their soft pieces too.
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19 Comments 90 of 114 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I've said in other reviews that I kind of don't like reviewing music, since a) tastes are very personal, and b) I don't even have the right vocabulary (I'm so much NOT a musical person). On top of that I'm 40-something so my habits just don't mesh with the new short-attention-span track-at-a-time billion MP3 generation mentality...I still like to listen to *albums* all the way through.

My first exposure to Muse was their Resistance album, which I've reviewed as good but sort of workmanlike with nice range of styles and tempos and classical influence, most specifically Queen. That lead me to some discussions with another Amazon reviewer and a purchase of Absolution (which I didn't like as much - the production seemed muddy and the vocals overly electronically processed), Black Holes and Revelations (which I liked a lot - I'm a sucker for SF themed rock), and this album.

Where to start? The first song, to my ears, has all the makings of a James Bond movie opening credits song. It's got all the hallmarks - the dramatic string flourishes, overwrought cheezy lyrics building to a full throat howl, pensive sections with a pseudo-military march sort of beat, slow build to a raging crescendo after which it fades, with a final steel guitar note, so that I can almost SEE that last credit graphic (usually a gun barrel view of some sort) expand back from the opening sequence into the movie itself. I'm not kidding - watch a Bond movie, any one of them from the last couple of actors - and then listen to this song, and imagine it over that opener. It works.

The most-played song on the air, Madness, follows up with its hypnotic vocals and mesmerizing tone, and its own slow build.
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