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125 of 151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Second Guess The 2nd Law
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...
Published on October 2, 2012 by David

versus
82 of 105 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A change for the better?
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...
Published on October 3, 2012 by John G.


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125 of 151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Second Guess The 2nd Law, October 2, 2012
This review is from: The 2nd Law (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. Though the second law is vaguely comparable (if at all) to any of their previous work, we still hear familiar elements of the Queen-esque grandeur, political undertone, environmental catastrophe and Bellamy's fascination with conspiracy and human corruption that makes their music so palpable. This time around, Muse spend some time experimenting with a more synthetic, electronic tone but there is still plenty of tantalizing variety to sate even the most insatiable of Muse fan appetites. Supremacy starts the album off with a groovy orchestral sound fitting for a James Bond flick and then transitions into Madness. The second track begins innocently enough with a soft, pulsating beat, crescendos into a soaring, haunting plea for forgiveness and embrace of love. It eventually ends with the softness it started with, tacking on a subtle introspection referencing its title. The track Panic Station is reminiscent of early Red Hot Chili Peppers/INXS with its heavy funk tone while Survival ruminates in a gooey, orchestral swell that rises, eventually overflowing into a no-holds barred anarchic shred fest. At the peak of the song, Dominic maniacally attacks his drums, Chris engineers the only kind of bass line capable of sustaining all the chaos and Matt bellows and wails his heart out about surviving at all costs. Follow Me is drenched with savory, electronic goodness (and i'm not even a fan of the genre!), Animals is strangely reminiscent of Screenager from Muse' Origin Days with it's chorus, and though it doesn't provide much for the album other than a nice intermission from the album's first half and a wonderfully executed guitar lead, it's still a solid track worth revisiting. Chris has his share of vocal duties on the tracks Save Me and Liquid state (which seem to tell the woes of a man drowning in his alcoholism, literally), but they fall short and may just be the 2 weakest tracks on this album. That isn't to say they aren't good, because they do work in the context of the album and seem to fit in with the rest of the songs.

Other tracks include Explorers with its beautiful, Invincible/Guiding Light like melody, Big Freeze which seems eerily influenced (in a good way!) by Joshua Tree era U2 with it's upbeat (albeit a tad poppy) groove and the last 2 tracks which make heavy references to the album's title and experiment with elements of dubstep, electronica and the orchestral vibe we heard on the Exogenesis symphony (The Resistance, 2009).

If there's one thing Muse have always been good at, it's continually challenging themselves to defy the status quo most would have them maintain. Rather than copping out to an obviously successful formula, they choose instead to invent new ways to approach a particular sound or style while retaining their musical integrity which is what they've succeeded with here. There are no sequels in Muse's discography. There are only a handful of unique albums that stand alone, each with its own merits. Ultimately, what The 2nd Law does is capture the essence of the current state of their career. They, like the songs are larger than life, captivating and seemingly unstoppable superstars. It most certainly won't hit the mark for every listener, but for me the 2nd Law is loud, bombastic, grand, energetic and above all, it's unapologetically Muse.

My only real advice before you listen to this album is to do it with a good set of headphones. You'll hear sounds you didn't think possible to hear. It's wonderfully layered and mixed, and sounds phenomenal.
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82 of 105 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A change for the better?, October 3, 2012
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This review is from: The 2nd Law (Audio CD)
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. Explorers is a piece I could see going along perfectly with Little Big Planet and one I enjoy listening to. Big Freeze in another song I can relax to; I want to emphasize, I don't hate this album, it's just different.

Another thing, when else have you heard the `F' word used in a Muse album? (You could call them out on the hidden song "Hidden Track" or "YFMF", but that song isn't known about by most people and is just for fun) I know this is a minor thing, but this is a surprise seeing this directly on a Muse album.

Muse has been in my life ever since discovering this band from Guitar Hero 3, which means I got started on Black Holes and Revelations. I only say I wish I knew this band back in 1999, this band, that I thought was small at the time, slowly rose and became my favorite band and still is to this date.

I do not regret buying the deluxe box set to this album, I know the music will grow on me even more with time, but this is how I feel right now. It deviates from their older work too much for real comfort.

This isn't much of a review more than an opinion; then again, all reviews are opinions. You have to right to agree or disagree with them; I would definitely love to discuss in the comments what you think about my opinions and the album as a whole to see what you other Musers think of it.
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31 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evolved sound but still Muse - Solid album, October 2, 2012
This review is from: The 2nd Law [Explicit] (MP3 Music)
I am not sure where I would rank this among all Muse's work. During and since The Resistance album, I was growing a little tired of muse, but still respected them. The Resistance is probably my least favorite of there albums, though it had its moments and was not a bad album by any means - but when comparing it to a standard muse had already set for itself, it is hard to compete. Upon hearing the album trailer of "The 2nd Law: Unsustainable" I was worried. Thankfully this sound was not common throughout the album, and the song actually works okay with the album as a whole. The 2nd Law has brought me back to my feelings I had for the old muse, though it is a new sound. I do not know if I would call it my favorite album, but it is something new and fresh that I am enjoying almost as much as when I first heard origin of symmetry. If you are feeling a little uncertain after the first listen, go for a drive with the speakers cranked up, and it might just hit you. Hope they come to my state so I can see them live.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a downward trajectory, October 14, 2012
By 
Sophie (California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The 2nd Law (Audio CD)
I love Muse's first few records, then Resistance started raising eyebrows with it's over-the-top derivative music which sounded too much like Queen wanna-bees. The 2nd Law, which seemed so promising with Madness (although it stole shamelessly from George Michael's Faith, it was still a catchy song), is almost a parody. The music seemed too campy at times, like something that Spinal Tap would've conjured up. Matt needs to bring his music back down to earth! There were a couple of beautiful songs (which sounded like something I heard before, but I can't place it), however in hindsight, I would've rather have just paid for those songs individually instead of buying the whole record.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Muse Finalizing Their Transition Into Becoming the 21st Century Version of Queen, April 28, 2013
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This review is from: The 2nd Law [Explicit] (MP3 Music)
This is an extremely disappointing album in every way imaginable. Muse try, but fail miserably, to experiment with electronic music (some lite dubsteppy noise, some electric-funk, and some other electricy gimmicks that don't work). The lyrics are trite, lazy, and very poppy in their lowest-common-denominator simplicity. I hoped desperately that the song commissioned for the London Olympics (Survivor) would not make an appearance and also wasn't an indication of what was to come but sadly both were true. Somehow this album ends up feeling conceited and self-indulgent in that these songs are what someone thought were worth someones money and what the fans who had made Muse the success they are actually wanted. Judging by the mostly positive reviews, it doesn't seem that was entirely off, so I'm afraid this may be what Muse is now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For fans only - Muse finally embraces their inner Broadway musical, January 23, 2014
By 
Timothy P. Scott (Southern California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The 2nd Law (Audio CD)
I bought Absolution basically for Stockholm Syndrome which I thought was a good arena epic. I did hear the Radiohead influence but Muse had many others. Maybe that's their problem in general and with The 2nd Law in particular. There are ballads which are so over the top with synth string and "ooo" choral arrangements I am tempted to think they are parodies. They sound like old rejected pieces from ELO records from the 70s. And seriously, many of the overwrought ballads would not at all be out of place in a Broadway musical.

Then there's a track (I think #9) which I have to believe originated from a bet that they could write a perfect U2 power ballad. Next track the music changes entirely to a generic hard rock riff, and (presumably) the other singer's piece is presented, with his weak vocals mixed 10 dB lower than the main singer's. After that there is an "edgy" industrial piece which would probably have been a NIN outtake. It doesn't jell as an entire work and the songs themselves are not strong.

Your mileage may vary and considering most of the reviews of this album are high obviously they do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I would recommend..., August 14, 2013
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This review is from: The 2nd Law [Explicit] (MP3 Music)
It was good, but not the best. I really enjoy the track Madness. Muse has not really been on my radar until I heard the song.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical tastes vary...but this one hit the high notes for me., May 11, 2013
By 
rtrski "Who, me?" (Grand Prairie, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The 2nd Law (Audio CD)
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. Panic Station is an over-the-top homage to Styx or other orchestral rock tracks to my ears, followed by Survival which is laugh-out-loud funny satire of a Gordon Gecko-like alpha male, dog-eat-dog kind of mentality set to music.

The middle of the album gets a bit mushy, but only because those first few tracks are so outstanding - if not in immediate proximity they're quite fine listens. Follow Me seems just a dad underpaced to me with drawn out vocals, as does Animals (although the latter track has some very nice musicality). Explorers seems kind of forgetabble overall, and Big Freeze is kind of a dribbler of a double that I think was swinging for the fences. But then the end of the album brings it all back. Save Me starts out slow but grows on you, and Liquid State builds up to a powerful ending.

And then we have the title track(s): Unsustainable and Isolated Systems. WOW. The first one starts sounding like it should be backing music for the newest Batman trilogy - all rapid strings and dominating, brooding synth notes. Then it overlays a technical voiceover that wouldn't be out of place backing some montage of Wayne working on his newest gadgetry...only to explode into a fully saturated electronically distorted barrage of sound which reminded me of Nine Inch Nails from the Downward Spiral phase, just far less angry. The second one starts out a little more pensive than brooding, and brought to mind the movie Children of Men with the sort of despairing "things are breaking down" news-coverage vocal overlays. This is the way the world ends - not with a bang, but a whimper.

Muse really strikes me as a group that takes a lot of chances with vocal range and musical styles and classical, orchestral flourishes, and this album I think showcases them at their full potential. If there's not a single track on this album you like, then you're likely dead inside, or only listen to Gregorian Chants or something. What really makes me wonder though is this is called "Disk 1" by my music app....is there a Disk 2 I'm missing??? If so...I WANT IT!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Robust experimentation, February 8, 2013
This review is from: The 2nd Law (Audio CD)
This album does leave a strong impression at the very first listening, something I can say about few albums today. The latest offering from The Black Keys is another one that definitely fits this profile. I generally like acoustic and raw electric blues, rock and roll and alternative rock so it is tricky for me to shake my leg to such an electronic album. However, Muse gets the job done.

The opening song, Supremacy has some strong parts to it as far as music goes though lyrics are a scarce commodity in that number. It does offer some effects-ridden guitar parts that I did enjoy listening to.

Madness follows and immediately you are taken with its more electronic feel, from the programmed drums to all the layered sounds. However, this pulsating profession of mad love is an excellent song, with simple lyrics that do justice to the general mood of the song.

Panic Station starts on a very strong note and I must say, sports a very 80's feel to it. On the same note, the chorus is reminiscent of Thriller by Michael Jackson (do have another listen to the line, "And this chaos, it defies imagination"). Nonetheless, this is one of the strongest songs on the album and addresses the topic of getting off your butt and getting things done.

Survival is another strong track, once again with positive and simple lyrics, a catchy beat and a chorus that has a very orchestral feel to it. The guitar solo is also quite nice; this is one of the more rock-sounding tracks on the album and for a moment you lose the electronic feel.

Follow me did not fly with me; it sounds like something inspired by one of U2's songs but a poor attempt at the same. The lyrics are mediocre, the beat changes three times during the song, never managing to grip you by the collar.

Animals - This song is quite bare bones, once again partially relinquishing the electronic feel and starting with just drums and rhythm guitar (think slow Pearl Jam tracks like Last Kiss). The lead guitar offers some nice melodies and the almost primeval lyrics (fitting with the title) go well with the rest of the composition.

Explorers picks up slowly but I felt it was a weak track; a simple song about feeling positive and liberating one's soul from the shackles of everyday life. Lyrically, it is one of the strongest songs on the album though.

Big Freeze - To a person somewhat familiar with U2, it may seem like it is one of their tracks. However, I have listened to every single album from U2 and can assure you, the influence is dramatic. It may be a good song but feels just too much like a U2 cover; I felt the meaning/essence of the song was lost in its resemblance to U2's work. (Remember the album was mixed by a person who has spent a lot of time with U2)

Unsustainable is a let down for me; perhaps an attempt at modern art in music but for me, a lover of all art, it was quite ordinary.
I liked the opening to Isolated System and think it serves as an apt ending to the album.
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All in all, the greatest achievement of Muse in this album is that they experimented without any scruples and did a very good job too. Fans and critics will now truly struggle to attach a label to Muse in terms of genre and style. I hope they continue to experiment in the future and that upcoming albums have more good songs in them than this one did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With "2nd Law", Muse Comes Back After Disappointing "The Resistance"., October 4, 2013
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This review is from: The 2nd Law (Audio CD)
Muse is a complex group, progressive, avant-guarde, working in a lot of sharps & flats. The "2nd Law" is superb music making, with Matthew Bellamy sharing vocal talent with other band member Chris Wolstenholme, whose voice is also amazing. His vocals on "Save Me' are truly inspiring & hear-felt. M-m-muh-muh-"Madness" is not the only excellent song on this CD. Every song is filled with well-crafted & sublime artistry. I always hear echoes of Freddie Mercury & my favorite band of all time, Queen, on Muse's CDs. The overdubs, the multi-layering, the vocal prowess, the classical technique meets Rock & Roll, are all elements in Queen's music. I was unhappy with their last effort: "The Resistance", & I loved "Origin of Symmetry", "Absolution", & "Black Holes & Revelations". For some reason, I didn't like "The Resistance". But Muse has made up for it in abundance! A definite keeper!
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The 2nd Law
The 2nd Law by Muse (Audio CD - 2012)
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