Muse - Will of the People Music Album Reviews

Muse - Will of the People Music Album Reviews
Working under the auspices of another vague, dystopian narrative, the UK band slaps a shiny new label on the grafted remains of better songs and calls it the ninth Muse album.

Generally speaking, Muse operate in three modes: “The government is trying to control me, but I won’t let them, because I love freedom”; “I am so horny that my gonads have leapt into my throat and started knocking against my larynx like a fleshy Newton’s cradle”; and “Alas!!!!!” They tend to do their best work in the libidinal register—think of the adrenal floods of “Hysteria” and “Bliss,” Chris Wolstenholme’s frenzied fingerwork, the twinned squeals of Matt Bellamy’s guitar and throat—but there are gems in all three. The UK band’s ninth album, Will of the People, samples unevenly from these readymade buckets. Bellamy has billed the LP as another concept album about a man sick of the dystopia in which he finds himself mired, so you might expect Will of the People to tilt heavily toward “the government.” Not so. In its bulk and at its core, this is an “alas” album: an assembly of songs that look out at the world, throw up their hands, and go sulking back to their room.

Will of the People starts out strongly in narrative mode. The title track calls for a populist revolution: Crowd vocals ring out against AC/DC guitar chords and a Gary Glitter stomp-whap, both compressed within an inch of their life, as Bellamy snarls at the big bad that he and his army are about to take down. On lead single “Compliance,” Bellamy switches roles from oppressed to oppressor, sounding out the words that might be uttered by a narcotic omnipotence, a cult of power that promises to blunt all suffering for the price of mindless obedience. Here, Muse lapse back into the neon hues of 2018’s retrofuturist outing Simulation Theory, setting palm-muted chords against snaking funk bass lines, shearing synth leads, and vocoder huffs copied and pasted from the Weeknd’s “Starboy.” So far, so good: Protagonist and antagonist square off atop a few mismatched, Xeroxed set pieces. By the time we arrive at the Queen homage “Liberation,” another song written from the perspective of the People and their Will, we almost have a story.

And then the concept deflates. From the lachrymose piano ballad “Ghosts (How Can I Move On)” (which at least gives us a glimpse into a parallel universe where Coldplay has a technically proficient singer) to the flimsy, pseudo-thrash embarrassments “Kill or Be Killed” and “Won’t Stand Down,” Muse drift into songs that sound, vaguely, about a relationship in tatters. In theory, it’s meaty enough subject matter, but a rock opera it does not make. Through the grief and anger of a fresh split, the band doubles down on the album’s arbitrary collage of musical styles; each song is a mosaic of references so far-flung and so thinly considered that Will of the People starts to feel like that scene in the new Space Jam where every character from every property is somehow there on the screen, cheering for basketball—a pop cultural slurry whipped up into a dizzying whirlpool.

Muse pilfer from themselves and everyone else, cramming their horde into a tightly produced display case. “You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween” hits its seasonal nail squarely on the head with a mockery of Vincent Price’s “Thriller” epilogue. “Won’t Stand Down” spits up the subwoofer wubs of Imagine Dragons’ cultural pollutant “Radioactive” and AWOLNATION’s actually pretty decent single “Sail” and Muse’s own “Supermassive Black Hole,” too. On “Verona,” where Bellamy at least remembers that songs sound better when they have a vocal melody, a trebly loop from the Edge’s discard pile jangles at half speed. “Euphoria” (there are only so many synonyms for “bliss”) inexplicably defiles Giorgio Moroder’s gorgeous loop from Donna Summer’s eternal disco hit “I Feel Love” right before it reiterates the pre-chorus to “Time Is Running Out” and then, inexplicably, launches into an early 2000s California pop-punk refrain that’s comically at odds with Bellamy’s unflappable vocal gravitas. At the end of this mess, closer “We Are Fucking Fucked” almost directly repurposes the climactic rev-up of “Knights of Cydonia,” only without any of the delightful melodramatic heights to pitch us into freefall.

All of these moments lurch through time without any thought of build or denouement—no tension, no release, no narrative. Muse parade their influences while giving us all comical winks: Remember this? And this? And how about this? When Bellamy rattles off a list of apocalyptic buzzwords on “We Are Fucking Fucked” (“STOCKPILE!” he shrieks in Brian May falsetto), the rot in the pit burbles to the fore. If musicians with all the means in the world are happy to slap a shiny new label on the grafted remains of better songs and call it the ninth Muse album, what investment could they have in anything? Why dig deep for the hard questions of the world, its politics, its future when you could look around and declare the whole thing game over? Why trouble yourself with the distinctions between genuine collectivism and despotic mind control—between what you really want and what you’re conditioned to want—if this shallow flailing guarantees streams all the same? I felt compelled to call this album a Frankenstein’s Monster, stitched together as it is from so many dead appendages. Then I remembered: The monster wanted to live.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Muse - Will of the People Music Album Reviews Muse - Will of the People Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on September 07, 2022 Rating: 5


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