Muse ’s new album Drones is due for release on June 9 – but why wait to review the music when the song titles reveal so much? Words by JODY MACGREGOR
Muse followed an album of orchestra prog (including a three-part symphony climax) with an album that dabbled in wubs, and neither was particularly well-received. Certainly not compared to Black Holes & Revelations, which even managed to make people who had previously written them off as a Radiohead B-side covers band pay attention (hello, yes I’m an idiot and Absolution was good as well). So anyway it’s time for them to be going back to the Well of Rock for their next album Drones. Back to basics, back to the things their fans like. But they’re still Muse, so while it’s going to be guitar-drums-bass rock it will be guitar-drums-bass rock at its most overblown and pompous, which is exactly as it should be. I’d want nothing less. If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it.*
The first song on an album is a statement of intent, so ‘Dead Inside’ will probably be the one that is very loud and makes you say “oh wow, this is REAL rock music” like the band are coming to you with their hats in their hands and apologising for dabbling in electronics and have instead returned to what rock & roll music is about in the 21st century, which is tradition and staid formalism and taking your desire to experiment out back and quietly killing it.
The name is in brackets so it’s going to be a skit or interlude because everyone loves those. Somebody watched Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket and then put together a ‘radio drama’ where a sergeant shouts at a brainwashed soldier because the main job sergeants have in any hierarchy is shouting.
We’ve already heard this one because it’s the single. Making a lyric video for a Muse song is a terrible idea because while Matt Bellamy’s lyrics are fine for the way he sings them – torn up into bite-sized wails, their meanings easily forgotten by the time he gets around to drawing out the next one – once you actually see them written down it becomes harder to ignore the fact they’re total nonsense. Total nonsense is fine for rock lyrics, of course, but maybe don’t go drawing attention to it?
This is probably the one that turned into a love song halfway through writing but obviously started out being about politics and now is sitting slightly awkwardly somewhere between the two. It’s about how love is forbidden in a dystopian future and therefore a revolutionary act, yeah? Like in that one book.
Gotta be at least one song about aliens from Zeta Reticuli and how the government is in league with them. Maybe this will be the one that sounds a bit like the Doctor Who theme music again.
Probs not a song about comedian and actor Chelsea Handler, hey. Nah, ‘The Handler’ will be a metaphor for television and how it looks after us from childhood and is a form of mind control. It will have a really good riff in it.
Oh cool, another interlude. Who do you reckon Matt Bellamy believes assassinated JFK? Aliens or Magneto? Somebody watched Oliver Stone’s JFK and then put together a scene that will make you question everything you think you know about how convoluted conspiracy theories can get.
This one is about prescription drugs and how they’re a form of mind control. It will have a really good solo in it.
This one is about religion and how it is a form of mind control. It will have a really good chorus you can sing along to.
They haven’t done one of those “time to get your lighters in the air” songs like ‘Soldier’s Poem’ in a while. Time for another. It’s about the internet and how it is a form of mind control. It will have a really good thrash-y bit you can headbang to.
There’s gotta be one song where they put some Middle Eastern bits in, somebody plays a buzuk. Also one with lots of harmonies where they all sing together like Oompa-Loompas who are way into Queen.
Bellamy explained the concept behind this song, and perhaps the entire album, by saying, “The world is run by Drones utilizing Drones to turn us all into Drones.” As the last track on the album this will the Muse song where you listen to it and realise they will never write anything as good as ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ again and feel a bit sad.
Drones is due for release on June 9 through Warner