Finally got some time to write a brief review of Simulation Theory (Deluxe).
Algorithm - Really cool and epic Sci-Fi sounding song to open the album. The dark synth sound interests me, obviously very Blade Runner-esque (lyrically too). The build-up and pacing is nice. They haven't nailed an album opener like this since Take A Bow for me. Will be an absolute belter live, hopefully as the opener.
The Dark Side - Flows well as the following track to Algorithm. Keeps the momentum of the album going with more atmospheric synths. The verses really stand out in this song, with Matt hitting some high notes reminiscent of the Origin of Symmetry era. Chorus is pretty good but a bit repetitive. The song could've benefited from a different outro after the solo instead of just repeating the chorus again. All-round solid track though.
Pressure - Another repetitive track with some nice riffs but again, could've benefited from being 30 seconds to a minute shorter. Definitely one of the catchiest songs on the album and an obvious single. Nothing too surprising for them.
Propaganda - Weird track. Muse still haven't nailed the sexy 'Prince' kind of sound they have gone for in the past (Madness, Undisclosed Desires) and they just fall short here too imo. The reason being the robotic 'Propaganda' parts don't really flow well with the rest of the track. That part in particular stood out as being quite clunky to me, but the rest of the track is pretty good. An interesting change of pace for the album.
Break it to Me - An unexpected track that I quite like. Starts out quite minimal but goes in almost a funk direction. Hard to describe but I also like the use of the vocal effects in this track. A solid scratchy sounding guitar solo too.
Something Human - A really refreshing track for Muse in my opinion. At first I didn't like it. The programmed beats and positive vibe turned me off, but it's grown on me quite a bit and I can see it's just an honest, heartfelt track from the boys. This made for a good driving song on the way to and from Sydney on the weekend too.
Thought Contagion - The 'Fury' comparison by Matt was spot on with this track. Probably the rockiest and most straight forward track on the album. The bassline is vintage Muse and the chorus grabbed me right away. As is the case with some of the other singles, the song suffers a bit from repetition I'm glad they re-recorded this for the album as Matt's vocal delivery of the verses sounds a bit less in your face, which I prefer. The little piano tinkle leading into the chorus is a nice touch too. Looks like a great live track.
Get Up and Fight - There's not much to say about this track, except that it's total trash. I don't understand why they insist on putting a power pop song like this on the album as it really doesn't fit in with the rest of it. This track is one of their worst ever and brings the rest of the album down a bit unfortunately. Even Revolt and Big Freeze shit on this song in my opinion.
Blockades - Just like their terrible flowing setlists, Muse bounce back straight away following the disaster of the last track. Backed by some neat 80s video-game arpeggios, Blockades includes almost everything that made me listen to Muse in the first place. Heavy guitar, interesting use of electronics, meaningful piano and a chorus the blows you away with its sheer power and energy. The only thing this track is missing for me is a heavy outro (preferably piano) to top it off as it kind of just stops.
Dig Down - This track doesn't appeal to me much at all. Slow building and the pay-off isn't great. Second half to last third of the track is OK, especially live when the acoustic drums kick in.
The Void - They really nailed this atmospheric and synth-heavy closing track. It goes in a few unexpected directions, and ties the album together really well. On a side note, I'm saddened the acoustic version wasn't included on the Deluxe version of the album, as the piano suits the vibe of this song to a tee.
Algorithm (Alternate Reality version) - Just when you think this song can't get any better, it arguably does. I can't decide if I prefer the orchestra in this version opposed to the synths in the other or not, but I think they made the right choice with album placement (main version suits vibe of album more). The arpeggio build up, epic drumming and Matt's vocal delivery are so impressive; this is the most cinematic I've ever heard Muse. I love the other version but this one just blew me away.
Propoganda/Something Human (Acoustic) - Putting these two together because I don't think each one is really different enough from the album versions to be separate acoustic tracks. There are obviously some production differences in Something Human, but I would've replaced Propaganda acoustic with The Void acoustic in a heartbeat.
Dig Down (Acoustic Gospel version) - When I saw the Jools Holland rendition of this song it really took me by surprise. It's so much more suited to this style and in my opinion, they should've replaced the album version with this to shake things up a bit. Partly because Dig Down came out so long ago too.
Overall, this album has proven to me that Muse can still bring fresh ideas and inspiration to the table, whilst still progressing their sound. They haven't done that so successfully since Black Holes and Revelations I don't think. Despite there being a broad range of styles on this album, it manages to flow reasonably well as a single piece largely to the recurring use of Sci-Fi landscapes and electronics. This is their best album since The Resistance for me, probably a 7-7.5 out of 10.