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How would you change The 2nd Law?


Niall
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Big Freeze, Survival and especially Explorers are just bad songwriting. They should be gone or completely reworked.

 

Their production style should change especially considering backing vocals. They're backing vocals. There's something wrong with Liquid state's production I haven't yet pinpointed. The vocals sound just weird. The song itself is a bit dull, but not as bad as the three mentioned. Muse should just generally take a course in subtlety.

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I'd mix around the order but how, I don't know. They threw on the experimental songs on the end and I don't like that. Unsustainable should be much earlier in the album. Chris' sound should be separate.

 

I'd also make Follow Me and Liquid State longer. Follow Me is great and could easily do with another chorus and Liquid State builds up so well then just finishes! I was almost expecting a grand and technical solo since Matt's free to do whatever on guitar with that song.

 

Also, Isolated System's final drums felt like they were leading onto something but, again, just finish. I'd either having closing drum patterns or have the drums lead onto an even more grandiose sound.

 

That said, I love the album. I think the songs are fantastic.

 

Oh, also Supremacy would be an hour long and have its own CD.

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I'd have developed Unsustainable and have it exercise it's potential more instead of being the pointless track it is and I'd make it flow into Isolated System. I'd do the same with Liquid State as well. I'd maybe change Matt's vocal effect a little bit when he says 'Your supremacy' for the first time. I'd make Big Freeze a lot less U2. I'd beef up the heavy bits in Animals.

 

Apart from that, it's fine I think.

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One day I'll get around to doing the musical research and writing something proper on why the ending of Isolated System should not be changed in lieu of some big explosive climax. One day.

 

I suppose it's because it maintains this sense of despair at the end of the album, which is supposedly about the impending end of the world. I want it to be kept that way as well. :happy: Of course this is just coming from a normal listener.

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One day I'll get around to doing the musical research and writing something proper on why the ending of Isolated System should not be changed in lieu of some big explosive climax. One day.
I'd say this is more about Muse's tradition to end albums with a bang: Knights of Cydonia ending up being THE Muse song and Exogenesis being just overly bombastic. Because that is the way they've done it, people expect it and now when it doesn't happen, they're at loss.

 

In other words, nothing wrong with 2nd law as closer.

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I would make it less diverse, kick out Survival, put Prelude as a part of Explorers, remove Liquid State and Big Freeze and put 2-3 more riffy songs in.

 

 

Oh, and make a better transition from Unsustainable to Isolated System , cause the way it is plain embarassing.

Edited by Museic Syndrome
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I'd make Follow Me heavier with actual intruments and distortion, make Save Me and Liquid Station 2 b-sides hopefully having secret back up songs (written and sang by Matt) to replace their spots on the album; No idea what I would do with Survival since I prefer it didn't exist, and I think I'd try and make Animals sound less like Radiohead and Big Freeze less like U2, because they're both amazing songs, but kind of exhausting to listen to for those referenced bands are exhausting bands in essence. Madness is alright, I guess.

 

I wouldn't touch Supremacy, Explorers, Unsustainable and Isolated System, they're just as perfect as they can be. And I don't think the order bothers me that much.

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Lots of interesting points made above - I must admit that my expectations were pretty low after hearing Survival and Unsustainable, and the album probably was about as good as I expected.

 

The main problem with the album is Matt unfortunately. I think he's a very quirky character with a great sense of humour that unfortunately, doesn't always translate into great music. Around the time that Absolution was coming out I remember that upcoming songs would be described in increasingly complicated ways. For an example, 'Explorers' was described as "The sound of Meat Loaf and Louie Armstrong making a post metal track." I don't get that..

 

Another problem is repetition. New Muse fans will attack the criticism, saying that people should allow Muse to try new things, which is indeed fine, but a lot of these tracks sound very familiar. One track had more than a hint of 'invincible' and I think it was 'Big Freeze' that had a real splash of 'Undisclosed Desires' at one point.

 

The point it that Muse are now trying so hard to be clever, quirky and fun, rather than just churning out music the way that they used to. I was once a huge fan of Matt and in a way I still am, but Chris's tracks on the album took me back to the days of Showbiz. The songs were simple and did the job that they set out to do. Good voice too. Matt I think is overdue a bit of a revelation. That revelation should be that a step backwards isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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I suppose it's because it maintains this sense of despair at the end of the album, which is supposedly about the impending end of the world. I want it to be kept that way as well. :happy: Of course this is just coming from a normal listener.

It's somewhat similar to RBS in a very very vague way, in that it sets up this long build-up for this big, warm chord resolution - and then holds off on it, instead going for something a bit more ambiguous and restrained. It's very non-Muse, if I may say so, but that's actually one of its strengths. We're used to big, lush and sweeping chord progressions, not three-note musical figures and subtle key changes used to evoke.

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Nobody should mess with Isolated System, it's amazing as it is.

 

I'd probably remove like...half the album tbh. Prelude, Survival, Unsustainable, Save Me and Liquid State. Away with them. Not really half the album but still.

 

Explorers is great, the harmonies are fucking brilliant. I'd made the beginning a bit shorter though, takes a while before it gets interesting.

 

Panic Station is the best song of the album. Supremacy is Muse by numbers, but without copying their old stuff(I'm looking at you, Unnatural Selection). Animals is great...Big Freeze is the biggest surprise of the album.

 

Anyway, back on topic, I'd remove those songs and then fix the order. Oh and Unsustainable could stay if only they fixed that pathetic drop.

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I changed the order too.

 

Unsustainable

Prelude

Survival

Madness

Panic Station

Big Freeze

Follow Me

Explorers

Save Me

Animals

Liquid State

Supremacy

Isolated System

 

I thought it worked well. I didn't really think about the themes of the tracks like Niall, more how they sounded, the feel etc.

 

The general idea was to start off heavy, have a quieter section in the middle (Explorers, Save Me, although having the two together might be a bit much), and then increase the heavyness again towards the end. Nowhere near as sophisticated as Niall's ideas behind his order, but it works really well for me

 

AND I MIGHT ADD that the transition from Liquid State into Supremacy is fantastic, it's in the same key too so it flows brilliantly

 

I do agree with Niall that the main thing that needed to be different was the order though, I honestly can't understand why they went with that one. I'll be listening like this from now on

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I'd probably do the following:

 

-Remove Follow Me

-Shorten Explorers and Save Me

-Lengthen Liquid State

-Rewrite Unsustainable to only include the first dubstep/brostep section, lengthen slightly the second string section and replace the final part with a more rocky riff

-Rewrite Isolated System to include a big rock/orchestral/opera section in the middle that it builds to, the track finishes as normal

-Rewrite Madness so that the very last section, before it goes back to "M-m-m-m-m", is longer

 

Then I'd arrange the album as follows:

(I haven't put a massive amount of though into this, the songs towards the middle might need switching around a bit)

 

Prelude

Survival

Madness

Panic Station

Big Freeze

Explorers

Save Me

Liquid State

Animals

Unsustainable

Supremacy

Isolated System

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I don't think I would remove anything except Prelude.

 

The album could use some big reordering and maybe some songs changed in arrangement to allow for consistency.

 

Explorers could be shorter.

 

Big Freeze has a fine chorus, the verses need a bit more oomph and less poor man's U2.

 

Unsustainable needs to link to Isolated System better, could use better structure, and the breakdown needs to be much more than Skrillex with guitars.

 

Liquid State could do with some more powerful vocals, a more fuzzed out bass, some more interesting guitar work to compliment, and more dynamic and large sounding drums.

 

Animals needs a beefier breakdown

 

Survival needs much less chorus work. Just leave it more like the live version.

 

"Brainwashing our children to be mean"

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First of all, don't fucking change anything of Isolated System. Not all music has to end in omg climaxes!1!1. The track does perfectly what it's made for and it has amazing arrangement.

 

-Remove the ah-ah-ah voice on the intro of Survival, remove the over the top vocals on Survival. Basically the live version was enough.

-Less focus on the strings in Prelude, would've liked it more as a piano interlude

-Remove the first drop from Unsustainable, or remove the track all together.

-Different verse on Big Freeze

-Explorers and Save Me is too much on one album, either let Explorers end into a bigger ending instead of going back to the chorus at the end or just remove it from the album.

-Shorten Save Me

-Change trackorder, unsustainable in IS is just not right.

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I'd switch Panic Station and Madness in the track order. The ending guitar of Supremacy leading into the bass thump of Panic Station would work better than it going into "ma-ma-ma-mad-madness".

 

I'd attach Prelude on to Survival. Like Intro and Interlude, Prelude won't get listened to much otherwise because of it being so short. I would also drop the breathy choir on Survival. The jaunty piano is alright, but that choir at the start kills the song. The other choir bits can stay.

 

I'd also extended Liquid State by putting a longer guitar solo between the first chorus and the third verse.

 

 

Other than those little nitpicks, the album is fine (in my opinion).

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There's a few reasons why I think this would have worked better. Firstly putting Unsustainable first makes a much bigger statement about the album. It's the first introduction we had to the new material, and it completely sets the scene for the album as the prologue. The news reporter is reading out the albums central theme and thesis. The following songs then play out as the views and lives of people navigating their way through the unsustainable system we're presented with.

 

Agreed on Unsustainable going first. It was everyones first glimpse in to the album and sets the scene.

 

Prelude and Survival should have been released on as an EP with one or two other songs that didnt cut it. Prelude is just like why, Survival was the anthem of the Olympics. Big Freeze sounds too much like U2, if i wanted to listen to U2 i would go out and buy their cd.

 

Out of the 20 or so rumoured songs writen and recorded for this album there should have been a few more rockier songs. Who knows we may hear one or two as a b-side, that is if we are granted the joy of buying singles as physical releases, or maybe even a downloadable EP only from the .mu store.

 

Overall im happy with the album, its adventurous and bold, marred by one or two bits. I think this is mostly a rock style album but with more pop influenced elements. shame.

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I actually don't have an issue with the song order. Works fine for me. I see the issue with people disliking Big Freeze, because you then have the lull of (long) weaker tracks Exlorers-Big Freeze-Save me there. But, like I said, I like Big Freeze so the flow (partly based on song strenght) is fine for me (I'm talking about the situation of having all the current songs on the album).

 

As for changes, I would get rid of Explorers and Save me, or at least revamp Save me as a shorter track. If Save me would go, I would make Matt sing Liquid State (I actually really like Chris's voice on it, but for consistency's sake in that situation).

 

I would add another track in the vein of Animals.

 

I would just generally re-think many of the production choices, in particular toning down the obvious refences to other bands.

 

I would re-record many of Matt's vocals being sung in a more neutral way, getting rid of the "hero" antics. Most notably I would apply this to the beginning of Follow me, his voice sounds borderline creepy on "surrounds you", which is not a good thing considering the song is written for his son).

 

I don't know the specifics of each track well enough just yet to comment particular song elements. I would however in particular tone down the pomposity of Follow me, but I like the idea of electro production as an idea as opposed to it being a rock track.

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Remove Save Me

Make Survival a bit less cheesy

Get rid of the dubstep from follow me, as well as the last 20 seconds which are quite redundant.

Completely reconsider Explorers, too difficult to know exactly how

Make the dubstep on Unsustainable way less annoying

 

And thats about it, this album really is great!

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