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You're still able to appreciate what Muse were going for, so I wouldn't include you with the people I was talking about.

 

Thanks for that. I haven't totally given up on the album yet. Hell, I shelled out for the box set because I'm a sucker for special editions, colored vinyl and all that nonsense. And $50 really wasn't such a bad deal for a nice package like that. I've been playing the album from Tidal so far and haven't even touched the vinyl. I suppose the LP's will force me to listen to all the tracks a little more since it isn't so easy to skip half of them.

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Super deluxe has arrived :awesome: ngl I was hoping the vinyls, cds and art book were all seperate things inside a box like the T2L boxset but they’re all just in one big book slotted into the pages...so the package as a whole for £50 is a wee bit disappointing but I guess I’m still excited to hear these last couple of alt. versions for the first time later on

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Okay I can't resist. Currently:

Algorithm - 9/10

The Dark Side - 6/10

Pressure - 7/10

Propaganda - 7/10

Break It To Me - 10/10

Something Human - 7/10

Thought Contagion - 5/10

Get Up and Fight - 5/10

Blockades - 8/10

Dig Down - 6/10 (although Gospel version is a straight 10)

The Void - 9/10

 

Overall very solid. Still upset about the vocals in Propaganda, it could've been a 10

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Here's how I'd rate the album, after having given it a few listens:

 

The Amazing - Algorithm, Blockades, Break it to Me, Propaganda

The Alright - The Dark Side, Thought Contagion, Pressure, The Void

The Bad - Something Human, Dig Down, Get Up and Fight

 

I'm so relieved most of what they didn't release beforehand is pretty kick ass. Also glad I didn't shell out the money for the super deluxe for the "exclusives" since my Apple Music subscription has that version. Standard vinyl coming Wednesday - excited to give that a spin.

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Listening to vinyl disc 2

 

Dem deeeep horns on the acoustic Propaganda solo (ik they’re on the album version but they sound even cooler and more prominent on the acoustic ver.)

 

BITM remix is decent, defo not better than the album version though. But damn does it highlight how lusssshhhh that chorus is, specially by opening with it.

 

SH acoustic >>>>>>>>> album version, so cute

 

Anticipating TV now.... :awesome:

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Is there a order to watch the videos in for some sort of story?

 

Yep, but I'm struggling to see what's the best order to follow the story honestly. I tend to feel it as two main storylines (Matt's and Terry's) in their way of escaping a layered simulation, Inception-like I'd say. Both reaching out the "dark side", which would be the final layer before reaching reality. I think Terry manages to reach it in the Algorithm video, but Matt probably dies in TDS video.

 

But, well, that's just my theory which might be pretty wrong :LOL:.

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Yep, but I'm struggling to see what's the best order to follow the story honestly. I tend to feel it as two main storylines (Matt's and Terry's) in their way of escaping a layered simulation, Inception-like I'd say. Both reaching out the "dark side", which would be the final layer before reaching reality. I think Terry manages to reach it in the Algorithm video, but Matt probably dies in TDS video.

 

But, well, that's just my theory which might be pretty wrong :LOL:.

 

Sounds good to me.

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Sounds good to me.

 

I think so, I'd like to hear other theories though :)

 

I have another version which is Terry not reaching reality, but just ending all the simulations and dying. Darker but cool :LOL:

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Just listened to the album. I loved/liked almost everything Muse put out since OOS, but other than Reapers and The Handler I found Drones stale and disappointing and it was the first Muse album I didn't buy. I didn't think much of Dig Down either when it was first released and overall I began to wonder if Muse passed their use-by date.

 

Well colour me very pleasantly surprised; Simulation Theory is the freshest they've sounded in a while and there's already a good handful of songs I loved from the first listen. Dig Down sounds way better in the context of the album, as well. The only track I'm not keen on is Get Up and Fight which is way too generic for my liking.

 

Nice to be back on the Muse bandwagon, thanks boys... well middle-aged men really but whatever :)

Welcome back!:LOL:

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Nuclear take: Propaganda is one of the best songs on the album and is a great song overall, not only on the guilty pleasure-side.

 

Propaganda is terrible, Prince is rolling in his grave just at the comparison, Undisclosed Desires is a way better electro pop song

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My take after a few listens and a few glasses of sparkling wine:

 

Overall, I think this is their most coherent and best album since BHAR. What I like about the album it's that it feels more than a sum of its parts (songs), i.e. even if some individual songs are not standout tracks in themselves, they work very well in the album context and add to the whole. I think they found a good way of pleasing the older fans in that lot of the atmosphere is very Abso/BHAR but there are new interesting things as well. That is not to say the album can be congratulated on being particularly innovative, as the 80's retro thing has been done by many, but Muse has never been a particularly groundbreaking band, I accept that and appreciate them for what they are.

 

Algorithm: Nice and atmospheric opener, sets the tone for the album right away. The retro synths being followed by the signature Muse piano on the intro put a smile on my face as it feels so appropriately Muse. Great opener for tour also? 8/10

 

Dark Side: Great punchy track. I don't find myself loving it as much as many of you, but I do really like it. I don't think it will ever a favourite of mine but it's certainly a quality song. 7/10

 

Pressure: I loved this when it came out, but it has lost a little of its charm since then. I think it's like Uprising in the sense that it's great fun and has great commercial potential but it's hard to imagine it being anyone's favourite Muse song. It's fun, it's easy and should be great live song 7,5/10

 

Propaganda: Instant Muse classic, I really really love it since the first listen. I don't even mind the overt Prince-ness. Sexy and Matt sounds so good. 10/10

 

Break it to me: This is a head scratcher. Somehow it feels the most interesting/innovative track, but it feels like some sonical experiment/B-side rather than a "proper song". I don't think I'd recognise it being Muse if I heard it on the radio (no worry about that happening..), rather than think Matt has featured on some other band's song. I don't particularly like it, I don't dislike it, but it doesn't feel like it deserves an average 5/10 ether. So I'll give it ???/10.

 

Something human: When it came out I really disliked it for being so bland. But with repeat listens I've learned to appreciate it more. The solo is one of the loveliest things on the album, I like the verses but the song is hampered by the bland chorus. A slice of AOR, and that's fine. It feels like a nice brighter spot in a more darker/atmospheric album. 6/10

 

Thought Contagion: I'm surprised about the generally negative/meh feelings about this songs. The lyrics are what they are but for once Matt is on a very topical and important theme. But disregarding lyrics, I think the chorus and the woos are great fun and I like the tight/hysterical edge in Matt's vocal delivery. 9/10

 

Get up and fight: A mixed bag. I like the female vocals and the verses feel contemporary, the bridge is nice but the chorus is very 00's - the more meh tracks of MCR. Won't end up on any of my Muse playlists... 5/10

 

Blockades: I get what people are saying this being very standard Muse but I for one won't it hold it against them - this is what we've been asking for- more Abso sound! Good solid song 8/10

 

Dig Down: This is a song that is a victim of its circumstances. If there was no Madness, I think I would really like it. However, it won't ever escape its "Madness-but-poorer" origin. It's also a victim of a particularly bad planning on the band/record label, who decided to release it as the first song from the album. Did they really think fans would not get pissed off/worried about the first "single" being a poorer rewrite of a big hit, after a lacklustre album? I know I was ready to write them off after hearing it for the first time.

 

So I think in itself DD is fine, but it's really hard to overcome the context and I don't think I'll ever particularly like it. 4/10

 

The Void: Haunting and beautiful. I don't usually pay attention to lyrics that much but for some reason the lyrics touch me. Something about combination of the sad atmosphere and the hopefulness ("They're wrong"). The first half is very intimate and overall it's just a very beautiful track in a Ruled by secrecy fashion. 9/10

 

(Although not exactly about the album itself,) in retrospect (can you say so after two days?) I think I would have preferred a more traditional release strategy. The known tracks lose a little bit of their punch when we've had months to listen to them, listening to the album feels very "the old songs and the new". I think the album would have been even more powerful of an eperience if half the album wasn't already known. Plus I can't keep track of all the music and lyric videos and whatnot...

 

But I don't want to end on negative note when there is no need. Well done Muse, easily a 4/5 album. :happy:

Edited by sade

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Break It To Me

Propaganda

Algorithm

The Void

——-

The rest.

 

succinctly put. and i pretty much...kinda....agree w/ this assessment preliminarily, but, as with everything, i need tracks to brood a bit. ultimately, though, this may very well be how i'm going to view this album in the long run.

 

i also like quite like the void (acoustic) -- this is is where matt should've thrown in that rachmaninoff-esque excision discussed previously. something tells me he wrote a 2-minute bit so great that, for whatever reason, he wanted no official recording of it...yet. (a live treat, perhaps?)

 

matt throws in total, unjustifiable crap here and there (maddening), but it's hard to deny he's one of the most talented creators of music in our generation.

 

content may not be well-executed/produced/mixed well all the time (and, again, total shite may be the ultimate result in some cases), but it's difficult to deny that his musical mind works like few others right now. for better or for worse.

Edited by frutiger75
rachmaninoff-esque; it wasn't a cover, apparently.

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I've been listening to this album all evening trying to give it a chance but I find myself liking it less with each listen. My last run-through went kinda like this.

 

Algorithm and The Dark Side are a great start.

Pressure is catchy but ultimately forgettable.

Propaganda is pretty awful.

I listen to Break It To Me struggling to figure out why so many are raving about it. For me, it's terrible but to each their own.

Something Human...skip

Thought Contagion...skip

Get Up and Fight...skip

Blockades...better but still kinda forgettable

Dig Down...yep still sucks, skip

The Void is great but it only makes me want to skip the rest of the album more quickly to get to it.

 

 

Not trying to be a turd in the punchbowl here but this album is destined to be my least favorite Muse album. I'm not surprised because I saw it coming from the early singles. That said, I won't begrudge others for enjoying it.

 

TOTALLY agree. Two REALLY good songs (Algorithm and Dark Side are fantastic)...and then the album falls off a cliff.

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Final (well I’m sure they’re open to change over the years but ykwim) sum up now I’m used to the record a bit more:

 

Meh | Good | Great | Top-tier Muse

 

Algorithm - Was unsure at first ‘cos it wasn’t what I expected and didn’t have your typical Muse structure or conventions. It’s hard to actually pin why it’s so good. The 2 minute intro builds perfectly and from then on, it’s just the progression of the song that hooks me, with the only routinely reoccuring part being that one, yeah, kinda cheesy but classic Muse OTT motivational line that’s just too cool not to enjoy repeating.

The Dark Side - Just can’t seem to get on this as much as a lot of other people. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but just lacks that real connection to make it a real fave.

Pressure - Cooled on this slightly since its release ngl :$ still really good fun, just realised it isn’t really doing anything ‘special’ if ya get me, maybe made more noticable by how the rest of the album turned out. Still, ya can’t knock some fuzzy Muse riffs and that bouncy verse beat.

Propaganda - Think I actually underestimated this one a bit on first listen, like I was afraid to rate it higher ‘cos of how silly it was but it’s genuinely fucking great and, a running theme for this record, one of the best songs they’ve put out for years. The robot voice hook feels a smidge cheap and tacky but you more than get over it. Has one of the best final third progressions in recent Muse history, with Matt’s last belts the satisfying release you didn’t know the song needed.

Break It To Me - One of the most creative and unique songs they’ve put out ever, full stop. I can’t even tie a genre to it. Such a dirty, mucky song that somehow manages to transition into one of their most gorgeous choruses. Not to mention the batshit Robo-Morello solo and pitch shifting phyrigian vocal scaling of Matt’s ‘reborn’ wail. Everything about it is so so exciting and I won’t even hope for more in the future ‘cos this is lightning in a bottle.

Something Human - Wasn’t able to put my finger off what was stopping me from getting into this until the acoustic version. I think the extra synths and vocal effects are too overpowering, the mix just sounds too messy at times.

Thought Contagion - Grown on me immensley since its release. Sure, it’s a pretty standard pop/alt rock song, but it’s damn fun. That descending and ascending riff is so fat and ploddy you can’t not get into it, love the trap influence in Dom’s drumming, pre-choruses are ridiculously catchy and I’m always a sucker for a whammy solo <3

Get Up And Fight - Not quite on Revolt’s level for me but still more than enjoyable enough. Love the bubblegum nature of the tempo and Tove Lo’s voice for the hook. Change of chord progression and melody for the pre-chorus Matt’s vocals are so empowered and impressive you surely have to try to not get into it. Suddenly hits you in the feels at the end with Matt’s line about struggling without the person the song’s about </3 Expected it but don’t get some of the heavy vitriol tbh.

Blockades - SO Muse by-numbers that it’s actually still...kinda creative? :chuckle: Like, this isn’t just them on auto-pilot or lacking ideas, it feels like they’re intentionally leaning into every single stereotype they have and ultimately coming out with a song that still stands relatively on its own as peak video gamey Muse with a chunky chorus and stupidly enjoyable vocals to boot.

Dig Down - Defo not as bad as I felt upon release. It’s not bad at all, just doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, feels very entrenched in the past. That’s all I can really say about it, I do like some of Matt’s vocal deliveries though.

The Void - Instant classic in their discography, who said this album was just silly 80s nostalgia? :p Ok I know it’s still quite (very) 80s but there’s something strangely emotionally affecting about the whole thing. Am I hopeful? Scared? Hopeless? All at once it seems. Great dynamics between the suddenly swells of the strings, one of the most simple yet haunting choruses in their library and ends on the most eerie note of any Muse album. To the extent that you’re almost unsure how to feel afterwords, we’re so used to ending a Muse album with a feeling a grandeur, something like this is almost uncomfortable...but in the best of ways.

 

 

Algorithm (AR) - Extremely impressive in scale, it’s a helluva statement but this has to be up there with Muse’s most bombastic/cinematic/epic pieces and isn’t a bad audition for a film soundtrack on Matt’s part. Feels slightly less interesting than the album version though, I prefer that subtler approach, hooks you in more.

The Dark Side (AR) - On any other Muse album, this becomes an instant highlight and classic. As it is, it just doesn’t fit on this one sonically unfortunately :chuckle: you all know how incredible, eerie, touching, sad but beautiful this is, you don’t need me to analyse it. Slide guitar gives me particular chills with flashbacks to HTAILY.

Pressure (UCLA Marching Band) - Slightly more fun than I thought it’d be but ultimately still kinda throwaway for me, just not something I’d ever stick on.

Propaganda (Acoustic) - Definitely adds a different dynamic that’s worth the alt version, but some of the layers are what makes the album version imo and the robot voice obvs struggles to fit in. The big horns during the solo get more time to shine though.

Break It To Me (Remix) - Was expecting more after some of the reactions :chuckle: defo not a touch on the album version but gives a smidge more spotlight on the choruses and y’all know how I feel about them.

Something Human (Acoustic) - Instantly turns a kinda eh song great, strip back some of the unnecessary fluff to highlight the cute ‘wish you were here’ card that it is. Only alt version I wish had replaced the album version, since it still fits in with the lighter warbly sci-fi synth solo imo.

Thought Contagion (Live) - Eh, it’s a fun, raw-ish version but feels out of place and kinda filler-y imo. Would’ve preferred a proper alt version, or anything that just adds or changes the original.

Dig Down (Acoustic Gospel) - Could be underestimating this but it’s defo a big improvement. Feels so much more human and, critically, actually brings something new to their discography unlike the original.

The Void (Acoustic) - Initially kinda miss the synths and strings in this version but once Matt starts pounding those low octaves before the bridge and transitions into said part, it becomes fucking incredible. Matt enters his element and it becomes one of his most affecting intimiate pieces, brought me close to tears both times I’ve listened to it.

The Dark Side (AR Instrumental) - Might actually prefer this without the vocals? Idk, not there’s owt wrong with them, they were gorgeous but the instrumental lets you create your own backdrop for the song. Matt’s pre-album description of ‘ethereal’ fits best, you can really get lost in this.

 

 

Album’s cohesiveness, flow and production (maybe their best?) help elevate it even more. Matt’s lyrics are kinda flying under the radar a tiny bit as well imo, they’re nowt mind-blowing (rarely have been) and there’s the odd banana skin but generally back to being as solid as something like BH&R or TR. Overall - still happy with it sitting at #3 for me, and I wish I could be arsed to go back and find the one or two posts of people who laughed when I said it had the potential to be that for me months ago :phu: this is the cohesive pop, electro-rock, classical, ethereal sci-fi Muse album I’ve wanted for years in almost all the ways I did and didn’t know I wanted <3

Edited by Jobby

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Propaganda - Think I actually underestimated this one a bit on first listen, like I was afraid to rate it higher ‘cos of how silly it was but it’s genuinely fucking great and, a running theme for this record, one of the best songs they’ve put out for years. The robot voice hook feels a smidge cheap and tacky but you more than get over it. Has one of the best final third progressions in recent Muse history, with Matt’s last belts the satisfying release you didn’t know the song needed.

Break It To Me - One of the most creative and unique songs they’ve put out ever, full stop. I can’t even tie a genre to it. Such a dirty, mucky song that somehow manages to transition into one of their most gorgeous choruses. Not to mention the batshit Robo-Morello solo and pitch shifting phyrigian vocal scaling of Matt’s ‘reborn’ wail. Everything about it is so so exciting and I won’t even hope for more in the future ‘cos this is lightning in a bottle.

 

I feel very similarly about these two songs. I guess algorithm, TDS and The Void would be my more obvious top picks, but I find myself coming to these so often. Its so fresh and daring. Also catchy. Even the propaganda hook somehow makes perfect sense. Break it to me... I don't even know how you come up with something like that, and its precisely that lightning in a bottle thing that you talk about that draws me so intensely to it.

 

I think my issue with some of TR and T2L (drones flaws were different) was not the shift in direction itself, but that those experiments sounded, at times, like caricatures of a genre or artist. But in these songs (and the greater part of ST), I feel like I hear the band flesh things out in a more personal way. The way songwriting, production and general sense of direction come together is their own. And that's what I love about the record, even if it has its weak points.

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Blockades is definitely unoriginal dogshit, it’s pretty ironic how Muse puts out a music video mashing up other music videos for this song. It really drives that point home that Muse couldn’t be bothered with the song let alone the video

Edited by jonisdead

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Algorithm - It's a good opener. It feels a touch flabby and meandering in its progression and build, but I love the '80s synths and the climax of those layered vocals. 7.5/10

 

The Darkside - I love the atmosphere and drive to this track. The vocals are catchy and nicely punctuated in the chorus with clean guitar chords. My only minor gripe is that the live version has a bit more dynamism. Still, one of my favourite Muse tracks in years. 9/10

 

Pressure - This one keeps growing on me with some really catchy riffs and a great chorus that keeps getting stuck in my head. Straightforward but done really well. 8/10

 

Propaganda - I didn't like this very Prince-influenced track at first, but it's another that's grown on me. I can see why they wanted it as a companion to Break it to Me. Both play with silence, funk and distorted oddity, with unusual elements coming together. It definitely works better on headphones, where you can get more of the sonic subtleties. I like the vocals and production, but it lacks a really unique element to grab you and I question it coming after the bombast of Pressure, where it just feels lost and out of place. 7/10

 

Break it to Me - I instantly loved this. It has a weird, distorted, atonal crunch, a funky, aggressive hip-hop beat, sci-fi theramin, and an almost Middle Eastern feel to the vocals. Yet despite all the elements, it maintains a stripped-back and satisfyingly raw quality. It's forms a pretty unique, wonky track. A wonderful experiment. 9/10

 

Something Human - It's one of Matt's better cheesy ballads, but it's still a cheesy ballad. It's more pleasant than grating, but ultimately dull and rather forgetable. 6/10

 

Thought Contagion - There are elements I like, with a distorted crunch and wailing sci-fi synths. But the vocal melodies in both the verse and chorus don't quite do it for me. It just feels slightly clunky, unfinished and b-side worthy. And still I can't hear the tactlessly flippant "Brace for the final solution" without feeling a little sick. 5/10

 

Get up and Fight - I despise those tropical house pop synths in the verse. The chorus is OK but I just end up thinking this would sound better if actually done by David Guetta and sung by SIA, which is clearly what they were aiming for. It's so jarringly out of place with the '80s theme of the album too. 4/10

 

Blockades - A good slab of '80s inspired rock bombast with BH&R-era Muse. Vocal melody isn't the strongest but it's good fun. 7/10

 

Dig Down - Gospel paired with that bad synth sound Matt already used in the Madness verses to poor effect. It's just tasteless and really, really obnoxious. And it doesn't fit in the album at all. The acoustic version is a touch better (or at least tonally consistent), but the album version is simply awful. 2/10

 

Void - A good atmospheric '80s closing track in the vein of Ruled By Secrecy, if without as strong an instrumental motif. Still, I like its brooding, melancholic menace, even if its oddly combined with contrastingly optimistic lyrics for a rather mixed message. 7/10

 

Overall: A slightly mixed bag, with a distinct drop in quality in much of the second half, but with a real spark of creativity throughout most of it and some of their best material since BH&R. It's far from perfect but it's also far better than I expected! I feel tempered optimism towards it.

Edited by Static Shadows

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After further listens:

 

Algorithm - another strong album opener. Other than Dead Inside I don't think Muse ever flunked the opening song. Love the moody 80s synths and the brief sprinkle of piano. The Queen vocals make me chuckle, in a fond way. 8.5/10

 

The Dark Side - just a gorgeous track and Matt's vocals are outstanding. It has the sort of dreamy romanticism about it that I love about Muse and which was sorely missing for me on Drones. 9/10

 

Pressure - great fun song, with catchy hooks galore. 8/10

 

Propaganda - another sexy funky Muse gem. The little twangy solo in the middle is delightfully eccentric. 9/10

 

Break it to Me - I don't even know how to describe this song. Tom Morello marries Justin Timberlake in a Bollywood/Middle Eastern wedding? :LOL: All these disparate elements shouldn't work together, but just do. Awesome awesome track, instant personal top ten Muse material. If I ever put together a belly dance routine to a Muse song, this will be my top pick. 10/10

 

Something Human - I've seen much negative feedback for this, but I actually think it's a lovely breezy number. Perfect placing on the album as well, something light after the intenisty of the previous songs. 8/10

 

Thought Contagion - The chorus and wooos help elevate what otherwise would be a pretty standard track. 7/10

 

Get Up and Fight - I don't mind most of the song, the female vocals are rather nice, but dear god that generic emo chorus makes me cringe hard. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to trash it from my album playlist or sit through the chorus for the sake of completism. 5/10

 

Blockades - yeah totally Muse Greatest Hits. Yet it doesn't feel like the band on autopilot and is somehow lots of fun. 7/10

 

Dig Down - really grew on me after my initial meh reaction, and I outright love the alternative version. 7.5/10

 

Void - excellent finish to the album. Great atmosphere, love the addition of strings. 8.5/10

 

All up I'm pretty stoked about ST and have been listening to it non-stop, which is exactly what I want my reaction to a new Muse album to be. The second half does drop off in quality somewhat, but then many of my favourite albums do as well, and it only dips from great to good (and Get Up and Fight).

Edited by Saracene

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