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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 solely 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 got 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).

 

Good to see someone appreciating Something Human. I think it's a great track. It feels sincere and unforced.

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I'd say that the first half is great, can't dig the second as much. I really don't get all the hype Blockades is getting, to me it's just a Muse by numbers song and not even a good one. I honestly wish they didn't put any guitar driven song on this album. Then, The Void strikes and it's wow.

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I will do no such thing. T2L’s main problem is covering up its highlights with too many mediocre songs that make the whole thing overlong. At 42 minutes, with about 3 short tracks I don’t absolutely love, all of which growing on me, ST is going down as a big victory in my book. Propaganda and Break It To Me alone would keep me coming back.

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Sadly, give it another month and you guys will hate this album or just regard it as being as bad as drones/t2l. I personally think it's not right now but I can already see people downgrading the songs! :eek:

 

 

I will do no such thing. T2L’s main problem is covering up its highlights with too many mediocre songs that make the whole thing overlong. At 42 minutes, with about 3 short tracks I don’t absolutely love, all of which growing on me, ST is going down as a big victory in my book. Propaganda and Break It To Me alone would keep me coming back.

 

 

I think Propaganda and Break It To Me have been the most wildly overrated tracks on the album. I can appreciate certain elements of each song but, taken as a whole, they're both complete messes. I honestly hope I'm wrong here but I can see both songs falling completely flat in concert.

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Propaganda and Break It To Me are the only wholly coherent tracks on the album imo. They sound to me as if they've had 2/3 times more time spend on them than some of the others and as a result, are utterly terrific. I think Propaganda will be huge live.

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My track-by-track review:

 

Algorithm - 7/10

I was happy with this start to the album because it displayed such commitment to the driving, retro 'outrun' sound that was promised by The Dark Side and the aesthetics. The ‘This means war’ bit and the overall theming of the song would sound clumsy on a concept album like Drones, but here it’s refreshingly free of context. It seems clear that Muse simply want to create an epic, paranoid song with synthwave aesthetics. It didn’t do much that blew me away, and it definitely feels more like an introduction to the album’s sound than an actual song at times, but as an opener it just sounds good.

 

The Dark Side – 8/10

The Dark Side remains just an incredibly solid, well-produced midtempo pop song. I think a little more could have been done with the solo. It’s a little too laid-back for me to love it, but it’s still a pleasure to listen to.

 

Pressure – 8/10

A fun pop rock song with a little of everything Muse do well. That catchy ‘pressure building’ into a mean, danceable riff. The sharp guitarwork on the track, and the tambourine and good ol’ Muse arpeggios keep up the pace so well. And y’know, even though Pressure is a song that’s almost antagonistic towards the fanbase, it’s really nice to get a song that sounds personal from Muse for once. At once, it’s like a condemnation of us and a love letter at the same time. It’s nice to know Matt cares. It genuinely does make me think better of the song.

 

Propaganda – 10/10

Modern, edgy and so well within Muse’s abilities, Propaganda is an excellent song. That chorus is both unashamedly catchy yet abrasive. It sits so well against the lilting, Princey verses that Matt pulls off so well. Then, just when you think the song is becoming one-note, and because no great Muse song is complete without a great big dollop of cheese, that slide guitar comes in and just WORKS somehow. It’s hilarious. But also genuinely good!

 

Break it to Me – 10/10

After Propaganda this song just made me so happy. Not only is this one great song after another, but it’s a song that shows Muse can still shock, that there’s more that they are capable of. Basically, they’re not done. I don’t recall ever hearing Matt sing like he does on the verses. The overall taut, bendy and eccentric sound of the song just keeps you guessing, and the Morello solo at the end brings that feel to a great climax. The little snaps of silence. The violin stings. And of course, a little bit of crooning. But just a little, as if to remind you it’s still Muse you’re listening to.

 

Something Human – 6/10

Okay, so yeah, it’s a bit wimpy. It’s a pure pop song with a tired old verse style, jangly guitar and hand claps. But I just can’t deny that it’s catchy. Despite myself, I kind of enjoy listening to it when it comes on. I’m far from hung up on the idea that Muse “should” make alternative rock and “shouldn’t” make pop music. I appreciate a good pop song. This is a decent one, if nothing else.

 

Thought Contagion – 3/10

I don’t quite have the hate for this song that I did when it came out, but it really hasn’t improved much at all in my esteem. It just seems like it’s going through the motions all the time. That lazy, haunted-house up-and-down riff. The millennial woahs. Muse generally sound like a parody of themselves, loaded with fake venom and cheese. The lyrics are so bad. That dreadful ‘Final Solution’ line, come on man.

 

Get Up and Fight – 5/10

The most confused song on the album. I think it’s slightly better than Blockades by virtue of being more memorable. The chorus is good, it has a lot of oomph instrumentally but Matt as a vocalist just can’t hold up to it. Awkwardly sitting between these choruses you’ve got a dance-track vocal loop and some rather pathetically lovelorn lyrics that, again, Matt just can’t deliver well. I listen to this and keep thinking MCR or even Weezer would do a better job of it by virtue of simply having more venom or energy to their vocal styles. Not to mention the whole thing just sticks out like a sore thumb on an album which had until this track been quite strong in terms of an overall sound palette.

 

Blockades – 5/10

I just generally have trouble recalling this song. It’s kinda trying to be an Absolution-era throwback and some sort of glam rock song too. The “Verb! Verb!” chorus just lacks ANY sort of bite. It fits well in the album aesthetically so it’s not unpleasant. A resounding meh.

 

Dig Down – 5/10

There ARE things that work about Dig Down. It’s pretty uncomplicated. I’m a fan of the big build up to the belted ‘dig down’ at the end, and the backing vocals work well. But it’s all pretty rote. About a minute in you get what the song is going for without being swept up by it at all. The whole inspiring message makes it feel like something cut from Drones that was replaced by Mercy, Revolt or Defector. It just doesn’t belong here. But at least we have that Jools Holland performance.

 

The Void – 7/10

By looping back around to that throbbing outrun-synth sound, The Void manages to save Simulation Theory a lot of its blushes. The ‘they’re wrong’ chorus is convincingly paranoid in that way Muse are good at, and again much like Algorithm it doesn’t feel poorly tied to an overall theme. It’s classy how it gets quite and segues into a piano theme at the end; that really shows how Muse’s style and talents can gel with and enhance this sound. It’s slow and not much of a blockbuster, and kinda has that one-note plodding problem that Algorithm has, but it’s a nice ending.

 

Overall – Decent to Strong 7. Tran-

 

This is Muse’s strongest offering in years, far better than both Drones and T2L, on par with or better than The Resistance. Muse said they went into writing song by song and avoided being tied to a strict concept, and that approach has really helped this album feel spontaneous and light while still delivering on Muse’s moody sound. Muse complement the synthy sound pretty well overall, but not completely sticking to it allowed them to create at least two amazing show-stoppers...and at a few really poor hangers-on. But that Muse have continued to experiment and find sounds that work for them just makes me happy.

Edited by New Born Lee
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Sadly, give it another month and you guys will hate this album or just regard it as being as bad as drones/t2l. I personally think it's not right now but I can already see people downgrading the songs! :eek:

 

Been saying this since the beginning, that new release hype got everybody blinded. The past three albums make Resistance look like a masterpiece. I wonder if the results would be any better if they dropped the whole album every three years routine and just released music when it was ready. Having said that, Break It To Me is the best song on the album, getting heavy Assassin extended bridge vibes, followed closely by Blockades

 

Let's be real tho, Melon will have to buy a new red shirt when he reviews this album it's so bland. I'm feelin' a strong 3

 

I think Propaganda and Break It To Me have been the most wildly overrated tracks on the album. I can appreciate certain elements of each song but, taken as a whole, they're both complete messes. I honestly hope I'm wrong here but I can see both songs falling completely flat in concert.

 

That's a rough metric to judge a song by, most mainstream audiences have bland taste to begin with which limits the setlist for any longtime fans, this is true for many bands

Edited by Saint Rockwell
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Why are some of y’all so intent on people not liking it as much in time? Like, just let them enjoy it. Maybe it’ll fall off for them, maybe it won’t, but it’s like you’re hoping for other people to cool their opinion just to validate yours.

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Why do all these trolls that have no avatar have such a hard time accepting that people can like things that they don't?

 

Why are some of y’all so intent on people not liking it as much in time? Like, just let them enjoy it. Maybe it’ll fall off for them, maybe it won’t, but it’s like you’re hoping for other people to cool their opinion just to validate yours.

 

Why don't you just post a big sign at the top of the forum that will follow you as you scroll saying 'POSITIVE OPINIONS ONLY'

 

you can not like something and not be a troll or hater

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Why don't you just post a big sign at the top of the forum that will follow you as you scroll saying 'POSITIVE OPINIONS ONLY'

 

you can not like something and not be a troll or hater

 

What they're complaining about is not your opinions of the album, it's the insinuation that people don't actually like things they say they like. Judge the album all you like, but judge people and you'll get this reaction.

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That's a rough metric to judge a song by, most mainstream audiences have bland taste to begin with which limits the setlist for any longtime fans, this is true for many bands

 

I agree with you completely. The dilemma for Muse is that audience reaction always seems to be their justification for not playing older material and rarities. What are they going to play if the newer songs don't elicit a strong response. Muse don't seem to be the kind of band to play what they want and let the crowd sort it out. At least not when they tour the US. They barely touch OoS here because people don't know the songs. What will their reaction be when people stand there in confusion as they plough through BITM?

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What they're complaining about is not your opinions of the album, it's the insinuation that people don't actually like things they say they like. Judge the album all you like, but judge people and you'll get this reaction.

 

Well I certainly understand this point of view, all I'm saying is I remember 2nd Law and Drones coming out and people freaking out that it was a return to form before they even had time to sit with the album, it's hard not to think the same thing is happening again

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What they're complaining about is not your opinions of the album, it's the insinuation that people don't actually like things they say they like. Judge the album all you like, but judge people and you'll get this reaction.

 

^ this, obviously

 

I couldn’t care less if people don’t like the album, I expected a fair amount to not. But it’s just obnoxious to keep suggesting that people’s positive opinions aren’t gonna last ‘cos...that doesn’t align with yours I guess?

 

Like I’ve said before, I know the only album that’s ever changed over time for me was T2L, and I think that was mainly because it was the first build up I actively followed and it had a bit more life (if not quality) to it than TR.

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Well, I think you have different kinds of people, of course. Some know what they like right away and stay consistent with their views. Some gush over anything new but lose interest quickly. Others need patience and take more time to appreciate something.

 

I'm hoping that I fit into the last category, at least as far as Simulation Theory is concerned, because I'm not really appreciating it so much out of the gate. I'm trying though.

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Break It To Me is so fucking good. That RATM riff, that Linkin Park shuffle, that Jonny Greenwood glitch solo, those stabs of Musey theramin/Kaoss, the wubbage, the brittle guitar tone, the fat af beat underpinning everything, the little tiny but vital guitar scratches, the absolutely excellent percussive choices, one of Matt's most unique, intriguing and urgent vocals, the best whispers of any Muse song, the absolutely off-piste melody in the second half of the first verse, the descending eastern vibe of the little post-chorus bit backed by the guitar riff, the sheer chug of the whole thing, the fact they've written a very Princy track that is absolutely reminiscent of him while also sounding totally modern, the fact it is short/concise and never outstays its welcome, the fact it feels like the focal point of the album yet it's not a cheap or throwaway song at all, the sparse but effective use of strings, it's just a brilliantly conceived track that truly is the most interesting and innovative thing I can recall by Muse for quite some time.

 

And, come at me bros, but I think the nearest musical cousin it has in recent years is The Handler. There are so many touches in it that remind me of the detailing that went into that song. Yes, the vibe and sound is completely different, but The Handler was absolutely the first Musey reference point that came to my mind when I heard BITM.

 

Best Muse song since Map / Take A Bow. Srsly. Apart perhaps from Dead Inside.

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I love RATM, Radiohead, Prince and The Handler but somehow I listen to BITM and think "What is this shit?"

 

Go figure.

 

 

On further reflection, here's my theory for what it's worth...

 

I don't think Muse are tough and edgy enough to pull off RATM

I think Muse have become too pop to pull off Radiohead

I don't think Muse are soulful and funky enough to pull off Prince

I think The Handler was just Muse being awesomely Muse and maybe that what they should stick with

They can try to mash all of those elements into a 4-minute song but it sounds like a mess to me

Edited by Nigel_Tufnel
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I think this album does well with those little subtler details in the mix in general tbh, BITM is defo a particular highlight for it though.

 

I love RATM, Radiohead, Prince and The Handler but somehow I listen to BITM and think "What is this shit?"

 

you have to have a high iq to truly ‘get’ bitm

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