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Best Album

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Origin Of Symmetry - A magnum opus. Creative, experimental fusions of nu metal, classical, prog, pop and alt./punk/latin rock that still sound fresh and exciting today. Almost, if not arguably every song ended up a classic in their discography and paved the way for the sound and image that would define them as a band. A consistent and appropriately grand, existential theme that’s covered from a variety of interesting perspectives lyrically. Flows nigh perfectly throughout with a pretty sharp production and master that still holds up to boot. To top it all off, art that perfectly fits the record - very few elements but bold, bright and weirdly alien. If this isn’t your #1 you slipped up somewhere and need to edit your post, sorry I don’t make the rules.

 

Black Holes & Revelations - Origin’s younger, more light-hearted and poppy sister. Close to the same level of creative fire but switching the heavier, more abrasive aspects of the former for proggy space rock, glam, electronics, barbershop jazz, Morricone film music. Even aside from holding several GOAT songs, there’s just something so warm and cozy about the album, like some cheesy action-romance film in space. It’s that lightning in a bottle effect, and Muse did it twice somehow. Falls just behind Origin for not quite having the same flow or 100% watertight quality control and a frankly criminal mix/master that someone needs locking up for. Forever pray for a remaster to do this beauty justice.

 

Simulation Theory - Those who might write this off as Muse riffing on synthwave and 80s nostalgia might find this a weird statement, but it’s easily one of their boldest records for me. The band ditch the guitars for synths/wubs and finally go all in on the unashamed pop, resulting in performances and a creative energy that are infectiously enjoyable while remaining cohesive and pushing their sound towards new places. Not to mention some genuinely gorgeous moments that rank up there with some of their best for me, and the deluxe tracks. Returning to some of the existential, technological themes of 15-17 years ago is a refreshing break from the ‘government r bad’ roundabout Matt got trapped on for a while as well. Think in 10 years this might be looked upon v favourably by a lotta people.

 

Showbiz - Sure, this is a band still finding their feet but it’s easy to write off the foundation this set for their sound and it’s ended up being one of their most unique albums tonally and sonically. Not many centre-stage heavy riffs, if any, or anthemic choruses. Instead, the majority of the instrumentation feels like it’s there to set a tone or express a feeling as opposed to take the spotlight and any big, grander moments feel like a release of sadness or anger as opposed to their later, maybe sillier bravado. John Leckie worked wonders expanding their sound beyond the pretty standard, rough indie/alt. rock band they were up to that point. Underrated calibre of songs as well, holding several all-time classics (Sunburn, MM, Cave, Unintended, Uno, Showbiz) and sneaky gems like Falling Down and HTAILY. Pretty impressive for a debut.

 

Absolution - Brief sum up of what I’ve mentioned before - a conflicting case of some of their absolute greatest work juxtaposed with others that’re much less memorable, an almost carelessly scattered flow and pretty muddy master. Deeper strides into classical styles aside, a lot of the album feels like quite standard, commercial alt. rock for the time as well, which ultimately feels like a step backwards after something as wild and unique as Origin.

 

Drones - Really solid, well-rounded, cohesive, punchy, smooth flowing rock album. Saying it doesn’t reinvent the wheel is an understatement but, at this point in their career, that’s not a huge crime and it’s still massively preferred to the results of the last 2. Yeah, the concept is pretty clunky but it’s easy to ignore or have fun with in a silly way if needs be. Maybe the best mix/master of their discography? Pretty clear and well balanced without sounding overly clinical, clean and tame like the last two. The only thing maybe holding it behind Abso (they do flip flop a lot for me) is the lack of many really great songs and new ground broken compared to that record. Absolutely shits the bed right at the death as well.

 

The Resistance - The first record to break that cycle of evolution between records. Felt like treading water after Black Holes and the band’s step up to stadiums, with the theme and sounds feeling largely like a watered down combination of the last 2 records. IBTY’s a banger but the only song that feels like it really offers something new that would go on to influence their later work is Undisclosed. Very cold, soulless production for the most part which doesn’t help how tame the whole thing feels. Not much bad all in all, just not much great either. Very...grey, like the artwork.

 

The 2nd Law - Messing About (Or Throwing Shit At A Wall And Seeing What Sticks): The Album. Main source of inspiration seems to be a pretty surface level “let’s do x genre or y artist”. Hints at an overly-familiar theme that’s ultimately, again, just a combination of previous records and inconsistent/barely bothered with anyway, like the flow and cohesion of the whole thing. Don’t like ripping on Muse but this is just a bit of a trainwreck with hard to find highlights and I think there’s good reason why it largely disappeared from sets so quickly.

Edited by Jobby

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Eh, I give up on ranking albums. I just group them into tiers.

 

Great

 

Origin of Symmetry

Hullabaloo

Absolution

Black Holes

Simulation Theory

 

Good

 

Showbiz

The Resistance

 

Decent

 

The 2nd Law

Drones

 

They haven't really done a bad album yet.

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Even with the muddiness and mixing of some of its tracks, the best album is Absolution. It's the most sonically and thematically cohesive album the band has made except for Drones, its worst songs are still wonderfully bizarre and successful, it does aggressively catchy rock just as well as Origin but explores quieter and more vulnerable moments far more expansively too.

 

The only thing stopping me from giving Origin top spot is my personal preference for the second half of Absolution over the 2nd half of Origin, which is a fantastic album but imo definitely sees a quality/pace drop in the 2nd half (Absolution has one too - TSP and ToaDA are basic as hell - but for some reason it bothers me less, and I think that might be to do with the fact they still smash along at 100mph)

 

BH&R is my favourite Muse album but with its track ordering, lack of Glorious and presence of Exo-Politics, I know I can't say it's their best.

 

Simulation Theory sadly can't be anywhere near the top 3 for me as it contains Get Up and Fight and Thought Contagion. An album without those 2 (and Dig Down) and with TDS Alternate acting as a reprise before The Void would be doing v well though

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Why?

 

I think it’s got a lotta merit that makes it standout in their discography that some people might find easier to see when it’s not so new and can be looked back on in a wider context

 

Jobby's enthusiasm :happy: 10/10

 

:love:

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Simulation Theory - Think in 10 years this might be looked upon v favourably by a lotta people

 

I think people will be thinking "Oh yeah, I forgot about that album. Muse were a pretty good rock band before then."

 

But ok.

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Even with the muddiness and mixing of some of its tracks, the best album is Absolution. It's the most sonically and thematically cohesive album the band has made except for Drones, its worst songs are still wonderfully bizarre and successful, it does aggressively catchy rock just as well as Origin but explores quieter and more vulnerable moments far more expansively too.

 

The only thing stopping me from giving Origin top spot is my personal preference for the second half of Absolution over the 2nd half of Origin, which is a fantastic album but imo definitely sees a quality/pace drop in the 2nd half (Absolution has one too - TSP and ToaDA are basic as hell - but for some reason it bothers me less, and I think that might be to do with the fact they still smash along at 100mph)

 

Agreed. If I'm judging the albums based on the best 6-7 songs, I'll go with Origin. Album as a whole...Absolution by a hair.

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I love the individual songs on Absolution for song-writing style and for the live performances. But I do agree the production and track-list ordering is suspect in places. For a very long time it was my #1 Muse album, but I think a re-evaluation is why Origin has recently jumped it in my personal list.

 

Still happy to belt along to all the songs when I put the album on in my car though.

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See, Origin will always be my favourite but I can't think of it objectively and don't know if it would be if I heard them all for the first time today! Black Holes was a disappointment at the time, unbelievably, but of course I could see its greatness and still can...

Edited by Gemsy

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Certainly, Black Holes is an album I've re-evaluated over time. There was a point when I had a downer on parts of it that meant I had it closer to The 2nd Law in my rankings (partly as I really liked T2L when that first came out), whereas of late I've had a second wind of appreciation for BHaR.

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