August 31 Muse – Will of the People
Since Showbiz, their first album, the trio from Teignmouth have evolved a lot, both musically and in their work on stage. And it’s finally all that we can wish for artists: to grow, to refine their sounds, to diversify them to create renewal. From garage rock to dubstep to a three-part symphony, you can’t deny Muse an immense capacity for regeneration. But at the end of the ninth album, Will of the People sign the exhaustion of the creative resources of the group?
We Are Fucking Fucked, the last title of the disc, announces the intention behind the new texts of the trio. The lyrical and musical subtlety of the first albums is also completely set aside, Will of the People wants to be raw, direct, “immediate”. As from its beginnings, Matthew Bellamy uses science fiction themes to convey political messages. We can cite the spatial themes ofOrigin of Symmetrythe Orwellian mass control over The Resistanceor the concept album Drones and its anti-militarist messages, against thought control and the dehumanizing side of war. On Will of the People, Bellamy continues to speak of a rebellion of the people against a system that oppresses them, as on the titles Release or on the title track that opens the album, a hymn that seeks to target both stadiums and radios. But the titles are heavy, always written in the second degree, and the “political” messages never target anyone.
Listening to the record, we wonder several times if Muse does not try to parody itself, so much the compositions seem to be a potpourri of all that the group could propose in the past. Bellamy described the album as a “greatest hits” of new songs, following a compilation request by Warner. But after compiling Origin of Museand the remaster ofOrigin of Symmetry released last summer, the group offers few novelties and reuses gimmicks that have worked in the past on almost all tracks, from ballads Verona that we would see of course Black Holes and Revelationssynthwave tube Compliance, oh how kitsch. The compositions are often reminiscent of another piece from the band’s catalog, or another artist. Release sweat the homage to Queen, Won’t Stand Down combines a pop-rock verse with the imagine Dragons and a metal riff taken from Slipknot, Euphoria crosses the keyboard arpeggios ofOrigin of Symmetry with a motivating sound blockadesfrom the previous SimulationTheory.
You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween, fifth single released on the same day as the other titles, which seems to be there only to target a young audience, and playing with the imagery of horror films without any creativity. This isn’t the first time the band have made an influence album, it seems to have been a formula for The Resistance. But most of the songs seem to be written to target one of the band’s diverse and often irreconcilable audiences, perhaps to get everyone to agree, before an intimate tour of a few dates in the fall, and a (full) date in the Salle Pleyel, then a stadium tour in 2023.
We recognize in the album more sincere moments, with for example Ghosts (How Can I Move On), a piano-voice about mourning, but sung in a very superficial way. The album also contains a hit, Kill Or Be Killedwhich manages to bring together the best aspects of Muse post-The Resistance and the old ones, on a crazy piece of 5 minutes, but very effective. We also appreciate We Are Fucking Fucked, intended conclusion nanardesque but quite fun that we imagine cut for the live. But after listening to the album, we remain unsatisfied and we feel the inspiration that is lacking, creativity ultimately gives way to self-parody and a cynicism calibrated to please, where SimulationTheory was divisive but represented a desire for experimentation. We come out disappointed without retaining much of this Muse who seeks to please everyone without finding himself, never too good nor too bad. Come on, will you be back on a stadium tour?
Will Of The People
Won’t Stand Down
Ghosts (How Can I Move On)
You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween
Kill Or Be Killed
We Are Fucking Fucked
Editor’s Rating: 3.5/10
His favorite songs: Won’t Stand Down, kill or be Killed
The other notes:
Fabian : 7.5/10. Lots of waste but not everything is to be thrown away, far from it.
Clear : 5/10. Shards of brilliance far too rare in a dull and unoriginal album.