With a number two spot on the US charts, domination in their native England, and an upcoming over-the-top tour, you would think that the men behind Muse would be satisfied.
Not so much.
In an interview withThe Daily Star, Matt Bellamy seemed far from content with their new album, "The 2nd Law." “I’m disappointed that we don’t have many acoustic tracks, more quiet moments," he said. “When I left the studio after having laid the foundations for the single 'Madness' it was sparse. When I returned two days later, Chris and Dom Howard had put absolutely everything on it.”
He also measured the band's success against that of Coldplay, who he said is "the only English group to have had real success [in the US] in the last 15 years."
Muse's newest album has been seen as a major departure for the band. While it has generally received favorable reviews, album sales are lower than the band's 2009 album, 'The Resistance.'
For more on Muse, head over to The Daily Star.
And in the final act, the album doesn’t need the one true dubstep moment that comes on ‘Unsustainable’. By this point, though, you’ve forgiven Muse, because even though ‘The 2nd Law’ doesn’t scale the 10/10 superhuman heights of ‘Black Holes & Revelations’, it’s their most human record since 2003's ‘Absolution’. It’s not inspiring enough to make us heed the warnings and change the world forever. But what Muse have done is re-establish themselves as a respected British institution by being fun. Exactly what the Olympic Games taught this country to do, too.
"The 2nd Law" is blatantly frontloaded, but when that sin is committed entirely through songs Muse will be playing live for the rest of their careers-huge, gaudy pieces of orchestration-it's hard to complain about something as piddling as a less-remarkable back end. Muse fans will have a hard time being disappointed by The 2nd Law, and rookies have a new perfect place to jump in.
And the more I listened to this record, the more I figured out how Muse have managed to sell 15 million records. They hurl together like meteorites lots of big, chunkily familiar influences from across a galaxy of genres, then set them spinning in an ever-so-slightly off kilter orbit for a few giddy minutes.
If Muse somehow became giants that played neon-colored Ferrari’s as instruments, their sound still wouldn’t be as big as they’d always dreamed. Barring freak magic accidents, the trio will have to continue with Plan A: giving every fiber of their collective being to become the new Queen even as they recognize the sheer impossibility. In spirit, their sixth album, The 2nd Law, is another step in that journey, combining over-the-top rock anthems with more linear EDM influences. Yet the 13 tracks lack some focus and cohesion, weakening what should be a limitless, quasi-spiritual slice of rock and roll transcendence.
Muse makes the genre-jumping on The 2nd Law work by keeping pop melodies at the album's core. All the stacked musical and scientific theories and jagged combinations sound on the verge of toppling, at times, but never do -- quite an artistic feat.
Bassist Chris Wolstenholme says of The 2nd Law that "this time, we really went the whole hog." Presumably this relegates the super-massive airborne rock piggery of their previous efforts to mere bacon sandwich status. Bellamy is not blind to the contradictions of his band's attempts continually to ramp the ludicrousness up to 11; endless growth is, of course, unsustainable. But for now they remain pretty comfortable with the idea of obscene over-inflation. So should we.
When Muse first broke nearly a decade ago, they were a lean, streamlined goth-glam act. Today, frontman Matt Bellamy has multiple gold records, a movie-star baby mama (Kate Hudson), and enough sonic pyro to power a closing ceremony. The more-is-more problems of ''Survival'' keep compounding themselves on the band's sixth album, which often adds a symphony when a simple drum break would do.