Muse – The 2nd Law

2012 (WarnerMusic)

1: Supremacy (4:55)
2: Madness (4:39)
3: Panic Station (3:03)
4: Prelude (1:03)
5: Survival (4:17)
6: Follow Me (3:51)
7: Animals (4:23)
8: Explorers (5:48)
9: Big Freeze (4:41)
10: Save Me (5:09)
11: Liquid State (3:03)
12: The 2nd Law: Unsustainable (3:48)
13: The 2nd Law: Isolated System (4:59)

The British trio Muse makes power pop that is as explosive as a working volcano. “The 2nd Law” from 2012, their sixth studio album, is no different and you can enjoy their intense music again. This time there are again infectious elements of strength, expression, tenderness and bombast, the music is full of electronics and there is a large orchestra including a choir present. Hold me down, I am getting blown out of my chair because of the mixture of art rock, alternative new wave, progressive rock and dubstep.

The evocative album title refers to something physical, with which I will not bother you. Also the colorful image of the cover, a map of the paths of the human brain, has nothing to do with the music in my opinion. It’s just cool.

On to the songs. The album counts thirteen tracks of which five have been released as singles. The first to appear was Survival, on the occasion of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The extravagant song caused quite a stir at the time. Muse can also sound very different, as can be heard in Follow Me. While this is the most catchy song Muse has ever made, it’s definitely my favorite album track. It is a creative melting pot of the styles mentioned before and it shows an inspired Matthew Bellamy. Which is obvious, because the song is about his newborn son. About the other singles, the powerful opener Supremacy stands out thanks to the beautiful orchestra, the popping bass guitar and the hectic King Crimson like passage.

Of the songs that did not appear on single, the ballad Explorers stands out, one of their most beautiful songs. The album also contains two songs written by bassist Chris Wolstenholme, Save Me and Liquid State. They are about his drinking problem and he sings them himself of course. The album closes with two instrumental tracks and these are downright bizarre. Your jaw will drop when you hear the many voices and the terrifying orchestral sounds, but also because of the syncopated dance rhythms and the awesome vocoder.

“The 2nd Law” is so incredible creative. It sometimes sounds like a guilty pleasure but with the emphasis on pleasure.

Matthew Bellamy: vocals, guitar, keyboards, synthesizer
Chris Wolstenholme: vocals (10 en 11), bass, synthesizer
Dominic Howard: drums, percussion, synthesizer
Wayne Bergeron: trumpet (1)
Charles Findley: trumpet (3)
Steven Madaio: trumpet (3)
Rodrigo D’Erasmo: violin (4,8)
Daniela Savoldi: cello (4,8)
Tom Kirk: vocals (5)
Katie Razzall: spoken words (12,13)
David Campbell: conductor, orchestra arrangements
Bingham Bellamy: heartbeat (6)

© Dick van der Heijde 2022