Muse ‘Will of The People’ Review: My expectations were low, and yet…

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Muse is the falafel kebab wrap of the music world. It sounds like a nutritious option, but don’t let the salad fool you into thinking you’re eating less salt than your friend with kebab grease on his face. But sometimes that’s exactly what you need: something cheap that soaks up the booze without making you miserable. I’ve long since given up on looking forward to new music from Muse, because they can’t even do that anymore. My expectations for will of the people were low, but clearly should have been lower.

With a title that gives me flashbacks to endless debates over the meaning of the Brexit vote, will of the people is – unsurprisingly – a political album. Should we turn to rock bands for nuanced discussions of the current sociopolitical climate? Maybe not. But we must not overlook the power of art to express the mood of an era and to give people hope. The only thing will of the people will give listeners a headache.

Maybe I’d enjoy this album if I turned off my brain and took it for what it is – ridiculous. Alas, I can’t do that.

The title track that opens the album is about standing up to The Man™. Who is The Man™? Why are we supposed to stand up to them? I do not know. If Matt Bellamy knows, he’s not telling us. Most of Muse’s earlier political productions fall into this trap. They want the prestige of being a band that has something to say, without taking the risk of upsetting people. But the previous songs made up for that. While the same wave Uprising ringing with revolutionary energy, will of the people is the musical equivalent of blowing raspberries at [insert politician you disagree with].

This highlights the biggest problem with will of the people. We know Muse can be better than that. Yes, they are often silly and not exactly subtle. But the Teignmouth trio is one of the most virtuoso musicians on the charts. The way they mix baroque textures with Rachmaninonic piano flourishes and majestic vocals can be epic at best. I can even forgive some shortcomings of previous albums like The 2nd law and Drone because when these guys are good, they are amazing.

But most of this album is a forgettable mix of different styles. Release feels like a Queen song that people don’t talk about because there’s not much to say about it. Compliance is a return to Simulation theory tasteless attempt at synth-pop. Any life these songs may have is drained by colorless production, each track leaving you as cold as the last.

That said, you clearly highlight will of the people is kill or be killed. With its dense guitar work and heavily climbing bridge, it feels like it would fit Origin of symmetry Where Absolution. It’s one of the few songs where the three band members can show that they still have some serious talent. As a result, it underlines how soft the other tracks are.

There are parts of the album that are actually about something, even if the lyrics are often clunky. Verona is about how the pandemic has forced people to be separated from people they loved, but feel emotionally anemic. Ghosts concerns people who have lost their partner during the pandemic. It’s a perfectly harmless ballad. But like equally innocuous Eurovision ballads, it’s mowed down by the sheer batshittery of You make me feel like it’s Halloween coming right after. Apparently this song is about the terror of being trapped with an abusive partner during lockdown. Kudos to the boys for trying to write about such a serious subject. I just wish the music didn’t sound like it belonged to scooby-doo.

Again, this is disappointing as we know Muse can do better. They addressed abusive relationships in Hysteria and Stockholm Syndrome to great effect and claustrophobic. I’m for not taking ourselves too seriously. But there is a time and a place, and that’s not it.

One place where not taking yourself too seriously almost works is the fence track, We are fucking fucked. I say almost, because while it’s impossible to take a song that features the word “fuck” twenty times seriously, the song otherwise sounds sincere. This is perhaps the point on the album where they best capture a particular vibe. will of the people fell on the day the energy cap jumped to £3,549. A lot of people are feeling pretty screwed up right now.

will of the people is a mess, both musically and lyrically. Once my frustration dissipated, the main emotional reaction I had to these ten tracks was boredom. “Boring” was never a word you could use to describe Muse. Bellamy may have been describing his own album when he wrote the line “you make me feel like it’s Halloween”: you’re promised thrills, but you end up with nothing but good stuff market.

At least we still have Black holes and revelations.

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