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Muse - Will of the People (Album Review)

Tuesday, 30 August 2022 Written by Jacob Brookman

‘Will of the People’ is Muse’s ninth studio album and represents a furious, quizzical artistic agenda that recalls some of their most streamed and commercially successful work. To listen to it is to immerse yourself in a cross-section of their sound where hard rock riffs underscore classical synths, glam rock stomps and histrionic hyperbole. If you’re wedded to their original turn-of-the-century music, it’s probably not for you, but for any other iteration of Muse fan, this should be a crowd pleaser.

The themes are familiar. The title track and opener matches T-Rex rhythms with doomy satire that seems to commentate on the January 6 insurrection in Washington DC. “We need a transformation / One we all can see,” cries soothsayer-in-chief Matt Bellamy. “We need a revolution / So long as we stay free”.

It’s slightly lame but also great–the Muse sweet spot—and the same can be said for Compliance, a melodic groover that matches spiky synth riffs with soaring vocals and Knight Rider refrains. 

This track could easily be on the group’s 2012 record 'The 2nd Law' but, if we are being honest, the production and arrangements haven’t moved on greatly from then. Also, the lyrics are completely on the nose, but Bellamy has never really been one for complex metaphors.

Their sound is most effectively updated on the single Won’t Stand Down, which manages to use the half-time syncopated rhythms dominating a lot of pop music in 2022. This track is a real musical journey, incorporating doom rock, trap and reggae with incredible finesse. It’s the best new music they’ve put out in years.

At the start of 2022, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin announced that his band would stop releasing new music after 2025, but continue touring. Tongues wagged in the music industry press: what if other established A-listers (say, Muse or Radiohead?) took a similar approach to their work? 

Maybe then we could concentrate on enjoying their fantastic musical catalogue at live shows instead of having to pretend to like the new stuff. If ‘Will of the People’ is anything to go by, fuck that. Muse should keep experimenting and honing their sound well into the next decade.

Muse Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat May 27 2023 - PLYMOUTH Home Park
Tue June 20 2023 - HUDDERSFIELD John Smith's Stadium
Fri June 23 2023 - GLASGOW Bellahouston Park
Sun June 25 2023 - MILTON KEYNES National Bowl

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