After experimenting with more symphonic and electronic sounds, Muse managed to deliver one hell of an album with 2009’s The Resistance. Since then, they have been talking about their follow up release, working diligently in the studio, and promising “something radically different.” When the band released the first trailer for this project, fans were taken aback when we discovered that “radically different” actually meant “dubstep.” Since then, fans have been wondering what would be presented to us in the end. Luckily, the wait is finally over. Muse has finally released the debut single Madness, off of their up-coming album The Second Law.
I have always been a fan of electronic music. I always enjoy when a band experiments with new and unique sounds. I’ve also been a fan of rock music, especially the unique sound that Muse always brings. It would seem that Muse experimenting with dubstep and electronic sounds would be the best thing to ever happen to me, ever! In many ways, it is. And in so many other ways, I find myself completely conflicted with this brave new sound.
Madness begins with Matt’s heavily synthesized vocals cooing out a soft “m-m-m-m-mad-mad-madness” over a slowly building dubstep beat. Its a very hypnotic and mysterious sound that provides the foundation for the rest of the track to grow upon. Matt’s vocals are simply chilling as he sings about the link between love and madness. The sound is completely euphoric, but a small problem arises through the first minute of the song. Other than the fact that it plays a bit like a remix to Undisclosed Desires, it has yet to really remind you that it is, indeed, a Muse track.
Luckily, somewhere along the song’s midpoint, right when you’ve noticed the shocking lack of any actual instrumentals, a guitar solo that can only be characterized as “cool” comes in to change up the pace. From then on, the song really begins to flourish. Matt picks it up an octave or two as his voice comes to a full wail. The drums kick in, and give the song the added beat that it needed. The Muse we know and love come out in full force for the last two minutes, making us wonder why it took so damn long to get to this point. However, once the song ends, it finally hits you. Madness is a seriously, fucking awesome song.
However, it also inspires a rant!
Muse has always had an established sound. When someone says “Muse,” your mind instantly thinks of wailing guitars, huge arena filling drums, and Matt’s unique and powerful vocals. Muse has also continually experimented with this sound. I wouldn’t have a problem with them experimenting with dubstep if it weren’t for the fact that everyone else under the sun is “experimenting” with the same sound. When you claim to be using the same musical style that B.o.B, Britney Spears, and Justin fucking Beiber are using, you should maybe look to alternative sources. Can we all agree that dubstep has lost it’s unique “indie-ness?” It has gone from underground movement to world-wide trend. For the first time ever, I kind of feel like Muse is following the trend rather than creating it.
That said, they’ve incorporated the sound in a brilliant way. This definitely isn’t the jarring bass heavy brand of “dirty dubstep” that was popularized by Skrillex. Instead, Muse brings us an almost ambient and calming brand of dubstep. While it may not be the Muse we know and love…isn’t the experimentation something that we’ve always loved about the band? This particular experiment may not have yielded results that were necessarily better or worse…just different. Sometimes different takes some getting used to. Without a doubt, Madness is an incredible song. The band has taken an all too common sound and presented it in a way that feels refreshing.
Final Score: 4/5