Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Resistance

Muse's fifth album, The Resistance, has been officially released in North America now (Sept 15). After listening to it many times, I've decided to do a song-by-song review because I can't sum this album up completely without taking every song into account.


This song is the first song of the album and the first single. With a groovy bass line, the song starts off making you want to dance or move in some sort. The clapping hands captivate a unitary feeling of rebellion alongside the lyrics. Then, the guitar comes in and the song gets a little more intense. At the end, a multitude of Matthew Bellamy voices come at you and your imagination starts to march at this point. I think this is a good song for a first single. It's similar to the structure of "Time is Running Out" from Absolution but is a little more rebellious.


In my opinion, I think this song should've started the album off. The faded-in extra-terrestrial sounds and synths would've made a great start to the LP. Maybe it wasn't chosen as the beginning song because it's the title track of the album. At first, I didn't really like this one. The chorus put me off; the short "it could be wrong"'s got to me for some reason. But I did really like the beginning/end and the verses so I gave the song another chance. And now I'm convinced the song is about the love E.T. and Elliott shared, which makes me really happy.

"Undisclosed Desires"

This song starts off mischievous and has many electronic aspects to it. I can imagine the remixes that will be produced with this one in the near future. I really like the lyrics of this song and the quiet whispering that goes along with them. "Undisclosed Desires" could definitely be used as the second album single.

"United States of Eurasia (+ Collateral Damage)":

I've had some troubles with this one. I enjoy the beginning and the end a lot but the middle, I'm still not too sure of. The beginning starts off with piano, voice and orchestra. Then, an explosion of guitar and Queen-like vocals come into place. This part just doesn't sound like Muse to me. The lyrics are Orwellian and I do like that effect but I don't really like the end of "United States of Eurasia", where it's just Matthew Bellamy saying "Eurasia" in different octaves over and over. But then the song transcends into "Collateral Damage" quickly after this. This part is a beautiful piano-based and orchestra/vocal-accompanied sample of Chopin's "Nocturne in E Flat Major". And in the background of this part, there are sound clips of airplanes flying and children playing; it lets your imagination float away into a movie.

"Guiding Light"

This song has an epic-rock guitar solo but that's about it. It's more like an extended interlude to me.

"Unnatural Selection"

Organs are always good in my books. They don't last long but the song quickly turns into something that kind of reminds me of "Citizen Erased" and "New Born" from Origin of Symmetry. I'm not really into the "Hey!"'s during the chorus but I appreciate the relation they have to the overall essence of the song. Near the end of the song, the music slows down, which I really like. The organs come back at this point and a guitar solo pops up. Then, it goes back to the original structure of the song and I'm kind of reminded of System of a Down for some reason...

"MK Ultra"

Perhaps some background knowledge of the title of this song is necessary. MK-ULTRA was apparently an undercover research program dedicated to the chemical interrogation of an individual's brain. Besides the meaning of the song title, this one is well produced and kind of reminds of "TSP" from Absolution.

"I Belong to You/Mon Cœur S'ouvre à ta Voix"

When did Matthew Bellamy learn French? I guess that is a question that's straying off on a tangent. This song is really good and was obviously influenced by different genres; it slightly resembles an R&B/50s song with a modern Muse twist. Very romantic.

"Exogenesis: Symphony, Pt 1: Overture"

Here's where things get really good. Things get really dark in this song, which I love. A large orchestra is used for most of it with eerie guitar effects and vocals. I'm starting to think that Muse should start producing film soundtracks.

"Exogenesis: Symphony, Pt 2: Cross-Pollination"

Finally, an amazing piano solo. There's one of these on every Muse album and it's one of Matthew Bellamy's many talents. This part goes from a piano solo to more orchestral rock music then back to more piano and classical-inspired music. At the end, it sounds like a choir is present, which is a really nice touch to the end of this part.

"Exogenesis: Symphony, Pt 3: Redemption"

The beginning of this part reminds me of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" except less depressing and more averring; obviously a really nice end to the album. It's like everything is "starting over again".

So there you have it. Apologies for some short song reviews but all-in-all, I like the album. It's not my favourite but it is a well produced and thought-out album (I would hope so, it took them 3 years). And whether you enjoyed my song-by-song review or not, The Resistance can be interpreted however you like. To me, it seems like this album could go alongside an Orwellian movie about romance, aliens, oppression and rebellion, which in the end, finishes with a happy ending.

Muse - Uprising (2009 VMA Performance)

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