It is common to see bands experiment with their sound throughout their time in the limelight. For some rock bands, their first studio release may sound completely foreign from that of their latest release; and that is no different for a band like Muse. Nearly 20 years have passed since the release of their debut album “Showbiz,” and in that time Muse has consistently pushed themselves towards creating exhilarating and grandiose music. Overall, I wasn’t expecting much of this album. Muse’s previous release, “Drones” felt mediocre at best, and didn’t highlight the true potential of the band. However, I was pleased to find that 2018’s “Simulation Theory” is a prime example of Muse’s capability to craft such an elegant, yet epic sound. The band’s ability to experiment with various genres, results in a sound that pushes the boundaries of what they can possibly achieve.
With this release, Muse was heavily inspired by the ideas of science fiction, mainly that of human beings living in a simulated reality. These futuristic ideas lend themselves well towards the incorporation of synthesizers and electronic vocals used throughout the album.
The opening track, “Algorithm” makes use of electronic instrumentation, while also incorporating that of symphonic strings and piano. Matt Bellamy’s lyrics cry out, “We are caged in simulations / Algorithms evolve / Push us aside and render us obsolete.” These words are not heard until nearly a minute and a half into the song, but when they are finally sang, it provides us with a tease of what is to come throughout the album.
Later tracks, such as “Break it to me” make use of tribal percussion, as well as synthesizers, creating a sound that is weird, yet catchy. Bellamy’s guitar solo at the end of the track is reminiscent of a Rage Against The Machine track, adding to the experimental vibe of the whole album.
Another track, “The Dark Side” feels more at home as a hard alternative rock song, but with elements of electronic music assorted into it. Bellamy’s lyrics however, steal the show, “For all my life, I’ve been pursued / You’d be afraid, if you could feel my pain / And if you could see the things / I am able to see.” The rage and isolationist fueled lyrics provide for a song that feels familiar to longtime Muse fans, yet diverse enough to provide a wholly unique experience.
As a Muse fan, I found myself delighted when I first listened to this album in its entirety. The passion flowing from each of the members really shows here, and through this passion we see the very best of Muse. If you’re in need of something new to listen to on the daily commute home, while writing up a paper, or when you’re just bored, then I implore you to give this album a listen.
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