New Music Review – Muse: Dead Inside
The first time I heard of Muse was when I was a sophomore in college. It took me a while to even listen to them, my idea of their music was completely off-base and I’ve never forgiven myself for the time I wasted not listening to them. Once they started to get extensive radio-play stateside – because I want to sound more sophisticated – I heard “Knights of Cydonia” and realized that this was not the cookie-cutter, Nickleback-esque, rock music I had expected. Their opera-like songs told a story in a tight three to four minute window and exposed me to a new side of music that brought true structure to popular music.
Since then I became a devout fan. Diving deep into their catalogue to search for the perfect song and, to be honest, they are all pretty amazing. The arrangements, the music inflections, the crescendos, the power are always present and that’s without even mentioning how great they are as musicians.
When I finally saw them live I knew why so many people loved them. Not only did they sound amazing in person but their stage show rivaled Rob Zombie’s who, whether you like him or not, you have to admit can put on a pretty outrageous show. Their use of props, moving stages and platforms, lights, pyro and a myriad of other visual effects make you feel like you are at a Broadway show not a concert. It’s a complete sensory experience and one that has to be seen to fully comprehend and appreciate.
Recently Muse has shifted their sound and while it isn’t exactly what you come to expect from them, it does showcase a new sound and evolution of their musicality. Where they were heavily a guitar-riff based band, of which guitarist/lead singer Matt Bellamy seemed to be an endless ocean of, they have been moving more toward syncopated beats that are more representative of new-wave 80’s rock drawing inspiration from, in my opinion, band like New Order.
Their most recent track “Dead Inside,” inspired by his recent break-up with Kate Hudson, showcases their changing sound succinctly. This change isn’t entirely new, as seen on their 2012 release The 2nd Law, where songs like “Panic Station” and “Madness” gave us a sneak-peak into where they are headed. Heavy synthesizer use and modified equipment headlined the movement while their song structure and themes – typically those of apocalyptic demise and cultural collapse – continued throughout.
In their most recent release, as stated before, “Dead Inside” we get a glimpse into the collapse of Matt’s relationship with actress Kate Hudson. His pleas to reconnect and to be taken back are a recurring theme with lyrics like, “feel me now/hold me please/I need you to see who I am,” that perfectly articulate the pain he is going through. The post-modern/new-wave sound give a dance hall feel to the song as to not completely crush your soul while listening and, of course, we can’t be without a Matt Bellamy guitar solo which calls back to the bands earlier years.
Overall if this is the sound of Muse’s future I’m excited to go on this journey to see what the demise of humanity through some kind of cyborg takeover will look like.