Muse – Drones

Brief thoughts on Muse’s new album, Drones, after a few listens.

  1. Dead Inside – Alright. Not much more to say.
  2. Drill Sergeant – See start of Warheads from Extreme’s 1992 album III Sides to Every Story.
  3. Psycho – Another Muse glam beat track. Nice main riff. Kind of grown on me in successive listens.
  4. Mercy – Return to earlier Muse sound with their old, Abba-esque hammered piano octave chords and arpeggiated synth.
  5. Reapers – Nice classically-inspired guitar opening and generally a bit more interesting for me, this one.
  6. The Handler – Lovely bass parts in this and rhythm change at 2:20 to a Bach-like instrumental part.
  7. JFK – A section of JFK’s speech, The President and the Press: Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association, April 27, 1961 (see http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/American-Newspaper-Publishers-Association_19610427.aspx) – an appeal to the American press to consider carefully the information it was making public in the light of the Soviet threat. Conspiracy theorists will no doubt take it out of context and think it refers to the Illuminati. Sigh. That may be Muse’s intention.
  8. Defector – If ELO had done heavier rock, this could have been them.
  9. Revolt – Slower verses and faster choruses with more Muse synth arpeggios interspersed by what sound like car alarms. Nothing special at first listen, but a grower.
  10. Aftermath – Slower paced with strings throughout. Nice melody and break from the distortion-fest throughout most of it, although Bellamy can’t resist bunging a bit in for the last minute or so.
  11. The Globalist – The proggiest track on the album, weighing in at just over ten minutes. The first 2.5 minutes see Ennio Morricone making a return to influencing Muse again, as we go all spaghetti western. Instrumental, with plenty of slide guitar and emerging bolero snare. Brave of Muse to fly in the face of the supposed public hatred of whistling too! Then at 2:50, track becomes a regular, slow-paced song until 4:30, where it picks up pace with quite a nice bit of frantic instrumental. At 6:32, Bellamy goes all Rachmaninovy and a melody invokes the band’s English roots by hinting rather massively at Vaughan Williams’ Nimrod before overtly incorporating it. My fave I think. Not just the length of the track, but the (Enigma) Variations too. 🙂
  12. Drones – Nice, multi-part, descant, renaissance choral-type stuff. Sounds like Bellamy and co have been at the Thomas Tallis.

A grower of an album after a few listens. It’s a more consistent ‘concept album’ than past efforts and there is a narrative throughout of an individual’s struggle against corrupting authority.

I’m not sure I buy the whole ‘drones’ concept. As is often the case, an artist makes a ‘controversial’ or ‘political’ choice/statement in music, but perhaps in doing so, fails to consider their audience who may disagree with them over such issues or even their perception of these issues.

More on that in a separate post.

 

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