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Muse: The 2nd Law – The Worst Album Ever Released?

 

Between 1993 and 1994, I started up and ran an antiques shop, named ‘Amsterdam Interiors and Antiques’, in the apparently slow-burning resort town of Teignmouth, Devon. The days would doze by, me french and scratch-polishing old tables in the morning, then charming the knickers off middle-aged ladies to flog them in the afternoon. Little did I know that a ridiculous-hatted, new-age tosspot (there are quite a few of them in that part of the world) was planning some nightmare musical takeover while cleaning caravans up the road. Imagine my joy when I discovered that somehow similar christian fucktard Chris Martin had attended nearby Exeter University! One Drone might have been enough, in retrospect…

Matt Bellamy (for it was he) and his band Muse are very skilled musicians, and by all accounts put on a ‘Very Good Show’. Ok, that’s the pleasantries out of the way: six albums on, and the songwriting vacuity, imagination paucity, audience contempt, and utter, utter absence of anything approaching a new idea is bewildering. I studiously noted down the titles, and tried, I really did, but this is easier: The track, ‘The 2nd Law Isolated System’ for fucks sake, sounds like Pink Floyd; second, Led Zeppelin, third Radiohead, fourth Queen, and so on. There is absolutely nothing here, double underlined by the fact that the whole thing sounds like U2 at their most desperately pompous. Talent steals, and genius repays tenfold, goes the saying. When Muse repay, you feel like your house is being repossessed from under you.

A bit naff as they now seem, Blur had the last word in postmodern magpieism/reappropriation with ‘Parklife‘, references played with, kicked about with humour, panache and charm, to create an affecting whole critique on mid-nineties British culture. What Muse do, in their insatiable thirst for success and attention, is to take the most blatantly surface parts of their (and everyone else’s) influences and throw them together in a revolting and baffling knitted-quilt soup almost as difficult to stomach as this metaphor.

Songs about space are great: Bowie‘s entire early career, Elton John/Kate Bush‘s ‘Rocket Man, and even that godawful Chris de Burgh la-la-la song are better than Bellamy’s oh-god-not-again yearning for anything other than where he is, fatuous, hypocritical nonsense about escape. He now lies in his lyrics, because his lies sell, somehow. I’ll ask Matt Bellamy about his views on environmental sustainability when he eventually ‘realises his dream’ of blasting himself around the dark side of Uranus, using the equivalent of a small countries annual consumption of petrol in the process.

Despite the lack of any original musical ideas or songwriting innovation whatsoever, the rub lies really in the hypocrisy. For a bog standard, crowd-pleasing trio with a lot of empty ambition and very little to show for it (maybe the guitar into to ‘Plug-In Baby’, a song about a dildo), Muse’s progress most of all makes you wonder at the lack of depth of imagination of not only the British public, but the wider populace. They release their abominable recordings through a record label which should have gone the same way as Lehman Brothers, AIG, Julian Assange and HMV, and still write about crop circles and some hollow desire to escape from society. People are apparently stupid, keep getting stupider, and want to be more stupid. Well folks, your teacher was, is, and continues to be Matt Bellamy and his Muse. Suck it down.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.