Muse - Simulation Theory
Star Rating: 4/5
Simulation Theory is the eighth rock and roll album from powerhouse trio, Muse. These purveyors of polished, dystopian shock rock are back at it with similar antics, but now in purple, pink, and black. With a few hit singles and lots of synthesizer, listening to this album is entertaining, if not a bit plastic.
You wont' be very surprised, but you won't get tired of hearing Matt Bellamy's classic voice, and the guitar, bass, and drums aren't bad, either. If you only hear a few of them, "Pressure" and "Thought Contagion" are the two must-listen tracks.
Top Tracks & Takeaways
"Pressure" is the best song on this album. This reviewer is not prone to hyperbole, but "Pressure" is the only song that ticks all the right boxes. It references Muse's original sound, and the hilarious music video is icing on the cake. The beat and riffs are set up with syncopation that is so confusing you'll be asking yourself: "Wait, is this straight or swung?" The answer is: both.
Muse has always had a technical mastery of music theory, and it really shows when they can put together a song like "Pressure". It sounds like all their records all at once, and even has that harsh muted voice (in some areas) that are reminiscient of "Supermassive Black Hole".
What we liked
As Muse leans in to the electronic sounds and experimental moods, we're able to catch a glimpse of what the future might hold for these veteran rockers. What they're doing could be considered cliche, but rock artists exploring Sci-Fi themes is on par for the moment. Don't forget about Arctic Monkey's 2018 release, Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, which blazed a trail for a new sub-genre under the umbrella of Alternative-Post Punk. If the author's zeal for coining terms can be ignored, we could call this new category, Hi-Fi Sci-Fi.
The music videos being made for Simulation Theory are really impressive. One only needs to watch the video for "Thought Contagion" (below) to see the breadth of what Muse is trying to accomplish.
Not so much...
They could have put out more singles, or gone for more radio hit sounds, but then again, Muse hasn't always been known for following the rules.
Videos and Singles
Overall, this record is fantastic, and deserves all five stars out of five that we can offer. If you haven't listened to Simulation Theory, please, do yourself a favor and stream it right away. The suggested method for enjoying an album is to listen at least once, all the way through, as you will hear the record in the format the artist originally intended.
The Dark Side
Break It to Me
Get Up and Fight