The 2nd Law

Early Muse records were the sum of oddly paired elements—shrill, wavering, operatic vocals, Baroque piano leads, electronic flourishes, apocalyptic themes and preposterously huge metal riffs. It was as if Radiohead had suddenly grown testicles and decided to rock, to spectacular effect. Muse was playing monstrous stadium gigs overseas long before the band broke through in America with their last album, 2009’s The Resistance. But by then, Muse was a much different band. Where they previously distanced themselves from their peers, content to experiment with psychedelic drugs and make space music, they’ve since shamelessly tackled the mainstream, and continue to do so here. There is absolutely nothing tying The 2nd Law together outside a vague theme of the planet’s wild population growth. It’s a series of tracks apparently intended for consideration on an individual basis. And Muse runs the gamut—a blatant Bond theme hopeful (“Supremacy”); ultra posh sex-me track (“Madness”); scorching disco-funk (“Panic Station”); guitars-gone-dubstep (“The 2nd Law: Unsustainable”); a trippy throwback to their mushroom-munching days (“Animals”) and sickeningly maudlin, throwaway electro-pop garbage (“Follow Me”). Though The 2nd Law is inconsistent and, at times, despicably bad, you won’t be able to help playing air guitar or just laughing at Muse’s sheer nerve.