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Thread: FEATURED ALBUM: Muse - Simulation Theory

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    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    FEATURED ALBUM: Muse - Simulation Theory

    Even though Muse has been around over 20 years, they take their time between releases, averaging about every 3 years. Simulation Theory came out in November is only their 8th studio album. Unlike Drones and 2nd Law, which emphasized a heavier rock sound, Simulation Theory relies heavily on synths and seldom-today used fat keyboard sounds from the 80s. Growing up and being a big fan of keys-dominated music as well as the 80s, this album for me is their best in quite a while, successfully mixing the "Muse sound" with shades of both the 80s and a far distant future.

    Music aside, it's the music videos they produced for this album that do a brilliant job of putting the music within the visual context they were trying to capture, laden with 80s pop culture references, science fiction and campy horror films - but also through the lens of how the future was imagined in the 80s. The album artwork sets the mood and tone, created by Kyle Lambert (who did the artwork for Stranger Things), it's designed to emulate a retro-futuristic 80s movie poster.



    It's still a "pop/rock" record and certainly won't be for everyone here. But this is one of Muse's best albums ever from where I sit. I measure that for me (with this type of music) in earworms. There are many catchy tracks that reward with repeated listening and will be inducted into their "greatest hits" catalog.

    FYI, the music videos are loosely joined together in this order: Dig Down, Thought Contagion, Something Human, Dark Side, Pressure, Algorithm.








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    Member mnprogger's Avatar
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    a lot of it is overproduced, but that is not unusual for Muse.

    The best moments on this album on how it feels like a love-letter to the 80's. The singles are probably still my favorites.

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    Member Klonk's Avatar
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    The turn-off for me is the way the guy sings with those annoyingly loud breaths. Sure it's probably silly, but it drives me bananas. Ruins it for me. Otherwise I do like most of the music and I hear they put on a helluva live show.
    "Who would have thought a whale would be so heavy?" - Moe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klonk View Post
    The turn-off for me is the way the guy sings with those annoyingly loud breaths. Sure it's probably silly, but it drives me bananas. Ruins it for me. Otherwise I do like most of the music and I hear they put on a helluva live show.
    That made me smile - the breaths used to wind me up too, but I guess I've got used to it.

    I saw them on the Drones tour with was the most stunning live show I've ever been to [my 73 year old Mom came too and loved it ]

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    I'm afraid I find these guys impossible to stomach now. Some of their early 00s work holds up well but they started to get a bit comic book for my taste, starting with silly things like 'Invincible'. IMHO those tendencies have only got worse, and the endless conspiracy theory lyrics became a tiresome schtick for me. The songs I've heard from this haven't changed my mind.

  6. #6
    These guys crank the pomp up to 11 almost every time, and that's why I like them. They can be a lot of fun.

    This new CD has a lot of catchy tracks on it, with "Pressure" and "Break It To Me" being my favorites probably.

    I didn't really come on board until Black Holes And Revelations, but then The Resistance is what ended up being my favorite by them. That three-part symphony at the end certainly helped.

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    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    My last by them was The Resistance, guess I need to check this one out.
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    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    I didn't really get into Drones at all. And I was really underwhelmed by the few songs I've heard off of this new one so I'mma gonna pass. It's not that I can't appreciate where they want to go musically, it's just that the lyrical content is so lazy and I'm not even a big lyrics guy.
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    This release is a bit "meh", IMO. I like the fact that they tried something a little different with a lot of fat analog synths but a lot of the songs leave me wanting. Just not enough memorable tunes. But if you're going to get this one, I'd seek out the deluxe edition. I like the alternate versions of some of the tracks better than those on the album proper.

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    Jon Neudorf
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    I am loving this album. The first and last tracks are outstanding. Love the synths.

    Jon

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    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    I used to like Muse quite much at the time of Absolution and Black Holes and Revelations but this new one, like the one before it, is quite awful stuff.
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

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    Worthy of Laudation thedunno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    My last by them was The Resistance, guess I need to check this one out.
    For me as well. I found that album to be quite dissapointing.

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    ^That was where I got off the bus. I heard things like 'Supremacy' from a few years ago and it seemed they'd got even more ridiculous. Queen without the humour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Queen without the humour.
    you, sir, win this thread early.

    there is nothing remotely progressive about MUSE. some of the music is interesting and well performed but bellamy’s self-serving caterwauling is a major turn off for these ears. they make STYX sound like SHELLAC in comparison.
    Last edited by iguana; 01-14-2019 at 12:48 AM. Reason: silly typo

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    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    These guys crank the pomp up to 11 almost every time, and that's why I like them. They can be a lot of fun.
    I did anticipate mostly "meh" or "critical" reactions, so reading the responses so far is no real surprise. But I did want to highlight your point. They are indeed pomp and bombastic at the core. This is what always attracted me to Queen. They are also fun. I think the music videos for this album clearly illustrate that - despite their overtly cynical and over the top lyrics (Steven Wilson seems to be able to get away it) - they are not be taken seriously. It's arena rock tactics. It's fantasy. You want people to raise their fists in the air and pledge allegiance to RAWK. Nobody's looking to Muse to provide profound statements.
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    I will listen to these clips seriously, out of fairness, and post feedback on each. But I think they would benefit from stripping the sound down somewhat- more akin to what they were like Origin Of Symmetry.

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    Yes, very goofy videos!

    'Pressure'; 'Supermassive Black Hole' Part 2, in a sense. Didn't like that one either!

    'Thought Contagion'; very produced, and I am not keen on wo-wo-wo choruses. Sorry!

    'The Void'; the best of this batch. Less of the silliness. Feels like it was leading somewhere more that it never quite got to, though- too short maybe.

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    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    I did anticipate mostly "meh" or "critical" reactions, so reading the responses so far is no real surprise. But I did want to highlight your point. They are indeed pomp and bombastic at the core. This is what always attracted me to Queen. They are also fun. I think the music videos for this album clearly illustrate that - despite their overtly cynical and over the top lyrics (Steven Wilson seems to be able to get away it) - they are not be taken seriously. It's arena rock tactics. It's fantasy. You want people to raise their fists in the air and pledge allegiance to RAWK. Nobody's looking to Muse to provide profound statements.
    I'm not looking for profound lyrics or prog for that matter. Not that their music and lyrics were ever that complicated but the last two albums sounded way under developed and half baked to me, especially compared to Black Holes and The Resistance. I quite enjoyed Supremacy as well. I was hoping this latest one would be a return to form but not so IMO. Eventually all bands tend to repeat themselves and Muse is not impervious to that.

  19. #19
    I can forgive their addiction to that BIG SOUND but when every song starts to sound like an anthem I get the urge to shake up the diet...

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    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    I did anticipate mostly "meh" or "critical" reactions, so reading the responses so far is no real surprise. But I did want to highlight your point. They are indeed pomp and bombastic at the core. This is what always attracted me to Queen. They are also fun. I think the music videos for this album clearly illustrate that - despite their overtly cynical and over the top lyrics (Steven Wilson seems to be able to get away it) - they are not be taken seriously. It's arena rock tactics. It's fantasy. You want people to raise their fists in the air and pledge allegiance to RAWK. Nobody's looking to Muse to provide profound statements.
    the 2010s version of 70s Styx...

    if I didn't already know and like Styx, this band might fill a void
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    despite their overtly cynical and over the top lyrics (Steven Wilson seems to be able to get away it)
    despite (sadly) having abandoned it somewhat over his most recent releases, wilson still has a street-wise intellectual snark to his language which made him such a breath of fresh air after a decade of bands that sound like a bunch of hypermotivated sermonisers.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    I did anticipate mostly "meh" or "critical" reactions, so reading the responses so far is no real surprise. But I did want to highlight your point. They are indeed pomp and bombastic at the core. This is what always attracted me to Queen. They are also fun. I think the music videos for this album clearly illustrate that - despite their overtly cynical and over the top lyrics (Steven Wilson seems to be able to get away it) - they are not be taken seriously. It's arena rock tactics. It's fantasy. You want people to raise their fists in the air and pledge allegiance to RAWK. Nobody's looking to Muse to provide profound statements.
    Yeah, I'm with you on all of that. I think the allusions to Queen are appropriate and, unfortunately, some people miss the humor in Muse's songs -- because it is there, but not as often as with Queen.

    I believe it was Steven Wilson who said in an interview back in 2009 or 2010 that (and I'm paraphrasing) 'Muse make records that Queen would blush at, and I applaud them for it.'

    Oh! I completely for got about the song "Propaganda"! Lyrically, it seems to have Bellamy describing what could either be a seductive woman or a surveillance state. I love it.

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    I love Muse, particularly the early records. This new one is way better than Drones but won't make anyone forget Absolution...
    Prog's Not Dead

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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    Yeah, I'm with you on all of that. I think the allusions to Queen are appropriate and, unfortunately, some people miss the humor in Muse's songs -- because it is there, but not as often as with Queen.
    I'm not sure where it is, really. With the likes of 'United States Of Eurasia' or 'Supremacy', I'm laughing at it rather than with it. I never felt like that about Muse's earlier work. But the other issue is how congested and heavily produced their work became. There's no room to breathe.

    I distinctly remember the last time I played The Resistance and basically gave up on them; I turned it off and put The Walker Brothers on instead!

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    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    I'm not sure where it is, really. With the likes of 'United States Of Eurasia' or 'Supremacy', I'm laughing at it rather than with it. I never felt like that about Muse's earlier work. But the other issue is how congested and heavily produced their work became. There's no room to breathe.
    I enjoyed those two songs you mention. Fun stuff! But these few latest albums... meh.
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

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