Saturday, May 21, 2011

Muse - Resistance

Muse - Resistance
Published in 2009

iPod, so there.

First off, thanks to Lena for suggesting this album.

I don't know how to feel about Muse, but this might be my fault. You see, I am of two minds when it comes to them. One side, the sober side thinks that they play some really technical and clean rock, that is obviously appealing, but never really lights my fire. It's fun to sing to, fun to listen to, but I will get overwhelmed after a couple of tracks and have to esacpe from it. The songs I really like I enjoy throughly, but I have trouble paying attention.

The drunken me has two reactions to Muse. One is that this shitis tons of fun to sing, the lyrics are enjoyable and they encourage you to get involved and sing along. The second is to ascribe a certain deepness to their lyrics that the sober me would laugh at.   It's a disappointing dichotomy, but I must live with it.

That might be the real problem. This record sounds like the band really, really, really wants to be liked, and whatever you like, they'll try to do it for you. Like electronic music? Here you go! Like ballads? Here, sample this. Like classic rock? Here you are! It's such a buffet that I don't really know what I like about Muse.

Which sucks, actually. I like them, but I can't tell why, and if this blog indicates anything, I'll devote hundreds of words to why I like something, and figuring out why, but when a band tries to make me like them, I get gun-shy?

Muse seems like a good example of this eternal problem of taste. Why do we like some things and hate others? What is it that make our brains love one thing and hate another? Why are we subject to these whims?

The drunk me, in objection to what I wrote above would slur something like the following:

If you like something, but you can't understand why you like it, you must like it for surface reasons, the sound, the feel of the music is more important to your primitive brain than the deeper signifiers. Knowing that you like it has given you insight, but to understand that insight is what your brain has been programmed to do, and it is in that confusion that comes with justifying your taste that you lose the enigmatic part that you liked in the first place.

Sober me, then retorts:

But as this blog proves, breaking things down into peices and trying to understand them is something that my brain does with everything. While it does not always lead to full satisfactory understanding, the joy that I take in writing these is partly related to the act of breaking things down to figure them out. As we've seen, the ones that confuse me most run the gamut from most loved to most hated, so I disagree.

Drunk me:

And yet, you agreed that you like this album at some level. The difficulty only comes with the breaking down of the album, so just talk about what you like in general and hope that clarifies it for you.

Sober me:

Okay, I'll try that.

I think the song writin on display is some of the more clever that I've heard on an anthemy rock album like this. I find the lyrics to ironically wink at the source material, while still treating it gravely enough that it isn't annoying.

I think the performances are spectacular, however I don't enjoy some of the more electronic style choices, because I feel it detracts from the image presented. But, of course, the musicians are all spectacularly competent and the music is produced with flair, vim and even vigor.

I think United States of Eurasia is one of the most fun to sing along songs with in history, behind 1. Seal - Kiss from a Rose 2. The Eagles - Hotel California and 3. Weezer  - Say It Ain't So.  Obviously, it is in good company.  I also think that Resistance and Uprising are good, if not great, and Breaking Through is pretty damn okay too.  The rest of the album, I am not as entranced with.

I want to like them so bad.  Maybe this problem would be solved if I listened to a non-concept album by Muse, but I have no idea.  I just have this one to write about, Jeez, get off my back.

But of course, if you love Muse, and want to tell me why I am a jackass, and why drunk me is right, please do so in the comments, and get us ever closer to the goal of Bequeathing Phillip Half of a Hamilton.

"Five Four Three Nose One"

PS.  More albums please, I'm devouring these!


  1. Wow! Took you long enough... Weird timing, though which I'll explain later. Ok so why are you a jackass who should love Muse? It's tough because you mentioned the best things about them (musical and lyrical genius which don't often come in a package deal but Muse delivers every time) and are still hesitant. I know a lot of Muse fans, and it's always weird because you'll meet someone and youll get to talking about music and then Muse comes up, and it doesn't matter who this person is - a rocker, a metal head, a country boy, an indie chick- somehow Muse makes their way into these people's lists of favorites. Why is that? They certainly don't span all those genres by any means... My theory is that when you hear this album and I mean really pay attention, you can't help but come out the other side with the desire to stand for something. Even if you can't quite grasp what it is, these songs move you to take action. You're sittin there simultaneously not understanding this bands plight and aggressively demanding justice. And that just freaking ROCKS! To be able to move people with your music just because it's so good that they want to understand even if they don't... Does that make any sense? Anyway, thanks for doing this one. Let's hang out before you leave the republic.



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