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Album review: Muse, 'The Resistance'

Muse This over-the-top English trio has long played to smaller audiences in the United States than it does throughout Europe, where Muse is considered among the biggest rock bands on Earth. (In 2007 it played two sold-out shows at London's 75,000-capacity Wembley Stadium.)

Yet singer-guitarist Matt Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard received a considerable boost on these shores last year when their song "Supermassive Black Hole" was featured prominently in the hit movie "Twilight." And last week came news that "Uprising," the lead single from the band's fifth full-length, had topped the U.S. alternative-rock radio chart.

In some ways, "The Resistance" seems designed for an American breakthrough: "Undisclosed Desires" rides a lithe R&B groove that could've come from a song by Nelly Furtado, while "Uprising" finds Bellamy sympathizing with folks who consider themselves victims of Wall Street greed. Over a thumping disco-glam beat he sneers, "It's time the fat cats had a heart attack," a line that's likely to draw a huge reaction later this month when Muse opens a string of U2 shows on the East Coast and in Texas.

On the other hand, much of "The Resistance" reflects how uninterested the members of Muse are in dialing down their appealing flamboyance to attract Daughtry and Nickelback fans. That arty intransigence often improves the band's music, as in "United States of Eurasia," which proceeds from a pretty piano-ballad intro to an Arabian-accented orchestral-rock climax.

Occasionally, though, it can make Bellamy and his bandmates sound like the world's most successful sourpusses. You don't have to make it all the way through "Exogenesis," the three-part symphony that closes the new album, before you start hankering for a Nickelback-style chorus.

-- Mikael Wood

"The Resistance"
Warner Bros.
Two and a half stars
Comments () | Archives (86)

Hey Mikey whatever your name is. Why are you comparing Muse to Nickelback and Daughtry?! I love Nickelback and Muse so what you're saying about how uninteresting Muse is to a Nickelback fan is complete nonsense. As for your rating of their new album, go read the more professional reviews so you can understand what makes an album a great work of art because your review is bias.

I'm an American and a huge fan of Muse. I see Muse as an artist rather than a band. I stayed up till midnight to download this album on iTunes as soon as it was available. I really see this song bringing the popularity of Muse to America, my friends who always told me they hated Muse liked the music on it.
I do believe this album is worth more than 2 and a half stars though, I give it four and a half.

The album doesn't deserve 2 1/2 stars because Daughtry/Nickelback fans aren't drawn to it. Obviously, those fans have no taste in music if they are only stuck to one genre - a mundane, un-artistic one at that. Your review is not noteworthy, especially because you have the audacity to state that some hip hop artist like Nelly Furtado could compose "Undisclosed Desires." Who cares about what people that dislike Muse have to say, anyway? It's their loss.

You are wishing for that
listening to Muse???
You're an Idiot... like the Armond White of music

What's with the author's obsession with Nickleback? There isn't a chord on this entire album that sounds like Nickleback, let alone a call to their fans. Nobody cares about their fans. I am certain that Matthew Bellamy feels no need to compromise his own musical artistry to attract a crowd of brainless pre-teen boys. Cheers to a band that continues to evolve and ignore the rantings of elitist "music bloggers".

this writer should be fired for thinking Muse has even heard of Nickelback, let alone comparing them to each other

5 stars - bold, brilliant. God I think we have had enough dour bands to last a lifetime over the last few years. A big step in the right direction. Usually the rule of thumb is read Rolling Stone, then think the opposite.

This is one of the laziest reviews I've ever read. You compared Muse to Nelly Furtado and Nickelback? What about Gershwin and Queen? Nickelback's albums are composed of about 3 chords. Muse uses an entire freaking symphony.

This is the 3rd review I've read in the American press that is sour on this album, but this one takes it to new lows by even deigning to mention *gasp* Nickelback in comparison to Muse's greatness. My God, man, do you even know who Muse is? And if by playing "smaller shows" you mean selling out Giants Stadium for 2 shows next week, then I'd say yeah, they play small shows. This album is epic, pure and simple.

You were hankering for Nickelback. And you admitted it. That's nice, but this isn't a 12-step program; it's a review. Those sorts of hankerings for the standard and mundane are exactly why Muse isn't more popular in America. I think half the nation needs to join your 12-step program and learn what real creativity and innovation sound like.

"You don't have to make it all the way through "Exogenesis," the three-part symphony that closes the new album, before you start hankering for a Nickelback-style chorus."

-Nobody 'hankers' for a Nickleback style course, unless your Gene Simons, but then nobody cares about what you want anyway.

Muse is simply the most innovative band in the world. Their music is conveniently inspirational. To one person the album might be a 2.5, but that one person is being overruled by people who understand good muse-ic.. WAKE UP .. they are living legends ... Enough Said

i dont understand this review...it seems like this guy thinks the music world revolves around one of the most overrated bands of all time. why would any band want to imitate nickelback...nickelback?????are you serious!!!!

and by the way i do like daughtry and muse...but i absolutely hate nickelback

Nickelback??? What the f%#@?! Who in the world would want them to sound like a raspy-voiced paddle-pop lion that makes two-dimensional music about having sex in the dirt when Muse are all for much grander ideas like political and economic unrest and greed?? Typical uneducated, blind and self-indulgent biassed review. Listen to some of their influences like 70s prog and glam and Rachmaninoff - then attempt a review. Thanks for nothing.

I have to agree...That was one of the laziest reviews I have read.
and 2.5 stars??...curious how he rated BH&R which I said to many was one of the best if not the best album of '06.
Rock continues to die as only those the liked Rock growing up still appreciate it.

A self-scored symphony, the only European rock band to win MTV awards amongst a sweep of hip-hop artists, best live show award for multiple years in a row, themes of global homogenization, a clearly evolving sound, critical analysis of who's in control of the world and love against all odds. And you wish to trade this for a pop-rock bands song about a slutty girl sucking on her thumb?

"You don't have to make it all the way through "Exogenesis," the three-part symphony that closes the new album, before you start hankering for a Nickelback-style chorus."

Mike, I believe you are the only person in the world who wishes that Muse would take the Nickelback/Daughtry route. That's like hoping for Kate Winslet to be more like Megan Fox. And I completely agree with PJ's advice to read Rolling Stone and think the opposite, cause that's EXACTLY what I do. If they say an album's good, then I know it's bad, and vice-versa. Unfortunately, Americans have no taste in music, we've always rejected unique and quirky acts in favor of the bland, manufactured and mainstream. Which explains how an amazing band like Kings of Leon managed to find success in Europe while we ignored them for years, and yet they're from here. Because Nickelback is what appeals to our "tastes". But I must say though, kudos to you Mike for being the first and only reviewer to not mention how much Muse sounds like Queen on "United States of Eurasia" although I think that has to do with the fact that you probably don't listen to Queen at all and therefore cannot draw such comparisons. Still, your review of this album is pretty appalling. You chastise Muse for not sounding like all of the other boring, corporate bands out there. Sad, so sad, I pity your lack of culture.

You must be joking- any reference to those Posers Nickleback in an article on Muse is just absurd!

I have to agree with every other comment I've read on this page. This review is pathetic. Muse are absolute genius, incredibly brilliant. Do you understand music at all? Or, for that matter, literature or history? George Orwell's 1984 as well as "The Grand Chessboard" by Zbigniew Brzezinski were both instrumental in influencing the creation of this album. The line "Love is our resistance!" in track two is nothing less than the silent battle cry of Winston and Julia. Not to mention the use of Chopin in the piece following Eurasia, "Collateral Damage". Apart from that, Muse have crafted music filled with melody, emotion, and heart-pounding energy. It's like nothing else.

Songs from acts like Nickelback or Daughtry are a dime a dozen. But Muse? Their work is worth its weight in gold.

Woah. Probably the worst review I have ever read. Nickelback and Daughtry put me to sleep, if not make me want to grind my teeth, and I like almost all types of music. Putting Muse in the same sentence as them is just plain wrong. They're not even the same genre. Muse are in a league of their own in comparison...one that involves actual talent and brains. The ignorance of this review almost makes me laugh.

Over-the-top? Flamboyance? hahaha. oh, man. I think maybe the reviewer should settle for bands that don't have variety or even originality.

Giving the album 2 1/2 stars just because it's not your "style" isn't justifiable. I'm not saying The Resistance is the best album of all time, but there are so many levels, styles, and original arrangements in this CD to make the everyday rock album look like the work of amateurs.

Mikael Wood you haven't got a clue... Muse simply cannot be compared to Nickelback and as for Daughtry is that the guy who won American Idol... come on - enough said. This album is genius. I've followed this band since they played a tiny venue in the city I live in the UK about 10 years ago. They are diverse, innovative and sensational. This album makes me feel alive at times and also moves me to tears at others.... that is what it's all about, for me. It is a work of art. 5 stars + for me.

As you can see by every "review" of YOUR "review", you are absolutely ridiculously wrong on your account of "The Resistance" and are obviously a horrible writer/critic.

I absolutely LOVE the album!
The symphony is amazing and Matt's falsetto has never been better :)

A must!

Errmmmm....did the author of this shabby review actually turn up the volume when listening to the album?????

I think he needs to take a break from discussing music online and go back to listening to Nickleback, eat Mc Donalds and watch TV commercials....
Mikael would recognise a good song if it bit him.

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