Rise up and take the power back, it’s time that
The fat cats had a heart attack, you know that
Their time is coming to an end
We have to unify and watch our flag ascend
They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious–“Uprising”
I once told myself that I would never stop trying out current music. I did not ever want to be the fogey who bemoans “My music was better! Today’s music is terrible!” So I decided to occasionally try out current musicians. One that I really enjoy is Muse.
Muse could best be explained as a modern-day progressive and alternative rock band. They list among their influences Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Queen, Led Zeppelin, and even Skrillex. It’s all combined to make a sound that is uniquely their own. For this edition of Jason’s Jukebox, I will be ranking all seven of their studio albums, including their 2015 release Drones.
The three members are:
- Matt Bellamy: lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards
- Chris Wolstenholme: bass guitar, backing vocals, keyboards
- Dominic Howard: Percussion, drums
Showbiz ** (1999)
Singles: “Muscle Museum”, “Sunburn”
Muse had a pretty slow start on their rise to fame, with their first album not being all that great. It got some mixed reviews and I don’t think it’s an impressive debut.
Best tracks: “Falling Down”, “Unintended”
Origin of Symmetry *** (2001)
Singles: “New Born”, “Hyper Music”
For me, this is a better starting point than Showbiz. Muse showed more promise with this album, and seemed poised to take their music outside the UK. Matt and Chris played off each other well.
Best tracks: “New Music”, “Bliss”, “Hyper Music”
Absolution **** (2003)
Singles: “Time is Running Out”, “Sing For Absolution”
This was Muse’s breakout album, and their first international success. Matt’s vocals and instrumentation, combined with Chris’s backing and bass created an album that I still consider one of Muse’s best releases.
Best tracks: “Time is Running Out”, “Sing For Absolution”, “Butterflies and Hurricanes”
Black Holes and Revelations ***** (2006)
Singles: “Supermassive Black Hole”, “Knights of Cydonia”
This is one of my top four favorite albums from Muse. Here, their sound is at its peak, with their first true signature song, “Knights of Cydonia”, which is still a crowd-pleaser today. There is a definite Depeche Mode influence on such tracks as “Supermassive Black Hole,” the aforementioned “Knights of Cydonia”, and “City of Delusion”. The album was featured in the 2007 edition of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Best tracks: “Starlight”, “Supermassive Black Hole”, “Invincible”, “City of Delusion”, “Knights of Cydonia”
The Resistance ***** (2009)
Singles: “Uprising”, “Undisclosed Desires” “Resistance”
Debuting at #3 on the Billboard 200 chart, this was an excellent follow-up to Black Holes, and I consider it one of their best albums. “Uprising” is a powerful call to arms, while “Resistance”, “United States of Eurasia”, and “Unnatural Selection” continue the barrage. There’s even a nod to a classical music piece by Frédérick Chopin.
Best tracks: “Uprising”, “Resistance”, “United States of Eurasia”, “Collateral Damage”
The 2nd Law **** (2012)
Singles: “Madness”, “Supremacy”, “Panic Station”
This album was a slight step back for me, but I still enjoy it. The album just sounds like it would be better live.
Best tracks: “Madness”, “Panic Station, “Follow Me”, “2nd Law parts 1 and 2”
Fun Fact: The title refers to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Drones ***** (2015)
Singles: “Mercy”, “Revolt”, “Reapers”
Drones is Muse’s concept album, and I just love concept albums! All of the songs are themed around war and destruction and there’s even a slight metal influence this time around. (I swear I heard some Rage Against The Machine in “Reapers”) It won a well-deserved Grammy for Best Rock Album.
Best Tracks: “Psycho”, “Reapers”, “The Handler”, “The Globalist”
As always, here is my ranking from worst to best:
6. Origin of Symmetry
5. The 2nd Law
2. The Resistance
- Black Holes and Revelations
This is my final Jukebox entry for this year. Beginning in January, I will return for more bimonthly rankings.