The Resistance

I feel for those of you who know me in real life.  If you’ve been following my thoughts during the past month, all you’ve heard about is Muse.  Muse Muse Muse!  You know that they’re my favorite band.  You know that they released a new album this week.  (The Resistance) You know that I’ve been hugely looking forward to it.  You’ve been privy to a play-by-play account of every single one of my early listens, thoughts, and fangirl outbursts on the topic.  You thought that this week might grant you a reprieve.


Sorry.  Today is not the day for a reprieve.


I know you’ll forgive me though, especially if you get yourself over to Muse’s official website to listen to clips of songs on the album.  (If you register, you can stream the entire album for free!!)


But wait, let me back up.  Those of you who don’t know me may be asking: Who in the heck is Muse?  Well, I’m only too delighted to tell you.  Muse is, quite simply, the best thing to come out of the UK since … well, that other band.  And Cadbury chocolate.  


Muse consists of a trio of extremely talented musicians who formed a band in the 90s.  After a few years they signed a deal and started releasing albums in Europe.  We didn’t get to enjoy them completely in the US until 2001 when Absolution, their third studio album, hit our retail outlets.  The album did well here and since then Muse has been over here many times on multiple tours.  I was lucky enough to see them live in 2007 and, I just have to say, there’s a reason that they snatch every ‘Best Live Act’ award they’ve been nominated for in the past 10 years.  They are phenomenal.


It must be admitted that Muse owes a chunk of their US fan base to Stephanie Meyer of all people.  Meyer mentioned Muse in the acknowledgments of all four of the Twilight  novels and cites them as a huge source of inspiration for her while she was writing the books.  Muse agreed to join the list of bands who appeared on the Twilight soundtrack and, though it pains those of us who were fans FIRST (dang it!), Muse’s album sales enjoyed a healthy boost.  ‘Uprising’ from The Resistance is their first single to hit #1 on any chart in the US, and I’m sure part of that is owed to the Twi-hards.  While I love to remind people that Muse existed before Edward Cullen, I have to be grateful for the publicity the band ultimately received because of Twilight.  It can only help them and I am a selfless fan at heart.


And, selfless fan that I am, my job here is to convince you to give them a listen.  I love their music because it’s music.  Matt Bellamy – front man, brilliant pianist, and main song writer for the group – is heavily influenced by classical music and it shows.  When I hear strains of the Romantic period throughout Muse’s various albums I have to admit that it tickles the trained musician in me.  When I can say ‘Holy crap!  Listen to that modulation!’ or ‘Wow.  He just resolved the 6th scale degree down to a 5th.  What a rebel!’ it makes me happy in a very nerdy way.  This new album’s ode to music history is even more marked than usual.  ‘United States of Eurasia’ ends with Bellamy playing an entire Chopin nocturne, while ‘I Belong to You’ steals a huge chunk of the romantic aria from Saint-Saëns’ 19th century opera, Samson and Delilah (sung by Bellamy…in French).   


However, please don’t for a minute think that Muse’s brilliant musicality takes away from the fun of their style.  They are still, and always will be, a rock band.  The Resistance is a great addition to their discography and showcases elements of glam rock, prog rock, 80s synth pop-rock, and plenty of the kind of rock that sends you screaming down the freeway feeling like you could take over the planet.   I have to say that as I’ve listened to this album (over and over and over again) I really can’t decide which is my favorite song.  I have to just beg you to have a listen for yourself.  Then you can listen to all of their older stuff (Black Holes and Revelations is my favorite) and join me in the box where they keep the rabid fans.  I’ll see you there.


Muse experienced their US television debut when they performed ‘Uprising’ from the new album at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night.  Take a look: