In the beginning of November, Muse released their nth studio album titled Simulation Theory. I didn’t know about it until the 12th of November when the Guy Fawkes celebrations died down in my head, so it took me by surprise.
Before I go any further, a little history of my musings with Muse… (hehe)
It all started when a good friend of mine introduced me to the alternative rock genre, particularly with Muse and The Resistance as he had purchased it when it was released. I wasn’t that much of a music person as I was mostly exposed to oldies such as ABBA, Laurika Rauch, Die Lappop by Carike Keuzenkamp (which has a bad memory attached to it) and my own overture of Vangelis’ Conquest of Paradise (don’t ask). I also had a cape that my aunt made me that people kept telling me was Batman, but I always corrected them by saying I was Zorro – my favourite anonymous weapon-welding crime-fighting-justice-bringer-dressed-in-all-black back then (I also used the cape in conjunction with a white mask and pretended to be the Phantom of the Opera – which is still my favourite stage production).
I digress. Before listening to The Resistance, the particular friend told me that this rock band had different genres in each of their songs rather than just being a lot of screaming followed by a loud electric guitar solo. I wasn’t all that interested, but I listened to it. Oh boy! Was I in for a shock? To use my words from back then – “It is AWESOME!”
After that day, Muse became my favourite band and I would listen to all of their stuff over the next few months (this was before I had a working knowledge of music, the internet and life in general. Heck, my first album that I wanted was Enrique Iglesias!). I got stuck on Supermassive Black Hole, Sing for Absolution, Map of Problematique and Time is Running Out. Then Drones emerged and my perfect little musically challenged world collapsed. I was so excited that I bought the album the day it was released. I listened to it and was really quite disappointed by the whole experience. To me it was half-hearted. It wasn’t good, but I refused to give up on the band that opened the world of music to me. I kept on listening to their older stuff. Two or three of their songs still find their way into every playlist I make.
And then Simulation Theory happened. As stated, it took me by surprise and I got it immediately. Whilst downloading, I read the description with caution as I didn’t want another Drones moment. I read it and got really excited when it said things like ’80’s’, ‘synth’ and ‘a bit different’. I was hesitant with that last one, but hoped it would be ok.
Well yesterday, on the 18th of November, I finally listened to the whole album in one sitting and I have to say – it’s brilliant! The rock and the synth and the 80’s theme is just brilliant. The lead singer, Matthew Bellamy, sings with purpose again and both the lyrics and melodies are excellent! From the first song on the album – Algorithm – you are caught up in the beat and the story the album is trying to portray. Long story short, it’s essentially the Matrix. It’s all pretty much “break out of these blockades of the modern world, the dark side of this simulated void you are living in and dig down into your inner soul and experience something human without any electronic pressure near you as it propagates a thought contagion to make you all think the same, so get up and fight this algorithm”. No, no applause necessary… Thank you, thank you.
So the album is brilliant. The entire thing is brilliant, which is a rare happening these days. I remember when Bastille released Bad Blood. I listened to it and it was the first album of which I liked every single song. Then, after a while, I listened to Lorde’s Pure Heroine. Same thing. I liked every song. Then a long time of good songs and crappy songs (the mid 2010’s were a dark time for music). I then learnt about Barns Courtney and bought his album and I liked every song. Lorde’s second album – Melodrama – came along and there it was too (almost didn’t, but upon listening to the specific song again, I realised it isn’t as bad as I initially thought). And now, Muse’s Simulation Theory is added to that list. It’s at the top, right above – which in itself is way above the rest.
Now whilst my opinion matters very little in the music world and, in fact, the rest of the world, I enjoy this. It is not about which is the best genre, artist or decade. It’s about what you enjoy. I personally enjoy whatever I like. Today it’s alternative rock, tomorrow it’s pop, after that it’s jazz. My playlists are made up of a wide variety of genres and artists and I love it.
The one genre that I really don’t like and that I will probably never listen to is rap or reggae or whatever it’s called. Kanye West, Jay-Z, DJ “I Scream My Name in Ever Song” Khaled and even Eminem don’t attract me whatsoever. It just sounds like a bunch of gibberish that doesn’t go along with the beat. Is it impressive? Definitely, or some of it, but I don’t like it.
To quote a quote I read a while ago, “Good music is like good chocolates, to enjoy it you have to remove the rapper first”.