Music Reviews

ALBUM REVIEW: Muse – Will of the People

Having formed almost three decades ago, to say that Muse are a staple of the rock scene would be an understatement. They’ve wowed listeners around the world time and again, and with each coming release, their fans’ excitement is palpable. Having said that, this track record ended in 2018 with the release of Simulation Theory which, regardless of (y)our thoughts on it, is universally known as a divisive record, to say the least. Four years later, the trio are back with Will of the People and everyone’s wondering: will this be a repeat of their 2018 release, or are Muse back on track?

In short, this is a pretty “yes, but actually no” situation, and we’ll explain what we mean by that. It’s pretty safe to say that Will of the People is an easier album to enjoy compared to Simulation Theory. The songs are all, at the very least, great on an instrumental level, and this record features some of the best Muse moments in almost a decade. Won’t Stand Down offered us a peek into just that, and it still remains among the album’s highlights, alongside the modulated offerings found on Euphoria. Kill or Be Killed is the greatest song the trio have put out since Drones’ combo of Reapers and Dead Inside. Ever since it was first performed in Germany this summer, the distortion-fuelled chorus and whammy driven main riff quickly cemented Kill or Be Killed as a fan favourite, and rightly so.

That said, it’s not a perfect release by any means. While musically sound, many of the songs are a case of lyrical madness, particularly Liberation’s chorus section: “We have plans to take you down, we intend to erase your place in history”. Not to be the sole offender, the kooky lyrics found in You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween make it veer off course too often, which is a shame when you listen to those synths, organs, and even its guitar solo trying to keep it afloat.

The worst case of this is found on album closer, We Are Fucking Fucked. The chorus alone is bad enough, since all it does is repeat the song’s title with some vocalising in-between, but then the track ends with Matt Bellamy’s chants of “Hey, hey, hey, fuck off, hey, hey, we are fucking fucked”. All it does is negate the song’s strengths, namely the western tinges found within the track’s guitar intro, or the stellar performances offered by Bellamy on guitar and vocals, Chris Wolstenholme on bass, and Dominic Howard on drums.

Elsewhere, the remainder of the songs are neither here nor there. Compliance is a decent synth-fuelled offering, but it’s held back by some verse sections that are quite middle of the road. The softer tendencies of Verona take us back to The Resistance track Undisclosed Desires, but it just barely falls short of being among the more memorable songs of this calibre. The eponymous album opener, Will of the People, while great on a musical level, quickly loses points thanks to the way in which it repeats the title chants ad nauseam. Ghosts (How Can I Move On), on the other hand, is a ballad that’s more Adele than Muse, but ballads generally fall flat to these ears, so your mileage may vary.

In the end, while the 10 songs on offer are great on a musical level, Will of the People swiftly falls flat when you add the often absurd or repetitive lyrics into the mix, further confirming that, save for a few exceptions, Muse’s upwards streak ended in 2018. Their live shows are still amazing, though, and we’re sure that, like in previous years, the trio’s upcoming tour will be just as great as expected.


Standout Tracks: Kill or Be Killed, Won’t Stand Down, Euphoria

For Fans Of: Radiohead, Placebo, Royal Blood

Written by: Florin Petrut

Tags : Muse
Florin Petrut
Romanian journo that's into most geek stuff; when I'm not raving about music, I'm probably watching a TV show or a Marvel movie, and oh look, is that The Legend of Zelda??