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MusicReview: Muse – The Resistance

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What do you look for in a rock album? High-powered songs to listen to while working out? Emotional love anthems? Epic, apocalyptic symphonies with haunting lyrics?

If the answer is “yes” to any of those, then try The Resistance.

This album, Muse’s fifth, will delight old and new fans alike. The band continues with the themes of love, revolution, and outer space that have provided such memorable songs as “Bliss,” “Sing for Absolution,” “Starlight,” and “Knights of Cydonia.” While Muse draws from a familiar well of content, the lyrics, Matthew Bellamy’s wondrous voice, and the music are as enchanting as ever.

Muse has become very popular in the United States recently, due in part to the usage of their songs in the Twilight series and the popularity of the single “Uprising.”

“Uprising” was used in trailers for ABC’s 2009 TV Series V and trailers for the 2010 film Knight and Day. ESPN also used the single during broadcasts of college football.

Fans of “Uprising” will find other adrenaline-pumping songs on the Resistance, like “MK Ultra” and “Unnatural Selection.” These songs are part of a diverse range of musical styles. “United States of Eurasia” has been likened to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and the second part of the track, “Collateral Damage,” was based on a classical piece by Chopin. “Guiding Light” provides a change of pace as a lofty, emotional tribute; the “Resistance” and “Undisclosed Desires” are emotional songs of struggle and romance; and “I Belong to You/Mon Coeur S’Ouvre a Ta Voix” is an upbeat love song with a French flavor. Finally, Muse provides a delightful and innovative three-part rock symphony entitled “Exogenesis.”

Even with the different musical styles, there is a coherency about the entire album that I love. It tells a story of rebellion, war, love, the destruction and evacuation of our planet, and the discovery of a new home. The effectiveness of the music ranged from entertaining to emotionally stirring. At times, my hair stood on end, chilled and frightened. At other times, I was moved with idealistic notions of love and devotion.

In “Collateral Damage,” the classical piano is complemented with the soft sounds of children laughing and playing. The noise of the children is just subtle enough to enhance the feeling of tranquility. But then the faint sounds of a pilot communicating via radio are heard, along with the roar of an aircraft getting louder and louder. The roar of the aircraft consumes all else: piano, children, and peace. Images of a bombing raid flooded my mind, and I was stunned into silence.

The “Exogenesis” symphony is another brilliant and effective piece. The music and the lyrics paint a vivid picture of a desolate Earth, humanity’s evacuation of our planet, the vastness of space, and our desperate search for a new home.

While the final track of the symphony is hopefully entitled “Redemption,” the song finishes on a note of uncertainty and foreboding. Mankind has found a new home, but will it destroy this one like the last?

I must confess that the first time I heard the CD, I didn’t know what to think of it. I immediately liked “Uprising,” “Guiding Light,” and the “Exogenesis” symphony, but I wasn’t sure about the other songs. After two more listens, I loved the album in its entirety. Then I listened to it over twenty times in the following week. I still listen to it regularly.

If you want a rock album that will entertain, tell a story, and stir your emotions, then The Resistance is for you.

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