Saturday, September 03, 2022

‘Will Of The People’: MUSE’s Own Revolution Through Music

After immense anticipation, MUSE has released their ninth studio album ‘Will Of The People’ and it certainly lives up to the hype – as if there was any doubt!

Since the release of their third studio album ‘Absolution’ in 2003, the band has gone on to produce six consecutive UK No. 1 albums, as well as winning numerous awards including two Grammys and eight NME awards. 

MUSE’s prestige as a rock band is cemented in musical history, yet ‘Will Of The People’ brings something new whilst retaining their unique MUSE-ness.

With Warner Records and Helium-3, the band has created a nostalgic experience drawing from their past work. This new album remains in the same dysfunctional, dystopian landscape in which most of their previous albums have been set, with the sense of an oppressed civilisation who are helpless at the hands of authority continuing. While listening to the electronic keyboard and erratic guitar display on ‘Compliance’, lyrics like “Fall into line, you will do as you’re told’ and ‘Our toy soldier, you’ll do the dirty work” brings to mind the notorious album cover from ‘Drones’ back in 2015. 

At the same time however, this corruption is overcome by the idea of a revolution led by the masses and their determination to survive. The new album’s anthemic title track ‘Will Of The People’ is built on repetitive group vocals which convey the overwhelming force of a crowd. 

Though these themes already resonate with MUSE, they are certainly more explicit in ‘Will Of The People’. This was perhaps a very intentional move by frontman Matt Bellamy, with recent global events bringing a particular poignancy to the album’s message. It seems real-life has overtaken MUSE’s fantasy and there is now a very real need for change which the heightened urgency of the album reflects. ‘We Are F*cking F*cked’ portrays (not so subtly) the imminent danger we are all facing due to climate change – “Wildfires and earthquakes I foresaw / A life in crisis / A deadly virus / Tsunamis of hate are gonna drown us”. MUSE obviously have no desire to end on a high note.   

What is perhaps most striking about ‘Will Of The People’ is its stylistic spontaneity – ‘Kill Or Be Killed’ delivers a more metal vibe with its brutally heavy bass and stunningly quick riffs from Chris Wolstenholme, while the operatic track ‘Euphoria’ presents some classic Bellamy falsetto. There is so much variation across the album, listening is like a theatrical thrill ride. No track illustrates this better than ‘You Make Me Feel Like It's Halloween’, a stand-out track that serves as a fun interlude halfway through the album. It is simultaneously flamboyant and sounds as if it belongs on a spoof horror movie score. 

MUSE will take these tracks on their recently announced UK tour in 2023 accompanied by special guests Royal Blood. Until then audiences have been armed for their own uprising. 

Maebh Springbett


Image: ‘Will Of The People’ Official Album Cover

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