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In today’s music industry, themed albums have become almost as rare as seeing a giant squid.
With the introduction of the MP3, today’s artists tend to shy away from entire albums being centered completely around one subject. Instead, production efforts are put into making one stellar single that will hopefully peak enough interest in the listener to make them check out the rest of the album.
“The 2nd Law,” English rock band Muse’s sixth full-length studio album, is a type of album that has not been seen for years. This album is unique because not many bands are bold enough to make themed albums anymore.
Perhaps two of the most well-known themed albums are The Who’s “Tommy” and Queensryche’s “Operation Mind Crime.” Each of these efforts was famous because of their content and how the bands told a story through their albums.
Muse does the same with the “2nd Law.” The songs tell different stories as the album unfolds. Parts are about a planet being depleted of its resources, while the title suggests that the amount of musical energy will explode throughout the album.
One example of the theme lies in the song titles, “Survival,” “Save Me” and “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable.” Based on the theme of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the album proves that Muse wasted no energy on its production.
Released Oct. 2 in the U.S., “The 2nd Law” asserts that Muse is capable of releasing another chart-topping hit album. Equaling — and maybe even surpassing — the success of Muse’s 2009 album, “The Resistance” in terms of quality and content, “The 2nd Law” never leaves room for questions.
Combining elements of dubstep, funk rock and symphony in the songs, this album is very much categorized as experimental, as Muse shies away from their normal sound. Debuting in the U.S. at number two on the Billboard 200 — with mostly positive reviews — “The 2nd Law” illustrates the power and effort Muse put behind the album.
Drawn from many different aspects of past music, Muse’s effort very clearly takes inspiration from music giants such as Stevie Wonder, Queen and David Bowie. Even with borrowed elements, “The 2nd Law,” still sounds like an original Muse album.
Lead singer Matt Bellamy’s unique voice complements all beats on the album, be it funk or dubstep. The song “Survival” is the most publicized single from the album. Heard by millions around the world, “Survival” served as a powerful song for the Olympics.
The ability to craft a story of desperation makes this album worth listening to. “The Resistance” was sort of a themed album, with titles such as “Uprising” and “Resistance,” but “The 2nd Law” is more refined and follows a plot better than Muse’s previous attempt.
With the solid effort of “The 2nd Law,” anticipation for a follow-up album is building for the band across the pond. Unlike much music of today, Muse was able to craft a very good album without the use of profanity or themes such as violence. Seeing as how all audiences can listen to this, discretion is left to the listener. Key tracks include “Survival” and “Panic Station.”