Muse sounds like what rock music should evolve into but won't. Let's not make any mistakes about this comment- Muse is only a little better than the manufactured rock/pop I hear every day on every radio station that I hate - yet this album, "Absolution," possesses an ethereal, thought-out quality which the aforementioned rock/pop tends to lack. It's this feel alone that prevents me from despising the CD. Use of keyboards and effect-soaked instrumentation makes the album sound processed in a refreshing way as opposed to an obnoxious way. Synthetic basslines turn up in the album, utilized with pinpoint precision right where they belong.
Lyrically, "Absolution" is awash with references to religious thought combined with the same vague nature that's found in many, many rock band lyric books. I'd like to say that they're blurring the lines between musical styles, shattering boundaries, and the like but to say that would just not be true. This is rock music, done well. That should be plain and simple enough for complete idiots to understand.
The album opens with "Intro," which is indeed, an intro to the second track. If I really need to explain what "intro" means, then I don't want you reading my reviews anymore. Let me take this moment to address something that Muse does that I don't like-
ATTENTION ALL BANDS! IT'S POINTLESS TO PUT AN "INTRO" TRACK AS THE FIRST TRACK THAT SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE THE LOGICAL BEGINNING TO THE SECOND TRACK! HERE'S A NOVEL CONCEPT-WHY DON'T WE NOT HAVE THE FIRST TRACK BE AN "INTRO" UNLESS IT SOUNDS DIFFERENT THAN TRACK 2!? SORRY MUSE, BUT THIS TACTIC ISN'T AS ORIGINAL AS ROCK BANDS THINK IT IS!
OK. I got that out of my system. Now Muse and Muse fans - I like this CD. Don't take the above paragraph as a dismissal of Muse's songwriting skill. Anyhow, the "intro" leads into "Apocalypse Please," an opus of a rock song complete with well-done piano outro. The rest of the album is a sonic trip and a half for rock fans. I like this much better than any modern overrated bands - Nickelback, Slipknot, The White Stripes, whatever I keep hearing on the blasted radio. These guys are talented, but more importantly, they're diverse. Each track isn't just a rehash of the last one. Each song aspect is not a rehash of what we've already heard on the song. For instance, "Falling Away With You" shows the standard well-done rock chugging along when... What's this!? A complex piano/synthetic/whatever mesh of instrumentation and lyrics bust in. As quick as they've busted in, they bust back out-allowing the rock to take over once more.
The album alternates well between the hard and the soft, the acoustic and synthetic, insert generic polar opposite comparison here. These guys are anything but a rehashed rock band formula that I'd expect from a label such as Warner Bros. The word "rehash" is awesome. People should use it more. Anyhow, listen to the track "Butterflies and Hurricanes." It's a joyride to hear.
Sure to please- Rock fans of nearly any type, except indie rock fans (those people have some weird elitism associated with hearing bands on major labels).
Sure to disappoint- Kenny G. fans, hip-hop
fans, R&B fans, your mother.