Popular “band” Muse have returned once more to the increasingly reluctant ears of the populace with another single. They have thrown their hat into the ring once more, and this time, the ring throws their hat back.
Once known for their Radiohead-lite artistic flourishes that combined histrionics with art school sensibilities, they then settled in for a multi-album stretch of sounding exactly the same. The singer guy yelled the same way in all songs, the guitars sounded like Michael Bay movies looked in all songs, and the production was so tight it sounded as if it had been squeezed out of a unicorn’s asshole.
All of this was fine: you could, at the very least, ignore it. Muse went from indie darlings to stadium fillers and then to the increasingly awkward “we can keep filling stadiums without actually doing anything different other than sounding like Kiss for engineers” phase. This time – though – they’ve come back with fucking dubstep.
But that isn’t their biggest flaw here, surprisingly. Oh no. It’s one thing to latch yourself to a fad as passing and one-note sounding as mainstream dubstep (make no mistake, this is as mainstream and as cookie-cutter as dubstep could ever sound). Perhaps their biggest flaw was the name “The 2nd Law – Unsustainable”… the song itself is completely fucking unsustainable. It is as if someone had simply turned on the Muse Songwriting Machine, turned it to the “dubstep” setting, and left the room and forgot about the result.
The song isn’t so much “bad” as it is just plain lazy – the sound of a band far too comfortable in their own groove for far too long. Perhaps the best way to describe “The 2nd Law – Unsustainable” is to imagine the conversation in the studio directly before recording it:
“Hey guys, let’s do something different.”
“Well, dubstep is popular.”
“I’ve got a caviar and cocaine meeting in an hour, lets get this over with.”
And, presto. There you have it.
Muse were once admired for their aural bravado and spectacle. “Unsustainable” is the sound of a band so bored with being a band that they will do literally anything to stay relevant, while being too lazy to actually change anything about their sound.
It is, for my money, the absolute worst song of the year. And I already heard Mumford & Sons’ new song, so that’s saying a lot.