Music album review: ‘Will of the People’ by Muse

I could have reviewed this album 3 months ago, when it was first released. I don’t go by first impressions, however, so now I’ve gathered my thoughts on the 9th studio album from one of the biggest bands in the world. I have concluded thus:

This album is, like many others created in the global turmoil of the past couple of years, influenced by lockdowns, isolation, terrible politicians and the threat of climate change. This is most obvious on songs such as ‘Compliance’ and ‘We Are F—ing F—ed’. It’s not at all surprising. The themes would have been there anyway, though, continuing the trend of their more recent albums.

I think the album is addictive, like an irresistible snack food you want to eat more and more of, but there’s little nutritional value and you need to ration yourself. Maybe that sounds ridiculous but none of the other Muse albums are like that and it’s as if a machine has processed a load of previous Muse songs, extracted the tastiest bits, merged them together and inflated the whole thing into a giant marshmallow. Somehow it lacks the depth of everything else they’ve done. All the Muse trademarks are there, but the result is a bit too shiny.

As well as sampled classical music, there’s a strong Queen sound on this album and I have also detected hints of System of a Down, ABBA, Michael Jackson, T-Rex and even Disney. I don’t know if they were all influences, that’s just what it sounds like to me. There’s a very calculated appeal, too. ‘You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween’ to add to seasonal playlists. ‘Will of the People’ having a glam rock stomp for fans of a certain age. ‘Won’t Stand Down’ for those who prefer earlier heavy Muse rock.

I think Will of the People is a work of genius but that it sounds too popular, if that makes sense. I almost hate it for making me love it. Surely this album is a win, as they’re more popular than ever – it’s the ‘will of the people’ after all – and they are playing some enormous stadium events next year with hugely expensive ticket prices to match.

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