Hi All and welcome back after a short and unplanned hiatus. Some of you noticed the domain name glitch, and while that was going on, I was sick, then healed up in time to fill in for my wife – let me tell you, I got a reminder of how hard it is to be a woman – and now… now I’m back. The blog is back and Muse are freaking back!
When we grew up and went to school, there were certain teachers who… would leave the science lab unattended and allow us to sneak in for a couple of hours to watch a movie. And not just any movie. To this day, I think of it as a kind of miracle that this video cassette (Pink Floyd’s The Wall) lasted for as long as it did.
We’d lock ourselves in, turn the lights off and watch it over and over, marveling at how many new nuances we could catch every time we did. The Wall isn’t my favorite Pink Floyd album, though it’s way up there, but it is so far the best concept album that was ever produced.
That is until 6/9/2015.
There were quite a few songs, albums, musical acts that were (and some still are) really tied in with my personal life, beliefs, state of mind. Some of them represented things I wanted to say, some resounded in my own thinking, some seemed to be written about me. Such is Muse’s new album – Drones.
What separates a really good concept album from the rest of the noise?
Well, first is the obvious… it actually has a concept. Yeah, the sexy lead singer can say there is, but unless it’s reflected in the actual work – a concept album it does not make. Like in literature, the album must stay the course. Stay true to what was promised. You might remember a post I wrote about this magnificent band earlier – Muse – As Advertised. Drones remains on point from the first note of “Dead Inside” through to the last echoes of “Drones“.
Another distinguishing question is whether the songs hold their own musically as well as being part of a coherent concept. The answer here is again, a resounding Yes. Each of the first 7 songs (I’m excluding the “Drill Sergeant” and “JFK” tracks which are more binders) are not only really good songs, but can definitely hold their own as singles. The last 3 are more thematic, but I see nothing wrong with them either. A matter of taste. And while they can all be listened to regardless of context within the album, they fit right in as major pieces in this artistic puzzle. Bellamy has sharpened his ax, so did Chris on the Bass and Dom’s machine gun drums are locked and loaded and the band delivers a consistent artistic piece from start to end.
And last but not least is that X factor. The one that should make us care (or not) about the concept album. Perhaps a better name is a thematic album. Because without having anything to correspond with in our own life, a concept album is merely a gimmick. Drones is definitely not a gimmick. Mathew Bellamy has a few things to say, and he says them very clearly throughout this album.
Like the best literature available, Muse drew a nice main plot that can take the listener through the story of mankind. But the magic starts when you dig deeper. Understanding that “Drone” may or may not be just what you thought. Understanding the metaphors and double (and some time triple) meaning of some of the lines you thought you fully understood so far. The musical choices for style, as well as instruments picked per song also play very well in setting the mood for each chapter of this story, and what we get is satisfying. Very much so.
I’ve read some really misguided attempts at critiquing this album. With respect – Ignore them all.
Yes ladies and Gentlemen. Muse’s “Drones” is the real deal. It is at the very least on the level of Pink Floyd’s masterpiece and I for one, would expect to see more developments with regards to this album.
I think you can safely say that I wholeheartedly recommend this album to anyone.
Until next time, let me know what you think. Did you already get the album? What are you waiting for?
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