It is difficult to properly judge an entire album by a pair of songs, but if “Survival” and “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” are any indication, Muse’s upcoming album is going to be a hit. Due out October 1st, the anticipation for “The 2nd Law” is palpable. Soon afterwards the band will embark on a European tour to debut the album with an American tour hopefully following in 2013. Never before has there been quite as much anticipation for an album named for a law of thermodynamics, where entropy is always increasing.
The word on the street (or internet) is that The 2nd Law will be “something radically different” according to Bassist Christopher Wolstenholme. Composer David Campbell worked in part with front man Matt Bellamy on the album. Campbell has in the past worked with such musical luminaries as Radiohead, Adele, and Paul McCartney.
“The 2nd Law” will have a similar structure to 2009’s “The Resistance” with a number of standalone tracks to begin the album, and finished with the pair of related songs, “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable,” and “The 2nd Law: Isolated System.” Causing some buzz was the announcement that Dubstep producer Skrillex had a major influence on the final two tracks of the album.
The 53:49 album is comprised of 13 tracks only two of which have been released so far.
The 2012 London Olympics Anthem, “Survival” was released on June 27th to coincide with the beginning of the Olympics. The song was specifically composed by Matt Bellamy for the Olympics to be played as the athletes enter the Olympic stadium. The song is over the top to say the least, with a bombastic chorus where “we’re gonna win” is repeated over and over again. Upon first listen, the song is a bit cheesy and the lyrics very basic, but after a few listens it has an inexplicably enjoyable Muse sound. It didn’t need to be written specifically for the Olympics as “Uprising” probably could have served a similar purpose. The live performance of “Survival” during the Closing Ceremony’s was impressive to say the least, though NBC thought it necessary to cut it completely from their primetime broadcast.
Though not yet released as a single “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” is already a highlight of the entire Muse catalogue. “Unsustainable” begins with frenetic strings which build slowly to the Dubstep inspired chorus, which shocking doesn’t seem completely out of place. Halfway through we actually hear Bellamy’s wailing for the first time with strings and classical percussion backing his every expostulation. Throughout the song, small bits of the definition of the second law of thermodynamics are recited by a stern female British voice. Though the song features little in terms of recognizable guitar or base, the confluence of Dubstep, and epic classical sound all work.
If these two songs are anyway an example of the rest of the album, The 2nd Law could be one of Muse’s finest albums.