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Let Muse embrace dubstep

For those aware, I can empathize with your feelings of hurt and cries of “sell-out.”

For those who aren’t, it would help to understand what issue I’m referring to. On recently released tracks from British alternative shoegaze rock outfit Muse, the band has embraced the ever-growing popularity of dubstep music by fusing it with their brand of theatrical rock that has created numerous hits for them over the course of their 18 years as a group.

And while fans have every right to their feelings of “Hysteria” and contempt for the change in style, I’m pleasantly surprised by Muse’s daring new direction for their sixth album The 2nd Law.

While the first release, “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable,” certainly had me wondering what Muse had become since 2009’s The Resistance, and left me with more questions than repeated listens for the new song., “Survival,” the song chosen as the official theme music for this summer’s Olympic Games, stays truer to Muse’s tried-and-true formula, with operatic vocals, a blistering guitar solo and plenty of dramatic flair.

The real game-changer was the most recent release, “Madness.” The dubstep influence is apparent from the opening seconds. The song provides a great showcase for Matthew Bellamy’s excellent vocals, which has always been the main reason I enjoy Muse’s work.

With some Queen-like harmonies mixed in, as well as U2-esque echoing, the minimalist sound of the song stretches to grand proportions by the end. While listening, I never felt the wobbly bass provided a distraction from Muse’s signature sound, but was a nice complement to the band’s electronic stylings of old.

To save myself from likely attacks by the alternative music community, I would not consider myself a fan of dubstep in any sense. I’ve attended and fallen asleep at two different festival appearances by Skrillex, and stood confounded by Bassnectar at this year’s Lollapalooza (these artists do, however, have some very extravagant light shows that are interesting for approximately 3 minutes).

As another disclaimer, I’m not immune to bands changing their sound for the worse, and have left a few where they went wrong (Linkin Park, anyone?)

In any case, the same won’t be happening to Muse for me yet. The “new” sound really isn’t all too unfamiliar, as Muse have always implemented electronic ingredients into their albums. Plus, it’s always nice for a band to show some outgoingness when it comes to new material, and Muse have done so with their usual panache.

So for all you ready to give up on what may have been your favorite band – give them another chance. You may find yourself just as excited as I am for the new album’s October 2 release.

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