This album originally came out in England in 2003. Why did America wait until 2004 to release it? Who knows, but it might have something to do with the fact that American listeners completely misunderstood and underestimated the band’s deubt, Showbiz, while they didn’t even get a chance to hear the sophomore effort, Origin of Symmetry. But with Muse’s third album, Absolution, the stakes were raised and America could no longer ignore the band with the grandiose vision, soaring vocals and spine-tingling presence.
From the build up of the foot-stomping introduction, to the pounded piano chords, drum-fill ins, to the final emergence of Matt Bellamy’s oft noted Thom Yorke impression, Absolution grabs you by the (insert appropriate body part) and never lets go. This is Muse’s best effort to date, and if you want to know what the album’s all about, just look at these song titles: “Apocalypse Please,” “Time is Running Out,” “Sing for Absolution” and “Thoughts of a Dying Atheist.” The second in the list is the song that is just now taking American radio by storm (while the fourth single, the fantastic “Butterflies and Hurricanes” is out in England) and rightly so. Its build-up to screaming release is the best I’ve heard since “Fake Plastic Trees.” Particularly listen to the exquisite drumming at about 1:45 into the song before the second chorus and then the “oooh yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah’s” after it.
For those who long for the operatic glamour of Queen, the vocal calisthenics of Thom Yorke circa The Bends or OK Computer and the crunching guitars of a true rock powerhouse, this album is for you. Bellamy sums up how I feel about this stunning album in “Thoughts of a Dying Atheist,” one of the best pop songs I’ve heard. It’s so good it “scares the hell out of me.”
Radiohead- The Bends
Queen- News of the World