Review: Will of the People by Muse

August 26, 2022

We worried about Matt Bellamy during the lockdown. As people previously unaffected by conspiracy theories started indulging in them, a sense of dread emerged about how Matt would cope with the genuinely dystopian events: would he send us a final message, as he locked himself away for ten years in a specially designed bunker called NOVAX01? Well, the good news is Matt seems to be okay, playing gigs and releasing music…

Which brings us to the latest Muse album, Will of the People. Now, Matt (and so Muse as a whole) always had a love of grand science fiction ideas, fighting off imaginary oppressive regimes, and we have to say Will of the People is that part of Muse turned up to eleven, because it’s slightly comic too. There’s big riffs, big synths, entire songs about rebellion against your fascist overlords. It’s the Musiest Muse album of all time. Now, people who were there at the beginning when they were a Radiohead alternative writing songs you could relate to might be disappointed by this, because we are in full batshit mode here. But strap into that harness, power up your las rifle, and just enjoy.

The titular track opens the album, a massive glam stomp about regime change, then it’s into the 80s synths of Compliance, which could be about laser fascists, or cybermen, or Chris Witty, it’s not clear. Liberation is a piano led, Queen style song about… a civilian rebellion, and Won’t Stand Down is about refusing to accept your abuse by a government. There’s good riffs, and a theme you can already discern. Ghosts could be a piano ballad about a departed / deceased love, except ‘the great reset’ is being used as the metaphor so there’s no escaping there. You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween is the most fun on the album, which is a weird thing to say about a track full of domestic abuse and slasher movie synths. Kill or Be Killed has the album’s biggest riffs and is just a classic Muse number, while Verona reimagines Romeo and Juliet in the Corona world, full of creepy references to masks, poison and contagion. Euphoria drops the pretend of asking for freedom instead of asking for fun via a sci-fi romp of a song, and finally we come to We Are Fucking Fucked, where Muse drop the fiction, look around at our very real war, virus and environment, and conclude possibly the only realistic thing on the LP: We Are Fucking Fucked.

Disappointingly, there are no ten minute epics on Will of the People, but do we really miss them when we’ve got ten punchy songs that never overstay their welcome on a forty minute run time? In terms of later era Muse the LP isn’t as good as Drones, but it is good. This is a Flash Gordon of an album, and if you enjoy that pulp, bright, chaotic movie, chances are you’ll vibe with Will of the People.

8/10

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