Monday, July 2, 2012

what kind of fresh hell is this.

      Muse has gone dubstep.

      Muse. The rock band Muse. The wonderful, incredible, talented, best-thing-that-ever-happened-to-the-modern-music-industry Muse made a dubstep song.

      Excuse me while I process this. *crawls into corner and curls into fetal position*

      This cannot be real. I have to be asleep right now. *slaps self in face* RRRGHHHH!!!! WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP!!!!! Never in my existence have I experienced a nightmare like the one I am having now. Being eaten alive by a monster was not as scary as this. Dying at the fuzzy paws and knives of psychotic, murderous teddy bears in an abandoned factory is the best dream I've ever had compared to the hellish ordeal I am currently experiencing. This is not reality. Real life cannot hurt this bad.

      My life is in shambles. Everything I believed in and stood for, all of it is currently smoldering in a fiery inferno that apparently is entitled "Unsustainable." This is just not fair. I can't even express my emotions right now. Instead I'll explain it as a flavor, and that flavor is chocolate ice cream and puke. Which is probably because I'm trying to eat my feelings after being betrayed by my favorite band in the whole wide world.

      Let  me start at the beginning. I was happily surfing the web, hunting for something to listen to on YouTube, when I caught wind of the new Muse track for the 2012 London Olympics. I shrieked and danced and cried tears of joy like the pwoper Muser I am. I had waited three years, three very long years, for this moment, for a new release. I wildly flailed at my keyboard in excitement and somehow managed to click on the video link without accidentally launching my laptop across the room. Expectation hung in the air, and I was thoroughly sure that rainbows and unicorns and angels would shoot from my computer screen as a dramatic, lush symphony of pure beauty and wonder poured from my speakers. It would be everything I'd ever hoped and more. It would be the best song ever written. It would be perfection.

      Except it wasn't.

      What started off as eager hope soon turned into disappointment. The song was... meh. That's really the only word I have to describe it. It wasn't the worst thing I've ever listened to for sure, but it was not of the high caliber of music Muse usually produces. It started off well, with a dramatic symphony orchestra, and Matt's flawless piano playing. And then it all stopped and turned into crap. Snapping?? Really?!? Come on guys, is this the Olympics or the 1961 version of West Side Story? And you traded that huge symphonic sound for a staccato one? In pretty much every movie ever made in the history of the universe, when there is a dramatic scene in which the hero must accomplish something great, or has succeeded in doing so, what kind of music is playing? This, this, and this. All of these are dramatic and heroic. This is the type of music that paints the picture of an athlete using every last ounce of strength and willpower to bring honor to their country. NOT this. This is Broadway meets Hollywood and they have a jivin', fun-lovin', finger-snappin' Jersey Boy child. That is what you have accomplished, Matt Bellamy, with your stupid staccato piano. Your song just screams kick-line. C'mon Bellamy, are we in London or New York?

      ...Ok, perhaps that's a bit harsh. It doesn't quite sound like a kick-line, but you have to admit, there is a bit of a theatrical feeling to that sudden switch in style. Especially with the strange, opera-style backing vocals. And speaking of vocals, the lyrics bored me to tears. I know they're supposed to be simple so the song can easily be translated into other languages, so I guess I can't complain about them as much as I want to. However, I know Matt is capable of creating beautiful, deep lyrics, and a great lyricist like him should be able to come up with something still easily translatable and a tad more creative than, "Race, it's a race/ But I'm gonna win/ Yes I'm gonna win." I'd bet my teeth and my feet that Matt held a contest for local children to write lyrics and then he closed his eyes and pulled a submission from a hat. I can just see it now: "Congratulations, little Albert Davies of Westminster! Only five years old and already your work is world-famous! We're all so proud."

     I might have been able to stand the cheesy lyrics and the misplaced Broadway-style snapping, had it not been for the bland instrumentation. Seriously, I've heard cats who have come up with more interesting melodies than the one in this song. It wasn't catchy at all (I honest to god can't even remember what it sounds like, and I listened to it about five minutes ago) and though the guitar was alright, it was not even close to what I know Matt is capable of. I found myself wishing halfway through the song that it would just end. That has NEVER happened to me while listening to Muse. Not. Once.

      So yes, I was severely disappointed by the new Olympic anthem. While it wasn't as horrible as listening to this gem, it wasn't the kind of brilliant music I have come to expect from Muse. It was simply "ok" at best.

      Of course, after being slightly heartbroken by the mediocrity of "Survival," I searched the web to see how other Musers were reacting to the song. And then I saw it. The video. THE video. The teaser for Muse's new album. And let me tell you, I was so overcome with emotion I nearly passed out. I have been anticipating the new Muse album for what feels like ages, and to finally have a taste of what's to come? It felt like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, and my birthday all rolled into one, plus winning the lottery. I shouldn't have let my hopes get up so high, especially after hearing the soggy, bland oatmeal of a song that is "Survival." But I couldn't help it. I have been such a huge fan and I have loved everything they created, even "Neutron Star Collision." I knew Muse would never let me down...

Matthew Bellamy, Christopher Wolstenholme, and Dominic Howard. You cruel, heartless bitches. How dare you. How fucking dare you. I trusted you, I listened to your music, and I chose you to be my favorite musicians. How can you do this to me? I really thought Muse could produce no song I disliked. I loved every bit of Muse, the rock, the electronica, the classical, everything. The songs were always beautifully crafted and pleasing to the ear. I believed that Matt, Chris, and Dom knew what good music was. And yet here we are, with the promise of a dubstep-infused pile of shit on the latest Muse album. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Dubstep is not music. Dubstep is the sounds of a construction site down the street. Dubstep is a golf club in a blender. Dubstep is the war chant of the member of a rare and ancient tribe that inhabited the homes of many during the 90's: the Dial-Up Modems. I'm surprised Matt and the gang have fallen victim to the latest fad, since they always seemed to do their own thing musically, what with their incredibly unique and distinctive sound. I don't discourage Muse from taking inspiration from other artists and genres. In fact, that's what makes Muse great; they listen to a wide variety of music and allow it to influence their own work. However, they never lost the basis of rock in their music, and they kept the same basic sound throughout much of their work. And now they are jumping off the deep end and completely turning their style around, most likely because dubstep has gotten so much attention lately, and it's considered "edgy" when someone goes dubstep. I think Matt, Chris, and Dom need a reality check. As the saying goes, just because one lemming jumps off a cliff, the other lemmings do not have to put down their guitars and "wubwubwub."

     ...or something like that. Poorly-delivered colloquialisms aside, I think it is a huge risk for Muse to turn to dubstep, even if it is only for one song, and even if they did use real instruments instead of relying completely on a synth. I have a feeling that a lot of Musers are going to be more than a little upset about the magnitude of this jump between genres. I know I am. I really don't like dubstep, and I am surprised that Muse actually consider it to be album-worthy, taking into account their typical style and past work and whatnot. I can understand that they wanted to try something different on this album, and delve into some diverse and atypical genres for inspiration, but I still find it hard to believe that Muse couldn't find a better influence than Skrillex. (Little-known secret: Skrillex got his idea for dubstep AND his haircut at the same time - he got a little too close to his oscillating fan... you can see the results here and here.) If they wanted something more electronic than Undisclosed Desires, how about looking to some real musicians, instead of the strangely-barbered hipster? Like deadmau5, for example. Joel Zimmerman, the man behind the mau5, has created some great electronic house music that, like dubstep, is very different from Muse's style. However, house does not sound like a broken garbage disposal. It's electronic, but differs from dubstep in that it actually sounds like real music. Matt, Chris, and Dom must have been kidnapped or brainwashed by aliens, because there is no way they can actually enjoy dubstep. They have too much taste for that ... or they used to, at least.

      I'm left confused, angry, and depressed by Muse's album teaser and new song, and my high hopes for their upcoming work have slipped down quite a few notches. I just hope the rest of their album will be better than the monstrosity I listened to today.

      And now I think I'll go and finish eating my depression and my weight in Edy's.

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