Heavy rock meets classical – The Resistance is Muse’s fifth studio album and a failed attempt to thread symphonic ballads with rhapsodies of Matt Bellamy’s soulful vocals. The Resistance is clearly not their best album recorded – their magnum opus was the Origin of Symmetry – but this album is far from average in comparison. Its pompous influences are all over the place – which is what makes The Resistance, well, disappointing.
At first listen, this album seemed inventive, yet on second and third listen, The Resistance offers only but a safe journey to the United States of Eurasia. That said, we expected them to record nothing less than musical grandeur. The first half seems to be reminiscent of typical Muse, but the classic musical stylings (not the classical music) of the band we’ve grown to love are confusingly coerced with the three-part suite that closes the album.
To some extent, this self-proclaimed symphony (titled Exogenesis) is an intriguing exploration into a world where periodic music meets Muse. This is supposed to be a historical collision between the two, but instead The Resistance plays it safe and basic. Frontman Bellamy should have branded the Exo’s with his lyrics but instead leaves Chopin to do what he does best: “Nocturne In E-Flat Major.“
Orchestral swells, Arabian interludes, Queen and Chopin allusions and a Samson and Delilah opera insert, Muse is influenced greatly by their own muses. The first song “Uprising” is at times reminiscent of Goldfrapp’s “Strict Machine” and the R&B inspired “I Belong to You” makes for a highly ambitious album that misses the Muse-esque sound from their previous albums.
But therein lies the problem with The Resistance. When you try to fit as many of your muses into one song or one album, you end up with this: a pretentious galore of songs encrusted with cliché interpretations and an album that fails to deliver the originality that Muse is known for.
If you can get past the operatic and orchestral strews all over the album, you will find moments of cadential bliss. From a completely objective view, you’ll be able to look at this album as art and not just as music – something to be appreciated for the message despite its obvious shortcomings.
Overall, The Resistance is decent and listenable, just as long as you avoid “I Belong To You.“
Give these tracks a listen: “Mk Ultra,” “United States of Eurasia“
For fans of: Queen, Radiohead
– Karen Song