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Generally favorable reviews- based on 242 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 39 out of 242

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  1. Aug 11, 2014
    From the in your face deep rock riffs of Supremacy, to the chilled piano of Isolated system, The 2nd Law is, although unique and brave in many ways, still truly fantastic. The follow up to 2009's The Resistance, the album sees even further changes and experimentation from the days of 1999's Showbiz and 2001's Origin of Symmetry, but it's not ashamed of it.
    The album opens with Bond-esque
    hard hitter Supremacy, featuring some of Bellamy's strongest falsettos to date. There's no messing around or progressive introductions with this opener, it throws you straight in at the deep end, which feels rather fitting given the concept behind the album.
    At the end of Supremacy there are only two thoughts going through a listener's head. "Bloody hell that was awesome" and "was Bellamy joking about the electronic stuff?" And then BOOM. Madness. Featuring the classically electronic "m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-mad-mad-mad" at the intro accompanied by Dominic Howard's steady beat on the drum machine.
    Despite being different in every way from all of Muse's other tracks, it certainly doesn't disappoint. And boy, does it grow on you. The music slowly builds up, becoming one of the bands greatest songs to date as the electronics slowly drop out. Pay attention, Coldplay. This is how Magic should have sounded! It crams in many rock features throughout despite the electronic side, we still get a kick-ass (if admittedly a little brief) guitar solo accompanied by light hints of overdrive on Bellamy's Manson.
    Emerging from the calmness of Madness comes Panic Station... otherwise known as Everything Great About 80's Rock Jammed Into 3 Minutes. Everything you would possibly want in a Muse song is here. Clean Falsettos, about 500 uses of the word "you", one of the greatest bass lines since Hysteria or Another One Bites The Dust, and a melody that you just have to tap your foot to. 'Nuff said, give it a listen.
    At this point you know the album is diverse, and just to prove you right comes along an orchestral prelude (stunning) followed by the official song for the olympics 2012, Survival. With choirs, orchestras, and some of Bellamy's most powerful vocals to date. This is, in many people's opinion, the best song on the album. But not in mine, as the middle of the album ups the game yet again, with tracks Follow Me, sounding like something half way between the Pet Shop Boys and an extremely well produced Muse song. It's camp, it's poppy. And it's bloody brilliant. Even the rather irritating wubwubwub'd in the background grow on you, and suit the songs, and the live performances... wow, just wow. The song even features Bellamy's son, Bingham's heartbeat, setting the beat and tone for Bellamy's deepest vocals yet (both in pitch and meaning)
    Following Follow Me (yes I did that on purpose) is Animals, in my opinion, not just the best track on the album, but the best track of the year. it's so good! Lyrics from the next track, Big Freeze sum up my feelings about it "What words cannot convey"
    Big Freeze is the U2 style pop rock load of brilliant cheesiness. The vocals are Bellamy's best and hardest to sing to date, in particular on the above lyrics. It is a definite Muse future classic, and unfortunately marks an unbeatable high for the album, which is not what you want, the best should be saved for last, just look at The Resistance and Black Holes & Revelations as perfect examples.
    Explorers is wonderful, beautiful and one of Muse's best ballads, and it is unbelieveably hard to compare with the previous track, but it's better than the remaining 4 tracks, that much is certain. The next 2 songs are written and sung by Chris Wolstenholme, the band's bassist. And despite Chris being one of the greatest living bass players, it really doesn't make sense to have him singing on an album dominated by one of the greatest voices in modern rock. Of course the songs are about Chris, so it's only right that he should sing them, and they are good songs. They just don't fit in too well with the concept or style of the album. The same can be said to some extent about the 2nd Law electronic 2 part symphony. I was expecting another Exogenesis Symphony, which was an absolute masterpiece, but no. The orchetsral parts for the 2 tracks are great, but the UNSUSTAINABLE stuff does get a little tedious. But as usual Bellamy's vocals, even though they are only "woah, oh oh oh, oooh, ah ooh oh oh oohahwoahoh" are still brilliant, and almost too powerful for a man of his height.
    Isolated system is better in almost every way, and is extremely fitting in World War Z, and also to this album. It is the opposite to the intro of the album, it is calm, steady and peaceful, and a wonderful conclusion to this 52 minute masterpiece.
    The next album is said to go back to basics, and one thing is certain. I'll be queueing overnight to buy it.
  2. Sep 6, 2013
    All the age old Muse fans will cringe and moan about how the album is not "real muse", but really, the album is excellent! Electric Rock is a really tricky genre to meddle into and Muse is one of the few bands to have done it right. Songs like Follow Me and Madness show the careful and intricate production that Muse have mastered over the years, while Supremacy, Panic Station and Animals deliver the classic Muse melodies and guitar riffs! The two Instrumentals, Unsustainable and Isolated System are the exact opposite of the 3-part symphony in The Resistance, as they exhibit the far ends of the electronic prowess that Muse tried to accomplish and succeeded in my opinion.
    So really, i am a Muse fan since Absolution, and everyone needs to grow up and accept that a band ventures and experiments with different music and all albums cant be like your old time favourites. Muse has incredibly shown their growth with The 2nd Law and it only makes me more excited for their future works, along with giving me, what is arguably the best Muse song ever, Madness!
  3. Aug 25, 2013
    On first listen, The 2nd Law will leave Muse fans gawking in shock; every song on the album has a unique sound, many of which are quite different from anything Muse has done in the past. However, the songs are as complex and infectious as ever, and many will only reveal their beauty on the second listen. It's an amazing work for fans to appreciate and newcomers to dive in through. Highlights include the popular single Madness, funk infused jam Panic Station, electronic ballad Follow Me, and U2 inspired Big Freeze.

    Be wary of irritated so-called "fans" who can't accept that Muse would rather experiment with genres than produce innumerable copies of Origin of Symmetry and Absolution.
  4. Mar 23, 2013
    The 2nd Law combines 13 completely different songs to create a surprisingly magnificent whole. Best songs are Follow Me, Animals, Explorers, Save Me and Liquid State.
  5. Dec 26, 2012
    Given: I pretty much give all Muse albums a "10". This one's at LEAST a 9.501. I took my time in judging: I skew heavily in favor of the BEST BAND ON THE PLANET. And I'm one of those weird fans who was enthralled with "Survival" (except the simple lyrics). "Supremacy" is one my favorite Muse songs EVER; side "2" as I call it (starting with "Follow Me") is 100% SUBLIME (subliminally, even; and sustainable? Definitely). And what's-his-face from Coldplay thinks that "Madness" is the best Muse track ever...insipid, dull, vanilla, blond COLDPLAY. Gives me shivers. I LIKE "Madness", it deserves to be a bigger, er, "hit". But personally, it's in the "still-sublime-even-when-boring" MUSE category. Viva la Vida MUSE! Expand
  6. Dec 20, 2012
    As a longtime Muse fan, a new album is always a nervous event to comprehend because of Muse and their ever-changing approach to music. From the depths of their uncertain 'Radiohead-esque' era of Showbiz to the masterpiece that was Origin of Symmetry, Absolution, and Black Holes & Revelations, Muse have always impressed me as diverse musicians. Of course, 2009's The Resistance wasn't a great release bar a few tracks and the mighty, and beautiful, Exogenesis Symphony, but The 2nd Law has somehow evolved Muse even further than anything previously has ever done before. Though the recent tour leaves a lot left to be desired (hopefully Undisclosed Desires and Matt's Bono impersonations will be left alone for the stadium tour), The 2nd Law is a solid era, and a rather solid album.

    Back when Survival, Unsustainable (shortened via 'The 2nd Law: Unsustainable' on the album), and Madness were released as singles before the album release, I was worried, naturally. Madness, a simple but effective electronic track stripped to its bones, was a concern, but it eventually grew on me. Hearing how diverse this album was going to be, my nerves soon relaxed. Unlike others, I instantly fell in love with Survival and Unsustainable, two monster tracks built for stadium experiences. Still to this day, Survival remains my absolute favourite from The 2nd Law, for its over-the-top builds, its dirty and meaty riffs, and the brilliantly hilarious, but fun, choir. Aside from those three releases, the album holds up as one strong piece of work well polished.

    The album itself opens with the epic Supremacy (a nod to James Bond, perhaps) which doesn't set tone at all, but proves Muse have still got it when it comes down to beefy riffs and stunning choruses. This is by far one of the greatest tracks on the album (after Survival, and later Panic Station) and perhaps one of their greatest works. This is followed up by Madness, Panic Station, and later a lovely short prelude progressing into the monster Survival. Panic Station is one track I was initially worried about before the album release, but now stands as one of the strongest on the album. A 'funk-like Stevie Wonder induced anthem', Panic Station is a mountain of fun. It's brilliantly paced as a track, and would work wonders as a single. Follow Me soon follows, an electric 'rave' track deemed the new single (sadly) which was mixed and mastered, I believe, by Nero. This is a track that you will either love or hate, depending on your mood. Strong vocals, cheesy lyrics, surely to attract the chav population of England. Animals is the complete opposite, almost a nod to their Origin of Symmetry era. Strong Pink Floyd styled guitar solos, brilliantly orchestrated lyrics, and a superb ending. Animals is also one of the stronger tracks on the album.

    Then the album takes a turn (for the worse?) with classic Bellamy influenced Explorers and Big Freeze. I love Explorers, though some don't seem to enjoy it. Which is understandable, actually. A wonderful piano piece with haunting lyrics and a magical closing, which leads to the 'U2 rip-ff' that is Big Freeze. I despised Big Freeze upon first hearing, though like the rest of the album, it's a grower. If you don't mind a U2-inspired track with Bellamy trying his hardest to sound like his idol (almost a parody, think United States of Eurasia), Big Freeze still stands as a great song. Though I'm not surprised it hasn't been presented in their live shows just yet.

    Chris Wolstenholme, the legendary bassist (legendary; in no way an understatement), has given his fair share of commitment to The 2nd Law, too. Almost absent from The Resistance, Chris pounds back with two tracks of his own. Though, they're aren't on top form. Save Me is a slow, dragged out, track backed up with beautiful and personal lyrics. Liquid State is what I wanted from Chris, though turns out to be some short clutter, though by far one of the heaviest tracks on The 2nd Law.

    Matt naturally closes the album with two masterpieces of music composition, Unsustainable and The 2nd Law: Isolated System. Unsustainable is a massive 'rock take' on Dubstep, with news reader commentaries (a science lesson in itself), which is closed with the haunting and perfect Isolated System. Though no Exogenesis Symphony, Isolated System is one of Muse's greatest works. Haunting, intimate, massive, bold, furious, but calm at the same time. Wonderful stuff.

    Overall, The 2nd Law is a bold direction Muse have undertook, and you'll either love it or hate it. Though it seems like a collection of singles with no flow, The 2nd Law is a brilliant achievement and a clear advancement from their prior album, The Resistance. If you can forgive some cheesy lyrical content and some rip-off guitar solos, The 2nd Law will surely work for you.

    Overall Score: 9/10
  7. Nov 2, 2012
    After their album "The Resistance" i didn't have high expectations for this one, because i thought it just had to not be as good as the resistance, because i liked it so much. When the first promos were released i wasn't really to happy about them either. But then i (thank god), still decided to buy the album and give it a chance. After listening to it on loop 3-4 times, i completely fell in love with it. Yes, it is very different from their former work, but i think they still achieved to evolve but still have their old power and awesomeness. they even brought it to a new level in my opinion. I recommend everyone to at least be open minded and give it a try, before turning it down completely Expand
  8. Oct 11, 2012
    I wouldn't call myself a Muse fan. I used to love Origin of Symmetry, but found the albums since then to be quite boring. For some unknown reason I became caught up in the hype around 2nd Law, after watching the preview video a few times, and wondering how Muse were going to fuse dubstep with their guitar-based band.

    The album is very disjointed - no two songs seem to sit quite
    comfortably together in the way an album might be expected. But strangely it works, in much the same way as Queen's Night at the Opera, to which this album owes a lot. However, I haven't been able to get the songs out of my head all week - surely a sign of a great album? Having a listen seems to be the only cure, albeit only for a few hours.

    Rather than simply sounding like a Radiohead tribute as they did 11 years ago, Muse now display a wide variety of influences. Queen, David Bowie, ELO, and U2 all crop up here. The song Big Freeze could very easily be made by U2. Survival might as well be an ELO song.

    One stand out song is Panic Station, which should join the ranks of Junior Senior's Move Your Feet as a surprise club hit, with its strong beat and brilliant writing.

    The band here have evolved, with Matt Bellamy's voice matured almost beyond recognition since Origin. No more screeching falsetto all the time (although it's not completely absent). There is a distinct lack of guitar work here too, with a lot of synths providing the background to his moving vocal work. Clearly Muse are not afraid to experiment in order to move their sound forward.

    The only weak point, somewhat ironically, are the final two songs titled The 2nd Law: Unsustainable and The 2nd Law: Isolated System. They lack the power and finesse of the rest of the album.

    All in all this is a fantastic collection of songs, and gets better with each listen. I haven't listened to an album in such depth in about 15 years, so I'm sure you can understand my excitement with it.
  9. Oct 5, 2012
    Really good stuff. Could of done without Liquid State and Save Me but regarless the album has broken new ground and broken it well. Muse will always be one of the finest acts around.
  10. Oct 5, 2012
    Whatever genre Muse touch, they make it sound better than some band who are that genre only.
    This album is a grower, that's for sure. I enjoyed pretty much whole album at first listen (except Explorers) but with each listen it gets better and better! Well done Muse.
  11. Oct 4, 2012
    They continue to amaze me. Even though The 2nd Law is not as big of a leap from Resistance as Black Holes was from Absolution it brings plenty of freshness. It's light and sometimes funky. Starts with a grand James Bond-like opening. The bass line from Panic Station just makes you wanna grab the nearest lamp and dance to it. Sometimes you can even hear a little latino influence in the guitar and the brass sections.
    The dubstep influence is not as grate as you might have expected, but it's there and it sounds brilliant... and yes Chris puts down the bass and does the lead vocals on two tracks, a bold move but in my opinion a good one. So I definitely recommend it.
  12. Oct 3, 2012
    While i am more of a rap/hip hop lover, The Resistance was one of my favourite albums when it came out and I would even argue it could be considered "classic". I had very high hopes for this album and while I admit the first couple of listens scared me (as I was expecting the 2nd coming of god), in the end this is an excellent album that grows with each listen and I tip my hat off to Muse. Well done chaps! Expand
  13. Oct 3, 2012
    Well I can say that Muse did a splended job here. They haven't turned mainstream with this album (unlike Coldplay's newest album) and that is what is important. The record has got a lot of avantgarde sounds and lot's of alternative styles in songs. There are some songs that you will skip later when listening but only 1, max 2. All in all a great album that reminds me of Queen and other alternative rock bands. Expand
  14. Oct 3, 2012
    If you understand music, and don't have a predisposition to already hate Muse, this album is remarkable. Genre -bending, done better than anyone else, all in a package that is much better live. Muse always has been and always will be a live band, and this album will be massive in all the right ways in front of a crowd of true music fans.
  15. Oct 2, 2012
    Another great album from Muse. I have been a Muse fan since the first album and I find it really brave of the band to experiment and mix with new sounds. Music is always likely to change, and nothing stays the same forever. Big Freeze by far is my favorite from the album, along with Isolated System. Big Freeze has similar tones to Map of the Problematique. It still annoys me to here complaints that Muse sound too much like U2 or Queen. Bands are out there to inspire other people, and other bands, it is how new music comes out... through inspiration. Muse are inspired by other bands, and they inspire other people! Deal with it! Collapse
  16. Oct 2, 2012
    Guys!!! Some of you really need to chill out. This is a different sound for Muse but you need to appreciate that they are able to make new sounds and touch other genre's. Muse is such an amazing band and its better to show off some new sounds than to produce the same music over and over.
  17. Oct 2, 2012
    The problem with the 2nd law is it is less a cohesive album and more of a collection of diverse songs that just do not flow. That said, the majority of the songs on this album are brilliant, from the ridiculously epic supremacy to the funky panic station, or the subdued guitar genius of animals to the chilling Isolated system. The songs big freeze and liquid state may be weak links, but the rest of the album is very strong. It's a much more diverse and interesting record than the resistance, with Muse showing the bombastic sound that made them famous ahead of the manufactured sound from their previous effort. You may not like the album, but you cannot complain of a lack of heavy songs-survival, supremacy, liquid state and possibly even follow me are all loud tracks. It's heavier than the resistance, and again features a wide range of genres, with influences coming not just from Queen, but also from INXS, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and even Stevie Wonder.

    The addition of tow tracks by bassist Chris Wolstenholme is also a welcome addition, as he has a good voice and produced a great track in save me.

    Overall, the album is ridiculous, over the top, but also brave enough to explore every genre-those fearing an album of dubstep can rest easy. This is the best work they have produced since Absolution.
  18. Oct 2, 2012
    I am a HUGE Muse fan, but I must say that this album is not as awesome as their previous work. BUT.. still, it's too damn good. I love (almost) all the songs, even the vocal contribution of the bassist Christopher Wolstenholme. I love how they never refrain from experimentation like incorporation of funk, dubstep symphonic rock with their classic space rock in this record which is something rare. VERY RARE. As a band, they are really growing, they are not leaving their roots behind. I don't know why are the fans upset about the utilization of the whole dubstep idea. I just wanna say one thing to them and that is: Dubstep, itself, isn't bad. When you listen to an unsual genre song from a great artist, they make it sound like they are the pioneers of that genre and that's what happened here with Muse (IN MY OPINION). Listen to The 2nd Law: Unsustainable and Madness. You are definitely going to love them. Remaining songs on the album sound like they're Muse's, for sure. You can't ignore the intensity of the variation and experimentation in making this record. I am glad they have made this album, I mean I get to listen to different side of Muse, so I am not gonna hate on them. NEVER. I still love the band, they're still my top favourite band. And they will always be. If you want to listen to the same sound like the one used in previous albums, go ahead and listen to previous albums. Simple. Just stop being a bi**h and get over it. And at least, appreciate that they have made a new record which still sounds nothing like their previous work (sounds different and great) and that's a great thing. They keep evolving after making each record and I am really impressed with that and that's one of the major reasons I love this band so much. I know the expectations were really high and at first, I was kinda disappointed as well but when I finished listening to the whole album, I was like, "WOW!" and as a fan, that's quite enough for me. I don't care if people don't like the songs, what's done is done, you can't undo it so the only option is: TAKE IT. You can't just leave it. The songs have started growing on me and I am glad about it. Just give it a go again and I hope you would start loving it, too. Expand
  19. Oct 2, 2012
    if you want to get something different go for this album . muse is the best band in the world and they know what to do . let me make it clear , this album is not a rock album ! you will get some dubstep with guitar (!)as well as rock , pop-rock , heavy metal , funk ...
    it's not the best album from trio cause all of their albums are awesome but it's the most perfect one ! matt bellamy's
    vocal is the best ever and their music is perfect . bellamy shows you that you can sing about energy , politics , illuminati , love , apocalypse ... even in dubstep and pop genre .
    so if you're a muser you will be satisfied and if you're not , give it more listens , you will love it ...
  20. Oct 2, 2012
    Massive grower - both for the listener and in terms of Muse's development. Take out Liquid State and it is pretty much perfect. Really enjoying this.
  21. Oct 2, 2012
    I think this Album is great. Have been a muse fan since Showbiz and I'm glad they are willing to mix things up rather than growing old and stale. Good music is good music. The track Big Freeze is currently my fave on the album with the powerful chorus resonating deep inside me. If you hate this album and think Muse have gone down a terrible road... then stop listening. Go find a band that sounds exactly the same to everything else you like. If you can't stand this album because its to "pop" or whatever, then you're too insecure to consume media anyway. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. From its atmospheric nineties leanings to Bellamy's consistently on-the-mark channeling of Bono, it's not too hard to imagine The 2nd Law having a similar legacy ten or twenty years down the road: not a great album, but an adventurous one.
  2. Oct 29, 2012
    Does this all meld together into the cohesive whole of a perfect album? Well, no, not really. But does The 2nd Law represent a band whose only limitations seem to be the high ceiling of their collective imagination? The answer here is an emphatic yes. [6 Oct 2012, p.52]
  3. Oct 22, 2012
    Muse and David Campbell's melodramatic arrangements occasionally raise a smile, but if you like your rock symphonic and your vocals histrionic, The 2nd Law delivers. [Nov 2012, p.87]