The 2nd Law Image
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 284 Ratings

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  • Summary: The sixth album for the British rock band features bassist Chris Wolstenholme on lead vocals for two tracks he wrote.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Oct 1, 2012
    92
    Muse fans will have a hard time being disappointed by "The 2nd Law," and rookies have a new perfect place to jump in.
  2. Oct 2, 2012
    80
    The scale [on The 2nd Law] is such that you have to stand back in a kind of addled awe. Much in the same way that you might regard a 75ft-high luminous pink pissing flamingo water feature; you have to admire the size of the ambition and the craftsmanship, even if it's not something you'd necessarily want at your own house.
  3. Oct 22, 2012
    80
    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]
  4. Sep 28, 2012
    70
    The array of musical styles on show across The 2nd Law means that, like many of this band's past albums, it doesn't entirely coalesce into a seamless collection of songs... But when this album works, it works well.
  5. Oct 16, 2012
    60
    Listeners may scratch their heads over the album in whole; but open minds will discover that the beauty of the standalone tracks saves The 2nd Law from total combustion.
  6. Oct 1, 2012
    60
    Though not all of the band's experiments necessarily pay off, the album feels like a worthy proving ground for the ideas that will take the band boldly into the future.
  7. Sep 27, 2012
    40
    This isn't an album; it's a series of OCD thoughts thrown together in passing, the only sense of cohesion coming during a rare chance for bassist Chris Wolstenholme to take centre stage on vocals.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 84
  2. Negative: 14 out of 84
  1. Oct 2, 2012
    10
    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.
  2. Aug 11, 2014
    10
    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 manyFrom 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.
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  3. Oct 2, 2012
    9
    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 loveI 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
  4. Feb 7, 2013
    7
    As a collection of songs The 2nd Law might be impressive. However, when taken in context of an album the entire things feels disjointed andAs a collection of songs The 2nd Law might be impressive. However, when taken in context of an album the entire things feels disjointed and there is little to no flow. It is also let down by a few weak tracks. That being said the album does offer some very fantastic tracks from many different genres. From the progressive rock song Supremacy to the pop song Madness and then the funk inspired song Panic Station, Muse are firing on all cylinders. They have a good mix of new influences (dubstep, electropop, funk) and a bit of their old rockier/classical side which comes through on a few tracks as well. No Muse's best album but also not their worst. Expand
  5. Oct 13, 2014
    6
    With The 2nd Law, Muse tries to musically expand itself even further compared to previous releases, however, this time the results aren't asWith The 2nd Law, Muse tries to musically expand itself even further compared to previous releases, however, this time the results aren't as solid as past efforts. The bland dubstep on "Follow Me," the cheesy anthem "Survival" are a few examples of failed experiments with "Explorers" and "Big Freeze" also being included among them. However despite the misfires and lack of cohesiveness through the many different musical styles presented in The 2nd Law, the album has its moments of brilliance as well. The R&B/Soul ballad "Madness" is a standout along with the funky "Panic Station" and the simply beautiful "Save Me."

    Lyrically, it is a bit of continuation on Muse's political/apocalyptic themes (on The 2nd Law they particularly cover the sustainability of society's energy/resource consumption) but they also explore more personal themes such as on the aforementioned "Madness" or "Follow Me." The 2nd Law covers a lot of musical ground (perhaps too much) but it still is bold and ambitious and includes moments of greatness that make up for the duller ones.
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  6. Oct 2, 2012
    4
    Appalling compared to previous releases, The 2nd Law is disjointed and completely lacking in cohesion. They try to have too many styles andAppalling compared to previous releases, The 2nd Law is disjointed and completely lacking in cohesion. They try to have too many styles and influences on the album, from prog rock to dubstep and none of them form together in a satisfying way. Matt's staccato vocal delivery is just pompous and irritating, and the two part symphony at the end has nothing on Exogenesis. Like the rest of the album, it's just lots of tidbits thrown together to pass off as experimentation. The only acceptable songs on the album are Panic Station and Supremacy. Matt and the boys need to come down to a little place called Earth, somewhere they were clearly at during the Origin of Symmetry era. That album was amazing. This is pure crap. Expand
  7. Oct 3, 2012
    0
    Awful! The worst album Muse has so far produced. It seems to me Bellamy has spent too much time in hollywood! Really boring and disappointing.Awful! The worst album Muse has so far produced. It seems to me Bellamy has spent too much time in hollywood! Really boring and disappointing. Hopefully he'll get back on track. Expand

See all 84 User Reviews