The 2nd Law Image
Metascore
70

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

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7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 396 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.
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Top Track

Madness
I, I can't get these memories out of my mind And some kind of madness has started to evolve, mmm And I, I tried so hard to let you go But some kind... See the rest of the song lyrics
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. Mojo
    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: 58 out of 92
  2. Negative: 13 out of 92
  1. Oct 3, 2012
    10
    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 isWell 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
  2. May 1, 2019
    10
    The 2nd Law's sound and general theme isn't unfamiliar to the typical Muse listener crashing the mainstream airwaves with conspiracy theoriesThe 2nd Law's sound and general theme isn't unfamiliar to the typical Muse listener crashing the mainstream airwaves with conspiracy theories and political themes backed with a crunchy and whimsical sound and Matt's booming voice to carry us all into a new and better future but, unlike the previous Muse albums to date, The 2nd Law presents itself seemingly as a collection of singles whereas each track takes on a new mask and presents the listener with something new and, at times, jarring.

    This of course doesn't take away the artistry and the brilliance behind each and every track on the album be it crashing of the gates with Supremacy's heavy guitar riff and Bellamy's undeniable vocals breathing life into the album or be it the synth driven single Madness bound by a crunchy and rythmatic voice modulation of rock love song or be it the polyrythmic patterns in the 5/4 track Animals lamenting the bureaucrats animalistic nature each song has it's place and each track distinctly create a mark of it's own on the album.

    To some this is the greatest detractor while each song stands alone and has a distinctly different feel to it the album as a whole doesn't feel as it if were a cohesive album front to back and the last four tracks can definitively support that claim. Both Save Me and Liquid State are sung by Chris and are the first two tracks of any album where Bellamy didn't sing lead vocals. These two tracks are on their own right great tracks but when seemingly tacked on the back end of an album powered by rallying cries and booming political themes these tracks lose most of their value on what should be an epic conclusion of a theme shifting album.

    The final two tracks being a two-part title track The 2nd Law: Unsustainable and The 2nd Law: Isolated System are these beautiful soundscapes of overlapping and a mixed media approach creating a cacophony of new and interesting sounds to the album. In Unsustainable they outfit a guitar to replicate the unmistakable attack of a Skrillix dubstep track while addressing the main motif of the album (more on that in just a bit) and the Isolated System is a piano driven elctro-journy that would be a launching point for nearly any other band in the genre with clippings of news broadcasts overlapping and spelling out what seems to be the complete breakdown of it all and the perfect ending to a unofficial concept album like The 2nd Law.

    What is most beautiful about the final two tracks is the explanation of "The 2nd Law" sprinkled thought out. If by the end of the album you look back and you are completely spent from trying to keep up after being taken every which way jumping genre to genre then it is totally understandable that when you get to the final two tracks there is an apathetic approach to grasping what the tracks are asking of you and that is simply to understand, generally speaking, the laws of thermodynamics, specifically the "2nd Law" of thermodynamics, and apply this concept and theme to every track you just listened to while keeping in mind the financial times of the post 2008 economic crash and the post 2001 war on terror along with various other political motivators.

    I'm no physicist but in my laymen attempt to talk about the second law of thermodynamics it is essentially that when no energy given to a system to maintain the system then everything naturally reduces to nothing, or better known as entropy. On the track Unsustainable the line "if no energy enters of leaves an isolated system, the entropy of that system increases" speaking to the general understanding of the second law of thermodynamics. Unsustainable then goes on to definitively tell us the listener how this connects to the album as a whole with the lines in the same stanza that read, "An economy based on endless growth is, Unsustainable."

    With the unofficial concept defined going back and seeing this theme flush in and out of tracks highlighting the consequences and our short-sided attempt to understand and control this ever increasing entropy in our lop-sided political and economic standing as individuals pushes this theme and this album from a solid "good" to "amazing". Each track now has several meanings and undertones that make you think about the other tracks before and after differently and it creates a conversation of ideas and perspectives that we are severely lacking in any considerable and respectable forum to this day and if an album can spark those ideas and encourage this sort of discussion, even if it is flawed and perhaps a bit too ambitious, than the album is brilliant in my book.
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  3. Oct 3, 2012
    9
    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 beWhile 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
  4. Dec 15, 2012
    7
    Muse are one of the best rock bands in the world. I admit that they had better albums in the past, however this album is good and interesting.Muse are one of the best rock bands in the world. I admit that they had better albums in the past, however this album is good and interesting. Songs like Madness, Animals and especially Supremacy are amazing rock songs, always with a touch of mystery. But, in the other hand, there are some songs in this album that are not very good, and even a little bit boring. Muse are original and powerful and still being one of my favourite bands. Expand
  5. Jan 6, 2013
    7
    Muse's latest album is another effort to stretch the band's repertoire, but still maintaining the accessibility that they have taken in theMuse's latest album is another effort to stretch the band's repertoire, but still maintaining the accessibility that they have taken in the last two albums or so. The fact is, singles are important in the current marketplace, and a band that doesn't sell out will be in trouble, especially in the current economy. The 2nd Law starts out with several strong tracks before descending into experimentation. If you are a fan of Muse in their early years (The Origin of Symmetry a standout effort), you will still be disappointed, especially if you are enamored with their 'concept albums'. Expand
  6. Mar 4, 2013
    5
    While the album started off in a spectacular fashion, it quickly lost its charm with like Follow Me and Save Me.

    I honestly feel that this
    While the album started off in a spectacular fashion, it quickly lost its charm with like Follow Me and Save Me.

    I honestly feel that this album should have been titled "Matt Bellamy: The Club-Rock Album." It seems like they focused so much solely on Matt's vocals at the beginning of the album, that they just decided to remove him from the last four songs altogether.

    This album has very little in the means of excitement, with only 4 of the 12 potential songs (Supremacy, Survival, Panic Station and Liquid State) and having the feeling that they were even written by a rock band originally known for their driving songs. (Remember the days when we had songs like Space Dementia?)

    This is NOT an album for an "old-school Muse fan," as I guarantee that you will be pulling out your hair wondering what the hell had happened to the trio you knew before. However, if you are more into the new-age "popular" style that Muse that has become more accustomed to, then this album should have nearly all that you need. I really feel sorry for the drummer, Dominic Howard. He really has no real shining moment on this album at all. Some of the songs could have been done without his presence entirely. The album overall is... nice. (my god, I HATE THAT WORD) But there is just little to nothing at all that makes it really stand out.
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  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 92 User Reviews