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Andrew’s Judgmental Album Reviews: Muse – Will of the People (2022)

The JAR takes a trip with the Space Force to see if Muse is still interstellar, or if they’ve coming crashing back to earth with their newest album!

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So I decided to stay away from the heavy metal releases this week, since next month will have quite a few, and I enjoy variety. Not the magazine…I mean…nevermind.

ANYWAY – most people should know Muse and their Spacey/Electronica/Arena Rock kind of approach to music. You can describe it so many ways, but rarely ever as bad. Much like with a lot of the bands over the last few years, I stopped following this band closely some time ago. Last album I gave a full spin was… Black Holes and Revelations – really? 2006? No, no, that makes sense. An ex of mine was into them and that was indeed around that time frame. I really need to pay attention to bands more often than once every 15 years or so.

While I deal with my existential crisis of feeling like the aughts were a few years ago, let’s just do the line up thing and get to the review.

Muse is: Matt Bellamy (guitars, lead vocals, keys), Dominic Howard (drums, percussion) & Chris Wolstenholme (bass, backing vocals)

  • Artist: Muse
  • Album: Will of the People (2022)
  • Label: Warner Music
  • Total Track Time: 37:39

Will of the People starts off like a combination of Marilyn Manson‘s Beautiful People and a stereotypical British soccer chant that we’ve heard tons of times either during sport or NXT UK episodes. Musically it has a bit of an electronic Rolling Stones vibe about it. A simple arena rock anthemic style song, catchy enough to make Gary Glitter blush. With the chorus being, “Welcome to the desecration, baby, We’ll build you right up, then we’ll tear you down, Welcome to the celebration, baby, The judges are jailed and the future is ours“, it serves very well as an opening song for the album. Also I’ve always liked the phrase “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and the fact that this uses that specific turn of phrase, it earns a bias point. Compliance is in that retro 80s synthwave vein with a little bit of the space rock sound they lean in to on occasion. Lyrically its very fitting for the last few years regarding just falling in line and giving them compliance. Something very 1984 about the start of this album. Liberation the opening verse stays in this enslaved society mindset, “Silenced, you’ll make us feel silenced, You stole the airwaves, but the air belongs to us, And violence, you’ll make us turn to violence, You’ve left us choiceless, our backs against the wall”, musically this has Queen written all over it. The gang harmonies, the slower listing piano leading into a larger climax through the verses and refrains. It has that same theatrical epic composition that should make everyone think of Queen.

Won’t Stand Down has a crazy distorted bass crunch and heaviness to this song. Instrumentally it very reminiscent of their old stuff, and not really what I was expecting since they started to steer more into the pop side even back when I listened more frequently. There is still the definitive electronica elements that no matter how heavy it gets, it still links to the Muse sound especially when those space ship keyboards kick in. Ghosts (How Can I Move On) now this is a very somber and beautiful ballad initially. I don’t expect it to change up, but this is just a ballad of loss and not being able move on. “How can I move on, When everyone I see still talks about you?, How can I move on, When all the best things I have we made together?, Here’s to letting go, But I am lost in a void with your ghost and our memories”, these are pretty poignant. It’s got to be fairly relatable for many, having trouble moving on from someone that was so ingrained in your life, everywhere and everyone is tied to them. How do you just reset and stop associating?

You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween while the title is kinda wordy and stupid, the song has a very interesting synth beat and pipe organ. So it gives you the ole Monster Mash stereotypical Halloween vibes, mixed with some Prince and interesting retro 80s infused riffing. Not the worst, if not just a little odd and leaves me wondering who asked for this. Kill or Be Killed while it starts off with and seems to have a definitive guitar riff that feels very Rage Against the Machine, the verses lighten the instrumentation too much to the point of the song coming off more schizophrenic. Now, that could be intentional with the paranoid kill or be killed lyrics, but sonically it really just makes the song disjointed. While I can almost praise the artistic stretch, musically it is borderline cacophonous. Verona makes the fact that it’s a Romeo and Juliet song obvious with the first line being about “poison on your lips”, this sounds like bad TV Guide Channel music or hold music when you wanted to order CDs from Columbia House. I hate every second of this, it just lingers and insists upon itself sounding like the most tryhard cringe attempt at a 14 year old penning romance for his crush.

Euphoria this album has treaded into that territory I’ve complained about for the last few years. When too many songs are about Quarantine, or can be attributed to it, it causes ear fatigue and redundancy. This song says nothing new, just does it over top of a bouncy electro pop beats. I really am zoned out during this song. It’s just pop drivel about coming out of quarantine, gag me with a spoon. We’re All Fucking Fucked while I can respect how British this title is…again…it’s about Quarantine again. I would’ve been able to tolerate their usual wannabe 1984 dystopian revolution songs, but this is taxing. The song itself is distorted and dark, but I can’t find myself caring enough. The second half of this album has fucking fucked this album.

This album has completely lost me at Kill or Be Killed, and the Halloween song didn’t do many favors. So any good favor the first half of the album created, was completely dashed. While revolution and can’t keep us down songs are cliche, they have their place, especially to rally humanity after crisis. But with the 3 worst songs at the end, and the final 2 about covid, what the hell were they thinking. If you were gonna serve up an above average few songs garnished with garbage and topped with vomit, next time just do the damn Greatest Hits album.

It started strong, peaked early like Gohan, and then disappointed me the rest of the way through; also oddly enough, like Gohan. This is the Great Saiyaman of Muse albums.

 

Final Judgment: 5.25/10


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Andrew’s Judgmental Album Reivews: Nickelback – Get Rollin’ (2022)

Many of us have judged them as bottom tier garbage for years! Does the JAR keep this new album in the bin, or is their a light of hope? Nickelback – Get Rollin’ is next up!

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As everyone knows, the world has generally passed Judgment on Nickelback as being a steaming pile of garbage. Nickelback is a punchline, the lowest common denominator or the bare bottom measuring stick of tolerance. With that, I figured it would be potentially entertaining to review their most recent album.

The original most hated musical act from Canada until Justin Bieber came around. Depending on who you ask, its still a closely contested battle. But hell, lets just see if this is any good, or will uncrown Three Days Grace as the worst album of the year.

Nickelback is: Chad Kroeger (Lead Vocals & Guitars), Ryan Peake (Guitars & Backing Vocals), Mike Kroeger (Bass), Daniel Adair (Drums & Percussion)

  • Artist: Nickelback
  • Album: Get Rollin’ (2022)
  • Label: Nickelback II/BMG
  • Total Track Time: 41:02

San Quentin is their heavy song that was apparently also the lead single. They’ve dabbled in having heavier songs, first to come to mind is Animals; so with that said, this is tolerable. Its not deep, it just grooves along talking about trying to stay out of San Quentin but still doing irreverent things. Now I doubt its setting a heavier tone for the album, but maybe I’ll be surprised. Skinny Little Missy is a title that makes me cringe and think 70 year old southern men wrote this. So I’m both intrigued and confused from the title alone. Surprisingly it stays a little heavier in the color with distorted guitar and a prominent bass groove, and I don’t hate the chorus; “Skinny little Missy don’t want no boyfriend, Skinny little Missy don’t waste no time, Her pretty little face will never grace your bedroom, ‘Cause skinny little Missy is a friend of mine” – the concept of warning people at the bar is a country trope, but its not terrible. Oh God, the first two songs aren’t bad…am I broken? Did Nickelback get better?

Those Days is…OH GREAT! This is stripped down and cringe sounding. Like super cliché, nothing interesting about the arrangement and it’s basically Photograph but for an old 90s first love. And the lyrics are so simplistic it just makes this hard to tolerate. While the sentiment of pining for an old relationship is not new and has been done a lot just over the albums I covered, a bad arena rock group singing moment, simple words, cringe imagery…adults should not have wrote this. High Time steers into the country vibe, but it also started with a lighter and smoke exhalation sound, so now they think a song about drugs is cool? I’m all for self medication of all types, but this just sounds stupid. This sounds like it could be in a National Lampoons movie, as the picture of someone who doesn’t know what drugs do but has an image in their head. This is so awful. Vegas Bomb is a little bit of a distorted and pedaled riff with a heavy drumbeat and guitar groove. So dammit, this actually has a good sound and could easily be thrown into the background of a bar scene. While I’m a fan of an Irish Car Bomb and a Vegas Bomb isn’t my style…the song achieves what it wants and it’s fairly groovy and solid.

Tidal Wave is a song I wanted to hate at first, but it pivots a different way than I expected. It reminds me more of a Richard Marx or Cannons song. Its stripped down, but has that 80s retro synthwave simplicity and just glides along in the sparse guitars and metronome drum usage. It has that dreamlike vibe and while I don’t love it following up a heavier song since the tone shifts are whiplash inducing but its a good song. Does Heaven Even Know You’re Missing? – the titles of some of these songs made Chad sound like he’s a boomer and not Gen X. “I knew it from the day we met, That I could throw away regret, It doesn’t matter what we do, As long as I can be with you, So come and run away with me, You’re gonna love it, wait and see, Forever we can live like that, ‘Cause I’m never gonna give you back”, is the second verse and its a cute sentiment. Aside from the title and usage in the chorus being a little cliché and eye roll worthy, the song is structured like a Country ballad, think like Lady Antebellum. While I can’t see myself ever spinning this song again, its not a waste of time.

Steel Still Rusts opens with the acoustic guitar strum and it hits like 100% country rock song. It also is a soldier song, getting that across fairly well in the chorus; “Long gone is the praise for those who fought for us, Ashes to ashes, turns out steel still rusts, Stone carved in your name, no one can really trust, Shoulder another soldier they stole from us, Don’t ever bend, don’t ever crawl, Supposed to stand and never fall, Long gone is the praise for those who fought for us, Ashes to ashes, turns out steel still rusts” – so with all of that, if you like Country Rock songs, you won’t find many issues with this one. Horizon is a song that is caught in-between all of the sounds they’ve applied in this album, and executed poorly. While lyrically its a little unique since its a song about two people who are always involved with someone else so they can never be together. Over the next horizon concept is cool, but the music is sandwiched between country rock love song, 80s synth and the bad Nickelback punchline stuff. Standing In The Dark randomly sounds like The Rasmus and then we go into more of country style vocals. So its definitely sonically awkward but no offensive. So yeah, the Gothic Pop Rock elements sounds very European and you’d think Chad’s vocals might not fit, but they kind of do. The song is nothing special, but its not offensive. If this becomes a future single I won’t be shocked. Just One More goes for the 80s echoed vocal style, and I get some Cutting Crew vibes from this song that is basically expressing the urge to die to be with a lover; “Tell me, Lord, where’d my little angel go?, ‘Cause I’m down here alone, If you got room for just one more, Just one more”, the lyrics are somewhat inspired, but the 80s style arrangement takes away the desperation of the plea. So this is a song that I feel loses a lot of efficacy in the arrangement, however its not a bad song if you don’t think too hard about it.

I am in shock, this album was more good than bad, and actually had a few songs that I really enjoyed. Now they’ve always basically been a four chord band, so I’m not expecting triplets, complex runs, signature shifts…but they colored their songs fairly well in this album. Yeah there are a few of their awful cringe pop garbage songs, but there’s only like 3. I will take a few points off since the unlike the Disturbed album from last week, this album’s flow is jagged and awful. Too many tonal shifts from song to song, even if the songs are fairly solid in their own rights.

All that said, this is far from the worst album all year…its mostly positive…so this will end up much higher than I expected. I need to go do some self reflection.

Final Judgement: 6.05/10


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Talk The Keki: My Hero Academia Season 6 Thoughts, The Little Lies We All Tell

Join Mat and Ethan as they start their Fall reviews! Mat adds three shows to his long list like a psychopath; find out which ones are here!

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Join Mat and Ethan as they start their Fall reviews! Mat adds three shows to his long list like a psychopath; find out which ones are here! The Little Lies We All Tell finally airs for the boys to cover and hear them review various shows such as More than a Married Couple, Mobile Suit Gundam: Witch of Mercury, Eminence in Shadow, Maid War Akiba, Peter Grill, and much more!

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