Yes, assuaging fans who were thoroughly weirded out by all the wub-wub-wub featured in last month’s 2nd Law teaser trailer, Muse let it be known to the NME that, while their new album does push both their sound and ambition to new heights, they’re definitely not going dub … despite what you might have heard.
“I found it quite funny, the dubstep thing, because there are maybe two tracks [on the album] that have a whisper of that,” bassist Chris Wolstenholme told the magazine. “It was funny watching the public panic: ‘Muse have turned into a dubstep band!’ ”
Then again, it’s not exactly clear what kind of band Muse have become on The 2nd Law. According to the NME, the new album is a conceptual piece, an apocalyptic tale of the earth revolting against its human oppressors, and the subsequent global hysteria (energy crises, economic collapses, food shortages) that revolt causes. Frontman Matt Bellamy said that he took inspiration — and the record’s title — from the second law of thermodynamics, which states that “in all energy exchanges, if no energy enters or leaves the system, the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state,” a concept he says applies to the state of the world in 2012 … and the ever-expanding corporate state that seems to be engulfing it, no matter how unsustainable that expansion may be.
“Every time I watched the news when we were making the album, it was endless stuff about the Euro banking crisis. All the news programs seemed to be obsessed with growth,” he explained. “There’s this paradigm of growth that seems to be accepted, everyone’s peddling it, all the politicians, all the corporations, and no one seems to recognize that the planet’s just not that big.
“I got interested in reading about energy. The second law of thermodynamics is saying that it seems to be gradually decreasing in our bodies, the planet, the sun and so on, but it seems like life, humans or whatever, seem to be going directly against that,” he continued. “So the album is my own internal conflict of celebrating that strength, but also saying ‘F—, where do we go from here?’ ”
At the same time, the band admits that The 2nd Law may also be their most personal album to date. The song “Follow Me” opens with the heartbeat of Bellamy and actress Kate Hudson’s son, Bingham, and “Madness” details a fight the couple had and Bellamy’s subsequent groveling to get her back. (“You’ve had a fight with your girlfriend and she goes off to her mum’s house for the day and you’re on your own going ‘What did I say?’ ” he explains. “I’m sure a lot of blokes have that experience.”) And Wolstenholme wrote a pair of tracks — “Save Me” and “Liquid State” — that detail his struggles with sobriety.
And while they may be pulling back the curtain on their own lives, Muse are also looking at the big picture with The 2nd Law, even if they don’t like what they see. And for all the post-apocalyptic talk, it seems that, above all else, their new album is mainly about doing things their way, and getting as unapologetically weird as they please.
“We’ve gone to absurd levels,” Bellamy said. “The album represents my own internal conflict … at the same time, we want to push the music, and what we do as a band is growing.”
In addition to their upcoming new music, Muse also penned “Survival,” the official song for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. In a statement, Muse explained that the tune was written “with the Olympics in mind. It’s about total conviction and pure determination to win.” The band released a video for “Survival” earlier this month, which includes a thrilling montage of past Olympic glory and defeat.