After 18 years and six studio albums, Muse continues to push the limits of their already genre-defying sound. It’s been a steady climb to many different summits. And their latest album The 2nd Law continues the trend – an amalgamation of sounds, from minimal electronic compositions to drop-happy dubstep. Lyrically it’s sharp and full of emotional vibrancy, but it lacks consistency and form. Each song tries to hit a home run and in doing so loses a certain level of intimacy, which is ironic seeing as how the lyrics are so heartfelt and personal. With no cohesive thread to tie the album together the songs unfold one right after another in a systematic way, a listless arrangement of chart-bound singles with no home to speak of. Though despite the erratic nature of the album there are still enough thought-provoking lyrics to give it an honest listen:

Madness

Matthew Bellamy has never been shy about expressing himself, and here it’s submitting to the fact that he was wrong – inspiration for the song came after an argument with his girlfriend Kate Hudson. The song starts off with minimal aural touches, and expands into a full-on raging admission of guilt. The song’s vulnerability is its biggest asset because when you’re wrong sometimes the only thing left to do is man-up and say so: [LISTEN]

Come to me
Just in dream come on and rescue me
Yes I know I can be wrong
Maybe I’m too headstrong

Follow Me

With a brooding level of sophistication Mathew Bellamy takes time out to pen a heart-touching ode to his new born son Bingham. It’s a welcome break from the political tropes on the album, and slows things down nicely with its meticulous arrangements. It’s easy to cheese out in these moments, but Muse keeps things interesting by driving the rhythm forward, testing the balance between the lyrics and instrumentation: [LISTEN]

I won’t let them
Hurt, hurt you
When your heart is breaking

Save Me

While Bellamy shines throughout most of the album, it’s bassist Chris Wolstenholme who steals the show by taking on lead vocal for “Save Me.” Wolstenholme croons over an enchanting range of melodies and sweeping synthesizers, and as the song hits its stride a deep longing for redemption makes its presence felt. It’s another vulnerable moment in the album, and a pleasant break from its overtly didactic nature: [LISTEN]

Turn me into someone like you
Find a place that we can go to
Run away and take me with you
Don’t let go I need your rescue

Animals

The driving break that opens “Animals” takes hold immediately, emphasizing a sense of urgency. It carries throughout and Bellamy proceeds to unleash a diatribe on the consumer-driven culture that’s siphoning the world’s resources. It’s one of the darker, more poignant moments on the album, and as it winds all that can be heard are the sounds of senseless rioting – a track meant to stir up the restlessness and angst that sits at the bottom of our emotions: [LISTEN]

Amortise
Downsize
Lay off
Kill yourself
Come on and do us all a favor

Big Freeze

In “Big Freeze” Bellamy channels his inner Bono, and pleads for reconciliation. The beauty behind the abstractions in this song is that it can be read in many different ways. The overall theme of the album lends itself to political concerns, but at its best it leaves room to indulge in the pleasures of love and shake your fist at the trappings of hate: [LISTEN]

Heal me
What words just can’t convey
Feel me
Don’t let the sun in our heart decay