Save your gamers: listen to Muse
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This is the album Muse was built to make. Bombastic, hard-hitting, and pretentious (in a good way), Drones takes the trio’s brand of paranoid space rock and brings it to an all-new level of science-fiction bravado.

Never ones to shy away from a challenge, Muse’s seventh record is a concept album that tells the story of an unnamed protagonist in the near future who, after losing his purpose in life, gets recruited and brainwashed by the army to become a mindless killer and fight their dirty wars.

“Are you a human drone? Are you a killing machine? I’m in control, motherfucker, do you understand? I will break you,” yells the Drill Sergeant in the album’s first single “Psycho.” The song sets the dark and frenetic tone of the rest of the album, which is a welcome return to the band’s earlier hard-rock sound on albums such as Origin of Symmetry and Absolution.


"Psycho" by Muse of this year's concept album, <em>Drones</em> of this year's concept album, Drones

Songs such as “Psycho,” “Handler,” and “Reapers” are riff-heavy explorations into the human psyche, brutal in their delivery and relentless in their onslaught of mayhem. There are still little kernels of Muse’s more recent tendency for exploration into other musical genres peppered throughout Drones. “Dead Inside” sounds like a spiritual successor to The 2nd Law’s “Madness,” with its bass-y electronic heartbeat, and the ghost of Freddie Mercury is summoned on bombastic songs “Revolt” and “Defector.”

If there is one letdown to Drones, it’s that frontman Matt Bellamy’s lyrics fall short of the subject matter. Tending to be overly simplistic and overtly schmaltzy, the lyrics lack subtly and hammer the message of the album into the listener’s ears. Inane lines such as “On the outside I’m the greatest guy/ now I’m dead inside” (“Dead Inside”) and “You’ve got the CIA babe/ and all you’ve done is brutalize” (“Reapers”) only serve to dampen the album’s impact. In the end, though, Muse more than make up for lazy lyrics with technical proficiency and heavy-rock shredding. While their pretentiousness sometimes works against them, Drones further solidifies Muse’s position as one of the acts at the top of the alternative-music food chain.

  • Album: Drones
  • Artist: Muse
  • Label: Warner
  • Songs: (1) Dead Inside (2) Drill Sergeant (3) Psycho (4) Mercy (5) Reapers (6) The Handler (7) JFK (8) Defector (9) Revolt (10) Aftermath (11) The Globalist (12) Drones
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