Music Writer Eleanor Horne commends Muse on their persistent refusal to compromise to criticism, though isn’t won over by their latest single

Written by Eleanor Horne
First year student of Classical Literature and Civilisation.
Published
Images by MCPR

Muse are back with ‘Pressure,’ the latest single off their upcoming album Simulation Theory, released 9th November.

You can’t put a guitar solo in every song, but it is these guitar solos that make Muse great

It is not quite the riff-fest that Matt Bellamy (vocals, guitar) had teased it to be. The song opens with an almost indie guitar riff, accompanied by brass ensemble. While it is undeniably catchy, it lacks uniqueness, and has a disappointing feel of deliberate radio- friendliness. The pre-chorus riff sounds more genuinely like Muse and is much heavier, and this riff returns once again in the bridge, executed masterfully by Chris Wolstenholme (bass). This breakdown feels like it should move seamlessly into one of those epic guitar solos that Muse are well known for, but this does not happen – it instead flows back into the generic sounding opening riff, which is nothing short of disappointing. Of course, having too many songs with guitar solos can be gratuitous, however when you can pull it off as well as Muse can, there’s no reason to omit them. You can’t put a guitar solo in every song, but it is these guitar solos that make Muse great.

Muse are not interested in what the people think, and instead stick to what they want to do

Lyrically, ‘Pressure’ doesn’t stand out. Muse don’t shy away from discussing politics and the state of the world in their songs, but the lyrics in their newest single are nothing special. In the second verse, ‘I’m feeling the pressure / I can’t break out / No one can hear me scream and shout’ seems almost cheesy, however the lines ‘The pressure’s growing exponentially’ and ‘Your lane change is oscillating me’ are more conventional to Muse’s typically scientific and technologically inspired style. The pre-chorus of ‘Pressure building’ repeated in a distorted whisper gives an intense feel and relates to the song’s theorised meaning – a retort to all those who want Muse to return to their old sound. Muse are not interested in what the people think, and instead stick to what they want to do. Does this mean that it is ironic to critique the song for sounding generic? Probably. But generic it is – a wandering synthy bassline is all that saves the anticlimactic chorus from complete mediocrity.

‘Pressure’ lacks the punch of preceding single, ‘The Dark Side’, which sounded more traditionally Muse-like. However, its almost manufactured sound is unlikely to be noticed by more casual fans. While the song lacks uniqueness, Bellamy’s Queen-style vocals are enjoyable to casual and hardcore fans alike, and the song, while not the strongest single from Simulation Theory, is still catchy and harmless. Muse are continuing to do what they do best – ignore the critics and create songs they enjoy – and no amount of pressure is going to change their course.

‘Simulation Theory’ is available now via Warner Bros. Recordings. Muse will perform at the Royal Albert Hall Benefit Show in support of TPT. Tickets are available here.

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