Muse – Drones Review

With their 2013 album “Live at Rome Olympic stadium” behind them, English rock band Muse quickly began writing for what would be their 7th LP, “Drones”, the album that’s secured their fifth UK number 1.  Muse focused on returning to their roots with “Drones”. Bellamy stated that “The album should be something that really strips away the additional things we’ve experimented on with the last two albums.” The orchestral and electronic sounds that were present in their 2009 album “The resistance” and “the 2nd Law” from 2012 are most definitely absent, apart from in songs such as “dead inside” and “mercy”.

It’s a bit of a no brainer that Mercy should have been left off an album that’s supposed to be representing the old Muse. The whole song could have been written by Chris Martin and the Coldplay squad, and in my opinion Muse should have ditched the feminine piano melody in order for it to match up with songs like Reapers for example. The Bass and guitar is spot on, and it really could have worked if the piano was exempt, But nevertheless the diversity is somewhat refreshing, if ill fitting. Now the guitar riff for the track Psycho is impeccable, and watching the lyric video on YouTube it’s evident that people are happy with it, “HOLY SHIT THEY ARE BACK <3” is one of many comments left by satisfied fans, but I must say, I was left feeling a bit cringed out from the lyrics. It seems like quite a few critics, myself included, are extremely happy with the actual songs themselves but have issues with the half hearted lyrics. It’s almost as if the words are disguised by the heavy instrumentation, you kind of forget that the whole song actually only has two proper verses, and they aren’t that great. All in all, the instrumentation of psycho is undeniably the old Muse, but the line “Your ass belongs to me now” is never something I would have imagined leaving the mouth of Matthew Bellamy in a normal conversation, let alone a released single. It’s the absolute epitome of shit lyricism, and I really wish I could unhear it. But whatever Matt, have it your way.
When you stray from the bad, you certainly encounter the good of this album. Since “Drones” is a concept album, it’s done its job of highlighting the dehumanisation of modern warfare and its impact, particularly with the song reapers and it’s unnerving video. We live in a world that can be obliterated by the touch of a button, and the song reapers sets out to prove just that. It’s really great when music can be used in a way that brings attention to the worrying aspects of our reality that many of us choose to sweep under the rug.  One of my favourite tracks from the album is ‘dead inside’. It’s evident that it has some operatic influences, but this seems to work because the guitar is still heavily present in the background. The percussion is potent and loud and I’m still in two minds about whether or not it fits or if it takes away attention from the vocals which I really enjoy in this song.
In general I love the album, if Psycho was permanently removed / had different lyrics. But beggars can’t be choosers, and myself along with thousands of other Muse fans are happy that the band have done something that’s brought them back to where they came from musically. It’s refreshing to know that such a thing is actually possible, as so many musicians stray from their origins and focus on selling rather than making enjoyable content. The album is well constructed and the message behind it is a powerful one.
Muse – Drones = 8/10
Hannah Crowe
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