Muse is getting messy. Their Olympic theme song “Survival” was a repurposed Queen imitation, forced into a puffy, bloated lyrical mold about personal glory.
“What can you do?” Muse frontman Matt Bellamy told NPR when they asked him about the widespread criticism of the song. “I can’t imagine what we could have done right for the Olympics.”
Well, maybe not the Olympics, but Muse could’ve done right by their fans by finding a solid song to follow it up. Instead, we get “Unsustainable,” which was their nod at EDM, a la deadmau5 and Skrillex.
The first third of the track is choral and symphonic cinema, a blip of a revelation they may have developed during the new “Dark Knight” movie. Then there’s a melody-less dubstep diversion, before Hans Zimmer and wom-wommm-wommm-brrrrr combine together like children singing in a round.
It’s wordless, except interspersed is a TV reporter breaking down how modern society produces an unsustainable energy exchange (hence the song name) and how the organization of energy will devolve into entropy. Or something. It’s some solid, paranoid stuff, delivered paranoid-ly, and I can’t argue with that.
What’s wrong here is the songlessness of it. God knows, Muse’s muse Radiohead have released some fairly meandering space jams, but within context. And without such pretension and brazen imitation. No matter how hard Bellamy and Co. are rocking out in this video (in the EYES of a ROBOT), there isn’t much there there.
Muse’s “The 2nd Law” isn’t shaping up so hot, mostly because it hasn’t taken shape. Of course, I don’t need them to re-make “Origin of Symmetry” or their other sonically similar albums. But nothing’s stuck yet.
Meanwhile, Muse is confirmed to perform at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics on Sunday, and will probably play “Survival.” So there’s that.