Debuting on August 26, 2022, the album comes as a diverse surprise to everyone listening from start to finish. “Ghosts,” an acoustic piece featuring only the band’s lead singer and eccentric frontman Matt Bellamy, and a piano. This is followed by “You Make me Feel like it’s Halloween,” an electronic, dancey Halloween song (who would’ve guessed?) chock-full of pop culture references. To follow that, the heavy tones of “Kill or be Killed.” A delve into the dark themes of being pushed to do horrible things by circumstance, featuring a double bass drum and death growl.
One might ask themselves what common ground these songs have together. Do they even belong on the same record? What place does a somber love song about moving on, a pop-fueled Halloween song, and a grim metal song share?
This is not Muses’ first waltz into the sounds explored in this album. They have always employed hard rock and metal adjacent music in their discography. Notably in their 2015 album “Drones,” and in the earlier days of the band with albums like “Absolution.” Take a wonderfully loud and aggressive song like “Stockholm Syndrome,” for example. Nor is electronic music a stranger. In 2018’s Simulation Theory, we see Muse’s worldview explored in an action-packed, 80’s themed extravaganza with songs like “Thought Contagion” and “Something Human.”
Notably as well is the politics of the music, ever present in Muse’s work. Corruption, injustice, and revolution, all are themes across a majority of their albums. In “Will of the People,” we see this to the extreme. What was once a fun-oriented, fictional-focused dystopia in the music is now much more grounded in reality with a darker tone. Talk of people losing control over their own lives, talk of anger and rioting, talk of disdain for the people in power. Sound familiar?
From the actual sound of the music to the meaning and tone, one can see that on a base level it contains a little bit of everything you can love in Muse. It is a reflection on their previous music and a refining of their abilities. As stressed by the band in various interviews, the goal was to look back at what they’ve done and ask, “What could we have done better?” They leaned hard into their identity as a band and gave us an album full of fight, direction, and creative structure. This diversity of sounds all honed by a more grown and mature band ensures that no matter what if you like the sounds of guitars then you’ll like at least one song from this immensely entertaining album.