So, in case you haven’t noticed, there are basically five songs that our generation listens to: the club hip hop one, the slow-power hip hop one about broken relationships, the rock-country song about trucks/girls/etc., the slow country song about God/girls/trucks/etc., and that one folk-rock song by The Mumford Fox Brothers and Sons with That American Idol Guy. If you mention any other songs you are either met with blank stares or questions that are impossible to answer like, “What genre would you say it is?” or “Who do they sound like?”
I used to try to answer these questions:
“Have you ever heard of progressive rock?”
“Uh, it’s kinda like if you mixed rock n roll and classical music together.”
“LIke, have you ever heard of Kansas or Trans-Siberian Orchestra?”
“Oh, you mean classic rock or metal?”
“Yeah, I don’t listen to metal or country.”
“Do you like Zac Brown Band?”
“No, I just said I don’t like country.”
“They’re not really… Nevermind.”
Needless to say, these conversations are tiring and cumbersome (especially for a music snob jerk like me). Our generation has this obsession with genres. We genre-ize all music. If it doesn’t fit into a bubble, we don’t know what to do with it. Genre-ization in itself is not necessarily a problem, but what ends up happening is people make statements like “I hate pop music,” and “I listen to anything except for rap and country.” The concept that a good artist can exist outside of the genre that we like is unthinkable. If it doesn’t fit into our box, we dismiss it as bad or, even worse, not worth our time.
BUT! There is hope. There is a band called Muse who came out with an album last year called The 2nd Law. This album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. It is platinum certified in four different countries. Nearly half of the songs on this record were on top 100 charts in dozens of countries. AND GUESS WHAT?!?!?!?! THIS ALBUM DOES NOT HAVE A GENRE!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Yes it does, Kyle, it’s rock.”
Please, don’t even give me that. There are 5 rock songs on this 13 track record. The rest of The 2nd Law consists of 3 pop songs, a funk song, an orchestral prelude, a prog song, a dub step track, and an instrumental canon. Additionally, each song listed above has elements from multiple genres included in each such as the use of the orchestra, electronic hip hop beats, intricate time signatures, horn sections, choirs, etc. In conclusion, it is quite easy to make the argument that so many genres are represented within this album that one cannot categorize it into one specific genre!
Now you are thinking, so what, Kyle? It is just one freakin’ album. WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s just one WILDLY SUCCESSFUL ALBUM! This is an album completely void of genre that nearly every music listener knows about. Everybody knows “Madness” and “Panic Station” and most listeners know or have heard “Supremacy,” “Survival,” “Follow Me,” and “Unsustainable.” Muse staged an incredibly successful arena tour for this album including nine performance in front of 20,000+ audience members and three shows with over 60,000 audience members culminating in a completely sold out show in Paris in front of nearly 151,000 people. The tour grossed a total of over $45 million.
This is an album that breaks down barriers. I believe anyone who honestly gives this album a chance with no preconceptions or bias will love it. The melodies are fantastic. The music is creative. Matthew Bellamy’s voice is literally flawless. Like, grinding teeth until they shatter from jealously flawless. If you haven’t listened to The 2nd Law, I implore you to do so. You most certainly will not regret it. In fact, you will be a better person if you listen to it. If your life’s aspiration was to become a House Representative or a Senator, listening to this album will propel your dreams up to Secretary of State or Vice President. Just, freakin’ listen to it, alright? Geez.