Muse once again stated they were done with the standard album cycle and once again rowed back on it with this latest release from upcoming LP 8. That album is apparently called Simulation Theory, FYI, which sounds like a parody of what a Muse album would probably be called, but never mind. ‘Something Human’ is something indeed.
Terrific riffs, crunching bass, galloping drums, all things Muse are loved for, all things missing from ‘Something Human’. What we get is a mixed bag, but at least it is the most interesting of the singles released from Simulation Theory (still funny).
Drummer Dom Howard and bassist Chris Wolstenholme continue to vanish into the ether, after programming largely replaced them on ‘Dig Down’ & ‘Thought Contagion’. Howard’s beats are replaced by generico claps and clicks (the song incorporates a country beat, for some reason), whereas Chris’s fuzzed out tones are replaced by…tropical house. Oh…
The presence of acoustic guitar is more welcome, giving the tune a soft, warm sound. The synth effects are a little more downplayed too, which makes for a smooth listen. ‘Something Human’ is at least a development for Muse, as it is rare the band handle material with such a twinkling lightness of touch.
‘Something Human’ would actually pass by pretty fluidly were it not for the continuing lyrical malfunctions of frontman Matt Bellamy. His hammed up quasi-American singing voice sounds poor, certainly in contrast with the biting cadence seen on early albums.
The comparisons to Imagine Dragons are unwarranted. There is still enough detail here (synth arps, tinkling piano, robo-harmonies) to keep it above sheer boiler-plate. However ‘Something Human’ is neither an earwormy pop tune nor a direct appeal to the fanbase: it’s sheer self-indulgence. Of course, when those doing the self-indulging are this talented, the results will retain a certain charm.
While ‘Something Human’ will not resonate widely with the pop market nor the fanbase, it does hold enough appeal to warrant repeat listens and generate a little hype for the album later this year. However as with prior releases, this album should really be a Bellamy solo work, as the concept of Muse as a band is beginning to fade away.