There’s a video on YouTube, something for a bit of a laugh, called “How to write a Muse song”. In it, it details that you need bombastic strings, a melodic bassline and weird lyrics about fighting aliens… or something along those lines. However, nobody could have predicted that the band themselves would watch this video, and apply that logic to their new track, Thought Contagion.
Starting with a mood-setting thunderstorm, this track bursts into a cacophony of whiney strings, and quite frankly, terrible operatic choruses. Avid Muse fans will tell you that Madman Matt Bellamy himself billed this new track as Fury II, and avid Muse fans will tell you that Fury is one of their best songs. But he never said WHICH Fury this would be, as this track is more Tyson Fury that 2003’s Absolution b-side Fury.
The lyrics are your average Muse fare, calling for a revolution, how an evil empire is going to be brought down by just one person, however, towards the end of the chorus, Matt says “brace for the final solution”. Google “final solution”. Go on, Google it. This, disclaimer time, means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things, and fits in with the theme of rising up against the elite, but it’s just a really, really odd choice of words. He also struggled to explain what a Thought Contagion is.
The vocal delivery is quite weird. It’s sort of like rapping, but if your uncle was taking the piss of out “that Kane North fella or whatever his name is”.
The bass line is actually pretty damn good, it’s your basic Chris Wolstenholme melodic line, but it really stands out in an otherwise disappointing song. The guitar parts, though scarce, are another saving grace, despite the fact they’re as far from Fury as possible. But on the whole, this is a very disappointing single from a once invincible band. Everything they released seemed to hit the sweet spot, but with this, coupled with 2017’s Dig Down have both gone far wide of the mark.
This song apparently combines every era of Muse, from the angsty Showbiz days to the “babe babe babe” days of Drones, with the operatic penis extension of Absolution in the middle. Good concept, bad execution. It sounds confused, rather than cherry picking the best bits of their catologue.
They reportedly recorded three “one off” singles last year at Angel Studios. This is single two of three, and neither have lived up to expectations thus far. Here’s hoping that it’s a real case of third time lucky.