Muse: "Dig Down"

This is potentially the least-inspired offering from the band to date?

Despite the relatively large hype, I frankly had zero expectations of this track. Their latest full-length release, Drones, had me feeling the most polarized. The music felt like it was trying to channel the "look and feel" that made the band so awesome in the first half of their career. And it even succeeded at times (particularly with "Reapers"). But lyrically, it was a bomb of an album. The concept wasn't bad; it was just lazily executed.

With "Dig Down," it sounds like they've given up on actually being creative at all. There's an obvious "Madness" vibe here, which by itself isn't a bad thing. The difference is, though, that "Dig Down" is lacking any real hook or any climax to make the song interesting. (And no, that long "dowwwwwn" note doesn't count as a climax). It's flat the entire trip – even the guitar solo sounds like a small (boring) collection of riffs from a few of Matt's other solos roughly pinned together.

Once upon a time, the band's percussion and bass contributions were, at times, my favorite parts of their music. Remember this one?

It's actually nothing all that technically difficult, but the groove that the rhythm section has during these earlier years is a good chunk of what made the band's music so damn appealing! It's like Dom and Chirs have gotten just as lazy as Matt's lyrics (either that, or the material that Matt is giving them to work with is just that creatively restrictive)... In fact, I'm not even convinced they contributed anything to this track. If you told me that the drums and bass tracks were just looped samples created by a computer, I would believe you without hesitation.

I've seen mention in a couple places that this single will not be appearing on their upcoming album. (Truthfully, I haven't cared enough to check the validity). I'm not sure if that's much consolation, though, if this is indicative of the direction the band is headed.

That said, I will still listen to the new album with an open mind – as I always do. Some of my favorite music of all time is in Muse's catalogue, so I can't simply write them off. Here's to hoping, though, that "Dig Down" was just a little ditty Matt came up with in response to Trump getting elected and nothing more than that...

As a parting thought, I will leave you with a reminder of where Muse started. "Cave" is a track from their first full-length release Showbiz, and it's one of my favorite rock songs in existence. It has a sort of "guts" to it. It's gritty, it's emotional, it has a flow with a musical story and a proper climax that is super satisfying. Not that I'm saying all music needs to sound exactly this way; it's just in utter stark contrast when you listen to it right next to this "Dig Down" single.

I totally agree that bands have every right to grow and evolve their "sound." But I wouldn't consider "clearly lacking inspiration" at all equivalent to "evolution."

photo credit to Jeff Phoney