Following the politically-fuelled seventh album, Drones, Muse seem to be taking a step back towards electronic minimalism in their new single “Dig Down”.
This choice will no doubt surprise many listeners, following a slightly muted response to the 2nd Law, with many hardcore fans preferring the classical sounds of earlier albums, such as Black Holes and Revelations or Origins of Symmetry.
At times sounding like an emotionless recycle of Madness from the 2nd Law, Bellamy’s lyrical monologue drags the listener through the maze of ambient instrumentals while a mind-numbing electronic drum beat keeps everything in time. The lyrics seem almost a clumsy mash-up of Uprising and Revolt, however Bellamy’s delivery is apathetic at best. The political commentary is ever-present, with lyrics such as “When God decides to look the other way // and a clown takes the throne”; however the track as a whole feels underwhelming and empty, almost like the band themselves seemed reluctant to release it. Having seen the dystopian, over-the-top music video for the song, there is a risk that Muse cared more about their visual aesthetic than the quality of the song. For a track that had a large amount of hype surrounding its release, it is instantly forgettable and almost indistinguishable from every other track one could hear on Radio One. A once boundary-pushing group of musical renegades who feared no-one seem to have finally ran out of ideas.
Perhaps the track could become more enjoyable after more listens, but it is far from the show-stopping heart-pounding giga-anthems of Muse’s earlier albums. In an interview with Absolute Radio in 2016, Bellamy and Co. claimed that their eighth album would be “more stripped down”, potentially bordering acoustic. It’s already been confirmed that Dig Down won’t feature on the new album, however the worry remains that the track may set the tone to an album that could potentially spell the end for one of the biggest bands of this generation.