English rock trio Muse here attempt a rock opera. Well, sort of. Frontman Matthew Bellamy conceived The Resistance as a symphonic rock album, an idea well-represented on “United States of Eurasia” (with string and piano passages pitched alongside distorted guitars and a “We Will Rock You” drum beat), and on the instrumental “Exogenesis: Symphony” trilogy that closes the proceedings.
These tracks mostly fall flat — picture a Queen cover band playing hackneyed originals. But opener “Uprising” is a non-symphonic pop hit. A simple two-note bass line rumbles as Bellamy rants about resisting mind control, a common theme throughout. (There’s even a song devoted to MK Ultra, a CIA program that administered LSD to citizens for brainwashing and interrogation purposes.)
And during the chilling chorus to “Resistance,” Bellamy nails the line “Hold me, our lips must always be sealed.” These straight pop tunes are great by themselves, but after slogging through the symphonic sludge, you’re likely to find The Resistance a jumbled, forgettable tracklist.