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Muse – Showbiz

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Showbiz (1999)

This is early Muse. Muse, before they delved into the dancey depths of despair, known as Black Holes and Revelations and The Resistance.

Now Showbiz isn’t Muse’s greatest effort, either. But it is a great effort. From “Sunburn” to “Unintended,” this album is pretty solid. That unfortunately is the extent of the good tracks on here (although I’m partial to “Escape”).

For Muse fans who are only turned on to their later output, or have figured this one isn’t worth picking up, hopefully I can change your mind. Muse is just a fun band, whatever era of theirs you pick. Even though I just bashed their last two releases, there’s still much to like about them.

The best moments of Showbiz soar into a stunning fusion of masterful piano and progressive alternative. Also soaring is Matthew Bellamy’s falsetto – which is entertaining in itself to listen to, although I’ve heard of people who find it very annoying.

Though good, Showbiz is far from being the most interesting Muse album. What interest it does hold only lasts for a short while. There are a few stellar tracks – “Sunburn,” “Muscle Museum,” “Cave,” and “Showbiz” come to mind – the last more for its extreme passion, intensity, and lack of control than anything else, which is guaranteed to get your heart pumping.

But Muse at this time is a band of great potential, still finding their voice and niche. They eventually found that it in Origin of Symmetry. But in Showbiz, you can catch shadows of the greatness to come. On the better tracks, you’ll be rocking as hard as you would to either “Citizen Erased,” “Micro Cuts,” or “Stockholm Syndrome.”

Well, almost as hard. Showbiz is a debut, after all, and it’s rare for a band to knock it out of the park on the first try. Or if they do knock it out of the park, they end up striking out every other time. But for a debut, Showbiz is great, hinting that the best was yet to come.

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