Simulation Theory

Muse - Simulation Theory
Critic Score
Based on 16 reviews
2018 Ratings: #656 / 675
User Score
Based on 185 ratings
2018 Ratings: #687
November 9, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Helium 3, Warner Bros. / Label
Pop Rock, Electropop / Genres
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muse.mu / Website
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CRITIC REVIEWS

80
NME
Yes, this is still Muse, but here they’re trying to be something else – well, everything else. They are avatars in a ridiculous simulation of teenage nerdery, inviting you to steal away from the nightmare, and into an electric dream.
80
AllMusic

While Simulation Theory might appear to be overly polished mainstream trickery -- all part of the simulation! -- it's purely Muse at heart, successfully merging electronic-pop songcraft with their typically urgent, stadium rock foundation.

80
Northern Transmissions

Though it’s certainly a little less original than Muse used to be, this is a great return to form for them hidden under what initially comes off as shallow.

60
DIY
If a Muse album isn’t meant to make you laugh, gasp and double-take in its ridiculousness, then we don’t wanna hear it.
60
The Guardian

It’s still the less poppy moments that are most exciting.

60
The Observer
This is Muse very much in VR play mode, riffing hard on their love of 80s visual culture.
60
Drowned in Sound

Simulation Theory is, on the whole, pretty lightweight, but it’s got a definite elan to it that indicates Muse are still probably having fun doing this: it is considerably better than the sort of here-is-some-product-to-justify-a-tour work that a lot of bands toss off 24 years into their career.

60
Pitchfork

Muse’s most approachable and most ruthlessly broad record yet, it is an attempt to replicate Scorpion’s Spotify omnipresence, so on the nose the first track is called “Algorithm.” Even singer Matt Bellamy has taken off the shutter shades to take a good look in the mirror and admit that, despite Muse’s operatic ambitions, they have always been a pop band.

50
Sputnikmusic

Simulation Theory is the most honest album that Muse has created in quite some time. It’s clearly leagues below what they’re capable of, but they’re at least moving forward with the styles of music that they want to create, uninhibited by expectations rooted in the past. This is essentially a synth-pop album, one that is at times exciting and unconventional and at other times tasteless and rudimentary.

50
FLOOD Magazine

Muse’s eighth studio album, Simulation Theory, is certainly not their best—but it still serves the same Cinnabon-esque function as every Muse album, which is tickling your brainstem with sensory pleasure until you’ve got to stop, disgusted by your own indulgence.

50
Consequence of Sound

Whereas certain songs allow the bevy of nuance that Simulation Theory presents to achieve a natural state of cohabitation, others bombard the ear with excess — forcing the musical duality with a heavy hand rather than letting it naturally manifest. It is clear from Muse’s past work that they are indeed capable of really delivering, but this time, they just didn’t do so as strongly.

40
Rolling Stone
Muse are a platinum rock band working their way through a trend about seven years too late.
40
The Independent

Simulation Theory seems to fall into two territories – songs are either half-hearted nods to the best of their heavier rock-opera back catalogue, or futuristic, electronic pop-heavy tracks that borrow from bands more adept at that particular sound, and the vast majority of which are burdened with Bellamy’s political paranoia. For a new listener, it’s baffling. For a former, diehard fan, it’s disappointing.

40
The 405

Muse prove, once and for all, that they are so much better than Radiohead on the future-shock, instant classic, Simulation Theory.

40
musicOMH

There’s obviously still an audience for Muse, given by the size of the venues they still sell out, and this will definitely please the die-hards, but most of Simulation Theory simply fizzles out without leaving much of an impression.

35
Under The Radar

As art, it is immature and vacant. As fun, it barely registers. It's less of a step-up from Drones than a step sideways, if only because the self-parody here feels deliberate.

PipePanic
75
Is this considered a hot take? Look, I know that rating looks oddly positive. And this will most likely cost any credibility of having any opinion on this site. I could very easily slap a 30 on this and be done with this while affair. But...damn it, Muse won me over in the end.

Yeah, there is no easy way to say this. As a giant, huge, crushing, absolutly biased Muse fanboy/stan, I have come to the conclusion that this album is...odd. It's tacky, gimmicky, silly, weird, stupid, cheesy, ... read more
Strangelightsyd
20
This is making me not regret refusing to see them in march. I don't care how visually impressive a show is, if the music is almost on the same level as Angelic 2 The Core it ain't worth it.
fakeplasticrose
17
With this and the new imagine dragons coming on the same day we need a savior tbh

Edit: Jesus Christ this is terrible. From the first 5 seconds I knew this whole album would be a total shitshow - that's exactly what it was. No song particularly stands out as being any more than tolerable and through the whole duration I was just waiting for it to be over. Honestly, this score is for the fact that some of it was laughably bad, and that it isn't angelic 2 the core. I give up with muse tbh. ... read more
85
What a return to form. It's different and wild but this is the best MUSE has sounded since Black Holes. The instrumentation on nearly every track is impressive as hell and the alternative versions are beautiful. The album as a whole feels cohesive musically in ways that Drones didn't. It's the perfect follow up to The 2nd Law while blending the best elements of Black Holes. Algorithm may be a top 3 opener from all their albums.
JohnLouisHoward
25
there are two things that are guaranteed to kill a musician's career, and it's not drugs and alcohol. one is to believe them when they say you are a genius. two is Kate Hudson. Muse hit the exacta.
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Track List

  1. Algorithm
  2. The Dark Side
  3. Pressure
  4. Propaganda
  5. Break it to Me
  6. Something Human
  7. Thought Contagion
  8. Get Up and Fight
  9. Blockades
  10. Dig Down
  11. The Void
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Added on: August 30, 2018