Muse - Showbiz

Muse – Showbiz


Muse on their debut traverses ‘new prog’ a la Radiohead with Queen influenced pomposity tinged with attempts at pop.

Written by: Eric

ALBUM: Showbiz
LABEL: Maverick
SERIAL: 9 47382-2
YEAR: 1999
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Matthew Bellamy – vocals, guitar, piano, hammond organ, mellotron, synthesizer, guitar synthesizer, harmonium * Christopher Wolstenholme – bass, double bass, backing vocals * Dominic Howard – drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Sunburn * 02 Muscle Museum * 03 Fillip * 04 Falling Down * 05 Cave * 06 Showbiz * 07 Unintended * 08 Uno * 09 Sober * 10 Escape * 11 Overdue * 12 Hate This And I’ll Love You



Only familiar with the 2006 Muse album ‘Black Holes And Revelations’ and a few videos and downloads here and there, none of it has inspired me to look or listen any further. Until I recently came across a web site that listed the Muse debut ‘Showbiz’ as one of the ‘Top 25 Britpop albums’. Now as a student of Britpop, this came as something of a surprise.

Did I miss something post ‘Parklife’? Was I not paying attention when Noel Gallagher gave his mono brow seal of approval? Was I losing my mind? None of the above and that list was bollocks since Muse have about as much to do with the most exciting music movement of the 1990’s as the Spice Girls union jacked hooha’s.

The Songs

Instead, Muse on their debut traverses ‘new prog’ a la Radiohead with Queen influenced pomposity tinged with attempts at pop.

An interesting mixture although truth be told, Radiohead‘s modern take on Pink Floyd does very little for me and Muse borrow way too much from Thom Yorke’s geeky musical vision in my opinion, but with that said some of the material is passable.

‘Sunburn’ and ‘Muscle Museum’, in particular the latter are great modern pomp although ‘Fillip’ is about as bad as I’ve ever heard from the band. ‘Falling Down’ gives vocalist Matthew Bellamy a chance to karaoke Freddie Mercury and ‘Unintended is as beautiful as Muse can be, yet something is missing.

While Radiohead could when they wanted to, write great pop songs i.e. ‘Creep’, but they show very little ability to provide anything resembling a hook. ‘Showbiz’ is a very busy album with nothing left to memory after the metallic buzz fades away.

In Summary

The band are immensely popular at the moment, a big album with ‘The Resistance’ and a major tour playing the worlds biggest concert venues is well underway. With Coheed & Cambria, The Mars Volta and Oceansize, the new prog movement like it or not is here to stay.

How long it will last is anyone’s guess, but at some point one of these bands need to come up with a classic on par with ‘Close To The Edge’ or ‘Animals’ before it comes tumbling down under the weight of their own hype.

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