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Drones (Muse album)

 

Drones (Muse album)

Drones
Studio album by Muse
Released 5 June 2015 (2015-06-05)
Recorded 3 October 2014 – 1 April 2015
Studio The Warehouse Studio
(Vancouver, British Columbia)
Genre
Length 52:40
Label
Producer
Muse chronology
Live at Rome Olympic Stadium
(2013)
Drones
(2015)
Singles from Drones
  1. "Dead Inside"
    Released: 23 March 2015 (2015-03-23)
  2. "Mercy"
    Released: 18 May 2015

Drones is the seventh studio album by the English rock band Muse, released on 5 June 2015 in Europe and 8 June in the United Kingdom under Warner Bros. Records and Helium-3. It was recorded between October 2014 and April 2015 at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, and co-produced by the band and Robert John "Mutt" Lange; Muse aimed to return to the simpler guitar-bass-drums rock sound of their earlier albums.[4] It is a concept album following the protagonist's journey from abandonment to indoctrination as a "human drone" and eventual defection.[5] Drones received generally positive reviews; critics often praised the music but criticised the lyrics.

Contents

  • Background and recording 1
  • Concept 2
  • Promotion 3
  • Critical reception 4
  • Commercial performance 5
  • Track listing 6
  • Personnel 7
  • Charts and certifications 8
    • Weekly charts 8.1
    • Certifications 8.2
  • Release history 9
  • References 10

Background and recording

On their previous albums The Resistance (2009) and The 2nd Law (2012), Muse experimented with orchestral and electronic music.[6][7] In December 2013, Muse released a live album and video, Live at Rome Olympic Stadium; songwriter Matthew Bellamy said the band wanted the live album "to capture some of the extremes of what we've been doing since we want to go in a different direction in the future."[6]

Muse began writing their seventh album soon after the Rome concert. Bellamy stated that the album "should be something that really does strip away the additional things that we've experimented with on the last two albums... I kind of feel like it will be nice to reconnect and remind ourselves of just the basics of who we are."[6]

In October 2014, Muse entered The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver.[8][9][10] After their last two albums were both self-produced, Muse decided to work with producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange on Drones.[11][12][13][14] The first recording session ended on 19 October, with the band calling it "emotional".[15] Muse re-entered the studio in November 2014.[16] On 1 April 2015, drummer Dominic Howard and mixer Rich Costey indicated on their Instagram accounts that they had finished mixing the album.[17][18] The result of the album, as viewed by the band and the fans, was a return to a more consistent rock sound with less experimentation with different genres.[19][20]

Concept

Drones is a concept album about the dehumanisation of modern warfare.[21] The story begins with "Dead Inside", where the protagonist loses hope and becomes vulnerable to the dark forces of "Psycho". He eventually defects, revolts and overcomes his enemies.[22]

Answering fan questions on Twitter in September 2014, Bellamy said the album's themes include deep ecology, the empathy gap, and World War III.[23] In March 2015, Bellamy said:

In an interview with BBC Radio 1 in March, Bellamy described Drones as "a modern metaphor for what it is to lose empathy ... through modern technology, and obviously through drone warfare in particular, it’s possible to actually do quite horrific things by remote control, at a great distance, without actually feeling any of the consequences, or even feeling responsible in some way."[25]

Promotion

On 26 January 2015, Muse revealed the album title in an Instagram video featuring a mixing desk with audio samples and a screen stating "Artist - Muse, Album - Drones."[26] Muse began using the hashtag "#MuseDrones" on Twitter and Instagram.[27][28] On 8 March, the band shared a snippet of a new song, "Psycho", and mentioned "mixing with a very tight deadline".[29]

On 12 March, Muse released a lyric video for "Psycho" on their YouTube channel, and made the song available for download with the album pre-order.[30] From 15 to 24 March, the band played the Psycho UK Tour, six concerts in small venues in the UK.[24] On 23 March, "Dead Inside" was released as the album's lead single with a lyric video on Muse's YouTube channel.[31][32] On 18 May, Muse released a lyric video for "Mercy" and released the song on Spotify.[33] On 29 May, a lyric video for "Reapers" was released on YouTube,[34] followed by "The Handler" on 2 June[35] and "[JFK]" with "Defector" on 3 June.[36] Drones was released on 5 June 2015 in Europe and 8 June in the United Kingdom[37] under Warner Bros. Records and Helium-3. The album art was designed by American artist Matt Mahurin.[38][39]

Starting with Radio 1's Big Weekend in May 2015, the band embarked on the Drones World Tour in support of the album.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 63/100[40]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [21]
Billboard [41]
Kerrang! [40]
Los Angeles Times [42]
NME 7/10[43]
The Observer [44]
Pitchfork 4.5/10[45]
Q [46]
Rolling Stone [47]
Time Out London [48]

At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, Drones has an average score of 63 based on 25 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[40]

Kerrang! gave Drones a perfect score, calling it "a claustrophobic classic that sharpens the focus of what is possible in the name of high-minded rock."[40] Q wrote that despite Muse's stated goal of returning to their roots, "Drones is anything but back-to-basics garage rock... befitting of its proggy conceptual narrative about state mind control, it's an album of rambling interests."[46] David Fricke of Rolling Stone called the album "a truly guilty pleasure" and praised its "chunky update of the guitar-bass-drums charge" of the band's earlier albums as "what Muse do best."[47] The NME wrote that the album's "trademark Muse themes of brainwashing, warmongering superpowers, suppression of The Truth and the urgent need to fight the hand that bleeds us still resonate in 2015, but obliquely ... Muse's music once more matches [Bellamy's] adventurous intrigue."[43]

AllMusic wrote that "it's hard to avoid [Muse's] conclusion that war is bad, but this inclination to write everything in bold, italicized capital letters is an asset when it comes to music."[21] Kitty Empire of The Observer wrote that despite the "trite" lyrics and "confusing" plot, some of Drones was "fist-pumpingly ace; a timely restatement of the need for popular music to evoke both thought and dopamine rush."[44] Ian Cohen of Pitchfork found Drones lacked subtlety and criticised its lyrics, writing: "Whatever pleasure can be generated from Bellamy's admirable melodic sense and overblown hooks is negated by Muse's insistence that they're profound rather than fun."[45] Oliver Keens of Time Out London called the album's handling of the drones subject matter "tactless and crass" and its story "as dull as dog food – told with the wishy-washy flim-flam of a frothing conspiracy theorist ... We used to moan that musicians didn't write about politics anymore. Based on this effort, maybe that's for the best."[48]

Commercial performance

Drones debuted at number one the US Billboard 200 chart in the week ending June 14, selling 84,200 copies in its first week (including 79,400 copies on traditional sales, 26,000 on single sales and 3.3 million on single streams), replacing the position of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence and the Machine in the previous week. This is the first time two British artists have debuted consecutively at number one on the chart since 1956. Also, its traditional sales made the album enter the Top Album Sales chart at number one.[49] Previously, industry forecasters predicted that the album could start at number one with 75,000 units.[50]

The album also debuted at number 1 in 21 countries around the world including United Kingdom, France, Japan (Int'l Chart), Australia, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, Ireland, Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Hong Kong (Int'l Chart), Korea (Int'l Chart), Portugal, Russia (main chart), Singapore, and Taiwan (main chart). It also debuted at the top 3 in Italy, Sweden, Canada, Austria, Greece, Germany, and Indonesia.

On the UK Albums Chart, the album opened at number one with sales of 72,863 copies, the third-highest opening of 2015 till that time, became the band's fifth number-one album in the UK market, following Absolution (2003), Black Holes and Revelations (2006), The Resistance (2009) and The 2nd Law (2012).[51] The following week, Official Charts Company announced that Drones would spend its second week atop the chart with 24,445 copies sold (996 from streaming), bringing its total sales to 97,308 copies in two weeks.[52][53]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Matthew Bellamy except "Drones", which is written by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

No. Title Length
1. "Dead Inside"   4:22
2. "[Drill Sergeant]"   0:21
3. "Psycho"   5:16
4. "Mercy"   3:51
5. "Reapers"   5:59
6. "The Handler"   4:33
7. "[JFK]"   0:54
8. "Defector"   4:33
9. "Revolt"   4:05
10. "Aftermath"   5:47
11. "The Globalist"   10:07
12. "Drones"   2:49
Total length:
52:40
Notes

Personnel

Charts and certifications

Release history

Region Date Format Label
Australia[90] 5 June 2015
Warner Bros.
Austria[91]
Finland[92]
Germany[93]
Ireland[94]
Netherlands[95]
New Zealand[96]
Switzerland[97]
United Kingdom[37] 8 June 2015
France[98]
Poland[99]
Canada[100] 9 June 2015
Italy[101]
Spain[102]
United States[103]
Japan[104] 10 June 2015
Norway[105]
Sweden[106]

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