English rock band Muse released “Psycho,” the lead single for their eight studio album, and a lyric video along with it. The band promised fans that they would be going back to their rock roots after receiving mixed reviews for their last album. And judging from the first single, Muse seem to be sticking to that.
Muse was constantly been keeping their fans up to date with various studio updates through their Instagram account. In one of the clips, a sergeant could be heard barking drill orders, and it turned out that is the intro for “Psycho.” This went on for some time and you could see what the band was trying to do by imposing this view of a totalitarian, authoritative world where everybody just follows orders and is a drone. And then the monstrous guitar riff kicks in around 28 seconds into the song.
Matt Bellamy kicks off the song with a huge riff that sounds killer through his highly distorted and quite possibly heavily drop tuned guitar. The rest of the band then joins in the fun as Christopher Wolstenholme’s bass takes the centerstage. The verse and chorus, and the song in general, sound quite a lot like “Uprising” from their album, The Resistance, and features the same shuffle rhythm and a similar verse riff. It might also have something to do with the use of keys as they contribute in building a similar atmosphere.
The song features intermittent bass passages along with more appearances by the authoritarian drill sergeant. The song builds up towards what seems like might be a crazy guitar solo by Matt Bellamy, but instead leads to a cinematic outro, culminating in a strong end to the song. The riffs sound very Queens of the Stone Age-ish, especially the bands that Bellamy pulls off in the main riff.
The vocals, on the other hand, sound highly processed, and Matt Bellamy sounds a lot like Marilyn Manson during the screamed “I’m a Psycho” part. The bass has been turned up in the mix and sounds phenomenal. The mixing, done by Robert Lange (who’s produced albums for artists such as AC/DC, Def Leppard, Maroon 5, Nickelback, etc.) is well done, and the mix sounds very tight and super dense, and though all the instruments can be clearly heard.
The main downfall of the song is the lyrics. Matt Bellamy keeps repeating the same lines over and over again: “I’m gonna make you / I’m gonna break you / I’m gonna make you / A fucking psycho.” The lyrics sound very juvenile and bring down the whole song as “your ass belongs to me now” is repeated over and over again. I get that they’re trying to make it sound like it’s part of an ominous propaganda, but it doesn’t come off like that.
Another problem is that this seems like a case of one step forward, two steps back for Muse- while it is a fun song, there is nothing in this song that the band haven’t done before. In fact, I’d say it sounds an awful lot like their own song, “Uprising.” So it doesn’t feel like the band has progressed in the past 6 years. However, in isolation, it is a very catchy song.