Muse, "Drones" (Warner Bros.)

Strap on your headphones. Don't text, talk or Snapchat for the next 53 minutes. Submit to a swirl of clumsy metaphors and a hackneyed narrative and become one with "Drones," the cerebral concept album by British art rockers Muse. The contemporary rock equivalent of an Andrew Lloyd Webber production, "Drones" pits man against the machine, exploring mind control through heavy-handed lyrics about militarism, a "CIA babe" and rebellion. The real crime here is blandness and predictability. "Drones" reads like a failed short-story idea from Sci-Fi 101. The worst part is how flat the music sounds with veteran producer Robert "Mutt" Lange. "Drones" sounds like it has been in storage since the 1980s. Given the right fuel, "Drones" might have charged right up. Unfortunately, Muse's efforts can barely get off the ground and wouldn't survive a war with a fly swatter.

randall roberts, Los Angeles Times


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