Muse’s ‘Dig Down’ borrows from the past to step into new direction

A lot has happened since June 5, 2015, the day Muse released their seventh studio album, Drones, and for a band that likes to write songs about current events, a new release has been a long time coming.

April 5, 2017 and fans get the first hint that something is around the corner.

Muse will be headlining a North America tour with Thirty Seconds To Mars and PVRIS, as well as co-headlining numerous festivals, including Lollapalooza and Reading Festival, this summer. With so many shows day in and day out, Muse needed to release a song good enough to beat expectations and please the crowds, especially after their last two albums, which were met with mixed reviews.

“Dig Down” just might fit the bill.

When I first listened to it, I couldn’t help but think, “Where have I heard this before?” But then it hit me (and many other fans) that the source of the catchy beat came from Muse themselves, straight from the insanely popular single “Madness” from their sixth album, 2nd Law. It’s not an exact copy, but the resemblance is definitely noticeable.

My initial impression of “Dig Down” was immense happiness. That could just be because I had been dying for new content, but I loved the intro, loved the first verse — then I hated the chorus. Matt Bellamy’s voice is usually so soothing and pure, but he jolts at you with “Dig down/dig down” in a way that sounds so foreign coming from his mouth. I was disappointed. It gradually got better with the addition of the choir in the background, but it didn’t feel right.

That was upon first listen. After a few hours, I played it again. Then I played it again. And again. Surprising even me, Bellamy’s “Dig downs” gradually didn’t sound so foreign. They were growing on me.

It’s just another avenue Muse is walking down. We’re seeing this from many bands recently: changing their sounds and making the die-hards unhappy. To the many who claim this song is far too drastic of an unacceptable change, I’d like to point you in the direction of our friends in the Fall Out Boy fandom. No one knows what drastic, unacceptable change sounds like quite like them.

“Dig Down” is not a rock song. It doesn’t delve deep into the creative spirit that so many of Muse’s past songs dared to. It doesn’t feature Bellamy’s insane guitar playing skills, nor his signature high vocal register. It’s not intermingled with intricate metaphors and complicated themes.

But it doesn’t need to be or do any of those things.

In a Twitter Q&A, Bellamy responded to the tweet, “Who is your harshest critic…” with an appropriate response: “Hardcore muse fans ha.”

It’s true. These ultra fan purists will compare anything Muse releases with their third studio album Absolution. Granted, Absolution was an amazing record and one of my all time favorites, but we — yes, myself included — have got to stop doing that. Once an era is over, it’s over. A second read through of a book is never the same as the first.

Let Absolution go. Appreciate “Dig Down” for what it is: a good song. Is it perfect? No. Is it good? Yes. Enjoy the song and get excited, because this is only the beginning of the next chapter from these British rockers. As Bellamy said, “Dig Down” will be on the next album, but the album will also be diverse.

So even if you hated “Dig Down,” don’t freak out — Muse may still have something in store for you. I’m almost positive they will. Personally, I’m insanely pumped for this release. Until then —


Featured image courtesy of “Dig Down” music video.

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