Muse has not lost its own muse, as the British band is set to return with “Will of the People,” the trio’s first album in nearly four years, due for release August 26. The way is paved for the 10-song collection by a new single and music video, “Compliance,” out today.

A second track, “Won’t Stand Down,” is also available today as an instant download for fans pre-ordering the album. Other titles include “You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween,” “Kill or Be Killed,” the typically anthemic-sounding “Won’t Stand Down” and the closing track, “We Are Fucking Fucked.”

The video for “Compliance” was shot in Poland by director Jeremi Durand. Although the narrative may not be immediately clear on a first viewing, the band says the storyline was inspired by the film “Looper” and “follows three children wearing masks destroying their future selves in order to escape a dystopian and oppressive world.”

The group’s ninth album follows “Simulation Theory,” which came out in November 2018 and was notable for its experimentation with a range of producers, including Timbaland, Shellback and Mike Elizondo. This time, however, Warner Records reports that the new album is entirely self-produced by the band, with its longtime core lineup of Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme.

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When a snippet of “Compliance” was released earlier, there was some discussion on social media, and alarm among some, that in the wake of recent events, the sarcastically pro-authoritarian lyrics appeared to constitute an anti-vax anthem. But Bellamy is rarely so clear in his positions, and his explanation of the single, contained in a press release, presents a predictably broader, less-easily-pinned-down view of what he considers to be the new album’s themes.

“‘Compliance’ is about submission to authoritarian rules and reassuring untruths to be accepted to an in-group,” Bellamy said in a statement. “Gangs, governments, demagogues, social media algorithms and religions seduce us during times of vulnerability, creating arbitrary rules and distorted ideas for us to comply with. They sell us comforting myths, telling us only they can explain reality while simultaneously diminishing our freedom, autonomy and independent thought. We are not just coerced, we are herded, frightened and corralled to produce a daily ‘two minutes of hate’ against an out-group of their choosing and to turn a blind eye to our own internal voice of reason and compassion.  They just need our compliance.”

Of the album as a whole, Bellamy said, “‘Will of the People’ was created in Los Angeles and London and is influenced by the increasing uncertainty and instability in the world,” the frontman said in a statement. “A pandemic, new wars in Europe, massive protests and riots, an attempted insurrection, Western democracy wavering, rising authoritarianism, wildfires and natural disasters and the destabilization of the global order all informed ‘Will Of The People.’ It has been a worrying and scary time for all of us as the Western empire and the natural world, which have cradled us for so long, are genuinely threatened. This album is a personal navigation through those fears and preparation for what comes next.”

Although the previous album was heavier on electronics and lighter on guitar than some of the group’s other work, the official announcement from Warner, while saying “there is NO bowing to any singular genre,” offer hints of a heavier sound threading between the continued electronic base heard in “Compliance.” The title track is described as “a dystopian glam-rocker,” “Kill or Be Killed” is said to be “industrial-tinged” with “granite-heavy riffs” and the climactic number is characterized as a “frenetic finale.” A continuation of the previous album may be in store, meanwhile, on “Verona,” which is said to have “innocence and a purity” in its “nostalgic electronic textures.”


The “Will of the People” tracklist:


  1. Will Of The People
  2. Compliance
  3. Liberation
  4. Won’t Stand Down
  5. Ghosts (How Can I Move On)
  6. You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween
  7. Kill Or Be Killed
  8. Verona
  9. Euphoria
  10.   We Are Fucking Fucked