Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
Buy On
  1. Nov 9, 2018
    82
    The group has scaled down a bit (how much bigger could they get?) writing, rhapsodizing and crooning about lighter topics than usual. Similarly, the group--along with co-producers Rich Costey (Interpol), Mike Elizondo (Eminem, Fiona Apple) and Timbaland (Jay-Z, Missy Elliott)--has also changed up its sound with a mix of electro-punkish riffs and sprightly beats filtered into its densely layered orchestration. ... Refocusing their ambitions in a way that won’t alienate fans but also keeps them anticipating whatever might come next.
  2. Nov 8, 2018
    80
    While Simulation Theory might appear to be overly polished mainstream trickery--all part of the simulation!--it's purely Muse at heart, successfully merging electronic-pop songcraft with their typically urgent, stadium rock foundation.
  3. Yes, this is still Muse, but here they’re trying to be something else--well, everything else. They are avatars in a ridiculous simulation of teenage nerdery, inviting you to steal away from the nightmare, and into an electric dream.
  4. Uncut
    Nov 7, 2018
    80
    Their best, boldest, most unashamedly poptastic album yet. [Dec 2018, p.28]
  5. Kerrang!
    Nov 7, 2018
    80
    As a neon-lit tonic to Drones, Simulation Theory is bang on the money. But as an exploration of a new frontier, it's a genuinely exciting musical adventure in its own right. [10 Nov 2018, p.53]
  6. 80
    Simulation Theory treads a thin line between cheesy chart-chasing and genuinely innovative pop rock. [Dec 2018, p.86]
  7. Nov 12, 2018
    60
    Simulation Theory largely sounds like the work of band who have the pressure off and are just going with it--definitely not a bad thing.
  8. Nov 12, 2018
    60
    No track here breaks the five-minute mark; only Something Human lets the side down with an acoustic guitar.
  9. Nov 9, 2018
    60
    Propaganda sounds like Muse are trying to be Prince, which isn’t entirely convincing, while Get Up and Fight bolts on a power ballad chorus to an elegantly restrained verse. But it’s still the less poppy moments that are most exciting.
  10. Nov 8, 2018
    60
    Take a step back from the ins and outs of the record and Simulation Theory stands as a ridiculous, bombastic stab of maximalism from one of the world’s biggest stadium rock bands.
  11. Mojo
    Nov 7, 2018
    60
    This Giorgio Moroder-soundtracking-Black Mirror approach isn't always successful. ... The slick AOR of Something Human suggests their decision to move away from riff-rock isn't wholly misjudged. [Dec 2018, p.84]
  12. 50
    Muse’s firm embrace of electronic tropes risks fragmenting their fan base, particularly those who had been by their side since their earlier days and would find certain elements of Simulation Theory to sound shockingly foreign. ... Listeners who had previously revelled in the moments where Muse dipped their toe into electronica will delight in finally seeing them cannonball into the pool. It’s polarizing for sure, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
  13. Nov 9, 2018
    50
    It’s clearly leagues below what they’re capable of, but they’re at least moving forward with the styles of music that they want to create, uninhibited by expectations rooted in the past. This is essentially a synth-pop album, one that is at times exciting and unconventional and at other times tasteless and rudimentary.
  14. Nov 14, 2018
    40
    There’s obviously still an audience for Muse, given by the size of the venues they still sell out, and this will definitely please the die-hards, but most of Simulation Theory simply fizzles out without leaving much of an impression.
  15. Nov 12, 2018
    40
    It is like Prince meets The Allman Brothers Band, on an approximate dosage of 40–50ug of acid. ... And that makes it a certified...
  16. 40
    Simulation Theory seems to fall into two territories--songs are either half-hearted nods to the best of their heavier rock-opera back catalogue, or futuristic, electronic pop-heavy tracks that borrow from bands more adept at that particular sound, and the vast majority of which are burdened with Bellamy’s political paranoia. For a new listener, it’s baffling. For a former, diehard fan, it’s disappointing.
  17. Nov 9, 2018
    40
    Most of Simulation Theory could be about our surveillance state and/or a relationship. The blurring results in clunkiness.
  18. Nov 12, 2018
    35
    As art, it is immature and vacant. As fun, it barely registers. It's less of a step-up from Drones than a step sideways, if only because the self-parody here feels deliberate.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 117 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 82 out of 117
  2. Negative: 17 out of 117
  1. Nov 9, 2018
    10
    Such an amazing album. Muse have't been so creative in years.
    I coud write an essay on how good this album is, but who cares, I'm off to
    Such an amazing album. Muse have't been so creative in years.
    I coud write an essay on how good this album is, but who cares, I'm off to listening again.
    Full Review »
  2. Nov 9, 2018
    10
    Their most creative, fresh and entertaining release in a while. Simulation Theory its a good continue point, proving that Muse know how toTheir most creative, fresh and entertaining release in a while. Simulation Theory its a good continue point, proving that Muse know how to reinvent themselves every time they need. Full Review »
  3. Nov 9, 2018
    0
    Can't blame Muse from trying new things. Sometimes, this worked well (Black Holes & revelations, Resistance), sometimes it worked about okCan't blame Muse from trying new things. Sometimes, this worked well (Black Holes & revelations, Resistance), sometimes it worked about ok (Drones). Even 2nd law, which I didn't really like, had a few good songs. Here.. it's the void. Back are the electronic shenanigans from 2nd law, mixed in a more current manner, with the same Muse epic singing. yet, overall result doesn't feel fresh at all. And apart the Dark side maybe, nothing good popped to my hears. Easily the worst album of Muse of all times. Let's hear you in 3 years maybe. Yup, not even wanting to hear that garbage on tour this time (for the first time in almost 2 decades...) Full Review »