A lot of the dramatic guitar elements that have been present all throughout Muse’s songs are very much present in The Handler. But instead of being amplified by synths and drowned out by Queen like stadium orchestra sounds, they totally take the spotlight and guide the way in “The Handler.” It’s a nice but not surprising change of pace if what we’ve heard from this album so far is any indicator at all. And as with all of the songs that we’ve heard from Drones¸ “The Handler” totally takes the normal rock level for Muse and steps it up a notch.
The song starts off with a sort of harsh guitar and drum set to a soft melody. The simple, consistent but somewhat slow melody is enough to draw you in and get your attention. The story itself tells of a relationship between two people (the exact kind is unsure), where one acts as the Handler, the puppeteer of the main character. All through the story, Bellamy sings about how they’ve become a bad influence, how he’s changed for the worst because of this Handler, and how he’s not letting them control him anymore. Now, the relationship could be with anyone – an ex, a friend, the government, a god – anything. That’s the absolute beauty of these lyrics.
The lyrics paint an exact picture of the story line, and this particular chapter especially. They let you know what’s going on, give you an idea what’s going to happen, and let you visualize the story line in your head. But it’s really the instrumentals that give “The Handler” its depth, that fill in all of those details that make the mental picture vivid. It’s easy to picture someone running away from an oppressive force. It’s the way that the melody builds – as the narrator gets more strength and more confidence, the melody builds and gets quicker, more urgent, and generally has more power. It perfectly lets you into that story line, that urgency, that emotion.
Speaking of emotion, everything that’s good about this song is just doubled by Bellamy’s vocals. He sings with a pure emotion, a truth about him. It just pushes the song above and beyond. “The Handler” – much like everything else we’ve heard from Drones so far, is amazing.
Drones is out through Warner Bros. Records on June 8th.