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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Artist Breakdown: Muse

Welcome to the first edition of my artist breakdown. Here I will be going through the history of a particular band/artist, choosing my favorite songs by them and ranking their albums according to how much I enjoyed them. Of course all of this will be supported with reason. If you don't agree. PLEASE comment below.

 Today we'll be taking a look at the Modern Prog Giants, Muse. Today, Muse sells out arenas, stadiums, and any other sort of venue. The crowds have always been drawn to Muse's amazing showmanship during concerts and of course their astoundingly proficient technical ability to play the music the EXACT same way that it sounds on their recordings.

 But it wasn't long ago when singer Matt Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard were merely college dropouts starting up the band in 1994 around their home town of Teignmouth, Devon in the UK. These three were simply humble, ambitious musicians with the hopes of being recognized. It wasn't until the release of their debut album, Showbiz in 1999 that Muse finally became noticed locally around the UK. Showbiz was Space-Rock music with strange cosmic vibes that be sporadically interrupted by heavy, distorted guitar riffs and soaring vocals from lead singer, Matt Bellamy.

However, Muse's fame within the UK wasn't really as prevalent until they released their breakthrough album, The Origin of Symmetry. On this record, Muse utilized the distortion aspect of their music even more and came up with some unbelievably catchy yet interesting songs. Needless to say, they were on the road to success and that heightened even more after the release of Absolution (2001). On Absolution, Muse finally received that main-stay success with radio hits like "Hysteria" and "Time is Running Out". Eventually, they received some acclaim in the United States and around the rest of the world.

In order to receive success, Matt Bellamy knew that Muse needed something new. A new fresh direction that would send them from the cusp of fame to absolute stardom. And so, on the 2006 release Black Holes and Revelations, Muse incorporated political commentary into their music. Tom Morello even compared this new direction from Muse to the legendary bashing of Rage Against the Machine throughout the 1990's. After this, Muse had made it. The touring for "BHAR" was enormously successful and the band was finally on the top of the alternative rock world.

This fame gave Muse a much larger fanbase which then gave them more creative leeway when writing The Resistance (2010). The Resistance was another politically based concept but it was much more structured. There was the signature Muse flare but a new orchestral aspect was added to it. Of course as always when bands change directions when they are successful, the die hard fans hated what Muse had become. However, in my opinion, the way they dealt with the situation made them even more famous and even more intriguing as artists since they were willing to do anything in order to succeed.

Of course last October, Muse released the extremely eclectic yet epic album The 2nd Law. As per the usual, many fans were on board with some of the new vibes that Muse threw onto this album and others were not. However, given their past history, it's unfair to ask Muse to stay the same as artists. They will continue to evolve in the future as they grow as musicians.


Muse Albums by Rank

6. Black Holes and Revelations (2006)

This is deceptive. This album is by no means bad, it is in fact incredible. Just because it is my least favorite Muse Album does not mean that I detest it absolutely. "Knights of Cydonia" was epic to me in 2006 and it still is today. I also love the songs "Supermassive Black Hole" and "Starlight". However, that may be the only flaw with this album. All of the singles seem so complete and epic that the rest of the album seems underdeveloped in a way.






5. Showbiz (1999)

Being that this was Muse's debut and that none of the songs are incredibly catchy or radio-friendly, I'm sure many Muse fans have not heard this album. However, I recommend that everyone do so. It's really awesome to listen to considering that the music here is basically space rock. Also, it's really cool to hear how Muse sounded before they became international superstars.







4. The 2nd Law (2012)

One of my favorite albums of 2012 as stated on my list of favorite 2012 albums. The 2nd Law exhibits a variety of different genres such as disco, dubstep, and alternative rock. The olympic song, "Survival" is so powerful and bombastic while "Animals" is so quiet and tactful. Muse's evolution throughout the years has culminated with this fantastic piece of music. I'm really interested as to what Muse has to offer next. They continue to amaze me with each release.





 3. The Resistance (2009)

When Muse released this, I was in the minority amongst Muse fans. I thought it unbelievable. This album had a little of everything. Radio hits like "Uprising" and "Undisclosed Desires", the epic masterpiece "Resistance" and the "Exogenesis" series at the end of orchestra pieces. Muse really took it to another level with this album and it shows. Wonderful record and it was the album that made them what they are.






2. Origin Of Symmetry (2001)

It was definitely a toss up between this one for number one. When i first listened to it, songs like "New Born" and "Plug in Baby" hit me like fucking rockets. The guitar riff on "Plug in Baby" is legendary and the vocals in the chorus are so epic that I almost couldn't handle it. I highly recommend this Muse album because they rock the most on this very album. I tend to love the albums from bands that propel them to fame because those are the album that they put all of their heart and soul into. This is definitely how I feel about "Origin of Symmetry"



1. Absolution (2003)

I ended up choosing Absolution as number one because it is one of my favorite albums of all time. "Hysteria", "Time is Running Out", "Apocalypse Please", "Fury", "Stockholm Syndrome". All songs that make this album the greatest release of Muse's career. Everytime I hear it, I love these songs even more. For me, they will stand the test of time and that is what makes a good album. Muse's style on this is one that they have often revisted occasionally but one that they will never fully reproduce in its truest form. Definitely buy this album.




Best Muse Songs

10. Follow Me (The 2nd Law)


9. Survival (The 2nd Law)


8.  Starlight (Black Holes and Revelations)


7. Uprising (The Resistance)


6. Neutron Star Collision (Twilight Soundtrack)


5. Time is Running Out (Absolution)


4. Resistance (The Resistance)


 3. Knights of Cydonia (Black Holes and Revelations)


2. Plug in Baby (Origin of Symmetry)


1. Stockholm Syndrome (Absolution)