It's actually a bit from an aria from an opera, and Matt Bellamy is known to use classical music in his music, so it's entirely possible that he actually knows what it sounds like and he's just not that good at French.
Why, oh why, do people keep saying that Muse are a rip off of Radiohead? The two bands sound absolutely nothing alike!
Well, this troper started listening to Radiohead after Muse, and when I heard "My Iron Lung" I understood why people would make the comparison; it sounds not entirely unlike Muse's sound circa Origin of Symmetry or Absolution. (And, from the alternate perspective, a few specific Muse songs sound a lot like Radiohead songs; the resemblance between "Soldier's Poem" and "No Surprises" is striking.) But it turned out that that song wasn't representative of The Bends in general, so I'm back to scratching my head.
Simple answer: Matthew Bellamy and pre-Kid A era Thom Yorke share a very similar singing range and style. That's really as far as the comparison goes, but it's definitely one people will notice.
I can definitely hear the similarities. Muse often sounds a lot like some of the stuff on The Bends and OK Computer. Of course, any resemblance has been blasted away since Kid A.
You could say that the Jeff Buckley influence that both bands share is evident when you compare, say, The Bends to Muse's Showbiz. Sharing a producer probably helps as well. Bellamy even admitted to similarities between the two, and has stated that while bored of Radiohead comparisons, he takes them as a compliment. Pretty much everyone agrees that Muse were well past that point when the second album came out anyway.
Showbiz bore more than a passing resemblance to Radiohead's style used on The Bends, and a bit of OK Computer as well as The Bends was present in the dense soup of musical influences that was Origin of Symmetry. However, by the time of Absolution, any resemblance they had to Radiohead was gone.
And, on Muse's end, they sound more like Queen than like Radiohead now.
"United States of Eurasia / Collateral Damage" is a big offender, especially later in to the song. It's the voice + guitar riff at about 1:15 in.
I picture Muse as a more theatrical Radiohead. Seriously.
Especially with the new album. It's kind of a Queen/Radiohead combo.
Muse have always sounded like Nirvana to some extent, yet nobody seems to have picked up on that.
How the hell did Matt manage to sing so high on Micro Cuts? Don't get me wrong, it sounds awesome, but HOLY FUCK. Did he get an elephant to stand on his testicles or something? I don't think the average woman would be able to sing that high.
Matt's vocal chords are quite a bit smaller than an average man's; hence, he is able to reach higher notes than the average man. There may have been some studio trickery, but I've seen him do it live... so it may just be that he's awesome.
It goes beyond that: Bellamy actually told an interviewer that a doctor once examined him, and proclaimed that he has the vocal cords of a woman.