Muse is an English alternative/new-prog rock band formed in 1994 by vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Matthew Bellamy, bassist Christopher Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard.They have released six studio albums thus far, with The 2nd Law the most recent on October 1, 2012. With regard to singles, the band has been successful in both their home country — where they've had 17 Top 40 singles — and American alternative radio, where they have ten Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot Alternative Tracks (formerly Hot Modern Rock Tracks) chart.The band has had three major breakthrough periods in the United States: The first was with their single "Time is Running Out" in 2003, which began their aforementioned string of ten Top 40 Alternative Tracks singles. The second came with the appearance of their 2½-year-old single "Supermassive Black Hole" in the film version of Twilight. The third was their performance of "Uprising" at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards — easily the most exposure they've ever gotten in the United States — which caused "Uprising" to peak at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100.Their music video for "Knights of Cydonia" has its own page, which should tell yousomething.Fun fact: the band was originally called the Rocket Baby Dolls after a Hentai. Puts a whole new context to "Plug In Baby", doesn't it?"Survival," a song from The 2nd Law, was adopted as the theme tune for the 2012 Olympics, and "Isolated System" was adopted as the theme for World War Z.
Their albums are:
Origin of Symmetry (2001, although not released in the United States until 2005, see below)
Hullabaloo Soundtrack (2002, a combination live album and B-sides collection)
Black Holes and Revelations (2006)
HAARP (2008, second live album)
The Resistance (2009)
The 2nd Law (2012)
Live from Rome Olympic Stadium (2013, third live album)
This band and their music provide examples of:
An Aesop: Their fifth album, The Resistance, has a three-part symphony at the end of the album entitled "Exogenesis" which speaks of mankind abandoning a post-apocalyptic, dystopian Earth in order to re-populate and spread their kind across other planets in the universe in order to keep their species alive. Good idea at first, one can think, and that's how it's believed throughout the first two parts. Too bad that by the third part, mankind realizes that the reason they left Earth and they're all together in this mess is that they botched it in the first place, so chances are it'll all become a cycle unless mankind changes its disruptive ways.
There's a lot of hope in the third part, which is titled 'Redemption'. A major part of redemption is recognizing that yes you've done the wrong thing, but also that you can still change before it's too late. There can't be redemption without that commitment to do better.
The entire Aesop of The 2nd Law is that the rich, greedy and short-sighted elite are dooming the species to self-destruction. A comparison with the second law of thermodynamics is made, where Earth is an isolated system and the entropy of that system is only increasing because of humanity's self-indulgent apathy. It's similar to the message of "Exogenesis", but far more cynical in its presentation.
Album Title Drop: Black Holes and Revelations is a lyric in their song "Starlight".
Absolution appears in the title and lyrics of "Sing for Absolution".
The Resistance appears in the title and lyrics of "Resistance".
The Alcoholic: Chris admitted once to being a "raging alcoholic". He wrote two songs on The 2nd Law, "Save Me" and "Liquid State" that confront this issue directly.
Also from "Starlight", 'Our hopes and expectaaaations, black holes and revelaaaations....'
"Uprising": 'They will not force us...' It also has a clap to go with it.
From "Time is Running Out": 'Bury it, I won't let you bury it...'
Band Name Drop: "You are my muse", in I Belong to You [+Mon Coeur S'Ouvre à Ta Voix]. Easily missed; the entirety of "Mon Coeur S'ouvre à Ta Voix" occurs between "Mu" and "se", which are blended into the vocalization.
Once the band was asked not curse during a Origin of Symmetry-era Spanish TV performance. Taking offense at this due to the lack of profanities in their songs, Matt changed an entire verse of "Feeling Good" to this. Hilarity ensues.
Concept Album: Black Holes and Revelations is about space and astronomical concepts, as well as intense emotions such as love. The Resistance is a straighter example, with many songs directly inspired by 1984.
"I've always been interested in conspiracy theories. There is much information withheld from the people for sure. Including myself, so I'm not saying that I know about them. I've read much about it prior to the album production. Some things are just bollocks, other things are quite interesting. I like this narrow line. Many songs on [Black Holes and Revelations] deal with conspiracy theories or the formation of a world government, a topic which has been discussed in the last fifty years. Other songs are about control and how the media is purposely influencing and trying to keep us off from the truth. Methods that keep people off from questioning things and issues. Inventions and technologies bottled up in order to be able to use them later in military. I'm interested in all this, and it influenced the album."
Cosplay: Dom is known to often wear a Spider-Man costume (normally sans mask) during live performances. Smaller examples are Chris' Captain America costume and the outfits worn by the band during the encore of their concert on Halloween 2009: Matt was a vampire, Chris was Batman with light-up horns, and Dom was, predictably, Spider-Man.
The three-part closing song to The Resistance, "Exogenesis: Symphony," forms a 13-minute long song when all three parts are played one after the other. The trend continues with The 2nd Law, closing with a two-part Title Track whose two halves total 8:48.
Space Dementia into Hyper Music into Plug in Baby. Whoa.
Falling Away With You into Interlude into Hysteria. Perfection.
If you listen closely to the end of Uprising, the beginning of Resistance can be heard - it's faint but present. A similar segue occurs between "Cave" and the title track on Showbiz.
Fanservice: In the otherwise unsexy "Undisclosed Desires" video there is a gratuitous lingering shot of Dom Howard's buttocks. That this is done while Matt Bellamy is singing "Please me," might make it Ho Yay.
Government Conspiracy: "Exo-Politics", taken at face value, is about the government cooperating with aliens from the Zeta Reticuli system in a massive mind control conspiracy. Matthew Bellamy has alternately confirmed this interpretation, or highlighted how alien theories cover up real military conspiracies at sites like Area 51. Either way, he clearly believes the US government is up to no good.
The live album HAARP takes its name and stage design from the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, a US government-funded weather research station in Alaska. In an interview with Q, Bellamy quoted a number of conspiracy theories about the project, before claiming to have chosen the design because "it just looks really cool."
The song "MK Ultra" was inspired by the secret CIA behavioural engineering project that, since its public revelation in 1975, has become a favourite target of conspiracy theorists.
"Screenager" is very creepy, not helped when you find out that bones were used for percussion.
The guitar parts on the B-Side "Host" are fairly haunting, listening to the song alone at night is probably not advisable.
With that in mind, Recess, Shrinking Universe and Con-science are all extremely creepy.
When Matt breathes in the song Dead Star, it isn't so much breathing as a disgusting, horrifying slurp. Really uncomfortable, very creepy.
The same thing happens in New Born, as well as Time Is Running Out where the lyrics "asphyxiated" and "I know I'm trapped" really create a tense atmosphere that is completely at odds with most other hit singles of the time.
Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: The band ranges from 1-2 ("Blackout", "Falling Down") to 6-7 ("New Born", "Hyper Music", "Follow Me") whilst maybe pushing into 8 territory with some of the heavier songs from Absolution ("Stockholm Syndrome", B-side "Fury"). Their typical range is, however, very hard 4-standard 5.
Mundane Made Awesome: Their lyrics are often epic in scope, sometimes crossing heavily into Narm territory: "Take a Bow" comes to mind as an example.
Neo Classical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: To a point. Showbiz was Radiohead-inspired alternative rock; Origin of Symmetry adopted hard rock and prog metal qualities; Absolution shifted slightly to symphonic rock whilst retaining the hard edge; Black Holes and Revelations took a poppier, electronic turn; The Resistance adopted cues from classic rock / prog rock (a la Queen) and classical music; and, The 2nd Law really plays this trope straight by borrowing aspects of a wide variety of genres, from synth-rock to symphonic prog to funk to, yes, dubstep.
Obsession Song: Many of their songs have undertones of this. "Endlessly" and "Hysteria" are both pretty unambiguous, however.
Bliss is the most obvious example of this "GIVE ME! ALL OF THE PEACE! AND JOY IN YOUR MIND!".
"Sing for Absolution" is probably where Stephenie Meyer got the idea for Edward watching Bella sleeping without her knowledge in Twilight, which is generally known to be one of his more creepy actions. Unlike Stephenie Meyer though, Matt probably meant for it to be a bit off.
I want to satisfy the undisclosed desires in your heart
"Madness" certainly sounds like one, even turning the title into a Madness Mantra by making it the bassline.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: So Matt is English, speaks English, but his singing doesn't even sound English. In fact it sounds like some sort of British/American... thing.
The most noticeable exception being the rhyming of "past", "mask", and "heart" in "Undisclosed Desires".
Matt, like the rest of the band, is from Teignmouth, Devon, which is quite a large distance from where most UK bands are from (usually London, Sheffield and Manchester). He also has a pretty noticeable speech impediment, which, when combined with his falsetto, means he doesn't really sound like anyone. But he is definitely hard to understand when interviewed because he talks so quickly.
Out-of-Genre Experience: "Soldier's Poem", a soft acoustic guitar track with vocal harmonies that could be right out of a barbershop quartet, smashed between "Map of the Problematique" and "Invincible". Apparently, they recorded it with the usual full-band arrangement, but it didn't sound quite right.
Other instances are the bluesy "Falling Down" and Alternative Metal track "Dead Star".
"Undisclosed Desires" starts off this way, but winds up sounding familiar by end. It's still their only song with slap bass, though, plus the only one where Matt plays neither the guitar nor the piano.
Precision F-Strike: In "Crying Shame" (b-side for the Supermassive Black Hole single) and "Panic Station", which are the only instances of the word "fuck" in Muse's entire discography other than the absurdly over-the-top StarlightDVD hidden track. Both instances are quite shocking.
Even though "Panic Station" only contained the one solitary F-bomb (in a less-than-sexual context, too), it was enough to slap the entire album with a Parental Advisory sticker.
Protest Song: For a band that has some of the most incomprehensible Word Salad Lyrics out there, "Take a Bow" has a laser-focused vicious stab at various world leaders that could be the anger march of La Résistance.
Most of their 2009 album, The Resistance, is populated by protest songs, including "Uprising".
Shout-Out: "Resistance" is based on the love subplot between Winston and Julia in 1984; the song mentions the Thought Police, and "United States of Eurasia" is very blatantly about the war between the three states from the same book.