My Five Favourite Songs: Muse

Muse are one of my favourite bands, and one of the most successful modern day bands of all time. They’ve sold out Wembley Stadium-twice!!- and are regarded to be the best band for live performances. Their unique sound, a mixture of prog-rock and ‘space-rock’ amongst others, has seen them gradually rise through the ranks, 5 studio albums, 3 live albums and 17 years after they first began back in 1994. I’m going to run down my 5 favourite songs by the band, starting with…

5. New Born from Origin of Symmetry (2001)

Matt Bellamy’s versatility is the first thing that arises from the start of the this. The piano grows in pace along with Bellamy’s vocals, until the big buildup and the riff then switches onto his electric guitar as it REALLY gets going! At this point, the drums kick in and is the perfect accompanyment to Bellamy’s riffs. To be completely honest, I wasn’t really a fan of this song until I heard it live when I saw the band in 2009 at Sheffield, it was AMAZING live! Which is why I have the live performance from Wembley. The song is one that HAS to be seen live, to comprehend how amazing it truly is.

4. Plug In Baby from Origin of Symmetry (2001)

Again, I heard this firstly off a ‘Best Rock of 2001’ album, or at least the equivalent, so didn’t specifically know the band at the time, more this song. The opening riff pops up now and then throughout the song, is instantly recognisable and very catchy! The rather europhic chorus allows the audience to sing-a-long, as do the majority of their ‘big’ songs really. Bellamy’s falsetto vocals also get a good run-out, they really add energy and a strong emotional sense to anything he sings, rather than screaming as bands in other genres do.

3. Time is Running Out from Absolution (2004)

The first song that got me into Muse, I remember at the time I heard and I loved it instantly. It must’ve been one of the most played songs on my iPod such was its popularity with me. The song itself builds up as the evident bassline begins the track up and up to another climatic chorus. This seems to be a recurring feature within Muse’s top songs, or at least in my favourites anyway! I distinctly remember, and still do think that ‘Bury it, I won’t let you bury it..’, being one of my favourite lines in a song. It seems so full of emotion and a warning at the same time. Also, this was the first real ‘breakthrough’ single that Muse had, reaching number 8 in the charts, beating ‘Plug In Baby’s’ previous best of 11th. In some respects, its simpler than than the majority of songs by the band, which is perhaps why it was picked up by the mainstream. Although, at the same time it could be argued these are the very fans who made them what they are today.

2. Hysteria from Absolution (2004)

The song that was Muse’s ‘game-changer’. It performed worse in the UK charts than ‘Time is Running Out’, peaking at only 17th, but it propelled them upto 9th in America, which is exactly where they wanted to be. It’s featured on various advertising campaigns over the years, show people have a familiarity with it. The bassline is also famous and instantly recognisable, due to said advertisements. It really built on their previously modest acheivements, and set them up to become the big, epic rock group that they are today. The refrain ‘I want it now!’, is especially great at gigs when 10,000 others are singing along with Bellamy, it’s the type of moment that gives one goosebumps!

1. Knights of Cydonia from Black Holes & Revelations (2006)

Wow. Just wow. This is the result of what ‘Hysteria’, created. A western-space epic, perhaps the music equivalent of ‘Cowboys vs Aliens’. The sound and video almost match each other in terms of quality, Muse obviously had this one waiting for a while, waiting for the right time to unleash on an unsuspecting audience. It is quality, despite taking a third of the 6:06 running time to even hear any vocals. ‘Noone’s gonna take me alive, the time has come to make things right’, Bellamy screams in those falsetto tones, halfway through, really setting up the latter part of the song. The refrain is repeated a few times throughout, until the triumphant guitar riff concludes the wonderful arrangement, and one that marked a change of direction musically for Muse, as on the ‘Resistance’ album they ventured more into the ‘space-rock’ sound, that they developed in this. It also coincided with the Wembley dates, and is truly the definition of ‘stadium-rock’, showing they can both fill the massive bowls, but also, crucially, have 90,000 people sing back at them.

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