When it comes to musical innovation, Muse is one band that does not lack creativity. The English rock band who formed in 1994 has revised a sound that has altered the way audiences around the world view rock music – both audibly and visibly. Providing a rock sound meshed with classical piano, vocals and a hint of electronica, Muse – featuring vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Bellamy, bassist Christopher Wolstenholm, and drummer Dominic Howard – has positioned themselves as one of the most admired rock bands of the past two decades.
The music alone is not the only thing that makes this band stand out. While carrying a general aura of angst and rebellion, Muse has a dominating presence on stage as well as in the music world. What makes this band so interesting? If it isn’t the combination of sounds pulled from different genres, most notably, the symphonic tones, then it is their front man. Matthew Bellamy, the mastermind behind Muse, who expounds a multitude of falsetto and vibrato to say the very least, carries the band to the extreme.
In every song Muse releases, the musical quality is outstanding. Every guitar riff, bass line, and vocal scaling is recorded to perfection and seems absolutely flawless. Muse shows they leave no room for error. Their ability to combine different sounds from different genres and make it unique and interesting is also another quality the band embodies. One of their most significant feats was the release of their second studio album Origin of Symmetry (2001).
The album provides lyrical subject material that is heavier than it appears. The first single released off of this album, “Plug in Baby” was an instant hit and really portrayed the sound Muse offered. Maintaining meaningful lyrics and demonstrating Bellamy’s massive vocal control, the song also proved their creativity was a welcomed success. It is a song describing an addiction to technology, as the chorus states: “My plug in baby, Crucifies my enemies, When I’m tired of giving, My plug in baby, Is unbroken virgin realities, Is tired of living.” Origin of Symmetry thematically combines the ideas of the fear of growth as well as the fear of progressive technology.
A compilation of experimentation, Muse attempted to use different sounds and instruments on Origin of Symmetry and did not fail. Bellamy even added a church pipe organ on the song “Megalomania” to introduce a new flavor. Though not ground-breaking, its inclusion helps make the song that much more appealing.
Another album hit “New Born” is an additional representation of the message the album portrays: “Link it to the world, link it to yourself, stretch it like a birth squeeze, the love for what you hide, the bitterness inside, is growing like the new born.” Touching on a concept the album introduces, this song is a reflection of a fear of growth and the potential exposure to corruption.
The album was scheduled to be released in 2001 in the US also, but was postponed based on a belief by Maverick Records that the record would not receive a good amount of radio play because of Bellamy’s wide-ranging vocal style. As a result, the band parted ways with Maverick and the album was not released in the US until 2005. Bad move by Maverick Records. Origin of Symmetry was so well-received worldwide that it would achieve platinum status and propelled Muse as one of the most important progressive rock bands of this generation.
Origin of Symmetry is an album that truly amplifies a new progressive sound with heavy guitar riffs and impressive vocal ability, while subliminally highlighting contemplative themes in the lyrics.
Bellamy, an outstanding musician, has given Muse a unique voice, literally, with his ability to hit notes on both ends of the scale, total vocal control, vibrato, falsetto and a screaming style that makes every song memorable.
However, it is the way that the high level of creative talents the band possess come together as a whole that make Muse irrevocably phenomenal. The 51-minute album is a collection of rock, electronica, classical and opera-like sounds that ensured Muse to stand out amongst their peers and demand well deserved attention and success.
After Origin of Symmetry reached #3 on the UK charts and was a guaranteed platinum record, Muse continued on their road to fame with the release of their third album, Absolution (2003). Muse was beginning to become more well known (especially in the US) after this well-received album, and it provided two major singles: “Time is Running Out” and “Apocalypse Please.”
Most recently, Muse released their latest album The 2nd Law (2012) with two major hits: “Madness” and “Panic Station.” Additionally, Muse has continued performing live and is currently a part of the Austin City Limits Festival lineup for 2013.
During their musical career, Muse has received one Grammy Award for “Best Rock Album” in 2011 for The Resistance. Additionally, in 2010 they won an American Music Award for “Favorite Alternative Artist.”
Muse have paved a great path and generated an unforgettable sound that is easily remembered and cherished by an audience, which is why they have positioned themselves as one of the most important alternative rock bands in the modern music era.
Reviewer: Lauren Vinyard
IRC: Lucy Patton
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