Saturday, January 27, 2018

Song facts: Muse


English Alternative Rock band Muse open their sixth studio album The 2nd Law with this song, in which they foresee the collapse of industrial civilization. Matt Bellamy sings of a terrifying scene of mankind losing its supremacy over the Earth as the risen seas and energy shortages create global desperation.

Muse thought this could be a candidate for the Skyfall Bond theme tune, until they heard that Adele was recording it. Drummer Dom Howard told the BBC: "It's got a little whisper to the Bond vibe - it all goes a bit crazy 'Live and Let Die' in the middle. My view is they should use it for the next James Bond film, but I don't know what's going on with that. I heard Adele was doing it!"

The themes of The 2nd Law were inspired by a BBC broadcast that Bellamy saw in 2011, where a panelist noted that "The laws of physics say that an economy based on endless growth is unsustainable."

The song wasn't originally the band's choice to open The 2nd Law. Bassist Chris Wolstenholme explained to Kerrang!: "We thought 'Survival' might be a good opener but with the whole Olympics thing we thought it might be better using something that wasn't already familiar to people. 'The 2nd Law: Unsustainable' was another contender, but in the end we decided 'Supremacy' would be the best choice. There are a lot of experiments on this album, and I think this is one of the few songs where as soon as you hear it you know it's us. It couldn't really be anyone else and I think that's why it works so well."

Muse opened the 2013 BRIT Awards with a typically epic rendition of this song, involving an orchestra, choir, pyrotechnics and lasers. The band was said to have spent in excess of £300,000 on their performance.


The song was originally titled "Action Faust" after the story of a man who sold his soul to the devil, with references to the devil such as "The priest God never paid" and "slave to the grave."


The fifth single from Muse's debut album finds lead singer Matt Bellamy picking up the pieces of his broken heart so he can put it back together for someone new, an "unintended" love interest who shows up while he's nursing his wounds. Bellamy explains how the love song ended up on the album: "There are a few unintended love songs as well. The song I wrote about the girl was written in the studio after a phone conversation with her. We called it 'Unintended' because it came out of nowhere, and I didn't mean it to happen, all of these feelings for this girl."


Drones is a concept album about the dehumanization of modern warfare. The story begins with the protagonist losing hope and becoming vulnerable to the dark forces. This track sees the man escaping from the hands of the oppressors and revolting. Speaking in an interview with Music Feeds, bassist Chris Wolstenholme said of the album's concept: "Quite often, me and Dom [Howard, drummer] don't always 100% know what's going on lyrically. I know Matt had said it was a concept album and he'd had this sort of Drones idea – but you know, he didn't really elaborate on it too much initially."

"It wasn't really until we got to the rehearsal process – we sort of had this process of recording a lot of our rehearsals so that we could constantly go back and check against things that we'd done the previous week – and as this process sort of got deeper and deeper, you know, Matt was obviously starting to throw a lot of lyrical ideas down. And that was really when the concept became obvious to me, and that was at the point when I realised that this wasn't just, you know, some sort of loose concept that he'd come up with, it was a real kind of story, it was something that was kind of obvious throughout."


This song combines the subjects of Mars and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse mentioned in the Book of Revelations in The Bible. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear in chapter 6 v 2-8. The four horses represent God's judgment of people's sin and rebellion, and are a foretaste of the final judgment to come. The four horsemen are traditionally named pestilence, war, famine and death.

Cydonia is the region on Mars where some believe life has existed. In the January 2007 issue of Q magazine, Matt Bellamy said: "I'd definitely be up for a trip to Mars. I'd love to record an album at zero gravity. Or at least go up there and do a vocal take. The area of Cydonia is very interesting. There are parts of it that resemble abandoned civilizations."

This song, like much of Black Holes and Revelations, is inspired by corrupt political leaders. Matthew Bellamy says its not about any specific leader, but all leaders. Evidence of this is shown in the lyrics, such as "I'll show you a 'god' who falls asleep on the job," referring to leaders who treat themselves like God because they have power.

Matt Bellamy's father was the guitarist with the Telstar group, The Tornados. The early '60s band influenced this song, as Bellamy explained to Q magazine: "The rhythm is quite influenced by the things he did - a lot of Tornados tracks had that rhythm."

Muse bassist Chris Wolstenholme once described this song as "40 years of rock history in six minutes."

Director Joseph Kahn created a post-apocalyptic, spaghetti western-style world for the music video, which was shot in London, Romania, and Red Rock, California. The clip stars actors Russ Bain, Richard Brake, and Cassandra Bell. The band members appear throughout as holograms. This isn't Kahn's first trip to a futuristic landscape; he also created an anime-style future world for Janet Jackson's "Doesn't Really Matter."

Matt Bellamy told Q magazine that most of his songs are personal in some way. He said: "When I've created a slightly imaginary dystopian nightmare, I'm putting myself in there: what would I feel in that situation? In Knights Of Cydonia - 'No one's going to take me alive,' - I had that feeling of wanting to fight back against something."

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