Archive for the ‘Muse’ Category

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Muse – Showbiz

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Showbiz (1999)

This is early Muse. Muse, before they delved into the dancey depths of despair, known as Black Holes and Revelations and The Resistance.

Now Showbiz isn’t Muse’s greatest effort, either. But it is a great effort. From “Sunburn” to “Unintended,” this album is pretty solid. That unfortunately is the extent of the good tracks on here (although I’m partial to “Escape”).

For Muse fans who are only turned on to their later output, or have figured this one isn’t worth picking up, hopefully I can change your mind. Muse is just a fun band, whatever era of theirs you pick. Even though I just bashed their last two releases, there’s still much to like about them.

The best moments of Showbiz soar into a stunning fusion of masterful piano and progressive alternative. Also soaring is Matthew Bellamy’s falsetto – which is entertaining in itself to listen to, although I’ve heard of people who find it very annoying.

Though good, Showbiz is far from being the most interesting Muse album. What interest it does hold only lasts for a short while. There are a few stellar tracks – “Sunburn,” “Muscle Museum,” “Cave,” and “Showbiz” come to mind – the last more for its extreme passion, intensity, and lack of control than anything else, which is guaranteed to get your heart pumping.

But Muse at this time is a band of great potential, still finding their voice and niche. They eventually found that it in Origin of Symmetry. But in Showbiz, you can catch shadows of the greatness to come. On the better tracks, you’ll be rocking as hard as you would to either “Citizen Erased,” “Micro Cuts,” or “Stockholm Syndrome.”

Well, almost as hard. Showbiz is a debut, after all, and it’s rare for a band to knock it out of the park on the first try. Or if they do knock it out of the park, they end up striking out every other time. But for a debut, Showbiz is great, hinting that the best was yet to come.

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Muse – Origin of Symmetry

Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Origin of Symmetry (2001)

Origin of Symmetry (2001)

Just to start, “Origin of Symmetry” is a really cool name for an album.

This is Muse at their most racauous and space rocky prime. Way back in the day I was really obsessed with Muse I listened to this album all the time, and listening to it today I still catch the feeling of older times, where everything seemed a lot more simple… sigh.

Anyway, since I can’t go back, I can still always pick a song off this album and go back in my mind. Not saying I do that often, just when the mood strikes.

Muse are one of the best bands out there that can rock really hard but be very catchy. Origin of Symmetry is Muse at their best. The sound here is a little rougher than anything else they’ve done, but that’s what makes Origin of Symmetry so great to me. The first seven tracks up to “Micro Cuts” is an absoulte rollercoaster. “New Born,” “Bliss,” “Space Dementia,” “Hyper Music,” Plug-In Baby,” “Citizen Erased,” (woot!), and finally “Micro Cuts.”

From there, admittedly, the album goes a bit downhill, but the songs are still good, “Megalomania” probably topping the second half as the best.

This album plays to Muse’s greatest strengths: Matthew Bellamy’s jaw-dropping falsetto on “Micro Cuts,” the sheer epicness of “Citizen Erased,” the pop masterpiece that is “Plug in Baby,” the higly experiemental, Rachominoff-inspred “Space Dementia,” this album is just “wow” all the way through.

I’m sort of sad about Muse in a way. I listened to them way too much (overdosed, if you will), and now they are not as interesting and fun as they used to be to me. Same goes for Radiohead and Explosions in the Sky, along with some other bands I’m sure.

Origin of Symmetry is an important album to me. Lots of good memories are tied into its notes.

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Muse – Absolution

Sunday, February 8, 2009
Absolution (2003)

Absolution (2003)

Bombastic. Over-the-top. Loud. Edgy. Blaring. Glorious.

These are a few words which describe Muse’s Absolution.

Freshman year in college, one of my friends started harping about Muse. “Muse is so amazing, I’ve seen Muse live three times, Muse is the meaning of life.”

To which I responded, “Whose this Muse you speak of?”

I was then told my life was meaningless unless I got Absolution. ASAP.

So, feeling like a noob for not knowing who this most glorious Muse was whilst feeling I had been living under a musical rock all my life, I went down to trusty old Hastings and made the required purchuse.

Absolution, along with OK Computer, grew to be one of the albums that defined my music taste my freshman year. Since then, I’ve probably listened to this album more times than is healthy.

Looking back, I would never say Muse is the greatest band on the face of the earth (although I’m sure many would say that). They certainly deserve the title more than Coldplay.

But at the time, it didn’t matter whether or not it was true. What mattered was I thought Muse was the greatest band on the face of the earth. Just based on track five, “Stockholm Syndrome,” I was more than prepared to make that claim. The combination of classical chord progressions and alternative music was completely unknown to me. I know no other band that does this as effectively as Muse.

Muse was one of the bands that inspired me to pick up the guitar.  I’ve learned most of the acoustic songs they play. From this particular album, “Sing for Absolution” and “Falling Away With You,” the latter perhaps being one of the most hauntingly beautiful things I’ve ever heard.

I love Muse because of the incredibly fun and powerful music they create. I dream of seeing them live. They are also close to me because so many of my friends enjoy them as well. A couple of my friends have literally told me they could never repay me for introducing them to Muse. Seriously.

So, I guess this is what I’m doing for you now, dear reader. If you haven’t heard Muse yet, or have ignored all the hype, then I suggest you start with Absolution and work your way down to Origin of Symmetry, their two best albums. Black Holes and Revelations might give you a bad first impression.

Just beware – if you hear this album, you’re likely to go through a “Muse phase” which can take up to six months of your life.

Highlights of Absolution are  “Apocalypse Please,” “Time is Running Out,” “Stockholm Syndrome,” “Falling Away With You,” and “Hysteria.” The other songs are good, too.

I posted a video below of “Stockholm Syndrome,” which happens to be my favorite Muse video and goes to show why I want to see them live so badly.