Thursday Thive: Muse

Posted on January 16, 2014


A good band; once.

A good band; once.

Some of the younger among us may find this quite hard to believe, but once upon a time Muse were a genuinely great band. Now, yes, I’ll admit, the last few years have been terrible bordering on the hilarious, but the good times are still in the memory, all be it as faint as the stars in a London sky. The first three albums all had as many high points as low points, and very often the high point would be astronomically high. Let’s thive it.

5; ‘Take A Bow’
The first track off album four ‘Black Holes and Revelations’, this hinted at something special to come. The album previous, ‘Absolution’, was absolutely cracking, and big things were expected. All this despite how ridiculous ‘Supermassive Black Hole’, the lead single, was. And by ridiculous, I mean shit. ‘Black Holes and Revelations’ opened with ‘Take A Bow’, and holy moly things seemed great. The tensest of build ups, a typically proggy part, a baffling spazz out and then boom, we’re in. ‘Take A Bow’ is as good a start to an album as you can get. It’s just a shame it’s followed by an hour or so of total bullshit.

4: ‘Citizen Erased’
They used to legitimately riff as well. The opening of ‘Citizen Erased’ is quite possibly the best example of this. It isn’t ridiculous, it isn’t bombastic, it isn’t over-the-top in any way. It is a massive riff, followed by a massive chorus, followed by some tension before the whole thing eventually returns to it’s riff to collapse. It’s simple and of course it works.

3: ‘Micro Cuts’
By the time the second album ‘Origin of Symmetry’ came around, ‘Micro Cuts’ was considered the strange OTT song. Sure, listening back it sticks out a little, but compared to their modern guff it’s positively bog standard. This really is a song of two halves. Two very good halves, yes, but a first half that is infinitely better when you know what is coming in the second half. Yes, a riff. All the falsetto is all good and well, but ‘Micro Cuts’ is a song that exists for it’s riff. This is no bad thing of course, as most good songs exist for their riff. I’m only half joking.

2: ‘Dead Star’
Right from the off, right from the freakin’ off. Everything about this song is wonderful. Of course, it starts with the chunkiest of chunky Muse riffs. The verses are compelling, and we’re all on a little train moving towards what is quite blatantly going to be a massive chorus. Chorus station is approached and any doubts that were in the backs of minds are put to rest. Massive. Supermassive even. ‘Dead Star’ was a stop-gap single of sorts, a double-A side with ‘In Your World’, and maybe that’s for the best. It didn’t have to sit with 50 minutes of hit and miss, it could just sit alone, drifting through musical space like an independent bear. The only type of bear. Oh, and did I mention the riff? I mentioned the riff? That riff. (Extra kudos for Matt Bellamy’s tracksuit attire in the video.)

1: ‘Stockholm Syndrome’
If this isn’t your favourite Muse song, you’re doing it wrong. Okay, I can accept it not being your favourite, but there is little denying that it’s the best. I’ll save my guffing about the riff until the end, worry not. The verses sound all the world like a herd of wildebeest moving swiftly downhill. That’s what it reminds me of actually. The stampede scene in the Lion King would have been way more terrifying if it had been soundtracked by this song. When the chorus kicks in you can go all slow-motion, dramatic scenes between Simba, Scar and Mufasa before the whole thing heads back into the real world of stampeding wildebeest and chaos and HOLY SHIT MY UNCLE JUST KILLED MY DAD. In future, I’ll stick to talking about the riffs.

If all else fails, half time ending. And if you’re going to have one, make sure it’s the size of a wildebeest stampede, as in this song.


Posted in: Music, Thursday Thive