Muse


My wife is a Twilight fan. She’s read all four books in the series several times each, and she’s watched the first two movies countless times each. Note that she’s not one of those nutty Twimoms that scream like a 15-year-old girl when Jacob takes his shirt off – she just likes the story. Or so she tells me.

Anyway, part of her nuttiness obsession interest in the series is the soundtracks. She has the soundtracks for each of the two movies as well as the score (i.e. background music) for the first. She plays these CDs frequently in the car when taking the boys places, so they are now very familiar with them as well (I must say, hearing a 7-year-old ask us to play Death Cab For Cutie or Linkin Park is very cool). One of the songs that immediately hooked them is Supermassive Black Hole by a band I’d never heard of called Muse. (Stephenie Meyer is apparently a big Muse fan – there’s a Muse song on the New Moon soundtrack as well.) If you’ve seen the first movie, this is the song that plays during the baseball scene. As an aside, they really should have worked on Alice’s pitching style – she throws like a girl vampire. Anyway, I liked the song as well, and soon picked up Muse’s 2006 album Black Holes and Revelations.

My first thought was that they were similar to U2, though heavier. It turns out that they toured with U2 last year, so I guess I wasn’t far off. But as I listened more, I realized that some songs were nothing like U2 at all. “Invincible” has a Tom Morello-like guitar solo, though it turns out that’s not that unusual for Muse. Not on every single freaking song like Rage or Audioslave, but guitarist-singer-songwriter-chief-cook-and-bottle-washer Matthew Bellamy does some pretty funky stuff with the guitar here and there. “Map of the Problematique” keeps sticking in my mind, though not like an earworm, just because it’s a very cool song. “Knights of Cydonia” is more prog-rock, and there’s almost an “epic” feel to it.

I got to really like this album, so in mid-January, I picked up a couple more: Origins of Symmetry from 2001, and last year’s The Resistance. These guys are all over the map – you could call them “alternative”, though heavier at times than a lot of alternative bands. You could also put them in the “progressive” category, but some songs are more guitar-driven rock than many progressive bands.They have quiet sections with just piano and vocals, and others where Bellamy is screaming over his own guitar. On the other hand, if you had told me that “United States of Eurasia” was an recently discovered Queen track from the late 70’s, I don’t think I’d even question it.

Muse is one of those bands (like CCR, Big Wreck) where one guy is the driving force behind everything – Bellamy sings lead vocals, plays (excellent) guitar and keyboards, and writes all the songs. This is not to say that the other guys aren’t contributors – they are both excellent musicians as well, though the bass is a little more hidden on Black Holes and Revelations than on the other albums. Bellamy has an interesting and sometimes powerful voice (check out “Micro Cuts” on Origin of Symmetry) with a pretty wide range, and he certainly loves his falsetto.

I would never have heard of this band or had a chance to enjoy their music if they weren’t on the Twilight soundtrack. I guess the moral of this story is that if you are a band that has a chance to get your song on a movie soundtrack, do it.

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