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Best Muse Album For Ages


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Muse had the potential to claim a stake as Kings of counterculture when they first burst onto the scene on 1999. Their observations on alienation within a capitalist society for imaginative people who wanted more than pushing paper around an office were profound and inspiring.

 

But from their fourth album onwards, they lost sight of their target audience, replacing emotive honesty with pretension. They started targeting a wider audience, losing sight of the concept that their original audience were the only ones with the intelligence to understand their lyrical content.

 

New album is class, though. Please claim your place on the throne of counter culture, I implore you lol. If you need reminded of one thing, mighty Muse, it's that historically resistance has always come from below (and yes, I've studied that concept). Next time a record industry exec asks you guys to write a pop ballad, think who you might alienate yourselves from.

 

Most of all though, have fun. Methinks you guys deserve it...

 

Candid contemplation simmers the clouds,  
Its bounty drips, to furrow thirsty ground,
Sowing golden kernels—ready the plough,
To nourish the starved, insatiable crowds,
Crafting a garden, so fruitful and free,
A verdant landscape, with fables to see,
So bountiful, those magnificent seeds,
Then they hack at the heartwood, commercially,
They spoil the flock, eradicate the trees,
And cast contaminants into the breeze,
Corporations ordained this foul disease,
For free expression is prohibited,
Littering a barren waste with the works,

Of dreary, doomed, and irrelevant clerks.

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To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Muse’s music. The lyrics are extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of theoretical physics most of the themes will go over a typical listener’s head. There's also Matt's nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into his lyricism- his personal philosophy draws heavily from George Orwell literature, for instance. The early fans understand this stuff; they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depths of these songs, to realise that they're not just catchy- they say something deep about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike Muse truly ARE idiots- of course they wouldn't appreciate, for instance, the humour in Matt's existential catchphrase "We are fucking fucked," which itself is a cryptic reference to Turgenev's Russian epic Fathers and Sons. I'm smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion as Matt Bellamy's genius wit unfolds itself on their CD players. What fools.. how I pity them. 😂

 

And yes, by the way, i DO have a Muse tattoo. And no, you cannot see it. It's for the ladies' eyes only- and even then they have to demonstrate that they're within 5 IQ points of my own (preferably lower) beforehand. Nothin personnel kid 😎

/s

Edited by Timbo59
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Is it so hard to accept that Muse just make the music they want to, and they don't always want to make the kind of stuff they made on the early albums?  I imagine if most rock bands discovered they had the ability to write killer stadium anthems and massive power ballads and tour those to play for millions of people around the world, they'd probably go for it.  The opportunity may not strike again, and that experience sounds like it's worth having, plus the music is fun to play and to listen to.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My central point needs a bit of elaboration methinks.

Muse's early albums really helped me out, in that I went through a stage of drug addled buffonary that didn't end well. In effect, I dumbed myself down, because I was scared (amongst my working class peers) of letting my abilities shine. For good reason, there's only one person from amongst that crowd I speak to now.

Music is a vast support network, anything felt by anyone, at any point in history, is echoed by musicians, in some recording, somewhere. We all feel the same breadth of passions, so music is a unifying force.

I wasn't talking about intelligence in  standardised measurements. I suspect Matt's intellect is something kinda new, in terms of raw processing. Why I think that, I'll leave to another day. It's really none of my business, anyway.

Going back to that central point, the impact the early Muse albums had on me was to spark a sequence of events which led to the realisation that I am a bit different from your ordinary, run-of-the-mill Joe Bloggs, and that trying to become such a person was a) an impossibility and b) a waste.

I'm also not quite arrogant enough to think I can be alone, and not stupid enough to believe I was born this way. I was socialised into suppressing elements of myself that are definitely my finest features.

If Muse's early works appealed to me, there must be others out there who feel the same. Part of that process is just rejecting what run-of-the-mill Joe Bloggs thinks, and doing your own thing, trusting your instincts. In my case, my instincts were damned furious that they were being ignored, and I can't begin to describe the catastrophe of my late teens.

So... if Muse's first albums had the power to help me shed the shackles of socialisation, there may be others their music might reach. I'm working off the assumption that such folk would already be so disenfranchised with the Establishment that they'll hate corporate rock. I certainly do.

Reckon I'll round this post off with another poem. It's not perfect yet, but it never made the cut for the novel I've nearly finished, and I like to share.

 

Judgement
Those flowers fashioned such generous blooms,
Salving my yearning with every caress,
A verdant warren, an eternal tomb,
A plentiful dungeon, with no egress.  
 
The sheer, fecund abundance starved my needs,
And bleakness gathered, to drip as a tear,
Swamping sturdy roots, smashing them like reeds,
That bleakness grew, to unbearable fear.
 
A lonely fruit rested, lost, neglected,  
As if cast from a clumsy giant’s grasp,  
For those red apples never plummeted,
In any tempest which thundered on past.
 
I took my ease, underneath twilight’s shade,
And admired the apple, then made my choice,
And crunched that morsel, an ambrosial taste,
I suddenly heard a sonorous voice:
 
‘Each winter is melted by touch of spring,
Refute that you cannot, and your dismay,
To burst your shackles, of your virtues sing,
Reveal the path, think on hope this day.’
 
I suffocated, left bereft of breath,
The speaker rumbled in resonant tides,  
That drew me downwards to visions of death,
And I wept from my disbelieving eyes.
 
Showering the juicy remnants, which fell,
From shocked fingers, that opened, spasming wide,
The wind panted on me a striking spell,
As if poison seeped from the fruit inside.
 
I filled with wonder, no longer hollow,  
I stomped the core, a depleted token,
The path was revealed, with answers to follow,
Trudging, till my feet were tattered, broken.
 
When, akin to an angel appearing,  
The moon alit to blaze along a horn,
I hushed, halting in a hallowed clearing,
It was the spiral of a unicorn.
 
I flung up from my knees, where I had dropped,
And ran in fervent, swift intensity,
The bridle snaked, around my hands it locked,
While the animal reared, so bestially.  
 
I was smashed by a hoof, a fearsome stroke,
That ripped all fragments of thought from my mind,
Through darkness I swam, until I awoke,
I drowned, abandoned and alone in time.
 
When I came to, the pain was astounding,
I caught a glimpse through the leaves of polished,
Gleaming flanks, snorting, could hear her pounding,
She galloped away; a dream demolished.
 
Away, in the distance, a vast mountain,
Bubbled, boiled, unleashed fury at heaven,
Expelled ash, an enveloping fountain,
Searing vapours streaked nearer each second.
 
When the unicorn whickered in the rain,
And touched me gently, licked my brow and neck,
A mantle of stars glittered on her mane,  
I knew her to be the goal of this quest.
 
Inviting my hands onto her sparkling flanks
Up I climbed, gently stroking, holding her tight
Urgent heart thumping a landslide
Though her pace was smooth
 
It was the brimming sensation
From somewhere inside
Of balancing atop
A magical ride
 
Smiling
Knowing
that where I was going
just
 
did not really matter
that was the power of the unicorn.

 

 

 

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I'm not sure what you're seeing in Muse's first albums thematically that is countercultural. It's their later albums that are explicitly communicating an anti-establishment message. 

Showbiz is partly teenage musings about topics like love, enjoying alcohol and Matt's parents' divorce and mostly a big middle finger to the small town-sentiment that they would never make it as rock stars. They've always been quite open about their ambitions to become big and famous, which is why they never sold out, becoming huge was part of the plan. 

Origin of Symmetry and Absolution are, in my opinion, indeed their best work. If you ask me, the quality of those albums doesn't really stem from a countercultural sense or ambition, but rather from the "we don't give a fuck what anyone thinks" attitude to songwriting that many emerging artists have that allows complete creative freedom. That, and the help of some magic mushrooms and youthful naiveté. 

Musically and most definitely lyrically things started going downhill when they started to become explicit (and simultaneously vague) with their anti-establishment messages, and when Matt started droning on in my ears because he wanted to tell me something, rather than because he found some words to fit the song they wrote. 

So while I think we're on the same page when it comes to our experience of which Muse albums speak to us, I think your designation of the band as potential Kings of Countercultural who lost their way is more projection than anything to do with the band's actual development. 

I also wrote a poem. It's one of those short Japanese ones. What are they called again?

I greet Scottish beasts
Hello Sheep. Good morning grouse
Hey otter. Hi coo

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Hello.

Nice Haiku. My interpretation of Showbiz fits your own. I invite you to consider the missing question mark in Origin of Symmetry though, as in what is the Origin of Symmetry?

I'll answer my own question, cos that's what peeps do. Give to yourself, to receive to yourself.

Taking Bliss as the starting point, reverse the perspective the narrative is told from. Matt ain't sucking joy from others, they're sucking joy from him.

The whole album is a description of what it feels like, from the perspective of someone who is just plain smarter than the people around him/ her, to tacitly give up on their dreams, by their surrounding peers and loved ones. Who are all indoctrinated by capitalist structures.

It's the only album I've ever heard which articulates the fury of the repressed artist accurately.

Absolution invites the listener to make war on those individuals who repress artistic longing. By singing for absolution. It's a call to arms. 

I agree, both stand head and shoulders above their later efforts. As to the Kings of counterculture, I believe that throne will shortly become very important indeed, and Muse are the only ones I can think of to fit the bill (although the Heartless Bastards are pretty sweet.)

The only time (barring Gandhi) that the forces of Conservatism were pushed back was in the 60s, which was the only time when the counterculture really was a force. No mere happenstance, though common historical dialogue doesn't make that link (wonder why?)

If Muse are serious about positive social change, they need to stop wasting their time with teeny boppers, and focus on unifying the disparate elements which make up the dispossessed, and the lonely, amongst which the fiercely intelligent reside.

Also, as middle class people won't feel the pinch of Capitalism quite so hard, targetting that demographic is a waste of time. Again, resistance always, historically speaking, comes from below.

I still like sharing, so I leave you with this...


I stumble through toxic roots, rotten shoots,
Sunlight shall not shine on curious fruit,
Those contorted trees, twisted travesties, 

Sow only disaster and apathy.

Beware the oozing spines amongst the vines,
Ferocious boars and squealing, angry swine,
Sidling spiders and pouncing, fierce tigers,
Forever stalking the careless outsider.

Those pandering parrots, furtive ferrets,

And malcontent monkeys hold no merit,

Their impolitic ploys destroy my joy,

A tempest, a deluge, I  drown in their noise.

Edited by paranoiawilldestroy
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