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Muse - Origin of Symmetry (2001)
"Origin of Symmetry" is the 2nd studio album by British rock band, Muse. It was released in 2001 on Taste Records and produced by the band with Dave Bottrill & John Leckie. The line-up for the album was Matthew Bellamy (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Christopher Wolstenholme (bass) and Dominic Howard (drums).
Muse was onto a winner when the band released its debut album, "Showbiz", in 1999, and in all fairness, the trio haven't looked back since. Two years later comes "Origin of Symmetry", which is, by all accounts, heavier in most places than its predecessor. It reached No.3 in the UK album charts when it was released and has since been certified Platinum. The title for the album comes courtesy of Michu Kaku, the American physicist, and his book, "Hyperspace". Is it any good? Let's find out!
The song comes in with a softly played almost duet-sounding part between piano and keyboard before Bellamy's vocals come in. It's on this song which would make you sit back and think, "how does this band continue to challenge my ears as far as a melody goes?" because it's simply quite stunning. Bellamy is hitting almost every range he can, vocally, for the first 90 seconds or so until some heavy distortion from the guitars brings the song into the mainstream. What's clear about this song more than most on the previous album is that the bass has a more prominent role and is quite audible throughout with some great riffs. Matthew Bellamy said: "It's about a semi-fear of the evolution of technology, and how in reality it's destroying all humanity. My fear is that we can't control it because it's moving faster than we are, so the songs setting myself in a location in the future where the body is no longer important and everyone's plugged into a network. The opening line is 'link it to the world', so it's connecting yourself on a worldwide scale and being born into another reality."
"Destroy the spineless
Show me it's real
Wasting our last chance
To come away
Just break the silence
'Cause I'm drifting away
Away from you"
The song begins with a small piano melody which is joined in by keyboards before the bulk of the track launches into what has become a live favourite of fans. It is a punchy number that has spatial keyboard playing during the majority of the verses but it has much more going for it than just keys, as the acoustic and electric guitars energetically blend with great precision and Bellamy's vocals are hitting the right notes as usual. Matt Bellamy noted: "This is probably the most positive track, the most truly embracing song. It's almost in awe of the situation I've been given, because it's a state of mind were you give out everything you have without any need for return. It's also a song aimed towards some-one's youth, someone who hasn't been exposed to stuff yet."
"Everything about you pains my envying
Your soul can't hate anything
Everything about you is so easy to love
They're watching you from above"
This song has some intricate piano lines throughout which curl around Bellamy's vocals with surprising ease. There is, as you would expect, a space theme to the keyboards, and the song is quite bass-heavy. It is one of the longest songs on the album but that does not stop it being one of utter joy to listen to as the sound effects clearly work, though the bridge does bring a quirky time change. All that is forgotten, though, as the last minute of the track boasts some solid power chords with even more space noise. Matthew Bellamy commented about the song: "Space Dementia is the term NASA Used for what happens if you're left out in space for a long time, because if you truly conceptualise the situation of being there and looking back at Earth, it can drive you mad, The song's about a person who's quite important in my life and who gives me space dementia when I look at them. It's about being intensely engrossed so that you become obsessive and almost nasty."
"You make me sick
Because I adore you so
I love all the dirty tricks
And twisted games you play
From one of the longest tracks on the album to the shortest, and "Hyper Music" is also a completely different change in musical style. It is an out-and-out rock number that dishes out some wonderfully distorted power chords, but that should not stop you from liking it. If anything, the noisy guitar riff sound may have worked better if it had been throughout the song instead of just the intro and chorus. Matt Bellamy said: "This one really rocks out. It's really full-on but the lyrics are just plain negative, just pure anger and disregard for affection. It's actually linked to a book I read called "Hyper Space", which is about how all the laws of nature and physics combine in the 10th Dimension in pure mathematics to form one main theme."
"You wanted more than I was worth
And you think I was scared
And you needed proof
Who really cares anymore?
Plug in Baby
Surely one of Muse's most famous songs, "Plug in Baby" continues in the up-beat rockiness of the previous track with a great riff that is hugely memorable, and Bellamy's voice in the chorus eclipses anything the band has previously done. The song has a great bass line, helped along by a simple indie-style drum beat that will instantly get the listener on its side. Matthew Bellamy said: "This is about the path evolution can take. There's the good side and the bad side; abandoning all individuality, becoming a collective whole via cables, and genetically engineering bodies that can exist out in space, or the loss of individualism."
"My plug in baby
Crucifies my enemies
When I'm tired of giving
My plug in baby
In unbroken virgin realities
I'm tired of living"
Here is a song that screams to the ears and bellows out that it is here and there is nothing you can (or will) do anything about it. It is a by-the-numbers song to the untrained ear but it actually has a lot going for it, as there are heavy parts intertwined with quieter, more meaningful moments, with a pretty good guitar solo for added effect. Matthew Bellamy noted: "It's an expression of what it feels like to be questioned. I spend more time than most people being asked about purpose, and it's a strange feeling. I don't really have the answers and I have to respond on the knowledge I have obtained so far, but the problem is that it gets printed, and something else has come along that's made you completely disagree with what you said."
"Self expressed, exhausting for all
To see and to be
What you want and what you need
The truth's unwinding
Scraping away at my mind
Please stop asking me to describe"
The harmony of the song is a clear winner as Bellamy's falsetto tones are on display, but they appear to be a little too complex at times and often hard to understand the lyrics. What is clear, however, is that he does possess an incredible set of pipes. The bass line keeps the rhythm of the track on course, and the chorus is of fist-pumping proportions with some meaty guitar riffs. The outro of the track is quite incredible with a great time change and some pretty heavy drumming. Matt Bellamy commented: "This stems from hallucinations I had of triangular blades cutting into the back of my head. It's a feeling that information is being infiltrated into your brain. I'd seen a TV programme about psychological warfare and how the government could be controlling us using a type of radiation, sending pulses to our brains. So micro cuts are cuts into your being that you can't see or avoid."
"Hands are red with your blame
Megaphone screaming my name
Whimpers someone I should've loved
Souls weeping above"
A strange record here, and in complete contrast to the previous track, it is mellow and laid back. It is a song that is not that well-received by die-hard Muse fans but every band has a song that a lot of fans don't like. Take this song off the album and you have a masterpiece - one of those perfect albums - but leaving it on drags it down a notch or two, and Muse just sounds too much like Radiohead here. Bellamy said: "This deals with a modern teenager being brought up by the screen who develops a distorted image of their body because of pictures in magazines and because technology is rejecting the physical bodies we live in. It's also a bit about people who cut themselves because I used to have friends who did it and I didn't know why. I tried to grasp that it's needing something quite brutal to remind you what your body's about."
"Hide from the mirror, the cracks and the memories
Hide from your family, they won't know you now
For all the holes in our soul host no thrills"
This is one of those songs that starts out slow and only gets going when the chorus kicks in, and even then it is strange time changes that seem to throw it off-kilter. The winning formula is recreated pre-chorus, however, as the piano keys are forcibly struck alongside the bass giving it that double effect. The track strangely sounds psychedelic and not unlike Gong, the space rock band mostly popular with the acid revolution and the 1970s. Matt Bellamy noted: "It's just about some hot girl, a chance meeting someone who you have a connection with. There's something a little bit dark about her, and it's asking why we're so desperately attracted to something of a dark nature."
"Hold your hands up to your eyes again
Hide from the scary scenes, suppress your fears
So be mine and your innocence I will consume"
Muse's take on a Nina Simone song was voted in 2010 by NME readers as the greatest cover song of all time, beating the likes of The Beatles with their rendition of "Twist & Shout", Jimi Hendrix with "Hey Joe" and The Clash's "I Fought the Law" to the number one spot. It is a rockier, punchier version with some distorted guitars and bass-heavy keyboards that don't fail to impress. Matthew Bellamy said of the song: "The music is very dark and moody but as plain text the lyrics are just a cheesy, happy poem, just so amazingly positive, and it can make you feel like there's really something worth fighting for. It is depressing but it's almost like humanity singing about how good things could be."
"It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
And I'm feeling good"
The closing track on the album builds up slowly and ever so surely turns into something else, becoming an absolute monster, making full use of an actual church organ. The track doesn't exactly set the world alight with its heaviness, but it does have an air of brilliance about it which does not go away easily. Matt Bellamy said: "This is directed at what would be God, asking why we should go forth and multiply? What's the point?"
"Useless device, it won't suffice
I want a new game to play
When I am gone
It won't be long, before I disturb you in the dark"
Muse has hit the proverbial nail on the head once more with their epic rock numbers, infused with Bellamy's stunning vocals, power chords and piano work, as well as the timely drumming of Dominic Howard and the often wonderfully heavy bass lines from Christopher Wolstenholme. The album was a huge success and well-received in Europe, but did not fare that well in the United States. It set the standard for most alternative rock bands out there to follow in a music world where a lot of stuff has been rehashed.
1. New Born
3. Space Dementia
4. Hyper Music
5. Plug in Baby
6. Citizen Erased
7. Micro Cuts
10. Feeling Good
My rating: 8/10
As I stated in my review of Showbiz, Muse are my absolute favourite band of all time. This is their second album, Origin of Symmetry. I was lucky enough to get hold of a day ticket to Reading Festival this year, and was able to watch Muse headlining. During their set, they performed this album in its entirety to mark its ten-year anniversary (it was released in 2001) which was a fantastic experience. The stage, too, was designed around the album cover, with an orange curtain covering the stage during the intro to New Born and several sculptures shaped like pylons/futuristic cacti dotted around, like the ones on the cover.
Muse is made up of Matt Bellamy on lead vocals, guitars and piano (he also wrote all the songs on this album except for Feeling Good), Chris Wolstenholme on bass, and Dominic Howard on drums. This album was greeted with more success than their debut, reaching number 3 in the charts and being certified platinum. It sounds a bit different from Showbiz: their sound is rockier, more futuristic and just 'bigger'. The band experimented with different instruments and sounds, notably on Megalomania on which Matt Bellamy played a church pipe organ. The album is largely driven by the bass guitar, with the standard guitar adding to the tracks rather than providing the main melody.
Opening track New Born sets the tone for the album - it is often used to open gigs. It is followed by Bliss, another of my favourite tracks. Like Sunburn from Showbiz, Bliss has a distinctive piano melody and compelling lyrics: "I want the peace and joy in your mind".
My absolute favourite song from the album is Plug In Baby. Even if you think you haven't heard this song, you probably have - the guitar riff is unmistakeable. Muse often close concerts with this song (except for Reading when they played it as part of this album set in track order) and it's a fantastic finale that always gets the crowd jumping.
Another track I love is Hyper Music, a mad and incredibly catchy song with its refrain of "You know that I don't love you, and I never did". Yet another highlight is the band's cover of Feeling Good. Space Dementia has a futuristic rock sound and Screenager has a slight Eastern influence.
1. New Born
3. Space Dementia
4. Hyper Music
5. Plug In Baby
6. Citizen Erased
7. Micro Cuts
10. Feeling Good
The album as a whole is full of fantastic rock songs and it's a step up from Showbiz. As a whole album I probably prefer that one, but the standout tracks on Origin of Symmetry are second to none. Five stars from me.
After listening to Muse's fourth album, Black Holes and Revelations, I decided to get Origin of Symmetry, the band's second album. It is a departure from the indie sound from their first album, Showbiz, and insteads features loud and heavy guitar riffs, along with some catchy solos and unusual lyrics. It was a risky move for Muse to change their style like this, so would it work? Yes, it did, and is arguably better than Showbiz.
Before I go onto the album, I'll tell you a bit about the band. Muse consists of:
Matt Bellamy - lead vocals, guitar, piano
Chris Wolstenholme - bass, backing vocals
Dom Howard - drums, percussion
The band formed in the early 90's, when Bellamy auditioned as a guitarist for Howard's band. He succeeded in becoming part of the band. Afterwards, they asked drummer Wolstenholme to take up bass for the band and he agreed.
Their first band name was quite depressing - Gothic Plague. They changed their name to Fixed Penalty and changed it again for the second time to Rocket Baby Dolls. With this name, they won a local competition. Afterwards, they quit their jobs and changed their name to Muse.
In 1999, they released Showbiz. It was criticised for sounding too similar to Radiohead. However, the album did gain many positive reviews. They went on to release Origin of Symmetry in 2001. Afterwards, they released Absolution, then their fourth and fifth albums.
Just before I go onto the main review, I just thought I'd mention what makes Origin so different from other rock albums. There's strange lyrics, yes, but there's one thing that makes this unique. It's the way that Muse play the album. Normally in rock music, the guitar is the main focus, but here the bass is, really. The guitar is basically just an extra layer on top of the bass. It may make you a little bit sceptic about the album, but this has a great effect and works really well.
NEW BORN - 6 : 03
This is a fantastic start to the album. It starts with Bellamy's quiet and slow vocals, followed by a very fast and hard guitar riff. The bass then comes in and the vocals return. The vocals are a bit weird, but somehow they fit the song perfectly. You soon hear the very memorable chorus and an unique solo. The song ends with a quiet, strange sounding noise. This is easily one of the best tracks on the album. 10 / 10
BLISS - 4 : 12
Bliss somehow manages to maintain the standard that New Born kicked off the album with. It starts with a catchy keyboard, with a loud guitar coming in afterwards. The song has a disco-ey feel to it. Bellamy's lyrics are quiet casual and aren't very clear, but in a good way somewhat. The chorus is a bit louder. It ends with the keyboard fading out. Although very different to New Born, Bliss is just as good. Can the next track maintain the same standard? 9 / 10
SPACE DEMENTIA - 6 : 20
Space Dementia is another song that sounds different to the previous tracks. It starts off with a slow piano tune and soon becomes more loud and in some way aggressive. Bellamy's vocals soon come in and are extremely weird. Here is an example: 'You make me sick, because I adore you so'. That's what you should expect from Bellamy! The chorus is fairly quiet and the lyrics are about space. The last minute or two features a complicated piano tune. Overall, a brilliant song. 9 / 10
HYPER MUSIC - 3 : 21
Hmm, what to say about Hyper Music...well, it's hyper, really! Far more fast paced than the previous three tracks, the vocals are loud and the guitar is speedy. The lyrics are all about space, like normal with most Muse songs. It doesn't maintain the standard of the first three tracks, but it would have been hard for Muse to have. However, it's still a good song. 7.5 / 10
PLUG IN BABY - 3 : 39
Arguably the best song in the album, and one of Muse's greatest songs. The opening guitar riff is extremely catchy and nearly all rock fans have heard it. The vocals at the start are fairly quiet but they soon pick up the pace and get much louder in the epic chorus. This song also features some very weird lyrics. For example: 'My plug in baby, crucifies my enemies, when I'm tired of giving, woah'. The song is absolutely amazing and you really need to hear it. 10 / 10
CITIZEN ERASED - 7 : 19
Citizen Erased - Muse's longest song to date. It starts off with an abrasive guitar sound with some vibrating bass afterwards. The vocals begin soon and while unusual, they seem to make sense. Bellamy uses his powerful high voice in the chorus. The song goes into a quick interlude, and straight after we hear another verse and chorus. The song ends quietly, with Bellamy's slow vocals. With Plug in Baby, this is one of Muse's best songs. 10 / 10
MICRO CUTS - 3 : 39
It's not a very well known Muse song, possibly because it isn't up to the standard of some of the other tracks on the album. It is still good though and features some unusual sounding vocals. It starts off with a medium-paced guitar and bass, and afterwards Bellamy sings with a falsetto voice. The chorus has a metal-style to it. The end is very fast-paced and loud. A good track. 8 / 10
SCREENAGER - 4 : 20
Arguably the worst song on the album as it doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the songs. It starts with a somewhat creepy spanish guitar tune with some percussion with it. Bellamy's vocals are soft and slow and it goes on like this for most of the song. The lyrics are all about self-harm and these can be quite intriguing. The last minute or so features a synth. Like I said, it just doesn't fit in with the rest of the album. 6 / 10
DARKSHINES - 4 : 46
This is a lot better than the previous track and the standard of the album is raised again. It starts with a guitar and the vocals arrive quite early in the song, with some percussion playing along to them. The chorus features some loud vocals from Bellamy along with clear drums and bass. The same happens again and the song changes towards the end, where it gets a bit more quiet. Then, we hear a fast guitar and another chorus to finish. A great song. 8 / 10
FEELING GOOD - 3 : 19
A cover of the song Feeling Good, originally written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. Muse have changed the song a lot, and in my opinion its much better than the original. It starts with more soft vocals from Bellamy and the chorus features a loud guitar. Bellamy uses a megaphone for the next part and then we hear another chorus before the song ends. An excellent song. 10 / 10
MEGALOMANIA - 4 : 38
This starts with a slow and quiet organ, with some percussion afterwards. Then, Bellamy starts singing and the lyrics aren't too weird here. We have a medium paced chorus after some singing and the second verse then comes in. The second verse features an organ to go with the singing. The next chorus is fairly epic and Bellamy shouts 'aahhhhh' until the end of the song. A very good end to the album. 8.5 / 10
Origin of Symmetry is far better than the already good Showbiz and the only Muse album that is just as good as Origin is the next one, Absolution. It's a brilliant disk and nearly every track on it is fantastic. With mad but brilliant lyrics, a unique sound and generally excellent music, it's an essential album especially if you like rock. You can get it for around £3.60 on Amazon, which is an excellent offer.
RELEASED : 17 July 2001
RECORDED IN : Several places, including Ridge Farm Studio in Surrey and Abbey Road Studios in London.
GENRES : Hard rock, new prog, alternative rock.
TOTAL LENGTH: 51 : 41
LABEL : Taste
I heard Muse's first album 'Showbiz' when I was around 14 - they appeared on Top of the Pops playing 'Muscle Museum' and immediately made me sit up and pay attention - they were like no band I had heard before. I bought the album on the strength of this, along with a school friend telling me they were great. Showbiz is a very good debut album, and I remember the massive feeling of anticipation about their follow-up...
So, on to Origin of Symmentry, the "difficult second album" which Muse make look incredibly easy. It's grand in scale, features some awesome riffs and is truly unique in its sound. The variety present on this album is one of its major strengths. The songs fit well together, but there's no danger of them blending into one, and very few could be considered 'filler' or background tracks.
Without wanting to analyse every track, here are some which really stand out:
The opener 'Newborn' aptly sets the stage, showing how much the band and their sound matured. It starts with a delicate piano, along with Matt Bellamy's soft falsetto voice, building and then exploding into a monster riff! This has become classic Muse.
The 2nd track, 'Bliss' is a lot more straightforward, and probably represents the band's first major forray into synthesised and more electronic tunes. This is now a regular feature on more recent albums, and works extremely well alongside Matt Bellamy's amazing guitar playing.
'Hyper Music' is a real foot-stomper, which you can shout along to, and is one of my favourites from the album. Again it shows the band's ability to take a great guitar riff, and back it up with real substance from the drums and bass.
The big single from the album was undoubtedly 'Plug in Baby', and this is probably the song that announced Muse to a much wider audience. It's not difficult to see why either - this is a modern rock classic with arguably the band's most famous guitar riff - Matt Bellamy at his very best.
'Citizen Erased' was one of my favourite tracks when the album was released, and in my opinion is one of the best that Muse have ever performed. It ranges from a very powerful and deep bassline, to a soft, melodic piano riff, and is just a mesmerising tune from start to finish.
Origin of Symmetry also features one of Muse's rare but inspired cover versions, the now exceptionally famous "Feeling Good". The band inject new power into the song, and really put their own stamp on it.
There are several other great tracks on the album, but the bottom line is this; Origin of Symmetry is the album where Muse graduated from a very good up-and-coming British rock band, to become potential superstars. We know now that this potential was fulfilled, and I would recommend any music fan who hasn't heard this album to go back and listen to it, and understand how Muse really started to take off into the stratosphere!
Origin of Synmetry (2001) is simply the best album Muse have ever made in terms of sheer number of quality songs. this is from a band nearing the peak of their creative powers and letting loose with breathtaking result. Every track has a different style and makes for an album which is multi-layered. The stand out tracks on the album are Plug in Baby, citizen Erased, Hyper Music, Micro Cuts, Feeling Good and New Born.
Every song being unique shows off the bands talents. Matthew Bellamys guitar and piano playing are quite inspirational and a joy to listen to. The bass and drums are underrated - most of the attention goes on the guitar as usual. Without them however you would not have quite the same album and it would not have the drive, energy and precision that they have.
Its an interesting thing listening to this album and then listening to Black Holes and Revelations and Resistance. You kind of realise that they aren't the band they used to be, which is sad when you realise they made music this good. a must have for any rock fan.
By far one of Muse's best works. Although this album does not contain my favourite track, it contains the closest style of music to it. Every song on the album features some kind of memorable guitar riff and it is for those that I like the band.
The masterpiece begins with New Born, with it's piano intro, (much like how showbiz began with a piano intro), leading into a massive guitar riff its an excellent song. Bliss follows on with it's awesome arpeggio intro and spacey feel. Space Dementia once again makes use of the piano, but is slower and darker than the first two songs.
Hyper music is another memorable song, with it's awesome bass riff throughout. Plug in Baby is my second favourite song on the album. It features a fast guitar riff and a simple but effective bass riff, that sticks in your head for ages.
Citizen erased is a long song, that features drop A tuning, for a dark feel. Micro Cuts is once again, a darker song, with Matt singing so high, that it is hard to interpret what he is singing! Screenager is perhaps the only song on the album that I would call slightly boring. Dark shines is another song that features piano and is a darker song as well.
The next song, Feeling Good, is an excellent cover of the famous song and is done really well by the band. Meglomania is a great finish to the album with some awesome organ playing in it. I would say that this is the band's best album and I believe that if you don't have it, you should buy it soon. This album would have been better if they had included the song Dead Star in it, but it is still good.
Muse were propelled to fame with the release of Origin of Symmetry, their second studio album and a stunning effort that, in many eyes, established them as the new Pink Floyd, a progressive rock band with a heart and soul that made sonically pleasing and thematically complex music.
It all begins with New Born, which was the first single from the album. Bellamy's vocals in particular are very haunting - it also has a lot of piano work for a while, and is quite a lengthy song (that was obviously chopped down for the radio). Soon enough it flies into heavy guitar work and is really fun to listen to.
Bliss is the next song and also the second single - I don't hold it in as high regard as most people - I think it's a bit silly and pretentious (particularly that bloody daft music video), but it's decent enough if a little more throwaway than the previous song and most of the songs on the album.
Plug-In Baby is probably the best and most well known track on the album - it starts off with an instantly recognisable guitar riff and goes from there into a brilliant, fast-paced tune with amazing bass and drum work, and of course, cracking vocals. It has incredibly strange lyrics and a music video that really doesn't help unravel the mystery at all.
There's also a cover of Nina Simone's Feeling Good on there, and this is one of the real treats of the album. I didn't expect it to be any good, but some might argue that it's better than the original - it really feels like a version for our time, at least, and I recall it being used on a Nescafe advert a few years ago.
This is an immensely well produced album that is chock-a-block with brilliant tracks. Even lesser known ones like Citizen Erased are extremely good, and there are no noticably weaker ones save perhaps for Bliss, although that seems to be just by my tastes, as most people I know love it!
For something with a bit more zest and life to it than your usual rock music, get this album and give it a few listens for something that's very unique and, best of all, brilliant.
Origin of symmetry is the second studio album of musical hitmakers MUSE! The Devon born artists recorded the album through a number of recording studios from tracking in abbey road studios (where previous music superstars the beatles had famously recorded of course!) to mastering the album in sonys mastering studio! The album was finally released in June 2001 on mushroom records.
The album did remain relatively close in style to their previous, and debut, album 'showbiz' unlike the bands most recently released album 'black holes and revelations' which has quite a unique new sound for the band.
The album quickly took off around the world and featured in the top 75 of Q magazines top 100 albums.
One of the tracks on the album in particular is the only cover to feature on one if their released albums, the track 'feeling good' originally recorded by Nina Simone, and has since won many awards!
1) New Born
Starts with a gentle piano melody accompanied with light vocals which then draws into a heavy distorted track of solid sound! Matt bellamy really shows his vocal ranges and guitar talent in this song!
A very sythesiser based song, playing an arpeggiated melody in the bacground throughout, simple layers in this track that work together to make a solid rock track which is amazing live but that's another story!
3) Space Dementia
This piano based track features strong influences of Rachmaninov a favourite composer of lead man Matt. Hard hitting piano lead with dreamy backings!
4) hyper music
A usual muse style rock track! Very melodic and a great example of muse creating a big sound with few parts!
5) plug in baby
Probably muses most known song ever! This song is played everywhere and still winning awards as best track! The riff is unmisible and recognized by all I'm sure!
6) citizen erased
Half way through the album, a track which really has two halves, a hard hitting guitar harmonic intro followed closely by the bass, the track flows through to a gentle piano ending leading nicely into the next track.
7) micro cuts
Probably my favourite track on the album! I had this on loop the first time I heard it! Starting with a dreamy guitar part with a very tight rhythm section where all parts play tightly dead on the straight beat to have your head rocking!
A very laid back track, lots of gentle layers for a soft listening! Easy listening!
9) dark shines
A very 'jiggy' groove feel to this track! Nothing too heavy going on but the rhythm will grab your attention! Lots of varied tones throughout to create a nicely balenced track.
10) feeling good
The bands cover of the classic song from artist Nina Simone, the band give it their own custom hard hitting sound! Won lots of cover awards and still is!
The final song of the album, lots of production background to this song, the organs were live organs recorded in a church and it really makes a difference to the feel of the song, a kind of chill from this song, a great finishing song!
This is a truely great album from a truely great band! Is available nice and cheap now so go get it!
Muse is an English rock band who formed in Devon. They went to university together and were originally a glam rock band. After playing at a battle of the bands they smashed up their instruments and they were named the winners it was then that they realised that they were actually good. They changed their name from Rocket Baby Dolls to Muse, quit their university and their jobs and moved away from Teignmouth. After being signed they debuted with their album Showbiz which was a great success and got rave reviews this is their second album.
(1) New Born, it starts off with a mesmerising piano part, Matt's vocals come in and compliment the piano greatly. The song then changes rapidly roaring into an awesome guitar riff, all the instruments are roaring at this stage. A great song, a fan favourite.
(2) Bliss, another fan favourite and definitely one of my favourite Muse songs. I love the spacey keyboard intro. Both keyboard riff repeats itself whilst Matt sings and plays guitar. The drums work great in this song.
(5) Plug in Baby; I must say that as a guitarist the main riff to this song is one of the best ever and really fun to play. This is a really great song to rock out to. The lyrics are great. When they play this live it always gets the crowd going.
(9) Dark Shines, I love the intro to this song, its hard not to snap your fingers to the beat. This is another song that starts quietly and then roars to life.
(10) Feeling Good, this is actually a cover of an old song by another artist. Muse definitely put their own stamp on it especially with the bridge part where Matt sings into a megaphone that distorts his voice. A great song and one of the best cover songs ever.
So that's my favourite songs off this album, all the other songs are great as well. This is seen to be Muse's best album by many people and I think that this is probably the case, it has great singles and all the songs work really well together.
So, this is the second studio album released from Muse, a trio originating in Devon. One of the few great British bands of this generation. I was drawn to listen to this album after hearing their 3rd album first, Absolution. Once again, Muse do not disappoint here.
The album begins with the single New Born, which starts off with a soft, melodic piano intro before kicking into the expected heavy guitar riffs and cymbal based drum patterns. Matt Bellamy's high pitched vocals during the chorus are a sound to be heard (Sorry, I wanted to say sight to see there but....well you know).
Bliss comes next and you will be thinking deja vu but no, it's another piano intro from the band, nce again kicking into their downtuned guitar riffs with synths layered behind the vocals. The chorus sounds almost identical to New Born and I think it's fair to say this song was probably written in the same day, or at least week as New Born. However, this isn't saying it's a bad song, just slightly repetitive after the last song.
Space Dementia, once again, begins with Bellamy playing the piano, but this time with a very different vibe. He plays slowly, sadly and then he drifts off, the piano comes again, this time more angrily. Eventually you hear the bass drum entering and the song bursts into life, crashing cymbals and vocals that drip with desperation and emotion. Lyrics that tell you why he is desperate and emotive. This is a standout track of the album, it epitomises what I think of Muse, great lyrics, beautifully written music and amazing vocal work.
Hyper Music is the first song on the album that feels it does not need to be introduced in the form of a piano, instead with some heavily outof tune, unamplified electric guitar. It works well as they comes into the song heavily. This song isn't my favourite on the album by any stretch of imagination, but it's a decent song. There's just nothing special in it for me, the lyrics aren't up to scratch like we are used to from Muse and the main guitar riff starts to wear on you after a while.
Plug In Baby is another single off the album, and it begins with one of the most recognisable modern guitar riffs in rock today and continues it throughout. I'm glad to anounce that the vocals and lyrics are back to their usual high standard for this song and the music isn't half bad either, with some complex drum patterns and that amazing guitar riff. Great song to get the album back on track.
Citizen Erased continues with the heavier sound that's been dominating since Space Dementia, with some ridiculously downtuned guitar, heavy crash cymbal use and Matt Bellamy using his angrier vocal style, which is evident by the way you can hear his sharp intake of breath between every line. The chorus to this song is one of the best on the album, absolutely amazing vocals with some great backup singing as well.
Micro Cuts takes us out of the heavy style of Muse for a while, starting with Bellamy's classic falsetto voice with background music that is very well written. You canfeel the pent up angst and anger building up within the song and when the chorus comes this is all released with a more aggressive falsetto and some much more aggressiv and heavy musical styles throughout the band. This is another of the great transitions between verses and chorus' that we have become accustomed to listening to Muse.
Screenager starts off rather slowly with some strange ambient effects before a quiet guitar blends in the ambient. Drums come in almost unnoticeably before Bellamy begins singing lyrics laced with dismay and disgust, "You're so phony and, always surrender". The chorus comes in and the synths we have heard occasionally throughout the album reappear to great affect, adding more layers to the song as Bellamy kicks his falsetto into use. This is another great song with brilliantly written lyrics and music, performed perfectly.
Darkshines starts with a much different feel than the last few songs, with the intro sounding almost Mediterranean. This is another of Muse's softer songs throughout the verses, but as soon as the chorus comes in the trio let it all out, bursting into aggressive guitar chords, complex, cymbal based drum patterns and that beautiful sounding screeching falsetto. The lyrics, as usual with Muse, are absolutely brilliant and this is another stand out track of the album.
We reach the penultimate song with Feeling Good, a song that is very unusually titled considering Muse's depressing and sombre lyrical themes. Obviously Bellamy was having a good day when writing this song, because the lyrics suggest he is very content. This is a song almost perfect for a summers day, brilliantly cheerful lyrics which I am so unaccustomed to hearing from Muse. Even the music is cheerfully written. Here's another stand out song.
Finally, Megalomania is here to see off a great album. It's a slow starter of a song, with some slow drums, and we're back to the depressing lyrics after a lone cheerful song. After 2 minutes the quietness is broken by a smashing bass drum pattern and some cymbals, then we're back to quiet. This is a good song, and is fitting to end an album, but it's definately not one of the best on the album.
Overall this is a great album, it starts off a bit disappointing but the second half of the album is truly magnificent, a work of art i'm inclined to say. Overall, I would rate this album over their first, Showbiz and it's much better structured than Absolution. A must buy in my opinion, the only thing lowering the rating is the start of the album, there are definately a few songs below par both lyrically and musically.
They Evolve But Don't Revolve
Muse are a band that has up to now passed me by, I've liked a number of their singles but have only skimmed through their Absolution album and thought it was ok but a little hit and miss.
I'd read that Origin of Symmetry is their best work so I gave it a try. At first I was under whelmed, a few of the tracks sounded familiar but it seemed all over the place. The often high pitch vocals didn't strike a chord, excuse the pun.
I gave it a few more listens and found that I was falling for a number of the tracks, the high pitched vocals started to make sense. I think the problem I had initially was that I wasn't expecting what I was hearing, probably because of hearing their more recent work.
Now I've got used to the album there is a word that springs to mind on almost every track and that word is epic. Almost every song is full on and in your face. That's not to say they're not a thing of beauty. Everything is skilfully constructed to build emotion, and boy does it do that. This is where vocalist Matthew Ballamy's high pitched vocals can pull of something that most cannot.
I find a lot of the tracks have a habbit of lodging themselves in my brain and not wanting to let go, they just keep going around. This is rare for me and a sign that the music has had an effect on me. I have found it to be a highly addictive album.
Opener "New Born" starts off so beautifully then almost out of nowhere all hell lets loose, but it never goes out of control. It is a great scene setter for what is to come. "Bliss" is pure raw edged beauty, very catchy and a fantastic guitar riff driving it along. It's short but perfectly formed. "Space Dementia" takes a bit of getting used to, especially the unusual chorus that reminds me of Pink Floyd a little.
Now onto some low points, I'm afraid to say there are a few here which is a shame as it could have been a five star otherwise. The track "Feeling Good" is a cover of a Nina Simone song and in my book cover versions unless extremely well done are a cardinal sin. A band like Muse with such originality shouldn't need to do it. The track "Micro Cuts" really takes the high pitched singing too far, right from the start and all through the track and it really grates. We know he can sing high, there's no need for him to prove it again on this track so much.
Muse are often compared to Radiohead, a band I have never been able to get on with. The only reason for that comparison I can see is because they are dark, sometimes very dark. I like dark but Radiohead were dark with a large dose of melancholy thrown in. Muse are dark but never or at least rarely so gloomy.
Summing up, it took a little time but with the exception of a few tracks I love this album. I would suggest new listeners to give Origin of Symmetry a chance, if you don't like it at first then persevere. I found that it is now one of my favourite albums after what I first thought was vastly overrated. I think it is at least on a par with Absolution and in terms of raw power is better.
1. New Born (6:03)
2. Bliss (4:12)
3. Space Dementia (6:20)
4. Hyper Music (3:21)
5. Plug In Baby (3:38)
6. Citizen Erased (7:21)
7. Micro Cuts (3:38)
8. Screenager (4:20)
9. Dark Shines (4:46)
10. Feeling Good (3:18)
11. Megalomania (4:39)
Muse are a British rock trio from Devon, UK. They are very well known for their amazing dramatic anthems and unique live performances in which the usually pack out any stadium, arena or festival where they take to the stage. They formed way back in 1994 and have continuously progressed year by year musically, never failing to disappoint their fans with their flawless albums. At the moment the band are probably most well known for songs such as: 'Plug In Baby', 'Time Is Running Out', 'Super Massive Blackhole', and many, many more. Muse have won many awards including: MTV Europe Music awards, Kerrang! Awards, NME Awards, Brit Awards and Q Awards. Although Muse have become somewhat mainstream in recent years they are definitely about the music and always come out with solid tracks that everyone will love. The members of Muse are: Matt Bellamy (vocals, guitar, piano), Christopher Wolstenholme (bass, vocals, keys) and Dominic Howard (drums, percussion. So far the band have released four studio albums:
Origin Of Symmetry (2001)
Black Holes And Revelations (2006)
1. New Born
3. Space Dementia
4. Hyper Music
5. Plug In Baby
6. Citizen Erased
7. Micro Cuts
10. Feeling Good
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**MY FAVORITE TRACKS**
This track is very up beat and dramatic. It's faced paced, full of guitars and spacey electric sounds, it's a very unique sound as always with Muse. Matt Bellamy's vocal range is amazing, he has a fantastic voice and is a great song writer which this song definitely proves. At the start and also through the song there is a very catchy melody which is also a good selling point! To me this song screams jealousy, envy and longing for something that you just can't have. From the lyrics it sounds like he just wants everything that this person has, he wants to be happy, successful and worry free but life isn't that simple. I think that is what the title refers to, it would be bliss if everything was perfect! That's just how I see it. My favourite lyrics from this track are: "Everything about you resonates happiness, now I won't settle for less, give me all the peace and joy in your mind, I want that peace and joy in your mind" Personally I would rate this song 8/10.
**5. Plug In Baby**
This song is my favourite song out of all of the albums Muse has released. It's just amazing. It starts off with a very catchy and attention grabbing guitar riff, which might I add, is not as easy as I thought to learn on guitar! Then comes the eerie, soft vocals of Matt Bellamy before the chaos really starts and the huge chorus kicks in. again, thumbs up to Bellamy's song writing skills, these lyrics are fantastic. There are several ideas as to what this is actually about, Matt's guitar, the digital age, love, relationships, personally I have no idea and don't really mind because it is such an awesome song! My favourite lyrics from this song are: "I've exposed your lies, baby, the underneath is no big surprise, now it's time for changing and cleansing everything to forget your love" 10/10.
**6. Citizen Erased**
This song is more focused on vocals, which again are amazing. As with pretty much all of the songs on this album there is a sense of tension and drama which builds up into an explosion of a chorus, this is one of the things that I love about Muse, they are one of the only bands nowadays with the ability to pull this off and make it work with such an effect. Apparently this song is about people questioning Matt Bellamy all the time but I'm not sure about the accuracy of that interpretation. The lyrics he creates are pretty complex compared to a lot of artists these days so it's hard to figure out, only the band know really! My favourite lyrics from this track are: "The truth's unwinding, scraping away at my mind, please stop asking me to describe, for one moment I wish you'd hold your stage, with no feelings at all, open minded". 9/10.
**MY OVERALL OPINION**
I love Muse. I always have and I probably always will. The lyrics are amazing, Matt Bellamy is amazing and everything about this album is just brilliant. If you like rock music, emotional music, and real music about real things then I would recommend this album and band 100%. Overall I would rate this album 9.9/10.
Thanks for reading!
Origin of Symmetry is a real desert island gem which, as well as defining my teenage years, will live with me forever! Every last detail from production to execution is spot on and every last track still sounds as outstanding as it did back in the mid 90's.
I cant even begin to go into detail about all of the stunning tracks on this record; New Born remains one of the most powerful and adrenaline fuelled live tracks ever, Bliss is still as beautiful and meaningful as it was first time I head it, Space Dementia is as comic and spaced out as the come and Citizen Erased is one of the most exciting tracks going.
To add to this, Plug In Baby is a simply awesome landmark in rock history, and the often overlooked Screenanger provides a brilliant little low key interlude in amongst the power.
What makes Origin Of Symmetry so brilliant and original is the fusion of progressive rock, rock opera and space rock with a healthy dose of piano ballad which all intermixes to create an indefinable raw power and cosmic, mesmeric rock.
The flow of the album, combined with the mix of anthems and hits without so much as one weak track makes for what truly is a classic rock, and needless to say this one is coming to the grave with me.
From the very moment Matthew Bellamy hits the first piano note on 'new born' to the very last squeals of 'megolomania', there is not a moment where pure genious shines through. The album is a modern masterpiece, it really shows that there are musical geniuses among us.
The three boys from Teignmouth show what they are truely made of, diving deep into the creative universe of modern alternative music. The album is not to be taken light heartedly, its a real grower which really builds up on their previous music masterpeice 'showbiz'.
But this album really shows a different side to muse, a more heavy approach with so many noticeable riffs shining through, just to mention a few- 'New Born', 'Hyper Music' and of course, the famous 'Plug in baby'-voted into the top 100 riffs recently and regarded as one of the most awe inspiring guitar pieces any one has ever composed.
Fans all around the world have stood back and taken notice of the threesome due to the album, they are not your average band; very diverse and utterlly amazing.
1. New Born
3. Space Dementia
4. Hyper Music
5. Plug in Baby
6. Citizen Erased
7. Micro Cuts
9. Dark Shines
10. Feeling Good
Origin of Symmetry opens quietly with the piano arpeggios of single, 'New Born'. Note Matthew Bellamy's noisy breath intake (his style). Thankfully, this is a rock record and soon, with a distorted guitar riff he signals the band to do what they do best (that is rock by the way). As the drop D riff relies on a chord progression to get anywhere, none of the parts of the song stood out to me - thus making for a good but not great start to the album.
Of the other singles, 'Bliss', with it's 3 octave synth chord ascend-descends, has nicely bass-driven verses, as does 'Hyper Music', the latter making a double A-sided single with a cover of 'Feeling Good' which, not only rocks but has a section where Matt delivers a verse through megaphone. 'Plug In Baby' sees clever use of an harmonic minor scale for it's guitar leads and the vocal outside for the outro reaches a high point.
Other tracks which are as good, if not better, include 'Citizen Erased', where squelchy low notes meets squealing harmonics in a guitar riff that provides the staples of a song which is only then to be broken down into piano and regret. In 'Micro Cuts', a song with grinding guitar arpeggios, changing time signatures, and Matt's treated vocals going into falsetto overdrive, the heavy riff attack towards the end see Muse have their Rage Against The Machine moment.
As well as the seedy bass, I love the guitar leads in 'Darkshines', some of which have been put through a trumpet effect - there certainly is a brass instrument quality to it. There's no electric guitars in 'Space Dementia', a heavy rock song with piano, and bass creeping around, seemingly up to no good...
'Screenager', the only acoustic guitar song on Origin of Symmetry is an obvious target for weakest track on the album but the use of guitar scales and percussion (human skulls, apparently) makes it not too bad a listen. As a conclusion, 'Megalomania' doesn't hit you until the chorus with it's pipe organ, though there is a (keyboard) alto sax waltzing about in there, still, with Bellamy's vocal overlays being at their most ambitious it's a nice way for the album to end on a high.
Matthew Bellamy puts his guitar and keyboard ability to good use but the songs sound much a band effort. Dominic Howard, on the drums, doesn't do anything outstanding though. Not an album for which I tune into the individual parts of songs, but one where the tracks are consistently good.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 New Born
3 Space Dementia
4 Hyper Music
5 Plug In Baby
6 Citizen Erased
7 Micro Cuts
9 Dark Shines
10 Feeling Good