1. STOCKHOLM SYNDROME
Simply put, the perfect Muse song. Anything you like about Muse, it’s here – razor guitars, massive tom-heavy drums, the driving bass letting the synths and synth-like walls of six-strings fly off into space, only to come crashing back down to Earth – presumably somewhere in Sweden – in the heaviest, most distorted sound the band’s pulled off on an album (off an album, that title might go to Dead Star).
The only thing missing is the sense of ridiculousness that would begin to form on Black Holes and Revelations, and fully-form on The 2nd Law in songs like Knights of Cydonia and Survival (wait… what’s that next on the list?)
2. KNIGHTS OF CYDONIA
The video says it all, really.
If that was The Phantom Menace, the prequels would today be held in higher regard than The Empire Strikes Back. Just that six minutes – no trade negotiations, no Jar-Jar, no midichlorians.
I once played the bassline during a soundcheck, and going by the crowd reaction, it was the highlight of the entire gig.
Still haven’t got to smash up a hotel room while listening to it though. One day.
4. PLUG IN BABY
AKA the one that always makes the top 10 guitar riffs of all-time lists. I’ll be doing one of those myself eventually – well, top eight – and maybe it’ll make it. Even if it doesn’t, it’s still a badass riff that snakes and sizzles more than it pummels, which is becoming ever more a rarity in Muse’s discography.
And if you’ve just watched the video for the first time, yes, WTF is the appropriate reaction.
5. BUTTERFLIES AND HURRICANES
An underrated gem at the back end of Absolution, the band’s best album. Matt Bellamy gets to show off his piano skills, while the others grab a beer.
The harmonies perhaps the first sign Muse would later go on to become Queen.
I should have used the first line I used to describe Butterflies and Hurricanes for this song. Butterflies and Hurricanes gets its fair share of praise, but you never come across Endlessly in discussions on Muse’s best tracks.
Their first real foray into (kind of) electronic music, Endlessly is a beautiful detour from the other sounds Absolution has to offer. It isn’t a pounding, end-of-the-world rocker, nor a strings-and-piano elegy. It’s… simply one of the best – and most underrated – songs they ever did.
From the band’s debut, comes one of their greatest tracks – it’s raw, rocking, epic and to a large extent responsible for lifting the album of the same name above those offered by thier contemporaries.
Sure, it was Muscle Museum that broke them, and it’s a great song too, but Showbiz has that something else – serving as the template they’d build upon on Origin of Symmetry.
If the first post on an obscure blog has any chance in hell of causing controversy, it’s naming a track from The 2nd Law in a top eight list.
From a wildy erratic album – in style and quality – came a brilliant track with unlikely origins. Written for the Olympic Games, it’s essentially a fight song and probably not what the Games’ organisers expected. It’s a bit Wagnerian, a lot Queen, and perhaps the extreme end of Muse’s predeliction for musical lunacy. At the end of the day however, it just kicks arse.
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And if you like what you’re reading and seeing here, kindly consider checking out the author’s own attempt at a music career, at koshrecords.net.