Over the last decade, Muse has put out eight studio albums, two live albums, and dozens of random singles. Arguably, they're one of the best music groups of all time. Comprised of three band members hailing from England (Matt Bellamy [lead vocals, guitar, piano], Chris Wolstenholme [bass guitar, backup vocals], and Dominic Howard [drums, backup vocals]), Muse continues to impress fans with their raw talent and energy. Although I've yet to see them live, I've been told it's a can't miss experience. Matt hand designs all of the band's shows and sets from the lights to the visuals in the background. Muse is known for bringing things to their shows that no one else has done before (like the giant drone in the Drones World Tour ). They truly go above and beyond, making them a bucket list must see.
Currently, Muse is up for "Best Live Act" and "Best Act in the World Today" from Q magazine in the UK. Both awards, for which they have won five times. In addition to being a two-time Grammy award winner, Muse has also won 44 other awards and been nominated for a total of 134.
For this article, I've chosen to hit all of the studio albums, but not any of the live albums, since all of the songs are repeats from the studio versions. They're worth the listen to, however, because they really showcase the band's talent.
Standout song: Muscle Museum
Standout lyric: "And I don’t want you to adore me, don’t want you to ignore me when it pleases you ."
Muse started their career off by very quickly establishing their unique sound and musical prowess. Showbiz, upon its debut, was received with mixed reviews. Many compared Muse's sound to that of Radiohead, but one thing that stuck out in most reviews were positive takes on Matt's vocals. Even though Showbiz may not have received great debut, but it has a special place in fans' hearts.
Origin of Symmetry (2001)
Standout song: Dark Shines
Standout lyric: " Hold your hands up to your eyes again. Hide from the scary scenes, suppress your fears ."
My personal favorite, and arguably Muse's best album, Origin of Symmetry was much better received than Showbiz. Matt's guitar work on "Plug in Baby" and "New Born" earned him the title of "this generation's guitar hero". On UK charts, Origin of Symmetry peaked at #3, while on French charts it peaked at #2. The album also features a cover of "Feeling Good" in which Muse nails perfectly and almost surpasses the original. In this album, we also start to see the beginning of Muse's signature theme of political and science fiction undertones. Fun fact about this album, the drum line in "Screenager" was recorded on actual human bones.
Standout song: Butterflies and Hurricanes
Standout lyric: "Change everything you are and everything you were. Your number has been called. Fights and battles have begun. Revenge will surely come. Your hard times are ahead ."
Absolution establishes Muse's signature hybrid of the musical and lyrical with alternative rock. Up until this point, Absolution was the album to chart the highest in the US and it helped to establish the American fanbase. Absolution was also one of Muse's first albums to reach a consistent vibe throughout the entire album.
Black Holes and Revelations (2006)
Standout song: City of Delusion
Standout lyric: "You'll not rest. Settle for less. Until you guzzle and squander what's left ."
Black Holes and Revelations is the first Muse album to see the blatant lyrics dealing with political corruptions, alien invasion, and revolutions fans have come to love and adore. The band's obsession with space and sci-fi elements as well as blending it with political corruption are best showcased in this album.
The Resistance (2009)
Standout song: United States of Eurasia / Collateral Damage
Standout lyric: "And these wars they can't be won. Does anyone know or care how they begun? They just promise to go on and on and on."
The title track from this album is heavily influenced by Orson Wells's 1984, giving the rest of the album a dystopian feel. The best feature of The Resistance is not the hit singles like "Uprising", but the three-part "Exogenesis" symphonies at the end of the album. The symphonies flawlessly blend beautiful piano with guitar, drums, and Matt's haunting vocals. The Resistance reached a wide audience in the US, with "Uprising" being Muse's top charting song.
The 2nd Law (2012)
Standout song: Supremacy
Standout lyric: "Wake to see your true emancipation is a fantasy. Policies have risen up and overcome the brave ."
The 2nd Law was received with mixed reviews, as it's Muse's "experimental" album. The band played around with a lot of different studio elements and took inspiration from all over the board. For fans expecting the same Muse sound that the previous albums had, they were disappointed. Personally, The 2nd Law is a fantastic album and still maintains signature Muse sound. The theme of the album is very much fitting to the band's corruption and sci-fi themes. The whole album surrounds the idea of the second law of thermodynamics (which happens to be included in the two tracks called "The 2nd Law"). Additionally, "Survival" was featured during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, where Muse got the chance to perform the song live.
Standout song: The Globalist
Standout lyric: "There's no countries left to fight and conquer. I think I destroyed them all. It's human nature."
When Drones was released last year, fans received it with open arms. Muse threw back to some of their previous styles, focusing more on the music than tinkering in the studio. The album is a concept album that tells the story of a young man going through a journey of abandonment to indoctrination as a "human drone" and his eventual defection. Politically, the album is extremely relevant for today's society across the world. Muse does make some jabs at America, specifically, by using bits of JFK's speech about the human spirit and freedom. At the time, the speech was about communism but is still relevant today. The album's lead single, "Psycho", features instrumentals from a previous live version of the band's "Stockholm Syndrome" (from the Absolution album). Because of this, fans had high praise for "Psycho" as a strong lead single and for the band making more of those "Stockholm" cords.
Side note: Personal shoutout to one of my best friends, Veronica, for helping me pick the songs out for each album and write the article overall. She got me into Muse and I'm so very thankful she forced me to listen to them because they're a fantastic band and I'm so glad they're in my life.