Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Friday, September 08, 2006

The best song about science fiction and horses ever

The knock on British space rock band Muse is that it sounds too much like Radiohead. This is an irrelevant criticism because (1) aside from the vocalist, who admittedly sounds exactly like Thom Yorke, it’s not true and (2) most of you have never heard of Muse.

Regarding the second point, Muse is an extremely dorky power trio from Teignmouth, England that has been making albums since 1999. Like most extremely dorky power trios from Teignmouth, Muse is, at best, a cult act in the United States. Judging from Muse’s latest album “Black Holes & Revelations,” the main thing preventing the band from selling more records here is (not to beat a dead horse) its extreme dorkiness.

Take “Knights of Cydonia,” perhaps the most noteworthy track from “Black Holes & Revelations.” This song perfectly sums up Muse’s aesthetic. Which is to say “Knights of Cydonia” sounds like it was written on a notebook cover by an over-anxious 13-year-old far more interested in Rush and the SciFi Channel than the opposite sex.

“Knights of Cydonia” includes, in no particular order: sounds of blasting lasers and galloping horses; a soaring choir borrowed from a spaghetti western soundtrack; an extended surf guitar solo; mariachi horns; and 1,200 aliens lathering up in green goo for an interstellar mating ritual. My ears could be fooling me on that last one, but give me a break, that’s a lot to absorb in just 120 seconds. Still, it sounds amazing.

“Take a Bow” nearly matches “Knights of Cydonia” for wedgie-worthy rockingness. Singer Matthew Bellamy does his best Yorke croon over a pulsating synth riff before the bombastic guitars and drums blow it away like Alderaan in the shadow of the Death Star. You can almost hearing Bellamy snorting through his bifocals when he multi-tracks his voice and bellows: “YOU WILL PAY FOR ALL YOUR CRIMES AGAINST THE EARTH!” Heh, heh, cool, heh, heh.

Which should be lost in all this is the Radiohead comparison. Radiohead is a dorky band, sure, but it’s a different brand of dorkiness. Radiohead is “2001” while Muse is Lorne Greene era “Battlestar Galactica” with a touch (very light) of self-awareness. “Black Holes & Revelations” is a crazy fun album. And I don’t care if I get stuffed in my locker for saying that.


Blogger paul said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

greg got me a muse CD about 3 or 4 years ago. about.

10:14 PM  

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