I’d been trying to deny all weekend that I was heading into a Muse bender (as I like to call it), but I finally accepted it Sunday night because, well, that’s all I was listening to all weekend. I had to think about which album I was going to choose for Tuesday though, so I settled on Origin of Symmetry.
There isn’t any particular reason why. It was between this and Black Holes and Revelations, my favorite Muse album. I chose Origin because while listening to it I remembered a conversation I had with a friend of a friend. She was a devoted Muse fan and had probably been so for longer than I had (I only got really into them about a year and a half ago). Her favorite album was Origin because, in her opinion, if I’m recalling it correctly, it was Muse at their very best.
As she was such a big Muse fan, I felt her opinion was worth giving some serious consideration. While “best” is a subjective term, I had to consider why a Muse fan might feel that way. I think this isn’t necessarily Muse at their best, but at their purest. Origin feels like their “Screw it, let’s just DO it” album. It’s experimental, maybe their most experimental. I mean, they use a church pipe organ on “Megalomania!” It’s Phantom of the Opera levels of dramatic. They’re giving it 110% and you can feel it. It’s like a direct injection of unfiltered Muse into your veins, and that might be why a Muse fan would consider it their best.
It isn’t for everyone though – it certainly wasn’t at the time it came out. Apparently, Maverick, their label at the time, wanted Matthew Bellamy to ease up on his trademark falsetto and plaintive wailing. Okay, admittedly it can get a little ridiculous at times (“Micro-Cuts” anyone?) but that’s what I love about it. I love that Bellamy and his band aren’t afraid to turn it up to 11 and don’t care what anyone thinks about it. It gives me major goosebumps, and I love it when music can have that kind of effect on me.
While not my favorite, Origin is an incredible sophomore effort, and it’s definitely up there for me. Stand-out tracks for me are “Bliss,” “Hyper-Music,” “Plug In Baby,” “Futurism,” and their cover of “Feeling Good.” So almost half the album. Not bad for not even being my favorite, right? I can still say it’s really, really good. And I think it’s their excess of passion that does it for me. Too much for some? Sure, I can see that. Just right for Muse fans? Absolutely.
P.S. I may love Muse, but I really hate rock videos. The music video is a completely different medium and art form to explore – Why waste it jumping around and swaying your head with your eyes squeezed shut? Anyway, “Bliss” features the least amount of that sort of nonsense, which is why I chose it. I still can’t get over that spiked hair that was so damn popular at the turn of the millennium though. So bad, ugh.