AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #167 : MUSE

A GUEST POSTING by The SOUND OF BEING OK

One boring Wednesday morning, Timothy J Badger had an idea. He set to work – and typed an email to his two long suffering blogging partners, who are used to his crazy and often terrible ideas, and when the email arrived, they sighed collectively and in unison. For it read : –

“Over the next four hours (from 1pm to 5pm) put your iPods on shuffle and make a note of the acts that are played – here is a spreadsheet for you – let’s see if any band crop up on our each of our iPods. If they do, we will write an ICA for dear old JC on whomever it is, please be honest with the what is played. Even if it is Culture Club (KT) or the Sisters of Mercy (SWC)”.

SWC was the first to respond.

“Good idea, but I have a meeting between 2pm and 3pm – shall I leave the iPod playing?” (Yes please)

KT was next.

“Do I have to? I’m quite busy” (Yes you do, I’m your boss, and it is now officially an order)

Reluctantly they both agreed.

At ten past five, Badger analysed the results and found this…..

“The first thing that struck me when going through the spreadsheet results was that SWC’s ipod picked at random three tracks by Shakespears Sister in the space of the first twenty seven songs. I sort of promised not to tell anyone that, so you won’t mention to him that I told you will you? The second thing that struck me was that KT’s iPod has dramatically improved since she married Dom. I mean who knew that KT owned music by Whiskey Stain, My Bloody Valentine and erm, Duran Duran.

There was nine bands that featured on both my iPod and SWC’s, four that featured on SWC and KT’s (and once the same song came up – although slightly different versions)

Plain Sailing Weather – Frank Turner

Two acts featured on both my iPod and KT’s. The brilliant idea looked like it was going to fail, I mean it was a long shot anyway, but then right at the end of SWC’s spreadsheet, the second to last song his iPod played there it sat. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner…

The only band to have featured on each iPod was Muse. Devon’s very own Muse.

So as per the rules here is an Imaginary Compilation Album on Muse. I gave the team until 6pm the next day to provide me with their choices and the reasons why, three tracks from SWC, three tracks from KT and I would do the final four.

It took SWC five minutes to choose his three songs, because according to him

“They only have four good songs”.

It took KT seventeen hours to choose her three. Largely because she is still young and still has something resembling a social life and claimed that

“Book Club got in the way, we were discussing ‘Ironweed’ by William Kennedy”.

So Muse, love them or hate them, you can’t deny that they have written some cracking tunes

Side One

Uprising (Taken from The Resistance and chosen by KT)

The thing about Muse that is so entertaining is that they are not afraid to experiment, they are not afraid to over indulge, or try something ridiculous. Take this track for instance, I mean who else but Muse would think it is acceptable to take a mash up of the Doctor Who Theme and Blondie’s ‘Call Me’ add a disco rock stomp to it and then release it as a single. I mean it ridiculous but it utterly works. As Matt’s nearly sings “They will be victorious”.

Time Is Running Out (Taken from Absolution and chosen by SWC)

I’ll be honest here, ‘Absolution’ by Muse is the only albums of theirs that I own. It’s not an album for the faint hearted, its an album that kind of throws a brick in the face of subtlety with nearly all the tracks sounding like they were written for a big budget space movie. ‘Time Is Running Out’ is easily the second best thing that they have ever recorded. Why only second….

Butterflies and Hurricanes (Taken from Absolution and chosen by SWC)

Because this. That’s why. Man oh man this is something else….A frantic electronic niggle slowly builds (that is a key thing in Muse songs, the ‘build’) as guitars squelch away until a fuzz of distortion kicks in and then suddenly you get grand pianos, gospel choirs, crashing noises and everything. If Muse wanted to make music that made a statement, they bloody well made one with this “You’ve got to change the world and use this chance to be heard” sings Matt Bellamy. Quite.

Cave (Taken from Showbiz and chosen by Badger)

‘Cave’ is one the earliest songs that Muse ever recorded and stems back from a time when they were pretty much obsessed with Radiohead and all of the tracks at some point featured a falsetto similar to the ones that Thom Yorke did. That was then followed by an intricate and brooding guitar hissy fit.

Showbiz (Taken from Showbiz and chosen by SWC)

If you ask me Muse were a much more interesting band when their debut record came out. This is the best track off of the debut album and its notable for the final minute or so, the songs builds up and is quite dark and heavy until the end which will pretty much blow you away I think.

Side Two

Unnatural Selection (Taken from The Resistance and chosen by Badger)

This is an incredible track. At the start of it you are thinking one thing, then the guitar kicks in and you get a minute or so of Muse in full rock tilt and then it changes again, it goes all dreamy and tender before Bellamy sets it all off again as he screams “I Want The Truth” over and over again, like a Devonian Tom Cruise, and then his guitar weeps, wails and screams with him and the world seeming crashes in. Outstanding.

Starlight (Taken from Black Holes and Revelations and chosen by KT)

Quite simply this is Muse’s most heartfelt song, a simple yet gorgeous and expansive love song. Albeit one about black holes and the end of the world.

Invincible (Taken from Black Holes and Revelations and chosen by KT)

Which for the first four minutes or so is pretty much Matt Bellamy singing over a simple military style drum roll. Then just before the four minute mark, everything kicks in again like prog rock juggernaut squashing everything in its wake.

The Small Print (Taken from Absolution and chosen by Badger)

A song which if the ‘ahem’ small print is to be believed almost split the band up. It was a song that Bellamy wanted to ditch but his band mates Dom and Chris wanted to keep on the album. So they voted on it. If you listen carefully around the 2.50 mark you can hear a cat miaow. I don’t know why.

Knights of Cydonia (Taken from Black Holes and Relevations and chosen by Badger)

Just wow. Its ridiculous, its overblown, its ambitious, and its utterly utterly brilliant. This is just an incredible piece of music. There’s a bit on it right at the start, when Matt Bellamy is playing the piano and it sounds like the universe its destroying itself – and then it gives way to horses, galloping horses, then you get what sounds like laser guns, explosions, sirens and drama and that’s all before the first chorus. Love them or hate them, you’ve got to admit that this above anything else is incredible.

Thanks for reading if you like this and we would love to see you over at The Sound of Being Ok (shameless plug sorry).

BADGER, KT & SWC

6 thoughts on “AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #167 : MUSE

  1. Knights Of Cydonia was a firm family favourites in these parts. It’s the one that turned our eldest (TheMadster) onto Muse. Time Is Running Out is also a big fave of mine.

    I dunno, but I find Muse’s more recent stuff kinda boring. I think they’ve reached the limit of outrageous pomposity and perhaps the only things they could do now to impress me is either make an album of piano ballads, or “do a Who” and make a ridiculous rock opera movie like Tommy.

  2. But… an ICA of Frank Turner would be nice. (Not loving his brand new one as much as his pre ious ones, btw.) – Barry in the USA

  3. This writing in this meisterwork supersedes anything that Muse have produced by quite some way. Nice one.

  4. Agree 100% with Jacques. Industry folks out here in LA adore Muse; they think they’re the “complete package” of commercial songs, image, and production. After just not getting it for years I finally went to see Muse at Coachella. About 40 minutes in to the bombastic, gimmicky, unsmiling pretentious drivel I walked off, my detestation confirmed.
    Badger/SWC/KT’s piece, on the other hand, is fun, interesting and entertaining–which can’t be said about anything Muse does.

  5. Muse, eh. Is this going to be something else I describe as pretentious wank only to have to change my view hunners of years down the line I ask myself.

    Nope I think I’m safe on this one.

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