I don’t know if you guys have noticed this but… I love Muse. i absolutely adore the band. Nothing really gives it away, apart from me constantly going on about them on Twitter, messenger and other places, does it? In all seriousness though, there’s a reason to this rather than me simply going on about how much I absolutely adore the band and the music they produce. On September 14th they release their next album, The Resistance, which will be the fifth studio album following Black Holes and Revelations in 2006, and I’m not gonna dumb down any expressions here – quite simply, I am absolutely friggin’ pumped beyond all matters of measurement for this release. Before the release of Absolution, I was mega pumped. But then before the release of Black Holes and Revelations, I was even more excited than that! But this takes it to a whole new level and I just need this album. Right. Now.
In case you don’t know, us Muse fan(atic)s have already have such a sweet free taste of the album thanks to, what I feel, is an absolute genius idea from the marketing aspect of the band. Basically, the band’s lead singer Matthew Bellamy posted a message on Muse’s twitter account, Musewire, mentioning a treasure hunt. Now, to give a clearer insight into this, not long after the release of Absolution, a US tour provided setlists with new songs being played for the first time with names in anagrams that ended up being various clues leading to special Muse-branded bikes that had worked as a fantastic and quite unique treasure hunt. The band have always had a cryptic element behind their music as plenty of times have songs appeared with cryptic names in their setlists, not to mention stuff on their website and messages within interviews and whatnot. The cryptic element of the band has been revisited in a gargantuan style within the past few weeks though, as Muse quite literally got people from around the world in an absolutely huge treasure hunt which was amazing fun to watch on and read it being solved at Muselive and Muse’s official forums. It went like this…
Muse.mu was put down for a few days and a counter appeared. When the site was back, it had been completely rehauled, obviously in spirit for the upcoming release of The Resistance. However it came showing a new sub-site – ununitedeurasia.muse.mu. The website provided a map of Eurasia, and constant messages displaying the type of language you’d expect to see from a navy/army radio, constantly cryptic and almost alarming in danger concerning their language and the way everything was being expressed, for example:
“FLASH MESSAGE TO ALL USOE AGENTS: ARCHITECTS GRAN AJEDREZ NOTE THAT STATION//COLOSSUS HAS NOT BEEN ACTIVATED.
RECOGNITION OF UNITED STATES OF EURASIA BY USA IS VITAL FOR THE SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME OF PROJECT GRAN AJEDREZ.
ARCHITECTS HAVE AUTHORIZED A TEMPORARY EXTENSION OF THE DEADLINE TO PREVENT LOCKDOWN CRISIS LIMITATION MODE.”
Yeeep. That’s what I thought. It turned out that, in various location around the world at specific times, people had to meet up with agents to receive a USB key that would provide a code for this micro-site which, in turn and gradually from city to city, unlock 30 seconds (or more) of the song United States of Eurasia! It was a brilliant, brilliant idea and I honestly have no idea how Muse fans can even begin to be smart enough to get through some of the clues being provided, which related to references from certain books like The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski. After a week or so, every location had been unlocked, including a special appearance of a USB key in the United States with a message on the site almost screaming at fans to resist this, acting as if it were a trap, that is someone gave in to the temptation of meeting the agent that fans would regret it. It was brilliant! It created paranoia, worry, and mass discussions upon message boards what to do! Eventually, as I say, the song was fully unlocked. United states of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage), at 5 minutes in length.
The first new proper Muse piece in 3 or so years was finally here!! So… what do I think of the United States of Eurasia? There’s a simple way to answer this.
I will be open and say it – it was NOT what I was expecting whatsoever. It’s so much better than that!! The song opens softly, almost recognisable in comparison to the piano of Beautiful by Christina Aguilera (why do I know that?) with Bellamy’s softly spoken vocals accompanied by strings slowly sending the song along. It’s a very calm introduction, very soothing with the lyrics reminiscing the romance within 1984 by George Orwell, a struggle to overcome wars and barriers with a cause gone insane no matter what the protagonist of this song and their partner do. It’s a minute or two in where the jaw really drops though. Just as you get used to this… BAM! Why split these states, asks Bellamy, before launching out (in full Freddie Mercury falsetto) WHEN THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE? with an explosion of sound, guitars squealing away, and a massive smash of drums whilst Bellamy finally screams out! Woah! It’s for me after this where the song truly comes to life, as the band bellow out the most wonderfully arabian-nights sounding section of the song, Bellamy tinkling away on a piano with the orchestra still in full strength simply adding to this wonderful combination, a middle eastern chant of song going along with the rhythm and a snarling bassline under all these layers just add to make this wonderful and hugely unexpectedly sound. The lyrics continue the paranoia of a controlled society - “You and me fall in line//To be punished for unproven crimes” with the constant mention of 'they’ referring to the controlling state Bellamy is obviously screaming out in protest against. The verses fit wonderfully with these middle-eastern instrumental section, but once the final part of USoE arrives, boy does it arrive in fashion. Once again fully utilising the power of Freddie Mercury (why do people moan at this? The man was a legend!) this section of the full United States of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage) ends making a huge amount of attention, with the band shouting out “Eura…SIA! SIA! SIA!”, Dom smashing away on an almost rebellious-sounding anger of drums within the background, Chris’s bass jumping up and down to the simply unignorable vocal screams and it’s just a pure climax of emotion. The best thing about it is that this is only the beginning for the added on Collateral Damage, where as USoE cools down after a vicious attack of rebellion towards a controlling state, the song settles down to end with a 2 minute piano solo of simply Bellamy himself covering one of Chopin’s songs and adding his own personal touch to it to create an elegant, beautiful and simply stunning ending to a song that feels so angry and so frustrated. Accompanying the piano are the sounds of children playing, enjoying themselves and the return of those strings that make USoE so wonderfully unique, simply adding to the atmosphere of this outro, before they simply disappear in a sudden, the children begin screaming in the background and the sound of a missile rushes through your mind all whilst Bellamy’s piano simply strolls past at a snails pace, continuing it’s elegance when a state of panic is obviously occurring in the background. Collateral Damage is a beautiful, beautiful outro that really adds to a song that seems to angry and fed up of society only to be followed by a massive juxtaposition in a piano solo that seems so far away from the world that it simply ignores the troubles it is surrounded in.
So… that’s the first song from The Resistance. Please watch the video at the bottom of this page, it is the full song, United States of Eurasia(+Collateral Damage), that I honestly think everyone deserves to hear. It’s a wonderful song and if you’ve known Muse for a long long time, take all expectations out of your mind and just enjoy because you’ll hear nothing like it at the moment in modern rock bands. Based on USoE, the album should be pretty incredible. Even better is the news that the opening song off the album, Uprising, will be debuted on August 3rd on the Zane Lowe show (Radio 1, 7:30pm), something that I will undoubtedly be checking out in a fit of excitement.
September 14th cannot come quick enough.