Last month when Teri was going through the agony of writing her “5 Best of…Arctic Monkeys” post, I could sympathize. I mean, it’d be hard to pick your favorite songs from your favorite band, but surely it wouldn’t be THAT tough for me. I mean, I listen to Muse ALL THE TIME, so I’d just go into iTunes and pick the 5 songs I listen to the most. WRONG. iTunes was zero help, so I called on my friend, fellow Muser and Matt Bellamy fangirl, Jen. She was a trooper and helped me think through some of my choices only to reach the conclusion that I should lie, say I misunderstood the instructions and do a “50 Best of…” post instead. This would have made my life easier yet harder to explain to Teri, who doesn’t begin to understand why I love the trio of Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard so much anyway.
Despite their grand success on the worldwide stage, I still find myself explaining Muse to people everywhere. Having them plastered across TV sets in the States during March Madness 2013 may have helped with mainstream recognition a little, but I think most people have heard them and just don’t realize they’re the band behind the sound.
I started listening to Muse in 2004 when they released Absolution, and, although I’ve added earlier songs to my collection, to this day my very favorite Muse song ever comes from that album. It embodies what I love about them: the driving beats, incredible guitar riffs, poignant lyrics and hauntingly eloquent vocals. I feel like this is the core of their sound regardless of how it’s evolved from past to present. They can speed it up or slow it down and never manage to lose that foundation. Don’t expect to find album after album of sappy love songs, although they do have a few. Most of their material hits romantic, social or political points. I know not everyone’s a fan of that, but music is one of the best ways to convey a message and Muse does it masterfully.
Okay, I should stop procrastinating and just get on with this Top 5 thing. If you came here expecting to see Uprising among the list, you’re going to be disappointed. I realize that it’s the ONE song most people recognize and I do love it, but it’s definitely not Top 5 material. Too mainstream? Maybe. Too overplayed? Definitely. Without further ado, here we go…
#5. Knights of Cydonia
You’re not imaging things – that’s a herd of horses riding in at the beginning. From there it just escalates into something electric. The drum beat is palpable, and when the guitar joins it, it’s just perfection. I think I might even be okay if Matt Bellamy didn’t sing a word at all in the entire six minutes. Oh yeah, it’s LONG. 🙂
#4. MK Ultra
On an album featuring mainstream hits like Resistance and Uprising, this track is often overlooked. It’s one I love every time I hear it. The guitar right from the beginning is powerful, and it features some of my favorite lyrics: “How much deception can you take, How many lies will you create, How much longer until you break…” Yes, I know MK Ultra is brain washing, but ultimately it’s all about losing control.
#3. Undisclosed Desires
I don’t know if I can say it any better than my friend Jen did – GREATEST LOVE SONG EVER. It has a really sexy beat, and I get totally lost in Matt’s voice. Bonus that this video features so much footage of the band. 🙂
Originally I wasn’t going to include any songs from their newest album, The 2nd Law, in my Top 5. Then I realized it would be a complete LIE, because lately this is my go-to Muse song when I just need something hardcore and kick ass to get me through. The intro is amazing! The way it rages, then slows and builds momentum accompanied by Bellamy’s voice – extraordinary. I have no idea how he hits those notes; his vocal range is incredible.
#1. Time is Running Out
This was the easiest of the five songs for me. Like I said before, this has been a fave from the beginning, and I can’t deny I listen to it practically daily. There’s just so much I love about it – the guitar and drums aren’t overpowering but without them it wouldn’t be the same, especially that one haunting interlude. For me the vocals are truly what make the song; it’s a great showcase of Matt Bellamy’s voice.
So that’s it. There are SO MANY more I could include, and when I look at what I crossed off my initial list, it still makes me sad.