I was late to discover the band “Muse.” Now, to be fair, I’ve listened to singles of theirs over the past two years and liked what I heard, but never investigated further. Over Christmas, I got their newest album “The Resistance” and have been listening to it ever since. This particular album just won a Grammy a few weeks ago, so I know I can’t be wrong. I’m not a hipster music snob—I will continue to explore their musical arts post-recognition— and here’s why:
I’ve been listening and analyzing their rock symphony “Exogenesis” for months. It’s obsessive, really….
For proper appreciation, this must be played at ear-shattering volume. I do like cranking up the volume when no one is around— I managed to get through college and living in a “quiet” apartment building above my landlady with no major interventions—I want these notes to spin around me, envelop me, and anchor me to the floor. I should be able to feel my hair tingle with the decibels and my heart break to let it all in (and yes, I cry at concerts). It’s no wonder I’m a little deaf…
I’m not sure what it is about this piece of music that makes me a little nuts. Upon the first playing, I thought to myself, that was one of the most genius things I’ve heard in a while. The other evening, I turned on my stereo to “stun” and blasted Exogenesis. My cat Cricket vaulted up to the footboard of my bed, craning her striped neck and flicking her ears. By the “third movement,” she was sound asleep on my bed.
I think the reason why I love this piece so much is because it reminds me of so many other musical works that I enjoy (Gershwin, Chopin, Howard Shore’s “The Aviator,” and Carter Burwell’s “Twilight” to name a few). Muse clearly did their homework—to create something that would play upon my subconscious knowledge. Just when I think I knew where it was going, a scale would twist and double back on me, dropping down a few more notes and out of my realm of recognition.
I’m reminded of my high school philosophy class… as I remember… John Dewey in “Art as Experience” says that “good art” allows the person who is experiencing it to feel greater sense of connection to the universe. Am I being overdramatic and vague? Maybe. Take a listen for yourself:
Exogenesis Symphony Part 1: Overture
Exogenesis Symphony Part 2: Cross-Pollination
Exogenesis Symphony Part 3: Redemption
PS- I’m not someone who gets hung up on intended meaning—I am more of a devotee of music that is musically sound (case in point here ). I did, however, look this up… the piece is a journey through the end of humanity, resulting in space exploration. Bellamy, the writer, cites his influences as Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Strauss and Pink Floyd (source) .