SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #56
Welcome to our 56th Sunday Drop (also known as a Spin) as we put the 20th Anniversary of Muse - 'Origin of Symmetry' on our turntables. Are you as excited as we are with this one? Back for our 34th Spin we reviewed their album called 'The Resistance' but we are now going back to their second album. If you missed our previous Spin, click here to read about 'The Resistance'. A lot of people think this is either their best or second best album and the critics seem to love this one too. Be careful listening to this one up loud as there is quite a lot of included distortion and we here at R'nR don't want you to hurt your ears. I've listened to the original release and this remix and feel that this one on vinyl was a must have.
The set-up that we are using this week is the system in our loungin (what our children call the loungeroom), so we can get the full range across the room's 4 x speakers. I think these days we are working hard and really appreciating the small moments we get as a family. I keep trying to be positive and manifest that into our world for us and I hope that you do the same for yourselves. For those who aren't familiar with our system being used it is a Sherwood Turntable (PM-9805) and Sherwood Receiver (RX-4508). So sit back, relax and turn your volume up to the max as we drop the stylus on this one!
Image : Matthew Bellamy, Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard
I am always amazed with what this band puts out, whether it be a concept album, live show album or hit singles. For me, the first albums that introduced me to Muse were 'Absolution' and 'The Resistance'. I'd say that I have my sister to thank for introducing me to their music as she went to see them in the mid 2000's. Since then I have obviously delved back through their entire catalogue and absolutely love their second album. 'Origin of Symmetry'. Whilst sourcing this on vinyl, I came across an article stating they were remixing the sound to bring it more to life and also include a song that was originally left off the release - except if you lived in Japan. This album really draws you in from the very first song called 'NEW BORN'. It kind of acts as the perfect link between their first album 'Showbiz' and the evolution of their sound. I think the documentary, 'The Matrix' (hehe) was a source of inspiration or matched with the bands liked mindedness on this album. The persona in the song is being born into a world where technology is moving faster than mankind, sadly to mankind's detriment. Little bit of trivia for this one is that the original name was to be called 'Strangle' or 'Strangulation' but was not used. There is so much feeling behind Bellamy's vocals when he sings, "Destroy the spineless. Show me it's real, wasting our last chance to come away. Just break the silence 'cause I'm drifting away, away from you".
The track ends and the stylus moves onto the second song on Side A called 'BLISS'. What a crowd pleaser and instantly recognisable intro. Going back and watching some of the music video's for this era of Muse shows just how far they have come as a band and change in their early look (no more hair dying in reds and blues). This is probably my third favourite song on the album and enjoy singing along to this one a lot - "Everything about you pains my envying, your soul can't hate anything. Everything about you is so easy to love, they're watching you from above". It is such an uplifting song from beginning to end and should boost your confidence for whatever mood you are in, particularly if you are having a tough week. This side of LP 1 comes to an end and now it's time to flip the LP over and play Side B.
Our children have been very energetic lately and that is because our youngest is becoming more and more like a toddler. She has learnt a lot from her older brother and is showing more and more cheekiness. Yes it's cute when Night Kat Kiz and I are thinking back on the day late at night, but at the time it's happening it can be highly frustrating. I guess we just have to keep reminding ourselves that we need to enjoy these little moments, good and bad as they will pass us by very quickly. 'SPACE DEMENTIA' kicks off Side B and starts off with Bellamy hitting the keys of his piano, whilst Wolstenholme slowly comes in with his distinct guitar style and Howard doing his thing behind the kit. Now the meaning behind the title of this song being referenced is a feeling when astronauts reflect on their position in space. That being the feeling of isolation from the world and their mind playing tricks on them. If you listen to this album as a flowing one song cycle then this track is the downfall after the last songs positiveness. It still shows signs of being upbeat but there is more darkness here due to those feelings of insignificance and being so small within the world. We then move into 'HYPER MUSIC' first piece that showcases heavy distortion (the stuff I warned you about in the introduction). I like the bass on this track and that escalating riff working so well with the vocals. Sounds very similar to something that The White Stripes or Rage Against the Machine would have released around the same time, but Muse-ified.
Just looking to my left and see our daughter grabbing her school bag, shoes (shoe shoes) and walking around with her bangles on. She is such a little cutie and becoming more and more a little girly girl. My favourite song up next as the stylus moves across to that distinct distortion again/feedback sound of 'PLUG IN BABY'. Probably the biggest song on this album that I find Night Kat Kiz and I singing along with, whether that is at home, listening along to it on wax or during a car trip somewhere. I feel the drumming on this track is on point and Howard does a great job. Muse almost called this song Virtual Reality and so glad they decided to call it 'PLUG IN BABY' instead as I feel it just sounds better. I love that moment when the chorus starts and you can release so much frustration by singing those words. I also like these lyrics in the song, "I've exposed your lies baby, the underneath's no big surprise. Now it's time for changing, and cleansing everything to forget your love". After this powerful song it is time to take LP1 off the turntable and place LP2 on for Side C.
Whilst looking into this album I found out that Celine Dion once wanted to call her show in Vegas, Muse and offered the band only $50,000 dollars for their naming rights. Because the band have worldwide naming rights of the word Muse (smart cookies), they said No. They didn't want people to think that her show involved them and that they were a Celine Dion support band in Las Vegas which I guess is fair enough. 'CITIZEN ERASED' has a mesmerising drum pattern from Howard and makes the depressing lyrics and references a little bit more bearable. I love this song but the bleakness of the title and lyrics talking about citizens being wiped from existence is disturbing. Perfect for a scientific movie or concept album but hopefully not happening in the real world. I just had a laugh at the thought that this is Night Kat Kiz's top 3 favourite bands, yet she doesn't like science fiction. Pretty much all of Muse's albums are references to that genre or the bleakness of mankind. I think she will have a laugh too at that thought.
Next track is called 'MICRO CUTS'. I like the change in vocals used by Bellamy on this track because they are quite different to most of the bands output. I didn't get to read up on this song too much but listening to it now, I can hear that it is similar to what Ghost do with the ethereal sounds. This track is more than a filler track by any means but I get the feeling that this one seems to be building the listener up for something special, especially with the ending guitarwork. Side C keeps rolling along and next song, 'SCREENAGER' starts off with a sound similar to windchimes and samba/latin style music. To be honest this would be the song that reminds me the most of my favourite modern band, 'The Mars Volta'. Especially the lyrics of , "Hide from the mirror - the cracks and the memories". I'm guessing this song was named after the worries that teenagers grow up with too much screen time and it has life changing consequences. I really enjoyed this style and softer song by Muse. 'DARKSHINES' blends well as the next song musically and reminds me a bit of a funky beat from Rick James to be honest - I think the song, 'Give It To Me Baby'. Bellamy's piano work throughout has some chaotic moments that really work well with this song. The ending of this one just seems to give such contrast between relaxing and a sense of anxiety for the listener. The stylus is coming towards the dead wax and that tells me it is time to flip LP2 over for Side D. After what you have heard so far, would you add this one to your collection?
Side D starts off with a huge track from this album and my second favourite called, 'FEELING GOOD'. A song that you'd put on after you've walked away content from something that has been troubling you for a long time. Like I was told not too long ago, our paths are mostly out of our control and yes we make decisions, but sometimes we have to see what happens for us - good or bad. This one would be one you put on once the path reveals itself to you as being good. Although it is a cover, I feel that it definitely has a place on this album and that Nina Simone would be proud of this version. It is easy to sing along with because the lyrics are so good and I like the strings and arrangements throughout. The lyrics of, "Birds flying high you know how I feel. Sun in the sky you know how I feel. Reeds drifting on by you know how I feel It's a new dawn it's a new day it's a new life for me and I'm feeling good". Just let the ending soak in a bit as you listen along.
The next song, 'FUTURISM' actually was only released on the Japanese release and I'm glad they found a place for it on the anniversary album. Muse could have just tacked it on the end of the album but found a way to include it within the track listing to allow the album to flow nicely. I love how clear and solid the drumming is on this track and can't imagine this album without this track on it now. Last song on 'Origin of Symmetry' is called, 'MEGALOMANIA' and the stylus is starting to send the haunting opening through the bookshelf speakers. They really have a knack of using orchestral arrangements to support their sound. You can see that this was starting to push them towards what their eventual sound would be more like by the time album, 'The Resistance' was released. Bellamy's vocals leave us with the thought provoking questions of, "And paradise comes at a price. That I am not prepared to pay. What were we built for? Will someone tell me please".
Thanks for coming along for our 56th Spin of 'Origin of Symmetry' by Muse and we hope that you enjoyed reading along. If you already have the original release on vinyl and you have some money saved up, I do recommend getting this anniversary release too. I know that money is tight for most of us and hopefully our positive manifesting here at R'nR can help out a few of you in finding some positive pathways. Make sure you get involved in our MWSP on our social pages each week or remember to unwind on Vinyl Fridays. When I think of this band they remind me of a positive quote that I will leave you with.
"Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too." - Isabel Allende
Until our next Spin, be Kind to Celine Dion (I guess) and be Kind to your Wax!
2001 (ORIGINAL) 2021 (REMIX RELEASE)
MUSE, DAVID BOTTRILL AND JOHN LECKIE
SPEED PLAYED AT
BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS (2006)
PLUG IN BABY
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
2 X BLACK LP, GATEFOLD JACKET WITH LYRICS, POLY/PAPER INNER SLEEVES
"I've exposed your lies, baby. The underneath's no big surprise and now it's time for changing and cleansing everything to forget your love. My plug in baby, Crucifies my enemies. When I'm tired of giving, whoa. My plug in baby. In unbroken virgin realities, is tired of living, oooooohhhhh "~ Plug In Baby -Side B
LP 1 / SIDE
PLUG IN BABY
LP 2 / SIDE
ORIGINALLY A JAPAN ONLY RELEASE
Muse playing live to the masses