The bands that perform at your first-ever music festival will undoubtedly form core part of your musical education, and for me, Muse was perhaps the most significant of that occasion.
It was 2010 and I was wide-eyed at Big Day Out (R.I.P.). The festival had been so popular that we were forced to go to a second day, put on sale due to such demand.
British rockers Muse, lead by the incomparable Matt Bellamy, were closing the main stage. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before, and perhaps nothing I’ve seen since.
In more recent years, Muse have begun to move away from the sound that made them icons of the rock scene. In times like these, many fans including myself find ourselves going through their older albums, looking for hidden gems that we might not have given full credit to first time around.
Here are six underrated or unsung hero tracks by Muse that probably don’t get the recognition they deserve:
Muse – ‘New Born’ (2001)
For some reason when I look back on Origin of Symmetry, the tracks that first come to mind are ‘Plug-In Baby’ and their cover of ‘Feeling Good’. Crucially, I had misplaced ‘New Born’ somewhere in my subconscious, despite it being the lead track, and boy does it still hold up almost 20 years later. From a dulcet, falsetto opening… building slowly until the track peaks with that shred worthy guitar solo. A modern masterpiece.
‘Stockholm Syndrome’ (2003)
The fifth track from Muse’s 2003 record Absolution, ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ is a quintessential mid-2000s Muse song in so many ways. Beginning with double-time guitars and borderline speed drumming, it shows off so much of the diversity of Bellamy’s vocals. It’s dense, it’s hard-hitting, it’s beautiful.
Black Holes and Revelations was such an incredible record, and with songs like ‘Starlight, ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ and ‘Knights Of Cydonia’, many other epic tunes went under the radar. One of those was ‘Exo-Politics’, with its catchy rhythm section and that choir-style chorus, it is truly an unsung hero of Muse’s entire discography.
Hold on there, ‘Resistance’ is the damn title track of Muse’s 2009 album The Resistance, I hear you say. While that may be true, I’d argue that this song ended up being overshadowed by ‘Uprising’ and ‘Undisclosed Desires’ when the record came out. But with its iconic call and response bridge, ‘Resistance’ deserves just as much of a look-in as the singles that book-ended it on this album.
‘Map Of The Problematic’ (2006)
‘Map of the Problematique’ suffers in the same vein as ‘Exo-Politics’, that being the matter of featuring on a record with so many bona fide hits. This track undoubtedly deserves recognition though, what with a breathtaking intro section that goes for almost a minute (in a four-minute song). It’s a song where Bellamy’s vocals almost take a back seat (if that’s even possible), as the incredible instrumental textures that Muse so often achieved come to the fore.
‘The Small Print’ (2003)
Okay, I’ll admit it. I almost completely forgot about this absolute belter of a track on 2003 album Absolution. ‘The Small Print’ is an awesome example of how raw Muse were when they put out their first few albums, and how great some of their most powerful and texturally dense songs best typified what they were about in the early years.