Sound — 9
"Origin Of Symmetry" was the make or break point for Muse. They'd just released their first album, a great, severly underrated piece of work. The only problem was that it was to eclectic. They were simply impossible to pin down into any genre. And so with this album, they knew they'd have to get in line and adhere to some kind of structure.
But instead they did something spectacular. They invented their own genre. With "Origin", all the songs have the same feel of grandeur, of epicness, but none fit into any of the rock genres I can list.
01. "New Born" - A great start. Echoey, serene piano intro which kicks in to a face melting riff. Good strong bassline, massive chorus and a pretty strong solo. Outro riff same as intro, but it feels more suited there. A great song, but much better live.
02. "Bliss" - Here Muse introduce what is to become a staple of their tracks - the arpeggiated synth. It plays all the way through, but is a definite boost to the song, giving it another layer of epicness. Amazing chorus.
03. "Space Dementia" - Matt introduces his mind-blowing piano skills here to great effect. Notable Rachmaninov influence in the verse structure, but an unusually quiet chorus. Bat-shit insane outro of random improv.
04. "Hyper Music" - Muse here with a standard hard rock song. Short, sweet and to the point, with a powerful chorus and kick-ass riff.
05. "Plug In Baby" - A riff can repeat in your head for days on end and be welcome there, it is one of the greats. Standard rock-y chorus.
06. "Citizen Erased" - An epic. THE Epic. "Citizen Erased" captures every element of Muse in one 7 minute brilliance-a-thon. Powerful, heavy riff, amazing chorus, quiet interlude, random solo, beautiful piano outro. A tour de force.
07. "Micro Cuts" - A great track. Matt showcases his haunting falsetto vocals over quiet verses and sludgy powerful choruses. Rocking outro, with one of Muse's great riffs.
08. "Screenager" - Some great spanish-tinged guitar on this track, and a hauntingly beautiful chorus with those same arpeggios. A great quiet moment.
09. "Darkshines" - Another underrated track. Latin tinged verses with lovely bass, heavy distorted chorus, and a great faux brass solo.
10. "Feeling Good" - A great cover of the amazing Nina Simone track. A sing-a-long song with a great rock edge, and a creative verse sung through a megaphone.
11. "Megalomania" - Great way to end a track. Recorded on a pipe organ, with almost circus style verses, amazing choruses and an epic outro, with the chord at the end ending the album on a high.
Lyrics — 10
Matthew Bellamy, the driving force of creativity, manages to write meaningful lyrics about even the most usual song topics such as love. With the powerful anti-government anthem that is "New Born", to the quiet love lyrics of "Screenager", to the angry, negative almost anti-religion lyrics of "Hyper Music", Muse can cover a wide variety of different subjects in their songs. Matt's beautiful voice can song hard and soft, high and low, so there is really no problem with the musicality of the vocals fitting the songs. A great writer, Matt could probably fit anything to anything. Superb from the boys.
Overall Impression — 9
I was wondering whether I'd truly like Muse after "Showbiz". It had some great tracks, but it didn't really keep the energy going all the way through, and then there were the Radiohead comparisons that have since plauged the band. "Origin Of Symmetry" is so great that I'm surprised that people didn't realise how much it kicked those comparisons in the face with a steel-toed boot. "Origin" keeps the energy flowing all the way through, with every track having something different to love. Every time I listen to it, I find something new to love about one of the tracks. It is a near perfect album. My only problem with it is that Muse peaked too soon with it. It was such a great album that they could never write anything as good. And they never have.