Year 6, Day 22: Muse – Black Holes and Revelations
- Take a Bow
- Supermassive Black Hole
- Map of the Problematique
- Soldier’s Poem
- City of Delusion
- Knights of Cydonia
- Glorious (Japanese release only)
About the Album
Black Holes and Revelations is the fourth studio album from English rock band, Muse. The album was recorded from August 2005 through December 2005 and released on July 3rd 2006 through Warner Brothers Records. The album peaked at number on the UK Albums Charts as well as peaked number nine on the Billboard 200. The album is certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Single Starlight peaked at number two on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks.
Thoughts on the Album
Let’s close out this week with a bang… and a big one at that. Like I said in a previous post, 2006 was an excellent year for albums. Like supermassively excellent. English alternative rockers, Muse, made a contribution that year to help make it just that awesomely excellent. 2006 was when I just starting to discover alternative rock, and Muse‘s Black Holes and Revelations helped solidified it as one of my more prefer genres of music to listen to. And it’s right off the bat from the beginning of the album why one can see how this album became so (super)massively popular: it’s experimentation.
Right from the opening, you pick up Muse experimenting with some pop sounds. Lead single Starlight, showcases this new found pop sound experiment, and this experiment easily makes it one of the most popular tracks off the album. The bassline throughout the track rolls and bounces, and I absolutely love it. In fact, a future Green Day song, Last of the American Girls, as a similar bass groove. Moving on, it’s the vocals and guitar work of Matt Bellamy that really shine like the stars at night on this album. Take a Bow showcases Bellamy’s vocals as he does an excellent job of building up the song to a climax before he belts out…
YOU’LL BURN IN HELL!
It’s Bellamy’s guitar work that nearly saves Invincible, however it can’t quite overcome a dull first three and a half minutes. But it’s at that point in the song where the tone shifts and takes one 180º turn and Bellamy whips out arguably the best guitar solo on any Muse song, ever… of all time. But it’s first half of the song that makes Invincible one of the weaker songs on the album.
All is not lost however, as Assassin comes in an steers the ship back in the right direction. In fact the final songs on Black Holes and Revelations are arguably the strongest on the album. Assassin leads off the second half of the album strong with some heavy drums. It’s a heavier sounding track and the drums absolutely power it… like a dynamo. However, it’s the excellent, massive, and downright awesome Knights of Cydonia that closes out the album with fireworks. It’s “galloping triplets”, tremolo picking, and power chords are fantastic and a bitch to try and play. It’s a track that is clearly influenced by the work of Freddie Mercury and Queen, because it’s on a scale all its own when it comes to epicness. Bellamy’s opening guitar riffs and vocals are excellent. It just builds and builds and builds until about the 3:18 mark where the band launches into a Queen-influenced sound singing…
No one’s gonna take me alive, the time has come to make things right, you and I must fight for our rights, you and I must fight to survive!
It’s this Queen-inspired vocal bridge that builds with the synth triplets and then those infamous galloping triplets enter on guitar and then all hell breaks loose. Bellamy and the rest of the band kick down the door and kick out the motherflipping jams.
(Side note: the music video for Knights of Cydonia is pretty awesome. Seriously, laser gun cowboys. Who doesn’t love cowboys with laser guns? #pewpew)
For the Japanese release, the album closes out with Glorious. After the epicness that is Knights of Cydonia, it is the perfect song to follow up and end the album with. It’s excellent and gorgeous.
Black Holes and Revelations could be one of the best albums of the previous decade. It’s an incredibly great album that while not quite perfect, it is a masterpiece. The first half of the album is pretty solid, though weaker than the second half, which is pretty weird because usually the second half of most albums are weaker than the first. An incredibly solid effort that was the right direction for a follow up album after Absolution. It’s the second half of Black Holes and Revelations that make this album. Come for the six minute epic that is Knights of Cydonia, stay for everything else. But seriously, a wild west motif and laser guns. Who says no to that? #pewpew