Muse – Absolution

by Suw on August 21, 2003

It’s been a good year for music both new and simply new to me. Aqualung, Athlete, Blur, Hot Hot Heat, Jeff Hanson, The Shins, Rob Dougan, The Thrills, Tom McRae, Turin Breaks. And that’s only a small sample. It’s been a vintage year, and the best of the them? I wonder.

Years ago, it would have been in 99 i guess, I heard this song. It stuck in my head, plagued me, tortured me, beautifully anguished. That song was Sunburn. I did something I hardly ever do – I bought a single. Showbiz was a great album. Raw. Pained. Beautiful.

Then two years ago came Origins of Symmetry and it stole away the breath from my lungs. I spent the Eisteddfod playing it to friends until they recognised its greatness, its genius. Bliss, what an aptly named song. The video I would sit and watch again and again and again and again. Matt Bellamy, pillar-box red hair, falling into oblivion whilst my heart beat out of my chest.

Now… now we have Absolution. We have Time is Running Out, we have Falling Away With You, we have Hysteria. And we have 53:36 of beauty, anguish, pain, love, loss and some seriously overblown megalomanic rock-operatic melodramatic gorgeousness.

I don’t know how Matt Bellamy does it. This is the most overdone album I’ve ever listened to, overwritten, overplayed, overthetop, crawling over every inch of my skin, getting under it, getting in my blood, in my veins, in my brain and turning me into something I rarely get to be. Here, now, I am spirited away, made whole, made new, made beautiful. And it’s not due to the rare treat of JD and Coke, although that adds a certain something to the proceedings, (but for reasons different than you might imagine, reasons that have to do with synaesthetic memory rather than alcohol content).

It must be the chord changes. Maybe it’s the strings. The riffs. The timbre of Bellamy’s voice, so mournful, so full of so many lifetimes of hurt, so beautiful it could make you cry. Maybe it’s the distorted guitars, the fuzz bass, the vibrato that tremors though his plaintive tones.

However lonely, lost and isolated I’ve ever been, Matt’s felt worse. However deserted, isolated and despairing I’ve been Matt’s been worse. However much I’ve lost, thrown away or has slipped through my fingers, Matt’s lost much, much more. I can tell. I can feel it. I know it. And it’s beautiful.

But more than that, there’s something more to this album. To Muse. They do something that few bands can do. They achieve something with their music which is more powerful than any book, any movie, any poem. Time is Running Out elicits a very real, very physical reaction. To say it gets under my skin doesn’t communicate the half of it.

It makes my skin tingle, makes my lungs starve for air, makes me gasp and fight for breath. I can feel my heart in my chest, feel the shape of it, feel the music wrap around it as if Matt is holding it in his hand, squeezing, keeping it beating when instead it wants to stop. It’s like when you catch the eye of that really gorgeous person on the far side of the room, and they stand, smile, walk over and ask you to dance.

I think I'm drowning
I wanna break the spell
that you've created

you're something beautiful
a contradiction
I wanna play the game
I want the friction

you will be
the death of me
yeah, you will be
the death of me

bury it
I won't let you bury it
I won't let you smother it
I won't let you murder it

our time is running out
and our time is running out
you can't push it underground
we can't stop it screaming out

I wanted freedom
but I'm restricted
I tried to give you up
but I'm addicted

now that you know I'm trapped
sense of elation
you'll never dream of breaking
this fixation

you will squeeze the life out of me

bury it
I won't let you bury it
I won't let you smother it
I won't let you murder it

our time is running out
and our time is running out
you can't push it underground
we can't stop it screaming out

how did it come to this?

ooh ooh ooh, yeaha yeaha yeaha yeaha yeah
ooh ooh ooh, yeaha yeaha yeaha yeaha yeah
ooh ooh ooh, yeaha yeaha yeah-eh-eh

you will suck the life out of me

bury it
I won't let you bury it
I won't let you smother it
I won't let you murder it

our time is running out
and our time is running out
you can't push it underground
we can't stop it screaming out

how did it come to this?

ooh ooh ooh, yeaha yeaha yeaha yeaha yeah
ooh ooh ooh, yeaha yeaha yeaha yeaha yeah
ooh ooh ooh, yeaha yeaha yeah-eh-eh

Elliott Smith can make me cry. The Super Furry Animals can make me a Cymraes. Muse make me want to make like bunnies. I don’t know what it is. Gruff’s more gorgeous. Elliott more delicate. But when Matt sings, oh dearie, dearie me…

If I pursue this train of thought any further I could end up somewhere that we really don’t want to be going in public.

hopelessly I'll love you endlessly
hopelessly I'll give you everything
but I won't give you up
I won't let you down
and I won't leave you falling
If the moment ever comes

When I was in a band a couple of years ago, I really wanted to be in Muse. I wanted to be Matt Bellamy. I wanted to pour my heart out to the world, to make people feel how he makes me feel. I wanted to make people want to cry, want to make like bunnies, want to take the world by the throat and kiss it til it swooned for air.

Eventually, I concluded that music wasn’t my medium, no matter how much I tried. No amount of hard work and practice would make me a songwriter like Matt. No number of industry contacts could place in me the talent I didn’t have.

Instead, I turned to words to do the same thing. When I wake at night, it’s not melodies that haunt me, but words, swarming through my head like monarch butterflies, everywhere, obliterating everything else in a fluttering storm of wings. I know where I am with words.

But no matter. Muse’s Absolution is going to be one of the great albums of this year. I am not surprised, just grateful that such a thing of beauty exists in my life when Kansas is waving bye-bye.

A visitor September 5, 2003 at 9:50 pm

That was a really good review of an album that I have been waiting ages for. I've got a couple of weeks left to wait, but from your review, I just know it's going to be Muse as good as they have ever been. Thanx.


Suw September 5, 2003 at 9:59 pm

JenX, if you liked Origins, I promise that you will love Absolution. God, it's an amazing album. It just sends tingles down my spine. Hysteria is one of the sexiest tracks ever, the sort of music that will turn your knees to jelly.


Anyway, i'm really glad you like the review. Please come back and tell me what you think of the album when you've heard it!

A visitor September 12, 2003 at 3:09 pm

Wow, that was some seriously over-the-top review .. guess in line with the album. I liked Showbiz but didn't like Origins (apart from a few tracks) .. I've
heard Absolution though and it has some pretty darn great tracks on it, TIRO, Hysteria and Butterflies and Hurricanes e.g. The funny thing is that I'd
bet you mr Bellamy has actually been doing pretty good and hasn't felt half of the pain displayed in his lyrics. But that's good lyrics writing for you,
you create a persona that fits your mood/music/idea .. and it may have nothing to do with yourself as a person. Having been in a band and writing songs
for a long time (no, nothing as good as Muse 🙂 but, hey, we all try right) I've noticed this, I right the sadest songs when I'm really drunk/happy and
sometimes write an upbeat song because I'm in a bad mood / depressed. It's coo how these things work actually.
But, hey, I'm happy you like it so much 🙂 even if I can't relate to the extreme feelings. The only song that really provoked an emotional response for me was “Uno” because, I guess, it fitted perfectly with a certain state/person in my life who “could've been #1 but blew it away”. My idea of sheer beauty in muic is more towards Sigur Ros's Agaetis Byrjun og, of course, Radiohead, the master's of the genre (I mean, the Bends was Muse's inspiration as a band, they've admitted that themselves .. Muse have developed way beyond the Radiohead influence of course but that's the band that started it all, amazing). 🙂 Songs like Let Down are some seriously emotional and beautiful tracks, but rock on Muse 🙂 wish we had more good bands like that.
Let me recommend some bands, since I see we like some of the same stuff:
Elbow, DJ Shadow (espeiclaly Entroducing), Massive Attck (Mezzanine album), Lemonjelly, Sigur Ros, Low (great band, especially I could Live in Hope), the Din Pedals (if you can find this band, they're absolutely amazing and sound a lot like Muse they're album got completely lost though and they never even made it anywhere), Ours (the Distorted Lullabies album). 🙂

bulletproof []

Suw September 12, 2003 at 5:14 pm

Thanks for the comment, Bulletproof.

I have to agree with you, review definitely over the top, and definitely in line with Absolution. 😉 And I hope that, no matter how many reviews of Absolution you read, mine will continue to be the single most ott one that you come across. Call me strange, but I quite like the idea of having written a review that prompts its own review.

I'm pretty sure you're right about Mr Bellamy being a lot more chipper these days than he used to be. After all, he's no longer the struggling artiste he used to be. I also agree with your pick of TIRO, Hysteria and B&H – they are the three tracks that I most like having now listened almost continually to the full album since I wrote this. Personally, I think Matt's at the top of his game, and hope he stays there.

Certainly The Bends was a huge inspiration – you can hear that right from day one. However, I do feel that Radiohead (of whom I used to be Official Biggest Fan) did loose their way a little. Although I find it hard to be objective about them because of certain events that occurred between me and them which they will have forgotten but which still fester in my psyche all these years on. Guilt is a weird-as-fuck thing, even when one has nothing to be all that guilty about.

However, I'm getting over my own emotional choking and think that they may even be showing a return to form with Hail to the Thief. Certainly they are considering what I've heard of it so far. I shall have to nail down my past, and give them another chance.

Low i quite like, although they a bit bloody depressing for me. Elbow – I've heard one track, I liked it, I must investigate more. Massive Attack – know the singles, that's as far as I've gone with them. Always meant to get Mezzanine but never did. Ditto with Lemonjelly. The rest I don't know so will keep eyes open. Thanks for the recommendations!!

Anyway, I appreciate the comment. Hope you continue to visit!

A visitor September 21, 2003 at 11:46 am

Nice review!

I used to be radiohead fan too, but now I have to admitt that Matthew is simply an even more genius songwriter than Thom.

Radiohead has had their time, now it's time to move on to the next big thing..

Just listen to “Butterflies & Hurricanes”,which I think is the best track on Absolution, it's almost as genius as Rachmaninov and as catchy as Queen…

I don't know what it is, but I haven't felt this since I discovered Smashing Pumpkins

This is an album that, hopefully, will become timeless


A visitor September 22, 2003 at 3:41 am

I came across your review while searching for the muse album cover to put on my iTunes artwork, and I've read your review and I have to say what you say is absolutly true! And I write this hopeing to say that I am ONE of the FIRST people to own what is now my favorite album ever! I happend to come across the album 2 days early from its proposed release date of the 22nd when i was in Brussles on the 20th, and since then, i've fallen in love with the album, listening to it 10 times in total so far. I have to also have to point out how amazing songs like “Stockholm Syndrome” where the sudden changes of guitar take you by surprise every time, “Apocalypse Please” which takes you on an amazing ride of uncountable amounts of different sounds, “Time Is Running Out” which starts out amazing, and progressively better, how ever hard that is to beleive, “Hysteria”….speachless and “Butterflies & Hurricanes” which is split into two amazing parts where each half very sneakily brings you into an amzing fast paced melody where Matt's Mozart piano playing flips your ears upside down and inside out. Starting from “Origin of Symmetry”, then moving to back to their first album “Showbiz”, and then to this? I just hope that every Muse fan out there who buys this album falls in love with it as much as i have.


Jeffrey []

Suw September 22, 2003 at 10:00 am

J and Jeffrey,

Thanks for your comments – nice to know you agree with my thoughts. I absolutely love Matt's piano playing. It's not often you get piano on an indie album, but he just makes it sound like such an amazingly rock instrument! Works perfectly, imo.

A visitor September 23, 2003 at 6:53 pm

Breathtaking. The intelligence and pure unadulterated genius behind this album still makes my heart skip a beat. It is a masterpiece, a true work of art. In “Butterflies and Hurricanes” the contrast from the sound of Muse and the piano riff is the work of a rare talent. Put a silence to all critics, this album is beautiful, eaily one of the best i have ever had the pleasure to listen to.


A visitor September 24, 2003 at 7:43 am

Muse's is the only band that expands limits and absolutely DARES!!!!! What a marvellous abdn and album and thanks for your superb review

Robert Dee

Suw September 24, 2003 at 8:08 am

Joolz and Robert,

Thanks also!

Ah, if only there was a way to silence all critics, eh? I've not read any other reviews of Absolution (don't really feel the need to, considering I've made up my mind) but I bet there are several who just don't get it… Always are.

A visitor September 25, 2003 at 4:33 pm

Your review instantly recalled the feeling when I heard *running out of time* for the first time…(or Sunburn, or Bliss for that matter, you know what I mean)
Great writing, I couldn't care less if it's over the top, (your review or the album) it takes me where I want to be; high up and loving it!

Gin-Gin []

A visitor September 27, 2003 at 10:49 pm

Great review. I managed to get ahold of the album back in August and I was completely blown away from the first moments of Apocalypse Please.

Like you, I also heard Sunburn years ago and have been swooning over the band ever since. Why barely anyone in North America has heard of this band, I will never know.


A visitor September 30, 2003 at 3:10 am

Found your review while i was looking for other peoples opinions on what I think is one of the best albums I've heard in a long, long time. Have been waiting for it for months, and it definitely doesn't disappoint.
Anything/one that dares to produce something so amazingly OTT (even by Muse standards) and pull it off deserves our admiration without a doubt
Bulletproof- LOVE your taste in music, esp. Shadow, Massive and Lemonjelly.
Can't wait to go back through my collection and re-listen to all the other artists I can hear floating around in Absolution (Queen, Radiohead, Rachmaninov, Yeah Yeah Yeahs)


A visitor September 30, 2003 at 6:24 pm

ive just bought the album and i think its even better than the previous ones. and happy that i got tickets the day before they sold out wahey! the songs really are beuatiful tho and matt really is a genius.


Suw September 30, 2003 at 6:47 pm

Gin-Gin, Iris, Bozo, thanks for your comments! 😀

Sam – you have tickets? I am so, so jealous… It's to my eternal horror that I have never seen Muse live. I was hoping to this time round, but I'm so skint that the mere thought of spending money on gigs brings me out in hives. Have a good time on my behalf, won't you?

A visitor October 1, 2003 at 9:18 pm

Lovely review – and I agree completely. I've heard Matt Bellamy's voice described as “achingly beautiful”, which is the perfect phrase.

This new album is perhaps not as catchy or even as loud as Origin of Symmetry, but there's something in there that was lacking even from the two previous, fantastic albums. Something soulful, painful but beautiful.

Almost as painful, in fact, as forking over my cash to the Warner Music Group, who own EastWest Records, Muse's record label.

Stormcaller []

A visitor October 10, 2003 at 7:52 pm

Awesome review of the best album to come out this year. New to Muse in the last week after getting absolution i own all their albums, and although Showbiz is awesome and OoS is divine, Absolution is simply one of the best albums ever made. You said you haven't read any reviews, well take the time and look on NME, they gave the album a 9, frankly it deserves a 10 but hey, in a world dominated by JT rock this awesome getting recognised is enough. Also check out the bands Mogwai, if you like Sigur ros, and portishead, if you like Massive Attack. and here's to muse on what could almost be the album of the century

BlurbWhore []

A visitor October 29, 2003 at 9:31 pm

muse rock man, end of story!


Suw November 20, 2003 at 10:36 pm

Thank you, thank you, and thank you all for your comments.

Muse do indeed rock. 😉

A visitor December 2, 2003 at 1:04 am

'Absolution' is one of the most beautiful albums I own. Every note is clean and the vocals just take my breath away. Matt, Chris and Dom have made what will probably end up as one of my favourite albums of all time. Album of the year- definately.

Hopefully, this album will be the opening of doors to all the bands that deserve a listen in…

Franco []

A visitor December 16, 2003 at 4:25 pm

Its 16 December now and Absoltion is by far and away the best album of 2003. I find it hard to believe but it doesnt seem to be featuring in any music critics best album lists. IMO critics will look back in years to come and wonder why they didnt rate it best album 2003.

graeme []

A visitor January 13, 2004 at 6:03 am

just thought i would point out that in the song 'time is running out' the lyrics are not 'sense of elation', but 'since ovulation'.


Suw January 13, 2004 at 9:01 am

Well, either works in context, and I think i prefer 'sense of elation' but to be fair I didn't have the lyrics available to me at the time. And Matt's not exactly the clearest enunciator in the world. 😉

but thank you for the correction anyway.

A visitor May 24, 2004 at 4:52 am

muse_ my new Favortie Band


A visitor May 31, 2004 at 3:58 pm

I just thought i'd point out, as i have the words here in front of me that it IS 'sense of elation' and NOT 'since ovulation'. I have only just bought the Muse album and MY GOD!!! I LOVE IT!! My fav track is 'Falling away with you'


A visitor June 24, 2004 at 9:50 pm

ive just bought this album because “time is running out” has constantly been playing in my head since i heard it on the radio. your review puts it to the exact. Absolution is, simply put, amazing. it plays to the deepest of emotions and is so moving it makes you want to sing it a the top of your lungs regardless if you know the words, i cant stop playing this album its contageous. i love it.

breanne []

A visitor July 9, 2004 at 10:42 pm

Hey peoples!
I am a songwritrer and have unimaginable ambition of being as good and as perfect and as good as Matt. I need that nack with words as much as you need the skill in music. I am ok on the music front but struggle on the lyrics front. I find it difficult to say what i mean and have a full and perfect song at the same time! It d always say what i'm thinking, and ends up using cliched comments like im falling apart or something! Maybe if i could write matts music and have your ability with words i might be writing the best songs ever. Muse are so amazing that my standards have become so high, because of them, that i have'nt heard or bought a decent album since Absolution! It is also mind blowing that such an intricate collection of masterpieces has been concieved by a human being atall and not just a presence of perfection!

loz []

A visitor July 17, 2004 at 2:00 am

Hey Everyone!
My boyfriend introduced me to Muse & I really like them. My favorite song is Falling Away with you. Does anyone know where i can get a ringtone for my cell phone to this song? THanks


A visitor July 21, 2004 at 9:29 pm

A friend of mine pulled out her CD player and headphones at the bar yesterday when we were having a drink. She played me “Butterflies and Hurricanes” and I was absolutely floored. I haven't been this excited since I got turned on to Radiohead. Best of all? Absolution is for sale at the iTunes Music Store.

Thanks for your emotional review. I just googled the album because I wanted to see if other people were going as crazy over this album as I am. You verified my suspicions.


A visitor September 15, 2004 at 9:35 pm

youre so right about the bunnies. some of the songs just make me ready to go.
i cant help it


A visitor September 29, 2004 at 8:06 pm

Thank you for writing that beautiful review. It's difficult to characterize the emotions that powerful art elicits, and I feel that you've done a brilliant job. In fact, I'm convinced that art is only as powerful as the observer is disposed to experience it…would LOVE to be in your head when you hear Muse. I personally haven't jones this hard on a band since first hearing Pantera or Primus. I'm happy to be alive in a time that allows me such easy access to this kind of musical brilliance. 🙂


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