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"Eternal Musings", Relevant
« en: Jue, 30 de Nov del 2006, a las 09:57:13 »
Eternal Musings by Joseph Clevinger
Probing the Unknown with Muse

"At one point in their lives, Everyone has [wondered] what happens when we die" - Muse bassist Chris Wolstenholme says. "Some people think nothing. Some people think in life after death. Some people are completely unsure."
It’s this dark uncertainty that helps define the British rock trio’s music. A fear of death. A fear of the unknown. The cold loneliness of space. A desire for the apocalypse.

As teenagers, Wolstenholme, lead singer Matthew Bellamy and drummer Dominic Howard competed in Devon, England. Their act was a display of raw emotion and violence that climaxed with the destruction of everything on stage. Including the rented sound equipment. The judges liked what they saw.
In the decade since then, Muse has built a huge following throughout England, and more recently in the United States. And throughout, themes of the eternal and the unknown have been pervasive in everything the band has done.
"It is possible to make music that goes beyond everyday life and beyond life in general, something timeless that speaks about existence," Bellamy says "I think it is possible to find something on a more spiritual level."

The band success and the deep connection that they have found with their fans beg the question: What is it that draws people to Muse’s often-pessimistic, always deeply literate ponderings? Why do people connect so deeply with doubt and fear?
Wolstenholme sees this struggle as central to human nature. "I guess we are just as curious as human beings to know what else is out there" he says. "I’m curious and frustrated at not knowing."
This frustration was particularly prevalent on the band’s 2003 release, Absolution. "The carnage runs through the album lyrically and musically" Wolstenholme says.

For the band’s newest release, Black Holes and Revelation, Muse intentionally stayed away from weaving a common theme or tone throughout the album. "This time around, it doesn’t really sit in one place for too long" Wolstenholme says. "Musically and lyrically it does kind of jump around a bit."
While the album does not have a unifying theme, apocalyptic overtones are still evident. The album makes reference to Muse’s obsession with the book of Revelation and the apocalypse, merging these with imagery of alien civilizations and cosmic events. Even the album art feeds the motif. It features four figures, ostensibly the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, seated at a table with the back drop of the Martian landscape.

While many might say that the new album’s lack of a unifying element is a new experiment for the group, Wolstenholme feels that this kind of openness to change has always been Muse’s philosophy.
"It’s always been experimental" he says.
Many have called the album politically charged, but Wolstenholme insists that Muse is not trying to make an overt political statement. He warns against taking defined political stances in music. "In order to write in that way, you obviously need to be pretty queued up on your politics" he says. "You can’t get things wrong when you start singing about that."
Wolstenholme claims Muse does not attempt to have this kind of galvanizing and well-studied message. "I don’t think we’ve ever been like that. [Our songs] always come from a much more emotional angle."

Bellamy agrees that the album’s take on political events comes mostly from a largely emotional level. He says that he personally feels "mistrust for the people in power. [I have] feelings of extreme mistrust of the media, government, secret government-that feeling of helplessness, that’s where the more extreme moments of fear and panic and apocalyptic feelings are coming from."
This does not stop fans from reading messages into the group’s work. Many fans have developed an emotional attachment and devote a lot of time interpreting the band’s often cryptic lyrics. But Wolstenholme says interpretation is largely up to the listener. Each song may take on different meanings to different listeners, and this is entirely appropriate. "Personally I think that’s the way lyrics should be" he says. "It’s nice if you can listen to a song and feel [that it’s] being sung to you personally, even if it takes ona whole new meaning."
Of course, the band has their fair share of responsibility in fans reading into their lyrics. In an interview with Q Magazine, Bellamy admitted that his often bizarre infatuations with conspiracy theories, science fiction, and spirituality lend to this intense analysis. "Some things that I say get taken out of context" he says. "But they are real feelings. I think a lot. I ponder stuff. I like to construct answers for unanswerable things."
As a result, deep and cryptic meanings have been read into the band’s song titles. Muse has twice led fans on scavenger hunts through clues hidden in their set lists. Set lists from their live shows have contained alternate song titles that were anagrams for email addresses, passwords and locations that led fans to concealed prizes - bicycles on one tour and a signed guitar on the next.
Wolstenholme says that the band was not trying to build up a mystique. "It was all just a bit of a laugh, really" he says. "It was just an excuse to get rid of the bikes." Wolstenholme and his band mates were surprised to see fans take the contest and puzzles so seriously. He tells a story of hanging a bike from a bridge, obscured in the undergrowth, one night after a show. The band posted some clues on their website and went to sleep. "We went on the message boards the next morning to see if anyone had cracked it" he says "some guy had driven like for five or six hours, got a speeding ticket, got the bike, got back in his car, went home and before we’d woken up the next day, there were pictures of this bike in this guy’s bedroom in a city that was about 300 miles away."

Yet, for all the fun and games, Muse still has an aura of darkness swirling about them. The same sense of existential woe permeates their music. This kind of hopelessness and fear of the unknown recurs again and again. The band’s outlook seems to be summed up best in their song "The Thoughts of a Dying Atheist."
Wolstenholme explains the questions the song raises. Is it possible to live your life without any kind of religion or any kind of afterlife and know when you die, there’s nothing afterward?" He says. “Can you actually do that without being scared? It is possible to comfortably go without believing in anything?”
The implication seems to be that it’s not. That, on some deep level, Muse feels the fear so many do of reaching the end of life with no hope of something beyond.
Is Wolstenholme, like the character in the song, like the ideas suggested by so much of the band’s work, afraid of dying? "I think we all are because we don’t know what it means."


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