Absolution - Muse (2003)

Published on 20 April 2024 at 18:51

To hard launch music analysis on Elsey's Word Salad, I find it fitting to start with work from my favorite artist in the entire world: Muse. This is the first time you're seeing them on here, but it won't be the last. If you are unfamiliar with the British band, then think about the first Twilight movie and the iconic baseball scene. That's Muse. Beyond making sexy rock songs, there is much to unpack with the works from this band spanning over three decades: existentialism, religion, mental illness, toxic relationships, and identity. "Absolution" is one of the albums in their Holy Trinity of my favorite studio albums of theirs that I will examine, while honing in on the lyricism present in my favorite song from it, called "Fury."


In the course of their discography, we see shifts in their style, yet they still have their own sound that makes them, them. Described as alternative rock, progressive rock, "space rock", and electronic rock, they still manage to implement classical and operal sounds that makes their music quite beautiful. Their third studio album "Absoution", released in 2003, was the first time they gave a more polished feel with their production. This album experimented with orchestral tracks that were symbiotic with the apoctalyptic theme of the album. "Butterflies and Hurricanes" is the first song from this album I resonated with, as the stringed orchestra was such a unique sound. "The Small Print" and "Thoughts of a Dying Atheist" are other songs worth mentioning, for their impeccable lyrics. Frankly, I'm honestly recommending the entire album to anyone who'd be interested in this style of music, as I recommend any song in any of the Holy Trinity albums: Origin of Symmetry, Absolution, and Black Holes and Revelations.

"Fury" - Muse lyrics

"Fury" is such a beautiful song. You'll find that I call much of Muse's work "beautiful", so be prepared to see me throw that word around in my future postings regarding their works. I don't say it lightly, however. The main theme in this song is religion, while still adhering to the existentialist vibe that is present in the album. In all technicallity, this song is included in the album as a B-track, but I do not give a rip and I am going to address it as a song on the album flatly. Musically, the riff shares some similarity to the bass guitar part in Rage Against the Machine's "Without a Face". This song doesn't have any orchestral elements, and instead leans heavier on a harder experimental rock sound. 

The lyrics express an existential despair, with pleas of release from divine judgement. Just like "Thoughts of a Dying Atheist", there is an ironic contrast of a life deviod of religious devotion, while still demonstrating what seems to be a recognition of the denied Higher Power. I've always enjoyed the ways that Muse implements religious traumas and questioning in their songs, as it is always approached from a very broken, sometimes bitter, perspective. Given Matt Bellamy's impressive vocal range, the pining is made all-the-more impactful from his falsetto, which he does not stray from using often.

Some discourse has shown that people feel this song deserved to stay as a B-track, stating that the chorus was not good enough to capture their attention. I disagree! The chorus is the best part! And yes, that is usually the intentions in most songs! But the chorus in "Fury" is what had it on loop for months on end while I was in the shower early 2023. While I've been an avid Muse fan since 7th grade back in 2015, I rediscover songs of theirs as they hit closer to home in different eras of my life, and "Fury" was there for me at a time that I felt as though I was alone in the universe, abandoned by any loving Higher Power that could claim me. "[...] cleanse away our sins/ And we'll pray/ That there's no God/ To punish us/ And make a fuss/" is the expression of the desolation I felt at a time where it felt laughable to believe that as inconsequential as I was in the universe, I could have struggles so significant, and all in the hands of a loving energy out there that had let me go so astray. 

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