By: Jaime' En Fuego
Americans aren't always as ahead of the curve as they would wish to believe.
Being responsible for many of the most pivotal movements in relevant popular music during the last century would certainly instill a heavy dose of doleful arrogance into a great deal of your average aspiring artists, most notably if your country's contributions were the very blues and jazz music that inspired rock and roll, hip hop and all of their rampant respective offshoots and sub-genres. However, this does not completely exonerate presumably keen judges from letting legitimately revelatory material like that from symphonic English rockers MUSE initially slip right through their fingers.
This was the very dire dilemma which the group was forced to endure upon the completion of their heavily ambitious 1999 debut full-length Showbiz, a reference to the pressure they felt to transcend the meager and modest surroundings where they originated by achieving deserving fame and acclaim. That record performed surprisingly well for an independent release in the UK, crawling as high as numero 29 on British Album Chart, yet beyond turning a few heads with their hypnotic single "Muscle Museam," the United States paid little attention, with critics like Rolling Stone merely unfairly dubbing them as a heavier, dumber version of the occasionally overhyped cynicists Radiohead. When American distributor Maverick Records feared that the increasingly falsetto and effects-laden vocal leanings courtesy of lead singer Matthew Bellamy on the group's second album The Origin Of Symmetry would affect commercial radio airplay potential, MUSE suffered a rather heavy blow when they lost their US distribution deal upon deciding not to cave in to the meddling demands of the men signing the checks across the pond.
Yet reclamation of dignity transpired almost immediately once glowing critical reviews for that "passed over" sophomore record's orchestral levels of envelope pushing creativity began to pour in from all over Europe, helping to pave the way for a U.S. deal when 2003's Absolution debuted at the top of the charts in the UK and the following year finally cracked the consciousness on the other side of the Atlantic with yearning singles like "Time Is Running Out" and "Hysteria." Bloated corporate giant Warner Brothers gobbling up MUSE soon after gave songwriter, guitarist and pianist Bellamy, along with bassist Chris Wolstenholme and percussionist Dominic Howard the mountains of dinero necessito to pursue their most elaborate musical musings on 2006's Black Holes And Revelations, trading some of their breakthrough effort's rich ferocity and bare emotion for sprawling soundscapes on sci-fi western gunfights with "Knights Of Cyndonia" and Prince-piloted trips through a galactic portal of funk on "Supermassive Black Hole."
Already justifiably enormous all across Europe, MUSE soon saw their notoriety come full circle with a stunning sold out performance in New York City's famous Madison Square Garden on the US leg of their 2007 tour. The group snatched the final piece of power away from their superiors by producing 2009's The Resistance completely by themselves at a home built studio and took their music in an even more epic and operatic direction than ever before by closing the album with a three movement symphony entitled "Exogenesis," which spearheads and epitomizes the radical and psychedelic themes on display throughout the proceedings. It went on to top the charts in 19 different countries and even charted in at numero tres in the United States. A brilliant, colorful gateway revealed on the album's cover is reminiscent of the doors to a larger worldwide audience that had finally opened for MUSE, as evidenced through vindicated validation by their first ever Grammy Awards victory in 2011 for 'Best Rock Album.' That triumph laid the groundwork for their latest release The 2nd Law, an experimental foray into reverb-drenched electronic breakdowns, debuting in the group's highest U.S. position at #2 on the Billboard Charts and receiving immediate nominations once again for Rock categories Best Album and Song for "Madness," which features an Orwellian sliver of the severely surreal for its video as seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek0SgwWmF9w. In just a few months the album has already gone Platinum in England and continues its current conquest of the Americas behind an arena tour of the most outright epic proportions. The New World may have been a few steps behind with MUSE, but there's no doubt their emergence to dominance was certainly worth the wait!
Follow me to US Airways Center where MUSE will be inciting incessant excitement from across the Valley of the Sun with a pivotal 7:30pm performance on March 16, 2013. Your time is running out to sing for absolution!