Continuing our My Inspiration series, we hear from Drown This City‘s vocalist Alex Reade about THE band that changed her life for the better. While I was already fan of albums from the band in question, Alex’s palpable appreciation for Muse inspired me to give them a relisten. I’ll step aside and let Alex tell you the story about her “undisputed favourite band of all time!” and what they mean to her.
Picture this; baby teenage clean-skinned shy Alex, small only child, strict overbearing parents, private school hell – and my whole life planned out in a flash; classical music, opera, elite prestige. I really hated performing, I was terrified – but I was pushed into show choirs, the violin and performing as a classical singer. A completely introverted and overshadowed soul – I really didn’t have a voice of my own, but there was certainly a tension there building and building.
And one day someone handed me a Sony discman – psych – and as I unwrapped the twisted mess of corded headphones and blasted Muse’s “Hysteria” for the first time, my life was forever changed. Until then I’d been on a diet of pop, indie, and classical music. I’d never gotten to the gritty of music, so it really was a lightning bolt moment.
I remember crying myself to sleep after that with Muse on repeat and I just felt truly free for the first time. I’d never considered singing for myself, let alone leading a band onstage and singing however the f*ck I wanted, hell I could scream it. I just cried and cried dreaming of being beside Matt Bellamy on stage and releasing all of my emotions and just flowing all this repression and sadness out of me.
That was a really incredible moment that when I look back now it was actually the first time I managed to shake some conditioning and take control of my own personal power. I packed up my life and moved to Melbourne, joined the first metal band I found on Melband.com, and never looked back. I auditioned staring at the wall – but we got there in the end.
A lot of people directly compare Muse to Radiohead, but I personally feel Muse is one of those unique bands throughout history that cannot be compared, replicated, or copied by anyone else. A true unique force instrumentally, vocally, and lyrically – we’re talking themes of social alienation, apocalypse, catastrophic war, conspiracy theories, and brain washing – all mixed with sexy bass and rock n roll guitars, heavy as f*ck thundering drums, classical piano, electronic synth, and samples – and Bellamy’s voice has a range of over 3 octaves – he sings higher than me!
In the same vein that no one can be Deftones and Deftones are purely iconic, I see Muse in this way and I really encourage anyone reading this to go back through their discography to their earlier releases, even back to Showbiz – “Cave” and “Sunburn” are great songs – but start with the full album of Origin of Symmetry and do not stop!
I went back and revisited a few albums when writing this and fully blissed out. It is so hard to name stand outs when each song has its own brilliance and deep stamp on my, but I think if you have never head Muse before, give this order of songs a go:
- MK Ultra
- Plug In Baby
- New Born
- Map of the Problematique
- Knights of Cydonia
- Time Is Running Out
That being said, if you only listen to Muse once in your life make sure you listen to “Hysteria” – you will not be disappointed.
Muse and Matt Bellamy’s voice managed to reach into my soul and call out the part of me that was hidden away. It whispered to me all the things I wasn’t supposed to feel, a burning dirty rebellion of the self, away from the conditioned dialogue running through my head on repeat. I felt a primal and desperate awaking in my body and mind when listening to these songs and I carried them through many years of my life for strength and for comfort.
Even years down my band journey, I felt lost and had a few years away from music where I
questioned my ability and I felt numb and completely dead inside. Muse had just released their song “MK Ultra” – I was on a family holiday in China and I found myself yet again running alone in the snow blasting Muse, just running and running and crying, the burning returning to my body – my heart was beating again. A sign from the universe correcting me back on my path. There is a deep heaviness in the instrumentals as well as a delicateness, Bellamy’s vocals range from soaring melodic highs to painful and desperate calls in a flash, there’s a classical touch, 80’s electronics, super SUPER heavy bass – it’s so overwhelming how unique this band can be, and to still be creating almost 30 years after their formation.
I’d never considered a reality outside of the path that had been paved for me and I’d never heard my own voice scream back at me so loudly. Muse truly ignited my passion for playing in a band and inspired me to transform my life. To feel so moved through listening to someone else’s message, I knew that this power could also be mine to share in.
I hope any readers of this can share in some of my joy for this historic band, and maybe you’ll find a tiny voice in you too that may have been silenced or locked away. Thank you to Depth for asking me to write this, I have been reminded of how it feels to discover something for the first time all over again and to be filled with a desire and passion that is unmatched anywhere else in weird thing we call life.
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