Muse's brilliant second album in order of greatness
Andrew Trendell

11:28 17th July 2014

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17 July: On this day, back in 2001, Muse released their epic, totally insane second album, Origin Of Symmetry. Ditching the indier leanings of their debut, Muse returned as terrifying wall of prog-noise - incorporating hard rock, classical, pop, jazz and everything in between. 

From the opening, now legendary, notes of lead single 'Plug In Baby', it became obvious that Muse were a band reborn - setting them on the road to the stadium-filling, space-rock icons that they are today. 

Not only was it the album that established them as one of the best live bands on the planet, but it's regarded by most as a modern classic. Here are Origin Of Symmetry's 11 tracks, ranked in order of greatness. 

  • 11. 'Feeling Good': Sure, one of the most genius and surprising covers you can hope to hear, but it pales in comparison to the sheer insanity and inventiveness of Muse's own songwriting on Origin Of Symmetry - especially when it took the place that b-sides such as 'Futurism' and 'Shrinking Universe'

  • 10. 'Screenager': A Tom Waits-inspired tender lament of the corruption of youth, featuring Matt Bellamy at his most tender (and also llama's toenails and animal bones on percussion). Pretty cinematic stuff, but there are far higher peaks on display on OOS.

  • 9. 'Megalomania': Arguably one of Bellamy's best lyrics, this haunting closer sent shivers down the spines of all present when he played it on the pipe organ at the iconic Royal Albert Hall (seriously, Youtube it - breathtaking)

  • 8. 'Darkshines': A painfully underrated Hispanic-tinged piece of guitar mastery that features one of Bellamy's best howls and one hell of an outro. They really ought to play it live more.

  • 7. 'Plug In Baby': The anthem that saw Muse first threaten the mainstream and saw them born into guitar hero supermassive mentalists - probably because they were on hallucinogenic mushrooms when they recorded it. As huge a live staple as it may be, we can't help but feel that there are stronger moments on OOS worthy of more attention.

  • 6. 'Bliss': The band's first real 'pop' song, and one that holds a special place in the hearts of Muse fans of a certain age - largely due to the band ending every show on the Origin Of Symmetry tour with it, with a grand finale of explosions, stage acrobatics and a shower of rose petals.

  • 5. 'Microcuts': By far one of the most challenging and astounding tracks they've ever recorded, it lies at the centre of what makes Origin Of Symmetry such a masterpiece: darkness, paranoia, fearless ambition, and it's heavy as hell. That outro riff sounds bloody brilliant live too.

  • 4. 'Hyper Music': Few bands could get away with releasing a track this delightfully demonic as a single.

  • 3. 'Newborn': The incredible opener to the seminal Origin Of Symmetry, this was the first track to really crystallise the epic melodrama and balls-out madness that Muse would come to do so well. From the haunting lullaby-esque intro to that monolithic riff, guitar solo, the desperate gasps in between vocals and absolutely MEGA chorus, it's far more worthy of the classic status that 'Plug In Baby' overshadows it with.

  • 2. 'Space Dementia': This thundering piano epic is an entire opera, packed into six minutes.

  • 1. 'Citizen Erased': The jewel in the glittering crown of Origin Of Symmetry, fan favourite 'Citizen Erased' sees Muse set the bar for ambitious stadium rock. At a time when everyone was stripping their sound down to meet the ascent of Converse-wearing garage rock, Muse were storming the world with their freakshow live tour as three mad scientists showed that rock wasn't stale - the focal point of those gigs being this 7 minute, multi-layered, modern rock existential odyssey. It's their 'Paranoid Android' - albeit infinitely better.

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