Origin of Symmetry
|Origin of Symmetry|
|Studio album by Muse|
|Released||17 July 2001|
|Recorded||September 2000 – February 2001|
|Singles from Origin of Symmetry|
Origin of Symmetry is the second studio album by English rock band Muse, released on 17 July 2001 by Mushroom Records and Taste Media. The album was a critical and commercial success in the UK, it peaked at number 3 in the UK Albums Chart and was certified platinum. The title and theme for the album comes from a concept put forward by the theoretical physicist Michio Kaku in his book Hyperspace.
On 26 and 28 August 2011, Muse designed and performed a special set at the Reading and Leeds Festivals to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Origin of Symmetry. The album was played from start to finish, marking the first time certain songs (such as "Darkshines" and "Hyper Music") had been played in several years.
The album was initially met with positive reviews, but has gone on to gain increasing favour with both fans and critics over time, with many now considering it a modern rock classic.
The development of the album came about during the band's extensive touring in promotion of Showbiz, with some of the material written and performed whilst on the road. The name and theme of the album comes from the book Hyperspace by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. In it he discusses how a future book about the discovery of supersymmetry should be entitled "The Origin of Symmetry", due to its implications in physics, in reference to the impact Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species had on biology. As is cited by Matt Bellamy: "The name of the album, 'Origin of Symmetry', is from a book about geometry of the universe and how it's all in beautiful balance, a perfect thing in ten dimensions. It explains all the mysterious forces we invented religions around." According to Bellamy, "everyone's been writing about the origin of life so now they'll start looking at the origin of symmetry; there's a certain amount of stability in the universe and to find out where it originates from would be to find out if God exists."
Production and composition
Recording took place at Ridge Farm Studios in Surrey and Real World Studio in Wiltshire, and additional recordings were made at David Gilmour's Astoria Studios, Richmond Studios and Abbey Road Studios in London and Sawmills Studio in Fowey, Cornwall. The album was mixed at Sawmills and mastered at Sony Music Studios in London. Origin of Symmetry was produced by David Bottrill, John Leckie (who previously worked on the band's first album, Showbiz) and the band themselves.
Origin of Symmetry features alternative rock, hard rock, and space rock throughout. Songs like "New Born", "Plug In Baby", and "Bliss" were recorded with producer David Bottrill during the middle of touring in late 2000, in Ridge Farm Studios, Surrey. The songs were recorded within just a few days, so the band later had to re-master the songs with the help of John Cornfield after finishing with the Showbiz tour in order to make them suitable for an album release. The relatively stripped down nature of these songs helped to set a contrast for the recording of the rest of the album. "New Born", "Plug In Baby" and "Bliss" were seen as the "backbone of the album", with the other material being more experimental and ambitious.
Origin of Symmetry saw the band experimenting with new instruments and dynamics. Dominic Howard (drums) expanded the standard rock drum kit with various other items of his own, including a balaphone and even animal bones on "Screenager". Matt Bellamy also used an organ at St Mary the Virgin's Church, Bathwick to record "Megalomania". Because of the requirement of the pipe organ, this song is rarely played live by Muse, perhaps the most notable occasions being at Muse's charity gig at the Royal Albert Hall and during the Hullabaloo concert in Paris.
Origin of Symmetry was to be released in the US on 28 August 2001 but the release was cancelled after Muse left Maverick Records, who previously released Showbiz in the United States. The record label asked the band to remove the falsetto vocals for the album's release, claiming that their presence would discourage radio play. Muse's refusal saw them part ways with the label, meaning that the album was not released in the US until 2005. However, the album did not chart on the Billboard 200 until February 2010, when it "debuted" at number 161, nearly a decade after its original release. The album was originally released as a CD-ROM with the MuseTV feature linked to online bonus material. This later ceased to function once the MuseTV media had been removed from the Internet. The CD was available in either a digipak or jewel case.
|Drowned in Sound||10/10|
Origin of Symmetry was met with positive reviews from critics. Roy Wilkinson of Q praised it as an "astonishing record... where extra-terrestrial fascinations meet the classical world's more unhinged impulses", adding that "comparisons with Radiohead that dogged Muse's early career now seem all but obsolete." Roger Morton of NME called it "amazing for such a young band to load up with a heritage that includes the darker visions of Cobain and Kafka, Mahler and The Tiger Lillies, Cronenberg and Schoenberg, and make a sexy, populist album. But Muse have carried it off." The Guardian's Betty Clarke, however, panned Origin of Symmetry as "unbelievably overblown, self-important and horrible" in a one-star review of the album. Stylus Magazine critic Tyler Martin conceded that Muse "are very good at their craft", but felt that "the constant overplaying of everything waters it all down immensely." Q later listed Origin of Symmetry as one of the best 50 albums of 2001, while Kerrang! named it the ninth best album of the year.
Origin of Symmetry has made appearances on lists of the greatest rock albums of the 2000s, both poll-based and on publication lists. In 2006, it placed at number 74 on Q magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Albums of All-Time, while in February 2008, the album placed at number 28 on a list of the Best British Albums of All Time determined by the magazine's readers. Kerrang! placed the album at number 20 in its 100 Best British Rock Albums Ever! List and at number 13 on its 50 Best Albums of the 21st Century list. Acclaimed Music ranks Origin of Symmetry as the 1,247th greatest album of all time.
In a retrospective review, Natalie Shaw of BBC Music wrote that Origin of Symmetry "shows a band with the drive and unfettered ambition to create a standalone marvel which not only awakens the ghosts and clichés from prog's pompous past, but entirely adds its own voice", adding that many elements of the band's later sound on albums such as Black Holes and Revelations could be traced back to the album. In her 2011 work Revolution Rock: The Albums Which Defined Two Ages, author Amy Britton argued that on Origin of Symmetry Bellamy "progressed [his band]'s sound so much that he earned a new title – this generation's guitar hero," highlighting "Plug In Baby" and "New Born".
|5.||"Plug In Baby"||3:39|
|11.||"Futurism" (Japan CD and iTunes bonus track. It was later featured as a B-side to the "Dead Star/In Your World" single.)||3:27|
|Bonus Track (Enhanced Digipack CD version)|
|12.||"Muse TV" (An online "enhanced element", no longer available, that could only be visited once played in a computer, acting as a CD-ROM feature.)||N/A|
Charts and certifications
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