Origin of Symmetry

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Origin of Symmetry
White ground with grayish sticks and an orange sky. The stick's shadows are seen along with the image. A rectangle is seen in the image, which shows the band's name and the album's title colored black.
Each physical release of the album includes its respective catalog number inside the white box; this cover art is for the digital release
Studio album by
Released18 June 2001 (2001-06-18)
RecordedSeptember 2000 – February 2001
Muse chronology
Random 1–8
Origin of Symmetry
Hullabaloo Soundtrack
Singles from Origin of Symmetry
  1. "Plug In Baby"
    Released: 5 March 2001
  2. "New Born"
    Released: 5 June 2001
  3. "Bliss"
    Released: 20 August 2001
  4. "Hyper Music" / "Feeling Good"
    Released: 19 November 2001

Origin of Symmetry is the second studio album by English rock band Muse, released on 18 June 2001 through Mushroom Records and Taste Media. Its title and theme comes from a concept put forward by the theoretical physicist Michio Kaku in his book Hyperspace.[1]

Origin of Symmetry was a critical and commercial success in the UK, peaking at number three on the UK Albums Chart[2] and achieving BPI platinum status.[3] Four singles were released from the album: "Plug In Baby", "New Born", "Bliss", and "Hyper Music" / "Feeling Good".


Muse developed Origin of Symmetry during their tour for their debut album Showbiz. "Feeling Good", a cover, was written for Broadway by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse in 1964, and first recorded by Nina Simone for her 1965 album I Put a Spell on You.[4]

The title derives from the 1994 book Hyperspace by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, which suggests the title The Origin of Symmetry for a future book about the discovery of supersymmetry, a reference to On the Origin of Species. According to songwriter Matt 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."[5]

Production and composition[edit]

Recording took place at Ridge Farm Studios in West Sussex and Real World Studio in Wiltshire, and additional recordings were made at David Gilmour's Astoria houseboat studio, 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 Muse with David Bottrill and John Leckie (who worked on the band's first album, Showbiz).[6] Songs like "New Born", "Plug In Baby", and "Bliss" were recorded with producer Bottrill during the middle of touring in late 2000, in Ridge Farm Studios, West Sussex. 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.[citation needed]

Musically, Origin of Symmetry has been described as alternative rock,[7] progressive rock,[8] hard rock,[9] and space rock.[10] The album 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 occasion being at Muse's charity gig at the Royal Albert Hall.[citation needed]


Origin of Symmetry was first released on 18 June 2001.[11] It was originally scheduled for release in the United States through Maverick Records, who had also released Showbiz. However, Muse left Maverick when Maverick demanded Bellamy rerecord the album with less falsetto. The album was not released in the US until 2005.[12]

Origin of Symmetry was remastered and reissued as part of the Origin of Muse boxset, alongside Showbiz, demos, live performances and other material. The box set was released on 6 December 2019.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[14]
Drowned in Sound10/10[15]
The Guardian1/5 stars[16]
Hot Press8/12[17]
The Independent3/5 stars[18]
The List4/5[19]
Q5/5 stars[21]
Stylus MagazineC[22]
Sunday Herald3/5 stars[23]

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."[21] 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."[20] The Guardian's Betty Clarke, however, panned Origin of Symmetry as "unbelievably overblown, self-important and horrible".[16] 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."[22] Q later listed Origin of Symmetry as one of the best 50 albums of 2001,[24] while Kerrang! named it the ninth best album of the year.[25]

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,[26] 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.[27] Acclaimed Music ranks Origin of Symmetry as the 1,247th greatest album of all time.[28]


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.[29] 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".[30]

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.[31] 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.[32]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Matthew Bellamy, except "Feeling Good" by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.

Origin of Symmetry – Standard edition
1."New Born"6:03
3."Space Dementia"6:20
4."Hyper Music"3:21
5."Plug In Baby"3:39
6."Citizen Erased"7:19
7."Micro Cuts"3:38
10."Feeling Good"3:19
Total length:51:41
Origin of Symmetry – Digital edition
Total length:55:28
Origin of Symmetry – Japanese edition
Total length:55:28
Origin of Symmetry – Enhanced Digipack CD edition
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


Guest musicians

  • Jacqueline Norrie – violin
  • Sara Herbert – violin
  • Clare Finnimore – viola
  • Caroline Lavellecello

Additional personnel

  • David Bottrill – production and engineering on "New Born", "Bliss", "Plug In Baby" and "Darkshines"
  • John Leckie – production and engineering on tracks "Space Dementia", "Hyper Music", "Citizen Erased", "Micro Cuts", "Screenager", "Feeling Good" and "Megalomania"
  • Ric Peet – engineering on tracks "Space Dementia", "Hyper Music", "Citizen Erased", "Micro Cuts", "Screenager", "Feeling Good" and "Megalomania"
  • Steve Cooper – additional engineering on "New Born", "Bliss", "Plug In Baby" and "Darkshines"
  • Chris Brown – additional engineering and programming on tracks "Space Dementia", "Hyper Music", "Citizen Erased", "Micro Cuts", "Screenager", "Feeling Good" and "Megalomania"
  • Mark Thomas – assistant engineering on tracks "Bliss", "Hyper Music", "Plug In Baby" and "Micro Cuts"
  • Claire Lewis – assistant engineering on tracks "Space Dementia", "Hyper Music", "Citizen Erased", "Micro Cuts", "Screenager", "Feeling Good" and "Megalomania"
  • Damon Iddins – assistant engineering
  • Mirek Styles – assistant engineering
  • John Cornfield – mixing
  • Ray Staffmastering
  • William Eagar – artwork

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ The Making of Origin of Symmetry. Xfm. 7 November 2007
  2. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Muse". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  3. ^ "Platinum Awards Content". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 12 October 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  4. ^ Allen, Jeremy (2 March 2016). "Nina Simone – 10 of the best". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  5. ^ "English Articles". archive.is. Archived from the original on 24 March 2002.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ Origin of Symmetry (album liner notes). Muse. Mushroom Records, Taste Media. 2001.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ Lauren Vinyard (2013). "Muse – Origin of Symmetry". puluche. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  8. ^ Philip, Tom (19 December 2018). "Muse Found Solace in Escaping Reality on Their New Record". GQ. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  9. ^ Raper, Dan (19 July 2006). "Muse: Black Holes & Revelations". PopMatters. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  10. ^ Trendell, Andrew (17 July 2014). "Happy Birthday Muse's Origin Of Symmetry: The Tracks Ranked". Gigwise. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – Muse – Origin of Symmetry" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  12. ^ Spin Sep 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  13. ^ Kreps, Daniel (7 September 2019). "Muse Mark 20th Anniversary of 'Showbiz' With 'Origin of Muse' Box Set". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  14. ^ Carlson, Dean. "Origin of Symmetry – Muse". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  15. ^ Adams, Sean (19 May 2001). "Album Review: Muse – Origin of Symmetry". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  16. ^ a b Clarke, Betty (15 June 2001). "Muse: Origin of Symmetry (Taste Media/Mushroom Records)". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 May 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  17. ^ Tyaransen, Olaf (21 June 2001). "Origin Of Symmetry". Hot Press. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  18. ^ Price, Simon (17 June 2001). "Muse: Origin of Symmetry (Taste)". The Independent.
  19. ^ Northmore, Henry (7 June 2001). "Muse: Origin Of Symmetry (Mushroom)". The List (415): 112. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  20. ^ a b Morton, Roger (12 June 2001). "Muse : Origin Of Symmetry". NME. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  21. ^ a b Wilkinson, Roy (August 2001). "Muse: Origin of Symmetry". Q (179).
  22. ^ a b Martin, Tyler (1 September 2003). "Muse – Origin of Symmetry – Review". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  23. ^ Waters, Colin (17 June 2001). "Muse: Origin Of Symmetry (Mushroom)". Sunday Herald. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  24. ^ "The Best 50 Albums of 2001". Q (185): 60–65. December 2001.
  25. ^ "Kerrang! Lists". Kerrang!. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  26. ^ "Q Greatest Albums of All Time". Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  27. ^ "Muse Message Board Lists". Kerrang!. Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  28. ^ "Muse". Acclaimed Music. 14 December 2009. Archived from the original on 6 September 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  29. ^ "Review of Muse – Origin of Symmetry". BBC Music. 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  30. ^ Britton, Amy (2011). Revolution Rock: The Albums Which Defined Two Ages. AuthorHouse. p. 306.
  31. ^ "Muse to play 'Origin Of Symmetry' in full at Reading And Leeds Festivals". NME.
  32. ^ "Muse Concert Setlist at Reading Festival 2011 on August 28, 2011 - setlist.fm". setlist.fm.
  33. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Muse – Origin of Symmetry". Hung Medien.
  34. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Muse – Origin of Symmetry" (in German). Hung Medien.
  35. ^ "Ultratop.be – Muse – Origin of Symmetry" (in French). Hung Medien.
  36. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Muse – Origin of Symmetry" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  37. ^ "Muse: Origin of Symmetry" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  38. ^ "Lescharts.com – Muse – Origin of Symmetry". Hung Medien.
  39. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Muse – Origin of Symmetry" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  40. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Muse". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  41. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Muse – Origin of Symmetry". Hung Medien.
  42. ^ "Charts.nz – Muse – Origin of Symmetry". Hung Medien.
  43. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Muse – Origin of Symmetry". Hung Medien.
  44. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  45. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Muse – Origin of Symmetry". Hung Medien.
  46. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  47. ^ "Muse Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  48. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 10 August 2020.
  49. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – albums 2001". Ultratop. Hung Medien.
  50. ^ "Italian album certifications – Muse – Origin of Symmetry" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 10 December 2018. Select "2016" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Origin of Symmetry" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Album e Compilation" under "Sezione".
  51. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Muse – Origin of Symmetry" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter Origin of Symmetry in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  52. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Muse; 'Origin of Symmetry')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  53. ^ "British album certifications – Muse – Origin of Symmetry". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Origin of Symmetry in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]