Origin of Symmetry

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Origin of Symmetry
Studio album by
Released17 July 2001 (2001-07-17)[1]
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 17 July 2001 by Mushroom Records and Taste Media.[2] Its title and theme comes from a concept put forward by the theoretical physicist Michio Kaku in his book Hyperspace.[3]

Origin of Symmetry was a critical and commercial success in the UK, peaking at number three on the UK Albums Chart[4] and achieving BPI platinum status.[5] Four singles were released from the album: "Plug In Baby", "New Born", "Bliss", and "Hyper Music" / "Feeling Good".


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."[6] Track 10, "Feeling Good", was originally written for Broadway by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse in 1964. The first recording of this song was done by Nina Simone in 1965, on her 8th studio album.[7] "Feeling Good" has also been covered by other musicians.[8]

Production and composition[edit]

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.[9]

Origin of Symmetry features alternative rock,[10] hard rock,[11] and space rock[12] 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.[citation needed]

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 occasion being at Muse's charity gig at the Royal Albert Hall.[13]


Origin of Symmetry was scheduled for release in the United States by Maverick Records, which 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.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Drowned in Sound10/10[15]
The Guardian1/5 stars[16]
The List4/5[17]
Q5/5 stars[19]
RTÉ.ie1/5 stars[20]
Sunday Herald3/5 stars[21]

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."[19] 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."[18] 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.[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,[23] while Kerrang! named it the ninth best album of the year.[24]

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,[25] 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.[26] Acclaimed Music ranks Origin of Symmetry as the 1,247th greatest album of all time.[27]


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.[28] 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".[29]

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.[30] 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.[31]

Track listing[edit]

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

Original 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

Charts and certifications[edit]


Guest musicians

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


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[48] Platinum 70,000^
Belgium (BEA)[49] Gold 25,000*
Italy (FIMI)[50] Gold 50,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[51] Gold 40,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[52] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[53] 2× Platinum 600,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b Carlson, Dean. "Origin of Symmetry – Muse". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  2. ^ https://www.nme.com/news/music/muse-478-1398208
  3. ^ The Making of Origin of Symmetry. Xfm. 7 November 2007
  4. ^ "Chart Stats – Muse". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Platinum Awards Content". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 12 October 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  6. ^ "English Articles". archive.is. Archived from the original on 24 March 2002.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Allen, Jeremy (2 March 2016). "Nina Simone – 10 of the best". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  8. ^ http://www.whosampled.com/Nina-Simone/Feeling-Good/covered/
  9. ^ Origin of Symmetry (album liner notes). Muse. Mushroom Records, Taste Media. 2001.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ Lauren Vinyard (2013). "Muse – Origin of Symmetry". puluche. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  11. ^ Raper, Dan (19 July 2006). "Muse: Black Holes & Revelations". PopMatters. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  12. ^ Trendell, Andrew (17 July 2014). "Happy Birthday Muse's Origin Of Symmetry: The Tracks Ranked". Gigwise. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  13. ^ Mendoza, Nadia. "Caught Live - Muse - Royal Albert Hall". The Sun. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  14. ^ Spin Sep 2009. Retrieved 5 July 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. ^ Northmore, Henry (7 June 2001). "Muse: Origin Of Symmetry (Mushroom)". The List (415): 112. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  18. ^ a b Morton, Roger (12 June 2001). "Muse : Origin Of Symmetry". NME. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  19. ^ a b Wilkinson, Roy (August 2001). "Muse: Origin of Symmetry". Q (179).
  20. ^ Grealis, Tom (21 June 2001). "Muse - Origin of Symmetry". RTÉ.ie. Archived from the original on 28 May 2008.
  21. ^ Waters, Colin (17 June 2001). "Muse: Origin Of Symmetry (Mushroom)". Sunday Herald. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  22. ^ 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. ^ "The Best 50 Albums of 2001". Q (185): 60–65. December 2001.
  24. ^ "Kerrang! Lists". Kerrang!. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  25. ^ "Q Greatest Albums of All Time". Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  26. ^ "Muse Message Board Lists". Kerrang!. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  27. ^ "Muse". Acclaimed Music. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
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  29. ^ Britton, Amy (2011). Revolution Rock: The Albums Which Defined Two Ages. AuthorHouse. p. 306.
  30. ^ "Muse to play 'Origin Of Symmetry' in full at Reading And Leeds Festivals". NME.
  31. ^ "Muse Concert Setlist at Reading Festival 2011 on August 28, 2011 - setlist.fm". setlist.fm.
  32. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Muse – Origin of Symmetry". Hung Medien.
  33. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Muse – Origin of Symmetry" (in German). Hung Medien.
  34. ^ "Ultratop.be – Muse – Origin of Symmetry" (in Dutch). 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. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.
  40. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 25, 2001". Chart-Track. IRMA.
  41. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Muse – Origin of Symmetry". Hung Medien.
  42. ^ "Charts.org.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. ^ "Muse | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  47. ^ "Muse Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  48. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  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]