Stockholm Syndrome (Muse song)

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"Stockholm Syndrome"
Muse stockholm.jpg
Single by Muse
from the album Absolution
Released14 July 2003
Length4:58 (Album version)
4:03 (Radio edit)
Songwriter(s)Muse (Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme, Dominic Howard)
Muse singles chronology
"Dead Star" / "In Your World"
"Stockholm Syndrome"
"Time Is Running Out"

"Stockholm Syndrome" is a song by the English rock band Muse from their third studio album, Absolution. The song was released as the album's first single on 14 July 2003 and also appears on the Absolution live DVD. It was released alongside its artwork as a download-only single through the official Muse website. The song's promotional video was included in the "Time Is Running Out" CD single, and was shot using a thermal camera. A different video was made for the song's release in the US, depicting the band playing the song in a fictitious talk show.

In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Stockholm Syndrome" at number 44 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[1]

Background and composition[edit]

The main riff is based around the Phrygian Dominant mode of the harmonic minor scale. The verses follow a chromatic chord progression. This progression was originally written for the piano, but later reworked for layered guitars and synths.

Lyrics and meaning[edit]

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger (or at least risk) in which the hostage has been placed. The song's lyrics take the perspective of the abuser, rather than victim's perspective.

The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm, Sweden, in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage and the victims became emotionally attached to their victimisers, and even defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal.

Music video[edit]

The video shows the band members in an infrared filter, playing the song.

Live performances[edit]

In concert, the song is often played teamed with "Plug In Baby" as the two songs have similar tempos. One example of this is during the second Wembley performance. However, during The Resistance Tour, this song has usually been paired with the first part of the band's "Exogenesis Symphony" due to the similar tuning. In most live performances of this song, it is followed by several instrumental riffs and jams (usually two or three); these can make performances of the song last up to 10 minutes on some occasions, most notably at the band's headline appearance at the 2004 Glastonbury Festival. One of the riffs commonly played as an outro to "Stockholm Syndrome" was later incorporated into the song "Psycho", a track from the band's seventh studio album, Drones, released in 2015.[2][3][4] During The Resistance Tour, one performance of this song at the Staples Center in Los Angeles lasted 13 minutes after eight riffs followed the song. On The 2nd Law Tour the song is part of a lottery system alongside "New Born" and a random selection.


On 8 May 2008, the song was released as downloadable content (as part of a Muse 3-song pack) for the rhythm game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

Dream Theater's "Never Enough", which was released two years following, bears some strong similarities to the song. The band have also performed covers of "Stockholm Syndrome" in their live shows.

The song is available to play on Rocksmith 2014 as part of a Muse 5-song pack.


  1. ^ " Magazine Lists."
  2. ^ Clovaz91 (5 December 2006). "Stockholm Syndrome Muse Live big day out" – via YouTube.
  3. ^ fofmuse (12 March 2015). "Muse "Psycho" riff: Through the Years" – via YouTube.
  4. ^ Muse (12 March 2015). "Muse - Psycho [Official Lyric Video]" – via YouTube.

External links[edit]