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Single Review: Muse – “Supermassive Black Hole”

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English progressive power-trio Muse is preparing to release its 4th full length original CD “Black Holes and Revelations” this summer, and in preparation has let the first single, “Supermassive Black Hole,” out of the bag. Though the single isn’t officially released until June 19th, to paraphrase Greg Palast, a copy found its way to my desk recently.

This single is hot, though it’s a form of misdirection for the band which might be a little more “chart friendly” than the rest of the album. Previews of the album have indicated that a good portion is apocalyptic and over-the-top in nature, but this song is a understated compared to their prior grand-scale works. It was allegedly influenced by some of singer Matt Bellamy’s time spent in dance clubs around New York City; the song has a blend of modern rock guitar riffs and catchy melodies with an understated rhythm section, at least in comparison to the one heard through much of “Absolution.” It’s easy to imagine a harder extended club mix being released at some point.

The vocals are in a high register as is common with Bellamy, but in a departure from Muse’ other work the leads are sung in full falsetto. This lends it a bit of a “disco” feel that some fans may not be expecting. The band’s profile became huge in Europe after its second album, “Origin of Symmetry,” and was boosted after 2003’s “Absolution” here in the States. Both albums featured loud, progressive, complicated rock that was powerful and melodic. It’s too early to say what “Black Holes” may contain, and though it may be similar in nature, this single is a departure.

The presence of a slightly electronic dance edge in Muse’ leadoff single choice may help gain the band a wider audience. Only time will tell.

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