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The 11 best Muse songs

Why have a Top 10 when you can have one more? Here are our 11 favourite Muse songs, ranked

Given they’ve been filling football stadiums consistently for the last 15 years, it seems baffling to imagine that Muse were ever unfancied or written off. But, when they emerged from suburban Devon in 1996, still in the glory days of Britpop, they were largely dismissed by critics as Radiohead-wannabees who would be gone in months. 

Nine studio albums followed – with more than 30 million in sales – as did headline slots at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, Download and just about every other major festival across the world. 

Going right back to their 1999 debut LP, Showbiz, Muse have always delivered songs with a real sense of scale and ambition. Orchestras? No problem. Lyrics trying to wrestle with the biggest topics to ever face mankind? Sure. A three-part rock-opera exploring the ancient theory of panspermia? All in a day’s work.

Given their hefty back catalogue, narrowing down the finest 11 Muse songs is a very tricky task, but we’ve given it our best shot…

11. Map Of The Problematique

(Black Holes And Revelations, 2006)

Debate rages over the identity of the finest Muse album, but it’s hard to look past the trio of records that ends big with 2006’s Black Holes And Revelations. Grand and face-melting in equal measure, it’s full of cruise-liner sized epics, with ‘Map Of The Problematique’ being one of the finest. It’s a spacey, piledriving epic, a track written with the biggest spaces in mind.

10. In Your World

(Hullabaloo Soundtrack, 2002)

Released in 2002 to support live album Hullabaloo, ‘In Your World’ is one half of a double A-side single and an absolute gem. Built round a spiralling razorwire riff, it builds into a powerhouse piledriver with a chorus of seismic proportions. 

9. Knights Of Cydonia

(Black Holes And Revelations, 2006)

The closing track on Black Holes And Revelations, ‘Knights Of Cyndonia’ is a gloriously sprawling rock epic, which sees Muse go full Led Zeppelin. A galloping riff, a horn section, a truly brilliant guitar wig out, and a running time over six minutes. Only the very best can pull this sort of thing of. But then Muse are, aren’t they?

8. Uprising

(The Resistance, 2009)

‘Uprising’ is a paranoid, eerie and crushing belter which builds to a swaggering climax with a gloriously catchy chorus. A twisted, terrifying marvel, and the undeniable highlight of 2009’s The Resistance.

7. New Born

(Origin Of Symmetry, 2001)

The opening salvo on 2001’s defining Origin Of Symmetry, ‘New Born’ was perhaps the first sign that Muse were set for a career away from alt-rock stylings with their sights set on something grander. A six-minute rock saga, it begins as a tender ballad before morphing into a rock stomper with an almighty guitar wig-out in its midst. 

6. Muscle Museum 

(Showbiz, 1999)

Though they’d had singles before, ‘Muscle Museum’ is the track that announced Muse’s real arrival. At once sinister and anthemic, the way the track shifts from creepy ballad to powerhouse rocker marked Muse out as a band who followed no formula but their own. 

5. Sunburn

(Showbiz, 1999)

The single that followed ‘Muscle Museum’ showcased a different side of the trio, with Matt Bellamy beginning the track on piano, dealing out a hypnotic loop, before switching to guitar to drive through the chorus. A searing mix of melodrama and menace, it still definitely holds up, almost 25 years on from its first release. 

4. Plug In Baby

(Origin Of Symmetry, 2001)

The track that pushed Muse from cult curios to arena-fillers, ‘Plug In Baby’ is the band’s signature hit, with a riff that is so instantaneously recognisable and ludicrously catchy it ranks up with the very best in the business. Still a firm favourite of every rock club night, the screechy opening chords will be a cue to head straight to the dancefloor for many years to come. 

3. Supermassive Black Hole

(Black Holes And Revelations, 2006)

Muse can pack more surprise left turns and more confounding sonic changes into one song than most bands do in their entire careers, but, before the release of Supermassive Black Hole in 2006, if you’d asked the most die-hard fan whether the trio could pull off a Prince-esque number built around a slick funked-up groove, there would be have been plenty of raised eyebrows. Then they did it. And it’s a banger, a disco-fuelled space oddity with a sinister Muse edge. 

2. Bliss

(Origin Of Symmetry, 2001)

A ballad like no other, ‘Bliss’ is a shimmering wonder. It builds from a gentle piano, one inspired by Bellamy’s deep-love of Sergei Rachmaninoff, and morphs into a futuristic, sleek spine-tingler. High among many highs on 2001’s Origin Of Symmetry, it put a sock firmly in the mouths of anyone who’d ever described the band as Radiohead’s little brother, and marked Muse out as a band putting their own stamp on rock and roll. 

1. Stockholm Syndrome

(Absolution, 2004)

When Muse go for it, they really go for it, and never more brilliantly and brutally than on ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. The centrepiece of Absolution, it’s a blistering, turbo-charged, spiralling masterpiece. It’s grand, pulverising and supremely catchy. It is everything that’s brilliant about Muse. It’s no wonder it frequently closes the band’s live set – it’s their finest hour. 

Muse will play a UK stadium tour in May and June. Find tickets here.