A Newcomer to My iTunes Top 25: United States of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage)

Most of you will probably not know about the recent ruckus that the British alternative/prog-rock/totally awesome band Muse started when they announced a worldwide treasure hunt for Musers (that’s what Muse fans are called, apparently) to unlock the song “United States of Eurasia” from their new album “The Resistance”. I also had no idea about this until I read an article, at which point the Musers had unlocked 4/6 of the song. Long story short, the treasure hunt degenerated into a discussion about global geopolitics and the ramifications of a united Eurasia as hypothesized by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book “The Grand Chessboard” (yes, I’m being completely serious. I saw the forum threads.) and eventually Muse had to convince the treasure hunters that they were reading way too much into the clues and released the MP3 of the full song including the outro “Collateral Damage”, which can be downloaded/heard at http://ununitedeurasia.muse.mu/music/. I have been listening to song since.

Now, one reviewer said that the song sounded like a combination of Queen, the Lawrence of Arabia soundtrack, and Chopin. For the first minute or so of the song, I was thinking, “That guy’s an idiot.” Then the song burst into this Freddy Mercury-esque multi-layered vocal explosion that made me fall out of my chair the first time I heard it. Literally. I now know why they have that expression. Then the song transitions into this amazing Middle Eastern style orchestrated part, with bits and pieces of Bohemian Rhapsody style guitar riffing and vocals here and there. The “United States of Eurasia” part of the song is very much like Queen in its ridiculously epic sound, but you would never mistake it for anything other than Muse. It ends with a bang, then transitions into “Collateral Damage”, which is basically Chopin’s Nocturne in E Flat Major with some additional sound effects. It’s a stark contrast to the epic (again, this is the only word that can sum up the song in one word) and combative style of United States of Eurasia, and brings to mind movies like “The Pianist”, where Chopin’s music also served to portray a quiet peace in the face of utter destruction. I am a personal fan of Chopin, and it really made me happy to see the band use his work, although I fear this may have the same effect on Chopin’s popularity as Twilight did to Muse’s (“durr, who is this Rachmaninoff¬† guy and why is he playing a cover of Collateral Damage?”). The sound effects of children playing are utterly haunting, especially when you consider that they are indeed collateral damage in most modern wars. The song ends with the sound of jets and radio chatter slowly increasing and ends with the sound of a missile firing. That part gives me the chills every time I listen to it. Really makes you think about the human cost of conflict and how wars actually suck for the parties caught in the middle. Kudos to the band for making such a though-provoking song.

Give it a listen when you get the chance! After all, it’s free online, so you really have no excuse not to!

Oh, and too bad about Bowling For Soup’s “Almost” getting knocked off. It was “almost” there! Why am I so funny?

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