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Old 10-08-2012, 07:31 PM   #1
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NPR: Muse's Matt Bellamy On His Band's Ridiculous(ly Awesome) Olympic Anthem

http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2...m?sc=fb&cc=fmp

10:40 am
August 10, 2012
by Ben Bergman


Though the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is treating the official lineup of artists at this weekend's closing ceremony as a state secret, the band Muse is widely expected to perform their "official" Olympic song "Survival."

The sweeping, orchestral "Survival" is, depending on your point of view, either very epic, or very cheesy. There are snapping fingers and lyrics like this: "Life's a race / I'm gonna win / I'll light the fuse / And I'll never lose."

YouTube NME says it's "corny." "Dreadful" as a piece of pop, pans The Los Angeles Times. The Guardian calls the song "overblown madness."

"What can you do?" asked Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, when I asked him about the criticism. "I can't imagine what we could have done right for the Olympics."

Bellamy recently stopped by NPR West on a trip to L.A. to promote Muse's upcoming album, The 2nd Law. I spoke to him and the other two members of the band, Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard. You'll hear more of that interview on Morning Edition when the album comes out, but I also wanted to know about their Olympics song, which is the only track that has been released from The 2nd Law.


Bellamy said he was already working on a rough instrumental version of the song before the IOC came calling.

"So it was kind of already there," he said. "Once they approached us we refined it a bit differently."

Bellamy says his aim was to zero in on the incredible concentration required of Olympians.

"I was just imagining being in the athlete's mind just before they're about to take off, when they're in the blocks. ... For me, it's about competition. It's about these athletes and the focus they need. And I wanted to find a way to sing about that. ... The alternative would have been to do a sort of 'We are the world, We are the people,"' Bellamy said, imitating the 1985 charity single written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. "But I think if we would have done that, it would have been the end of our career."

There are similarities between the pressures of elite athletics and the world of music, at least as Bellamy describes them. Growing up in Cambridge and Devon, Bellamy always knew he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and be a musician. (George Bellamy played rhythm guitar in the 1960s instrumental pop group The Tornados)

Bellamy played piano from a young age and thought he wanted to be in a jazz band. But at 14 he decided to switch to the guitar and pursue rock.

The reason: More fun, less pressure.

"Of all the directions you can go in music I feel like rock and being on tour is one of the most fun ways you can make a living out of music," Bellamy said.

"I considered going down the classical route, but it seems a bit stiff and conservative. If you make a mistake everyone panics."

"I've been to classical concerts before. I feel so bad for these musicians because they're amazing musicians they are the best in the world by far but everytime they make a big mistake everyone gasps."

"I'm glad I didn't pick that path because the pressure is enormous in that realm. The world of rock is much more easygoing."
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:47 PM   #2
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"What can you do?" asked Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, when I asked him about the criticism. "I can't imagine what we could have done right for the Olympics."
Maybe not... do it.... at all?

Maybe?
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:18 PM   #3
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Maybe not... do it.... at all?

Maybe?
Uhm, no?
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:24 PM   #4
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Uhm, no?
I don't think they should've done it. I don't think Survival should even be on the album. You do, and it's fine.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:25 PM   #5
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Maybe not... do it.... at all?

Maybe?
Why? I don't really understand why they shouldn't have contributed to the Olympics. Just because you don't like it?

They were approached by the IOC to make a song for the Olympics and represent their country, of course they wouldn't turn something like that down.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:31 PM   #6
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Why? I don't really understand why they shouldn't have contributed to the Olympics. Just because you don't like it?

They were approached by the IOC to make a song for the Olympics and represent their country, of course they wouldn't turn something like that down.
No. Matt said, "well we could've either went over the top or do it like MJ", and I just think they shouldn't have done it either way. I don't like the song, but I know my opinion doesn't have any effect on their decisions, but that doesn't mean I can't express it. Of course it's a great thing to be offered to do for their country and all, but all that isn't going to make me like the song.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:35 PM   #7
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Maybe not... do it.... at all?

Maybe?
There is that. Perhaps he was being defensive and that was the first thing he thought to say. (I think it is right to say that there is the option of not doing it if they think it is bad for them, but I don't think it is bad for them).

But does he really think it's so black and white that a song about companionship between nations would end their career? Yet songs with dubstep, choirs, or that take off glam rock and shoot out coloured streamers are safe options?

Anyway don't agree with the criticisms of Survival. Brilliant song.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:45 PM   #8
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I don't think they should've done it. I don't think Survival should even be on the album. You do, and it's fine.
But if the IOC comes to you and says "Hey, would you like to write the official song/anthem for the Olympics which are in your country next year?" you answer no, knowing that it would be a way to proudly represent your own country, and knowing that it would also be a way to earn a lot of money?

Fair enough if you don't like the song, though
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:47 PM   #9
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But if the IOC comes to you and says "Hey, would you like to write the official song/anthem for the Olympics which are in your country next year?" you answer no, knowing that it would be a way to proudly represent your own country, and knowing that it would also be a way to earn a lot of money?

Fair enough if you don't like the song, though
You've got a point. I still believe a better song could've been written. Somebody needs to throw away all of Matt's Queen records.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:51 PM   #10
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You've got a point. I still believe a better song could've been written. Somebody needs to throw away all of Matt's Queen records.
Well there's always a better song that could have been written

However the guitars make up for the first part, which I still like though.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:05 PM   #11
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Survival is great, one of the best things Muse have done for years.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:13 PM   #12
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Survival is great, one of the best things Muse have done for years.
1. Exogenesis
2. I Belong To You
3. Undisclosed Desires
4. Survival

The competition isn't that tough, sadly.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:20 PM   #13
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"Once they approached us we refined it a bit differently."

I wonder how it would've sounded if they hadn't been approached for the Olympics.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:21 PM   #14
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Most certainly not better than MK Ultra but apart from that I think it's good minus the end "I'm gonna WIIIIIINNNNNNN"
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:59 PM   #15
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"Once they approached us we refined it a bit differently."

I wonder how it would've sounded if they hadn't been approached for the Olympics.
It probably would have better lyrics, for sure.
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