I recently expressed my love for b-sides and in the article I mentioned that there are certain bands who excel at this format, one of them being Muse. The thing with Muse is there isn’t a single b-side of theirs that isn’t good. There’s something about them that are amazing and even epic. Somehow they even manage to be better than the songs on the albums. These songs from Muse range from experimental to amazingly beautiful. Though all of their b-sides are great, these are the ten that are the best and are even some of their best work to this day.
- Nature 1- Plug in Baby CD1 single
Starting off the list is this Latin infused song that fans still aren’t sure what it’s about. Originally planned for their second album Origin of Symmetry, there are several interpretations of the song including it being about a girl who is as cruel as mother nature or yet another Muse song about God. Either way, it doesn’t matter. The rapid guitar rhythm matched with the intense and heavy drumming of Dom Howard makes this one of their stand out tracks. It’s catchy and the music itself is infectious. This song is also found on their two disc set Hullabaloo.
- Fury- Sing for Absolution Single
Muse have always mentioned Rage Against the Machine as one of their main influences, but it comes out the most in this song. Everything from the guitar riff to the brooding bass line sounds like it was ripped from one of their songs. It’s one of their heavier songs and that’s what makes it stand out so much. Towards the end, there’s also these ghostly vocals from Bellamy that you can barely hear. He sounds like some eerie angel that belongs in a horror movie. With this sound and more references to God. this plays like something that should be on the soundtrack to the end of the world. Actually, a lot of Muse songs would be on that soundtrack.
- Map of Your Head- New Born CD2 Single
Like most Muse songs, what stands out here is the music, but it’s not because there is a sick solo or an amazing bass riff. It’s just that the guitar here is so bright and happy sounding. It’s one of the band’s lighter songs and one that will get stuck in your head easily. It’s also one of their few acoustic songs, which is a bonus. As always, there is great falsetto from Bellamy and great visual lyrics as well. One of my favorites from this song is “I saw a liquid control/ That gives life to a soul/ I hit my head on it and woke up to know/ That I was all alone/ Wearing just socks and a phone/ Someone screaming like their world might explode.” There’s just something about that line that you can picture so clearly in your head. It’s one of those songs that puts you in a good mood when you hear it.
- Hyper Chrondriac Music- Bliss CD2 Single
Technically, this is another take on their previous single “Hyper Music” from their second album, but it was released as a b-side. Whereas the original was loud, chaotic, and energetic, this version is the extreme opposite. It’s slow and brooding with an acoustic guitar and haunting, wavering vocals from Bellamy. He sounds so vulnerable and eerie here that it gives you chills. His vocals here manage to be unnerving and amazing at the same time. With how the drums come crashing in and a subdued guitar solo from Bellamy during the bridge, it sounds like yet another song ushering in some sort of damning end to the world.
- Eternally Missed- Hysteria Single
This song begins with some unsettling winding noises and light squeaking before the light melody comes on that sounds like it comes from a music box. Something about this entire song is unsettling. It could be the attitude Bellamy gives off while singing or maybe it’s the lyrics of “I just don’t care if it’s real/It won’t change how it feels.” The creepiest part is the end when all the music stops and it’s just the verse being sung with heavy vocal effects that make him sound possessed. How could something that sounds so beautiful, sound so evil at the same time? It’s even worse because you can hear him breathing during this part, so it makes him sound like a super creep.
- Crying Shame- Supermassive Black Hole Single
I love the riff on this song. It has this vintage surfer vibe to it ala Dick Dale. It also has this great energy to it that gets you moving. The hard driving rhythm and beat gets you pumped up and wanting to jump around. And I know I’ve mentioned it a lot already, but Bellamy lets loose some epic falsetto at the end. Like some other songs on the list, this is one about skepticism regarding religion, something Muse seems to like to talk about. This is a great song and it’s a shame it hasn’t been live more often.
- Spiral Static- Plug in Baby CD2 Single
A song from their early days, it has this great quiet/loud dynamic that they play with for the entire track. It begins with swelling guitar, bass, and drums before it softens. If you want to know the amazing range of Matt Bellamy’s voice, then you have to check out this song. He sings the verses very low and quiet, which is kind of unusual for him. But when he hits the chorus, it’s back to the falsetto he seems to love so much. It’s here he sounds both angelic and eerie, especially during the end where he starts wailing away. It’s hauntingly beautiful. That may sound dramatic, but come on. It’s Muse we’re talking about.
- Easily- Starlight Single
This song seems to have some early electronic influences here as the opening kind of stutters and sounds like it’s coming from a robot. It also has a lot of the spacey sounds the band likes to use from time to time. But the sweet and soft vocals along with the slinky rhythm of the song makes this one of the more sensual Muse tracks. But what do you expect from a song that may be about an unforgettable sexual experience? It’s just an amazing song that’s sure to make you fall in love with Bellamy (if you haven’t already.)
- Glorious- Invincible Single
Not only is Matt Bellamy one of the best guitar players around who also has an incredible voice, he’s also a talented piano player and this song is one of the reasons why. Sure, he doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary with the riff he plays, but I guess it’s the beauty of it that makes it so satisfying and a perfect fit for this song. The dirty guitar riff that pushes the track along is also amazing. It’s like everything in this song shows why Muse is great: everything from the vocals to the music to the lyrics are just epic and beautiful. It all just seems so fitting regarding the song title.
- Futurism- Dead Star/In Your World
This has got to be the most brutal Muse song in their entire catalog. It begins with low key tinging that echos for about five seconds until the the buzzing riff comes in. The guitar here is so sick because it sounds like Bellamy is actually stretching out the neck and making it whine to get it to do what he wants. The bass riff is also massive. The music just sounds so dangerous, like it’s trying to warn the listener about something. And I know I talked a lot about Matt’s vocals but here they’re above and beyond, mostly during the chorus. He screams “Grounded, boxed in” to the point where it sounds like his vocal chords are going to snap. To top it off, he finishes with some insane falsetto that sounds inhuman. I think it’s one of their best songs in general and it’s a shame they never do it live.
Bonus: Dead Star-Dead Star/In Your World
This is the all time favorite Muse song and while most do consider it a b-side, it’s not. Technically, it’s part of a double A-side, but I didn’t want to leave it off the list completely because it’s just that good. It’s another heavy, aggressive song where you can the strong influence of Rage Against The Machine. It’s probably one of their hardest songs yet. Everything about this song is perfect from the intense guitar riff to the cool twisted and gnarled effects that are applied to both the vocals and the music. This is one song that Musers will go crazy when they perform it live. Recently, the band have brought it back for their 2nd Law tour, which pleased some fans and made others green with envy.