Muse and the Labour Crisis

I’ve come to the radical conclusion that the Trotskyist takeover of the Labour party is about one thing and one thing alone: creating a world in which Muse’s paranoid-delusional later work is culturally relevant. In this task I am fully supportive and have finally decided to back Corbyn again.

Like many who voted for Jeremy Corbyn, back in 2003 I was an essentially Blairite teenager who didn’t read the news, understand anything about global politics, but went to Catholic comprehensive, had played but never completed Desert Strike on an Amiga as a child, so I knew the Iraq War was wrong.

Where was a 14 year old to turn for support in holding this radical view that everyone else did? It’s hard to be the minority, especially when everyone agrees with you. Here, the great political band Green Day with their concept album American Idiot, were useful. They used their virtuoso musical talent to turn impotent adolescent rage into self-inflicted anti-Americian xenophobia and millions of dollars for themselves. Trey Parker and Matt Stone brought this a step further with Team America: World Police. We all knew, if Americans were blaming themselves, it must be their fault.

But, the one British voice standing up against the war (apart from those in the news, on protests, and abosolutely everyone), was the screeching yet pitch perfect falsetto of Matthew Bellamy. Absolution (2003) was not only one of the greatest rock albums of all time, but also a political protest album. Absolution gave incoherant expression to the general feeling that everything wasn’t okay and that government was bad and that, although we never wanted for computers or ceiling tiles in our New Labour funded comprehensives.

Declare this an emergency
Come on and spread a sense of urgency
It’s time we saw a miracle
Come on, it’s time for something biblical
To pull us through
And pull us through
And this is the end
This is the end
Of the world

Muse were right! Living in Britain under Blair was exactly like being in a dictatorship, that’s why the album started off with a track of goosestepping. Not only did we have political champions, but we had a great BRITISH band to put the world to rights.

And then came 2006, and Black Holes and Revelations was shit. Not only was it an essentially pop album with the odd good track, but their conspiracy theory-esque, anti-establishment lyrics had lost their edge. In the pre-crash neo-liberal hubris, with Blair having already won an election since Iraq and a general feeling that everything was okay actually, Bellamy’s wailing declaration that our human rights and lives were under threat came across weird.

No one’s going to take me alive
Time has come to make things right
You and I must fight for our rights
You and I must fight to survive

And then, in 2009, with the real prospect of a Tory government and the imminent destruction of everything New Labour managed to build, The Resistance was released with Muse going “full tinfoil”.

Paranoia is in bloom The PR,
Transmissions will resume They’ll try to
Push drugs to keep us all dumbed down and hope,
That we will never see the truth around

And Muse have been terrible since. It’s a great cultural tragedy that this world is simply not dystopian enough for Muse lyrics to make any sense anymore. It’s not Muse’s fault that the world doesn’t live up to Matt Bellamy’s conspiracy theories.

And then, as Uprising came onto my playlist in the gym yesterday—no really, I was in the gym—and notifications on my phone were informing me that the Corbynistas had swept the NEC elections and Watson had actually used the term “Trotskyite”, I couldn’t help feeling that the lyrics weren’t as wide of the mark as they used to be.

Rise up and take the power back
It’s time the fat cats had a heart attack
You know that their time’s coming to an end,
We have to unify and watch our flag ascend

Except, the Trots have stolen our flag and the fat cats have never had a calmer heart rate because Labour is being dragged off a precipice. Not by the Tories, but by its own short memory. Oh well. At least Muse will be good again.

I won’t let you bury it
I won’t let you smother it
I won’t let you murder it
Our time is running out…

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