So it's officially less than a month to go until the curtain comes up on the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London, as the 2012 Olympic games get under way in the British capital. To commemorate the ever-closer starting date of sport and spectacles alike, Muse have unveiled their track 'Survival' to the World which in the lead-singer's words expresses both 'a sense of conviction' and 'a determination to win'. The track, the official song of the 2012 Olympics, will be followed by a series of contributions from artists including Dizzie Rascal, The Chemical Brothers, Delphic & Elton John alike. A fair mix of the bright and bold of British music, wouldn't you say?
So let's get to the central attraction of this supposed soundtrack to the games. Well, if you're like me and find your eye firmly fixed at first on the length - which here clocks in at just over 5 minutes - it's safe to assume that this is a track where the band once more ditch conventional verse-and-chorus progression for something more climatic and its resulting deliverance. And you'd be right. However, once again, the formulaic sum of musical choice and musical deliverance is as predictable and as rehashed as recent Muse deliveries have come to be, sadly, known for. The opening minute or so opens up with a somewhat grand, yet depacled scale of orchestral music and symphonic arrangments, it's hard to tell whether the band are giving positive or negative connotations towards an event that's meant to be shown in the former light.
If you haven't already found your neck tilted back a few degrees by now, then you will find it in that position soon enough - the symphonic arrangements almost vaccuumed out of existence by a choir of chanting voices in line with a simple piano lead. Pardon the surreality of the comparison, but I feel like I'm listening to a number from a Roald Dahl adaptation rather than a song meant to represent the reality of a competitive sports events. It's not a lasting factor on the song, however given the way Bellamy opens himself into the track, I'd take the harmonics of previous over the lyricism, and related choice of content, of latter: 'I'll light the fuse/And I'll never lose' Bellamy leads, to a stampede of percussion and voices that sound less like their intended words - 'So I told you' - and more like something very similar in sound, and sound only (I'll let you figure out what I think they're proclaiming).
I would forgive Bellamy's misguided passion and flurry of vocals had the concept simply ended on what has become a staple in Muse's lyrical context. However, the following choice of words are even more ridiculously out-of-place and questionable, it goes beyond baffling. Maybe I'm missing something, but when were the Olympics about 'staying alive' and 'vengence'? Unless the Olympic comitee have decided on introducing a Hunger Games-styled event to the list of sports, Bellmany it seems has totally lost what these games stand for. I'm no sport fanatic, but it's moments such as these that prove not just Bellamy's, but the band's too, lack of alteration and experimentation with both the musical and lyrical side to their sound. The thunderous downpour of guitars and apocalyptic wails of harmonics in the background only add to the realization that this, once more, feels more like Muse Song M.K. how many songs there are in their discography.
I don't know what's more troubling: the fact that this is the song which will be played alongside the international media coverage of the games - as well as being blurted out through the many speakers of the Olympic stadium as the World's athletes present themselves to the watching eyes of Earth's audiences - or the fact that this shows that Muse, once more, just cannot (and will not) deviate from the same-old formula they've encompassed for what's, probably, the third-and-a-bit consecutive release in their career. Well, it's a good thing this is the only material this year that has sparked both debate and disbelief over the trio's upcoming work. Oh, wait...