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 Black Holes and Revelations

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angie_muse
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PostSubject: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:51 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:51 pm

Black Holes and Revelations is the fourth studio album by English rock band Muse, released on 3 July 2006. Recording was split between New York and France, and it was the first time Muse had taken a more active role in the album's production. The album was a change in style from Muse's previous albums, and the band cited influences that included Queen, Millionaire, Sly and the Family Stone, Depeche Mode and music from southern Italy.[1]
Black Holes and Revelations was placed at #34 in a public vote by Q Magazine for The Best British Albums of all time in February 2008.
The album has political and science-fiction undertones, with the lyrics covering topics as varied as political corruption, alien invasion, New World Order conspiracies as well as more conventional love songs.
The album sold 115,144 copies in its first week in the UK,[2] which was more than the first week sales of Muse's previous album, Absolution. The album is also a BPI double platinum album, and was nominated for a Mercury Prize.[3] Five singles were released in the UK, of which three were released in the US. A world tour followed the release of the album that included dates in the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and most of Europe and Asia.[4]
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:51 pm

Background and recording

Muse's previous album, Absolution was released in 2003 to critical acclaim. Absolution had brought the band mainstream exposure in the United States for the first time.[5]
The band retired to an old château in France to write for a new album.[1] Lead singer Matthew Bellamy said that this was because the band wanted to be free from distractions so that they could "concentrate, spend time and be surrounded by different musical influences".[1] The album was partially recorded in the same studio in France as Pink Floyd's album The Wall, which Wolstenhome said was a "great feeling to know that something big had been done [there]".[6] However, the band found recording there very slow and had difficulties deciding which songs to include on the album.[1] They travelled to New York to finish the recording.[1]
Bassist Chris Wolstenholme considered writing and recording for Black Holes and Revelations more relaxed than it had been for previous albums, as the band did not have a deadline to work to.[6] It was the first time they had learned about the technology in the studio, having previously left the use of it to the sound engineers.[6] Bellamy said that this was the first time Muse made an album without being concerned about how they would play it live.[7]
"Soldier's Poem", stood out as being "quite unlike anything [they'd] ever done before".[8] Drummer Dominic Howard said they were originally going to record it with a "massive, epic" approach, but then decided to strip it down and record it in a small studio with vintage equipment and a few microphones.[8] Muse were pleased with the result and Howard described it as a "real highlight", describing the vocals as "some of the most amazing vocals I've ever heard Matt do".[8]
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:51 pm

Lyrical content

Black Holes and Revelations was said by some reviewers to carry a political message.[9] The album begins with the track "Take a Bow", which is an "attack on an all but unnamed political leader", incorporating lyrics such as "Corrupt, you corrupt and bring corruption to all that you touch".[9] These themes are carried through the album in the tracks "Exo-Politics" and "Assassin".[9] The album often touches on controversial subject matters, such as "The New World Order conspiracy, unjustifiable war, abusive power, conspiratorial manipulation and populist revolt,"[10] and is influenced by the conspiracy theories that the band are interested in.[8] Matt Bellamy stated that he finds "the unknown in general a stimulating area for the imagination",[10] and this interest is reflected throughout the album, which features alien invasion (in "Exo-Politics")[7] and rebellious paranoia (particularly during "Assassin").[9] The album also includes more emotional themes, including regret, ambition,[9] and love.[11]
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:51 pm

The title "Black Holes and Revelations", taken from lyrics in "Starlight", is explained by Matthew Bellamy in his September 2006 interview for Q magazine: "Black holes and revelations -- they're the two areas of songwriting for me that make up the majority of this album. A revelation about yourself, something personal, something genuine of an everyday nature that maybe people can relate to. Then the black holes are these songs that are from the more ... unknown regions of the imagination."[12]
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:52 pm

Release

The album was released on 3 July 2006 in the UK, followed by releases in the USA, Australia, Taiwan and Japan. The album was also available as a limited edition CD/DVD combination, that featured videos and live renditions of the band playing "Supermassive Black Hole", "Knights of Cydonia" and "Starlight". In addition, the album was re-released in the USA on vinyl on August 18, 2009. The album received double platinum certification in the UK on 22 December 2006.[3] Singles were released in both the UK and the US, though they were released in different orders in each country. All singles excepting "Map of the Problematique" were available on vinyl, CD, DVD (containing the music video for the single) and as a digital download.
In the UK, the first single from the album was "Supermassive Black Hole" and it was released prior to the album, on 19 June 2006. The single reached number four in the UK Singles Chart, making it the highest charting single in the UK for the band to date. The single was followed by "Starlight", "Knights of Cydonia", "Invincible" and "Map of the Problematique", the only one of which to reach the top 10 was "Knights of Cydonia" at number ten.[13]
The first single released in the US was "Knights of Cydonia", on 13 June 2006, which peaked at #10 Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. It was followed by "Starlight" and "Supermassive Black Hole". "Starlight" was their most popular single in the US reaching #2 on the Modern Rock Tracks.[14]
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:52 pm

Critical reception

Black Holes and Revelations was met with generally positive reviews from critics. Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating based on a range of reviews from mainstream critics, aggregated the album's average review score to 75%, based on 35 reviews.[15] The album received top ratings from Observer Music Monthly,[16] Q,[17] and Alternative Press.[18] Planet Sound named Black Holes and Revelations their Album of the Year for 2006 and the album was placed third in the NME Albums of the Year list for 2006,[19] as well as being named Q's second best album of the year.[20] The album also received a Mercury Prize nomination. It was featured in the updated 2007 version of the music reference book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, edited by Robert Dimery. The album was named as one of Classic Rock‘s 10 essential progressive rock albums of the decade.[21]
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:52 pm

Pitchfork Media's Sam Ubl was amongst the most critical reviewers and gave the album a very poor 4.2 rating, citing the lack of progression the band had made in 4 albums, and their reliance on "tired sounds and genres, saying that Muse, "always loveably lame [...] managed to take a turn for the lamer."[22] Several critics called the album "overblown", including Radio Telefís Éireann's Bill Lehane,[23] NME's Anthony Thornton,[24] and Rolling Stone's Chris Hoard.[25] Hoard went on to describe "Knights of Cydonia" and "City of Delusion" "ridiculous", but concluded that although it was "surprising", the album worked.[25] The A.V. Club, on the other hand, gave the band credit for reworking themselves, but called the album a "nightmare" and gave it a D+.[26] The album also garnered some crossover appeal, with Oakland hip hop group Zion I releasing a notable remix of Knights of Cydonia in 2008.[27]
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:52 pm

Tour



Acrobats suspended from giant white balloons float above the audience in the first, sellout night of Muse's Wembley gigs
In July 2006 the band announced that they would be going on their "biggest ever tour" in support of the album.[28] The first shows included the Leeds and Reading Carling Weekend festivals, followed by a tour that visited most of the world's major continents.[28] The tour saw them travelling over most of the world, including countries such as the UK, most of Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China and Korea.[4] Some dates that were booked to play in support of My Chemical Romance in the USA were cancelled after members of their entourage were affected by food poisoning.[29] The USA stretch of the tour included dates at Madison Square Garden and a headlining slot at Lollapalooza.[30]
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:52 pm

The biggest concert of the tour was the two nights that they played in the new Wembley Stadium on 16 and 17 June 2007. They were the first band to sell out the newly built stadium and play there.[31] The show incorporated extensive special effects that included huge satellite dishes, "futuristic" antennas, giant white balls and thousands of lights.[31] The encore featured two acrobats that floated high above the crowd suspended on floating white balloons.[31] Footage of the latter concert was released on DVD whilst a live CD album contained a selection of recorded tracks from the two nights. Both discs were released as a joint package under the title HAARP.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:53 pm

Track listing

All lyrics by Matthew Bellamy except "Assassin" by Muse; all music by Muse except "Map of the Problematique" by Matthew Bellamy
No. Title Length
1. "Take a Bow" 4:35
2. "Starlight" 3:59
3. "Supermassive Black Hole" 3:29
4. "Map of the Problematique" 4:18
5. "Soldier's Poem" 2:03
6. "Invincible" 5:00
7. "Assassin" 3:31
8. "Exo-Politics" 3:53
9. "City of Delusion" 4:48
10. "Hoodoo" 3:43
11. "Knights of Cydonia" 6:06
12. "Glorious" (Originally released only on the Japanese version, and later added to the digital release of Black Holes and Revelations on iTunes.[32][33] The song was also released in the UK as the B-side on the 7" version of the "Invincible" single.[34]) 4:40
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:53 pm

Take a Bow" was featured on an episode of Top Gear, when Richard Hammond tested the Noble M15. The song also featured prominently in the second released trailer for Watchmen.[35]
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:53 pm

Tracks featured on limited edition DVDs
"Supermassive Black Hole" (video)
"Starlight" (video)
"Knights of Cydonia" (video)
"Supermassive Black Hole" (Live from Paris)
"Starlight" (Live from Copenhagen @ MTV Awards)
"Knights of Cydonia" (Live from London)
A longer and heavier version of "Assassin", dubbed the "Grand Omega Bosses Version" was also recorded and is available on the Knights of Cydonia EP.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:53 pm

Personnel

Matthew Bellamy – lead vocals, guitars, piano, synthesizers, production
Christopher Wolstenholme – bass, backing vocals, double bass on "Soldier's Poem", some synthesizers on "Map of the Problematique" and "Hoodoo", production
Dominic Howard – drums, percussion, brief vocals and electronic drums on "Supermassive Black Hole", Buchla 200e on "Take a Bow", production
Rich Costey – production
Marco Brioschi – trumpet
Edoardo de Angelis – violin
Mauro Pagani – string arrangements, string conductor
Audrey Riley – string arrangements, string conductor
Storm Thorgerson – cover photo
Rupert Truman – cover photo
Derrick Santini – photography
Howie Weinberg – mastering
Vlado Meller – mastering
Roger Lian – mastering assistant
Tommaso Colliva – engineer
Myriam Correge – assistant engineer
Ryan Simms – assistant engineer
Ross Peterson – assistant engineer
Max Dingle – mixing assistant
Mark Rinaldi – mixing assistant
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:53 pm

Single releases

Title Release date UK Singles
Chart Billboard Modern
Rock Tracks Billboard
Hot
100
"Supermassive Black Hole" June 19, 2006 (UK) #4 #6
"Starlight" September 4, 2006 (UK) #13 #2 #101
"Knights of Cydonia" November 27, 2006 (UK) #10 #10
"Invincible" April 9, 2007 (UK) #21
"Map of the Problematique" June 18, 2007 (UK) #18
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PostSubject: Re: Black Holes and Revelations   Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:54 pm

Charts

Chart (2006) Peak
position Certification Sales/shipments
Australian Albums Chart[36] 1 Platinum 70,000+
Austrian Albums Chart[37] 4
Belgian Albums Chart[38] 2
Billboard 200 (U.S.)[39] 9 Gold 700,000+
French Albums Chart[40] 1 Platinum 300,000+
Italian Albums Chart[41] 2 Platinum 70,000+
Finnish Albums Chart[42] 3 Gold[43] 15,000+
Dutch Albums Chart[44] 2
New Zealand Albums Chart[45] 6 Platinum 15,000+
Norwegian Albums Chart[46] 6
Portuguese Albums Chart[47] 17
Swiss Albums Chart[48] 1 Platinum 30,000+
UK Albums Chart[13] 1 2× Platinum 930,000+
Irish Albums Chart[49] 1
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