We are not aMUSEd – Muse’s new Olympic anthem “Survival”

Update Sunday 5th August

I am watching the Olympics in Brazil, and I am so pleased to say that Muse’s Survival is not being played at all on the channels here. I have been listening out in the stadiums, and have not heard it being played there, with the Chariots of Fire theme being played during medal ceremonies. I really have no idea why this, but maybe someone somewhere saw sense? I had imagined that the BBC would be playing this song over their beloved montages, but maybe if you have heard it on television, you could let us know where and when in the comments section below.

I did hear a snatch of it during the opening ceremony, but that was it.

The opening ceremony was of course full of imagery, and all commentators have remarked on how different it was to the Beijing ceremonies. However, if you interpret the Beijing closing ceremony as a fertitlity ritual, then the 11 minute MHS sequence culminating in the birth of that huge baby makes sense, as a birthing ritual. As Mike Oldfield said in an interview with the Telegraph, this baby represented the Olympic spirit, so it was very consciously designed to be symbolic of something not relating just to celebrating the NHS. Anyway, interpreting these symbols is getting periously close to off-topic of this blog, so I shall cogitate and speculate no more.

Update Wednesday 4th July

Snow Patrol’s “What if the Storm Ends” should definitely have been chosen as the Olympic anthem. Have a listen and let me know what you think. Which song would you have chosen?

We are not aMUSEd – Muse’s new Olympic anthem “Survival”

Last night it was announced that rock band Muse had been asked around a year ago to pen an official tune for the Olympic games. This is the same band Muse who in the last few years have been gaining critical acclaim for their anti-globalist songs, and now they have decided to take the coin of the very same global corporations and organisations they had previously raged against in their songs.

Muse run the Olympic torch

I heard the song and immediately was bitterly disappointed to hear not only the lyrics, but the darker overtones in the music. Here is the song with the full lyrics below. I have linked to the official video, so you you will need to click on it to watch on Youtube.

Here are the lyrics with some highlighting by me :

“Race, life’s a race
And I’m gonna win
Yes, I’m gonna win
I’ll light the fuse
And I’ll never lose
And I choose to survive

Whatever it takes
You won’t pull ahead
I’ll keep up the pace
And I’ll reveal my strength
To the whole human race

Yes, I am prepared
To stay alive
I won’t forgive
Vengeance is mine
And I won’t give in
Because I choose to thrive

Yeah I’m gonna win

Race, it’s a race
But I’m gonna win
Yes, I’m gonna win
I will light the fuse
I’ll never lose
I choose to survive

Whatever it takes
You won’t pull ahead
Because I’ll keep up the pace
And I’ll reveal my strength
To the whole human race

Yeah I’m gonna win

Yes I’m gonna win !”

The context of this song is an Olympic games in London where there will be 13,500 military personnel on the streets for security reasons. This compares with 9.500 British troops in Afghanistan.

Have a look at some of the lyrics I have highlighted. Do we really need an official song which celebrates “lighting a fuse” when there is a huge concern around terrorist attacks?

And look at the theme of vengeance. Since when was the original Olympic spirit based around vengeance? What a terrible emotion and mindset to promote. No forgiveness note.

And since when was sporting competition about survival? So much for being the best, reaching an ideal. The lyrics promote the notion of doing whatever it takes not to win, but just to stay alive.

In an interview with Zane Lowe on BBC Radio lead singer Matt Bellamy would not reveal who originally asked the band to record the track. Perhaps he is embarrassed about who this may be, given the bands prior history of political and social protest.

This song will be played over and over during the Olympic games. What a shame, as I feel we have to be so careful in what we listen to, what we watch, as it can affect us at quite a subconscious level. Is this really what we want to be listening to at a time when we should be celebrating the very greatest sporting achievements of athletes the world over? I guess the Olympic committee, who long ago gave up any pretence at the Olympics being anything other than a massive global advertising campaign for some of the world’s biggest corporations, and a junket for those “VIPs” who run and administer the games, and profit from them.

I for one am glad that I will be in Brazil for the games. Sport can be a huge force for good, and it can help encourage healthy and positive living. But it has to do this by focussing on the uplifting aspects, and not on the “darker side of competition” as Bellamy put it, describing his motivation for writing the song.

This is where my focus is right now – a beautiful home made video of mountain biking in  the Chamonix valley. Let nature be your teacher, let nature be your inspiration. No need for fear, vengeance or global domination : ) Peace to you all.

5 responses to “We are not aMUSEd – Muse’s new Olympic anthem “Survival”

  1. Sir I would have to disagree with everything you’ve said. You think that the problem comes from unbelievably talented musicians singing inspiring lyrics that you only criticize because you’re jealous you couldn’t write anything better? No. The problem comes with stubborn dushbags like you who refuse to actually do something with their life and instead of helping people an inspiring then like muse does chooses to take a nice fancy trip to brazil where he can enjoy spending his rich ass time at his computer writing negative reviews about extraordinary bands. And you obviously don’t do any sports either because when you’re about to finish a 400m race, you feel like you’re going to die. Well this song gives me the motivation to survive. Whatever it takes, they won’t pull ahead. Cuz I’ll keep up the pace. Matt Bellamy, keep writing yor genius music to inspire not only the future of musicians but athletes as well. Rock on muse!

    • Hi Jackson

      Firstly I would like to thank you for your comments. I am not someone who sets out to deliberately upset people, and I am always conscious of the power of words. Your post reminds me that I always need to be careful in the words that I write here.

      I think here we differ in opinion is in the suitability of a song about vengeance in the Olympic games. I was not attempting to critique the entire song, rather the appropriateness in this instance. I for one did not see any athletes being vengeful after their victories, and neither at the closing ceremony. It was really this aspect of the song that I wished to draw attention to.

      As for my own song writing, well I am a musician of sorts, in that I play buffalo drum and do so from a Native American perspective, using the drum to help people experience perhaps the deepest meditative states that they have ever experienced. I am therefore sensitive to the power of the vibration of music, and therefore focused on this aspect of the ceremonies which were watched by perhaps more than a billion people worldwide.

      I did find it interesting that the song did not seem to be played during the games themselves, with Chariots of Fire being used for the medal ceremonies. Maybe the Olympic song Survival was never meant to be played during the games, I don’t know.

      As for what I am doing here in Brazil, or what i am doing with my life, I will leave that to others to judge. This blog is of course very much about transition, and you are of course free to explore the many other stories on here.

      With thanks

      Simon

  2. Your a musically impaired idiot. Do you honestly assume that Muse are promoting terrorist attacks? That’s one of the stupidest theory’s I have ever heard. The lyrics are perfect for the Olympic theme, and the sound is analytical!

    Sincerely;
    A talented musician.

    • Hi Matthew

      No – I absolutely do not believe Muse are promoting terrorist attacks. I think you have misread the gist of this blog. I was trying to point out that in a climate of potential terrorist attacks, I felt the lyrics in this song not to be suitable.

      If you look what happened after the Sandy Hook shootings, Kesha and her record label withdrew the song “Die Young” as it was in bad taste. I am not trying to critique the song from a musical perspective, rather ask questions about the suitability for an event which is meant to be the epitome of the human spirit. This is a subjective thing I realise, but I do feel we have to ask these questions.

      It was interesting that although this was the “official” anthem, Chariots of Fire seemed to become the unofficial anthem and that was all we heard during the games, not Muse.

      Kind regards

      Simon

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