Such has been Muse's meteoric rise over the last decade, they now find themselves in the honourable position of being asked to produce the official song for the 2012 London Olympic games.
Five orchestral, choir backed, falsetto laden, finger clicking minutes later it is clear that the band have thrown the kitchen sink into this one in an attempt to show the world just what they are capable of. Long term fans will embrace the return of heavily distorted guitar licks, sorely missing on 2009's `The Resistance'. Matt Bellamy certainly can't be accused of toning down his trademark Rage Against The Machine style riffery to cater for a mass audience. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the lyrics. While one wouldn't expect language barrier defying poetry, barebone lines like "Life is a race, and i'm gonna win" only serve to detract from any musical accomplishment. Cheese is most definitely on the menu.
The Queen influences that polarised fans on the last record have miraculously been amped up further, and it is here that they have a problem: it all feels a little bit forced. It's as though the media perception of Muse as an overblown, pompous, space-rock juggernaut has begun to dictate the direction of the band. As though they feel the ante must be upped on every record, when a more stripped back approach would certainly benefit them more (see 2006's Map of the Problematique). Muse shouldn't need to try and be epic - they've proven it comes naturally.
With the 6th album `The Second Law' due for release in September, and the promise of a move into new territories including dubstep, it will be interesting to see whether this song proves to be the closing chapter on an era of bombast, or simply a marker for where they are on their ascension to a throne long occupied by Messrs Mercury and co. In any case, the sporting world is long overdue a replacement for `We Are the Champions'.