2- "Futurism": Muse's adaptation to popular music's evolutions - Marion Brachet, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

10:30 AM, Friday 24 May 2019 (2 hours)
Lunch   12:30 PM to 01:30 PM (1 hour)

This paper aims to explore how Muse, a British band founded in 1994 and today widely acclaimed, establishes itself in both popular music's recent transformations and its own history. Through Matthew Bellamy, the band's most media-friendly member, the trio has made some strong choices, revealing an acute conscience of their market's evolutions. Those decisions are made through musical content as well as imagery, or even controversial statements : "Guitar has become a textural instrument rather than a lead instrument".

This kind of stand, combined with the will of confining the band's musical past to rare and intimate by request shows, can only awaken the everlasting debate about rock's foreseeable demise (Fornäs 1995). The band's evolving creative process raises questions about the handling of increasingly diverse artistic influences, about the album format, about rock and its current legitimacy, but also about the threatened concept of genre. Thus, despite a few formal and harmonic persistent musical signatures, Bellamy, Wolstenhome and Howard are getting closer and closer to a mainstream culture they are completely comfortable with, thanks to a new selection of sounds, instruments, lyrical themes, and more generally new models and references. Muse's intent is to meticulously move forward at the same pace as popular music, in order to elaborate and negociate its future, while preserving a highly ambiguous link with its own past.
Phd Student
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