Cowboys, Robots, And Rock: Muse’s Knights Of Cydonia

Black Holes and Revelations album cover. Copyright © 2006 by Muse.

When artists say that they have a muse to spark their creativity, I guess mine is a bit literal.  The UK rock band known as Muse is–in my humble opinion–one of the most awesome-sounding bands ever, producing some of the most wonderful melodies I’ve ever heard.

Some of my readers may remember one of my earliest reviews being about the three-part Muse song called “Exogenesis: Symphony,” which was released on the 2009 album The Resistance.  Today, I review yet another end-of-the-album track: “Knights of Cydonia,” as found on the 2006 album Black Holes and Revelations.

The Song Itself

The opening of the song is alone worth the price of admission.  The first few tones are reminiscent of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, mixed in with the counterpoint of a few horses neighing and some stock sci-fi sound effects.  The hum swells before launching into an epic guitar riff that recurs throughout the song, backed up by the dance beat bassline that calls to mind a horse in full gallop.  And when the songs reaches its end, it comes off like the end of riding an excellent wave on a surfboard–the end of a six-minute-long musical adventure that you’ll want to experience again and again.

Lyrically, the song’s message is standard for the rock genre: stand up for freedom, individual rights, and personal expression. Even so, Bellamy sings that message beautifully, sometimes soulfully and sometimes in a piercing howl.

As I said, the song itself is an amazing experience the first time you hear it.  But it becomes even more alluring when you watch the music video.

Selected stills from the music video for "Knights of Cydonia."

Filming “The Knights of Cydonia”

Since the original song opens with synthetic sounds of horses and laser guns, the music video visually runs with that premise as far as it can.  What we get is a spaghetti western-style story featuring a “Man With No Name” going up against the evil sheriff of the town of Cydonia (Population: 143) for the sake of the woman he loves.  Our hero comes across robots in the desert, laser gun duels at high noon, kung fu fight scenes, a strange woman riding a unicorn, and Muse itself in a quick cameo as a holographic band playing in a saloon.

It’s a fun little video, albeit some versions are censored due to a short but graphic sex scene in the middle.  You can find the uncensored version at the website for the video’s director, Joseph Khan.

Final Verdict

“Knights of Cydonia” remains one of my all-time favorite songs, right up there with “Holiday” by Green Day, which is only the most awesome song ever.  And the music video is one of my favorites as well, taking what is merely awesome and setting it over the classic badass scenario.

Bibliography: Muse.  “Knights of Cydonia.”  Black Holes and Revelations.  New York: Warner Music Group, 2006.

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