Is a new world upon us? Muse‘s Matt Bellamy certainly has an inkling that things are about to change in a very significant way. While some of those ideas permeate the band’s upcoming album Will of the People, Bellamy broke it down further in a feature piece with NME, offering the eye-opening suggestion that the “end of a certain cycle of civilization” is happening, calling this a period of “great transition.”
“End is coming,” Bellamy declares, before pondering, “The end of what, though? It’s not the end of humans. It’s definitely not the end of the world. It’s definitely not the end of evolution. In reality, if we’re honest about it, it’s not even the end of humanity, right? But it’s the end of something. It’s the end of a certain cycle of civilization.”
He elaborates, “If you look through history, it’s just cycles that come and go.. Some people call them ‘debt cycles’; it relates to credit and money and how banking systems work. Cycles can last a few hundred years or they can last a few decades. Essentially it’s coming to a pinch point where there’s going to be a disruption. Everyone’s doing everything they can to pretend that’s not going to happen or to try and maintain the status quo [but] the longer they hold on to this, the worse it’s going to be when it happens. If we can just make the transition a little bit more gradual, it might happen a bit less violently. But it’s gonna be a big, big shift. You’re talking about an economic collapse, shift and reinvention, total energy transition. That’s really what we’re dealing with here: a disruptive transition.”
At the center of this, there’s also a political factor, with Bellamy revealing that this shift has the ability to create a new political base, though it may not come without issue. “There’s a window for a lovely new kind of political model or socio-economic structure that could be really good. A good change is possible, but the problem is you have these authoritarians that are realizing that they can capitalize on disruption,” says the singer.
He points to the Trump presidency as dividing people rather than unifying, and notes that Putin is also adopting the idea of embracing the chaos in division as a way to reclaim the old Soviet states. But out of this upheaval, he’s expecting a revolution to take place, one that perhaps hasn’t even been defined as of yet.
“I think everyone knows we want a revolution, but we definitely don’t want a bunch of authoritarian lunatics from the right. That’s the last thing we want,” says the singer. “And also we don’t want a total communist situation on the hard left either. I think what we want is something completely new. I don’t think it exists out there at the moment, but I think there’s a new type of politics that could emerge. I would call it Meta-Centrism. It’s an oscillation between liberal, libertarian values for individuals – your social life, the ability to be whatever gender you are, all that kind of stuff – but then more socialist on things like land ownership, nature and energy distribution. It’s oscillation between the two poles.”
He continues, “I think there’s a way of doing that but there’s no language that enables people to think that way. You’re either hard left or you’re hard right… I’m not with any of these; I feel like there’s a third way. There’s no existing side that describes what I’m looking for yet…I’m fundamentally anti-authoritarian – that’s just my nature; I was born that way. So if I see certain things, on either side, that [make you think], ‘Don’t start telling me to do that or live like that’, it doesn’t matter where it’s coming from: I will probably resist it.”
Some of these ideals are addressed in the recent single “Compliance,” with Bellamy stating, “Both sides have gone so far away from each other now that they’re both coming up with their own weird, ‘You can’t think this, you can’t say this, you can’t do that’ and after a while that becomes exhausting for people.”
Reflecting on where we’re at today in this cycle that he envisions playing out, the singer says, “We’re living in a time where it’s really important to be able to sustain yourself through things like lengthy power cuts, cyberattacks, food supply crises, energy crisis. These things are going to start playing out now. But then at the same time, we don’t want to lose sight of the things that hold us together, the social connections that we have.”
He concludes. “All this arguing on Twitter about who said what and how they said it – I’m certain that 50 years from now people will look back at this point in history and go, ‘What the hell were they talking about? How come they couldn’t see the bus that was about to hit them?’.”
Muse’s Will of the People album is due Aug. 26. The album, largely inspired by the events happening in 2020 through present day, is currently available to pre-order here and has already yielded the singles “Won’t Stand Down,” “Compliance” and the title track.
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