Watch Out: Here Come The Drones!
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, and also referred to as an unpiloted aerial vehicle and a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Its flight is controlled either autonomously by onboard computers or by the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle. They are usually deployed for military and special operation applications, but also used in a growing number of civil applications,such as policing and firefighting, and nonmilitary security work, such as inspection of power or pipelines. UAVs are often preferred for missions that are too "dull, dirty or dangerous"for manned aircraft. Cruise missiles are not considered UAVs because, like many other guided missiles, the vehicle itself is a weapon that is not reused, even though it is also unmanned and in some cases remotely guided. (Source)
Upon hearing about drones for the very first time, a couple of years ago, I literally froze up. Not so much because I was frightened by this potentially devastating technology of the future already taking place—at least no more than the many others developed by this bunch of psychos in power who regard us as mere livestock did—, but because, a while ago, I had been having recurring nightmares all about small flying objects raiding the night sky and chasing people who started running around while attempting to flee the attack. Many of my family and friends who couldn't find shelter would get killed by the drones. While some Freudians will certainly see a lot of twisted stuff buried in my psyche—and they may not be wrong—I, for one and for a whole lot of reasons, think there is much more to those dreams and that is what troubles me somehow. For there are a lot of similarities between the story told by Muse in their latest album incidentally called Drones and the unfurling of my nocturnal fears. Could it be that Matt Bellamy and I have been sharing the same dreams?
“After reading a few books about drones,” he said in a recent interview on French TV, “I thought it would be a good topic for the album, because it'd have various meanings to what the drones represent. I think it's the most extreme technology that's ever been invented. It's about technology but it also interacts with the whole of humanity because these are killing machines. We don't know what the future holds. It could lead to a full technological world or to the total abandonment of technology. There's not going to be something in between. It's going to be something extreme.” (Source)
Extreme is actually the word that best suits Muse's seventh opus which topped the international music charts immediately upon its release last month. Unlike the rest of humanity in this apocalyptic concept album, I didn't get killed by drones, but Muse did it. Muse killed me. Literally blew my ears and my mind with their explosive record. How's that for a killer? That said, I don't mind raising from the dead to explain why.
First, what a relief—after the huge disappointment upon the release of The 2nd Law in 2012, which suggested the threesome had somehow become “dead inside”, victims of their own success and taken over by the industry—to hear that Muse finally kept their word to it and carried out an unexpected return to the basics toward a more simplified sound, leaving out the experiments of all sorts and genres. Recorded under the direction of AC/DC producer Robert Lange, this loud-sounding album could almost qualify, in some points, as hard rock had it not been for its melodic material, its rampant lyricism and the deeply humanistic approach of its lyrics exactly opposite to the preferred satanic topics of heavy metal bands which indeed preclude any such classification entirely. All the better, otherwise I wouldn't even be writing about this since such types of vibrations act as a strong deterrent to me. I may be a devil but no evil. However the near-constant decibel overload is particularly justifiable here, given that the lyrics deal with war and massive destruction by drones. Not to mention that it might have occurred to Matt Bellamy to add some Wagner, but not this time. He had a much better idea.
But to hear it, you'll have to wait until the concluding epilogue.
Genesis of a killing machine
“You've taught me to lie without a trace and to kill with no remorse. On the outside I'm the greatest guy, now I'm dead inside.” This sets the scene to the hypnotic groove of omnipresent drums on "Dead Inside" which continues with the topical theme of mind control previously addressed in "MK Ultra" (See Related articles). Up til the U2esque lyrical flight where the protagonist pleads with the woman who tricked and entrapped him to restore his humanity.
Too late. “Love, it will get you nowhere. You're on your own, lost in the wild. So come to me now. I could use someone like you — someone who'll kill on my command and asks no questions.” The rest you know it since I already wrote a feature on "Psycho" when it was released as a single a couple of months ago (see Related articles). The perfect antidote to military recruitment campaigns.
Mercy! The “hero” now realises he's just sold his soul to the devil and that, in fact, there is far worse than death. He pleads Heaven to end his torment. “Help me, I've fallen on the inside. I tried to change the game, I tried to infiltrate, but now I'm losing. Men in cloaks always seem to run the show. Save me from the ghosts and shadows before they eat my soul.”
The launching of the drones
To no avail. The bloody harvest has come. The Reapers (combat drones) are launched. Matt Bellamy sings at the top of his lungs to the sound of explosives guitars to the final climax where Chris-whose-surname-I-always-fail-to-remember (the bass player) roars: “Here come the drones!” This track really rocks in every way, tearing your eardrums while constantly distilling mega doses of adrenalin. “War just moved up a gear. I don't think I can handle the truth. I’m just a pawn and we’re all expendable—incidentally, electronically erased by your drones.”
“You were my oppressor and I, I have been programmed to obey. But now, you are my handler and I, I will execute your demands.” Now turned into a killing machine, the “human drone” he's become begins to run rough. “Leave me alone!” he shouts at his Handler before eventually eluding his mind control: “I won't let you control my feelings anymore. And I will no longer do as I am told. And I am no longer afraid to walk alone.”
The final battle
A brief flashback to the Cold War provided by an excerpt from a speech by JFK in 1961 about secret societies ruling and manipulating the world (featured in its entirety in the above video) before getting back to our hero who's ended up recovering his freedom while becoming a Defector: “Free! Yeah I'm free from society. You can't control me.”
He has now joined the ranks of humanity where the situation is no better. He's getting desperate: “How did we get in so much trouble? Getting out just seems impossible. Oppression is persisting. I can’t fight this brain conditioning. Our freedom’s just a loan run by machines and drones.” Whereupon a little voice rises from within urging him to Revolt. “You’ve got strength, you’ve got soul, you’ve felt pain, you’ve felt love. You can grow, you can grow. You can make this world what you want.”
In the Aftermath of a merciless battle, everything quiets down. So does the music. The hero's managed to escape his oppressors. “From this moment, you will never be alone. We're bound together now and forever. The loneliness has gone. I'm a defector.”
Emerging amid the still-smoldering ruins of a devastated world is lonesome gunslinger Clint Eastwood feeling rather pissed off now that the party is over and everybody's dead. To me, at least, this is the ludicrous image the first half of "The Globalist" conjures up while depicting the brutal annihilation of a whole civilisation. “There’s no countries left to fight and conquer, I think I destroyed them all. It’s human nature: the greatest hunter will survive them all with no one left to love.” Note that this track is supposed to be the next logical step from "Citizen Erased" featured on The Origin Of Symmetry and that was released in 2001 (“Erase all the memories. They will only bring us pain and I've seen all I'll ever need.”).
Killed by drones
Surprise, surprise! The closing song is sung a capella all wrapped in church hymn reminiscence. The hero buries his dead ("Drones"):
Killed by drones:
My mother, my father,
My sister and my brother,
My son and my daughter.
Killed by drones,
Our lives between your fingers—
Can you feel anything?
Are you dead inside?
Now you can kill
From the safety of your home
© Matthew Bellamy, 2015.
One last word
Gee, I'm totally gob-smacked and blown away !
Be that as it may, this great incursion into Matt Bellamy's Pensieve still doesn't help me decide whether he and his band are just mere opportunists or use their position to convey a message (or a mixture of both). What ultimately matters is while they keep repeating it, it might eventually make its way through the shambled meanderings of a lot of kids, who, excited by the flood of decibels, will listen again and again and go headbanging at their gigs. After all, there is no foolish way.
While others like myself, who are much older and already aware of these goings on, will know better than to go and get both their ears and wallet slaughtered, but will use and abuse it as the best of pick-me-ups. This album is pure raw dynamite, I tell ya! I do cardio, work out, and yoga with it—even during hot weather—and it gives me a helluva boost even when I feel I won't be able to move an inch. It also works against despondency and the occasional blues. Deadly.
Muse may have killed me, they did resurrect me with renewed fighting spirit in addition.
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