Reapers (song)

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Artwork
Muse song
Name Reapers
Album/single
Length 5:59
Alternative titles
First live performance 15th March 2015 (full), 4th November 2009 (riff)
Latest live performance 24th June 2016
Recorded 2014/2015 - The Warehouse Studio, Vancouver, Canada
Writer/composer Matthew Bellamy
Producer Muse, Robert "Mutt" Lange

Information

Reapers is about not having empathy at all. The reason why words like ‘babe’ appear is because Matt tried to mix a political and a personal side to it. [1]

The song features a large amount of falsetto singing and guitar solos.

There are 'Drones' under the name "MQ-9 Reaper", Muse used photos of various drones with a similar look to this kind of drones in their instagram photos.[2] Matt also mentions them in the song; "Reapers and Hawks".

The tapping intro used to be played as an outro to Plug In Baby in The Resistance Tour with the riff developing through the same tour.[3][4] but traces of the song can be traced back to 2008 as an intro to Stockholm Syndrome as seen in footage from Muse live at the Grand Rex in Argentina.[5]

In the end, faint, distorted and electronic voices saying "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" appear. [6]

This song heavily shows the influence of Rage Against the Machine on Muse. The main riff of the chorus is almost the same to the intro of Rage Against the Machine's Bombtrack, while the outro is similar to Rage Against the Machine's Freedom outro, which they also played after Stockholm Syndrome on The 2nd Law tour.

Composition and analysis

Reapers is perhaps one of the most progressive songs in Muse's catalog, featuring prominent use of modulation, demanding guitar work and an uncharacteristically improvised solo.

Guitar feedback and pounding drums introduce the song before Bellamy lunges into a tapped guitar solo with an unstable tonal center. Eventually rooting in D minor, the verse establishes an urgent air of desperation, as Bellamy sings of domestic conflict and drone warfare. The lyrics make reference to the "AGM-114 Hellfire" air-to-surface missile commonly used in aerial combat vehicles. The verse follows the Andalusian cadence twice, a chord progression also found in Citizen Erased and Resistance, with Wolstenholme's bass walking across the ninth of each chord.

Bellamy and Wolstenholme play in unison for the primary guitar riff, which uses the D minor pentatonic scale and is backed by a "Drones!" chant. The riff climbs chromatically to establish a new tonal centre in the G Mixolydian mode, providing a strong chorus for Bellamy's declaration that he is ready to become a reaper. Before long, the stop-start chugging guitars give way to another tapping solo, and eventually the verse and chorus repeat again.

Following the second chorus, Howard drums in unison with Bellamy as he plays the primary riff. Wolstenholme continues this motif as Bellamy launches into a guitar solo, filled with pitch-shifting effects, tapping and chromatic melodies. The riff ascends as the key changes to E minor, eventually climbing through the fourth and fifth to revisit the chorus one last time.

As the final chorus ends, riffs give way to arpeggiated chords as the song builds to a dramatic climax, at which point the tempo suddenly drops and Bellamy howls over a chromatic bassline played by Wolstenholme. As the intensity builds, Bellamy doubles the bassline on his guitar as air raid sirens sound and Wolstenholme repeatedly screams "HERE COME THE DRONES!" into the microphone.

Trivia

The song originally intended to have "hooligan backing vocals" when the "Drones!" part kicks in, similar to Uprising with the "oy" parts, but were replaced with a distorted whispering voice. [7]

Lyrics

[VERSE 1]

Home It's becoming a killing field There's a cross-hair locked on my heart With no recourse And there's no one behind the wheel Hellfire You're wiping me out Killed by

[PRE-CHORUS] Drones! (killed by) Drones! (killed by)

[CHORUS 1] You rule with lies and deceit And the world is on your side 'Cause you've got the CIA, babe (you can run but you're never gonna hide, you can run but you're never gonna gonna gonna) But all you've done is brutalise (you can run but you're never gonna hide, you can run but you're never gonna gonna gonna) Drones!

[VERSE 2] War 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

[PRE-CHORUS] Drones! (killed by) Drones! (killed by)

[CHORUS 2] You kill by remote control And the world is on your side You've got reapers and hawks, babe (you can run but you're never gonna hide, you can run but you're never gonna gonna gonna) Now I am radicalised (you can run but you're never gonna hide, you can run but you're never gonna gonna gonna) Drones!

[BREAKDOWN] (killed by)

[SOLO] (you can run but you're never gonna hide, you can run but you're never gonna gonna gonna) (you can run but you're never gonna hide, you can run but you're never gonna gonna gonna)

[CHORUS 3] You rule with lies and deceit And the world is on your side You've got the CIA, babe All you've done is brutalise You kill by remote control (you can run but you're never gonna hide, you can run but you're never gonna gonna gonna) And the world is on your side (you can run but you're never gonna hide, you can run but you're never gonna gonna gonna) You've got reapers and hawks babe (you can run but you're never gonna hide, you can run but you're never gonna gonna gonna) Now I am radicalised (you can run but you're never gonna hide, you can run but you're never gonna gonna gonna)

[OUTRO] Here come the drones! [SIREN] Here come the drones! Here come the drones!

Follow the yellow brick road [repeated]

References

  1. Interview: Muse on their new album, Drones (2015-06-10). Xfm. Retrieved 2015-06-10 from xfm.co.uk.
  2. Instagram. (2015-02-). #MuseDrones. Muse. Retrieved 2015-03-18 from instagram.com.
  3. Youtube. (2009-11-04). Plug In Baby Live from Sheffield Arena 2009 (3:38-3:50). Retrieved 2015-04-15 from Youtube.
  4. Youtube. (2015-05-11). Plug In Baby Live from Seattle 2010 (4:32-5:55). Retrieved 2015-04-15 from Youtube.
  5. Youtube. Muse - Stockholm Syndrome live @ Gran Rex 2008 (Buenos Aires, Argentina) (0:07-0:40). Retrieved 2016-01-19 from Youtube.
  6. Instagram. Working on some late night programming.... Retrieved from Instagram.
  7. Instagram. Drones! Hooligan bv-s. Retrieved from Instagram.


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